05/14/07 10:56 PM ET
Cubs can't close out Mets in opener
Chicago loses four-run lead; Wuertz walks in game-winner
By Carrie Muskat / MLB.com
Carlos Delgado drew a bases-loaded walk-off walk with two outs in the ninth inning Monday night to lift the Mets to a 5-4 victory over the Cubs, who dropped to 2-8 in one-run games.
With the game tied at 4, Jose Reyes singled off Michael Wuertz (0-2) and stole second on a 1-0 pitch to Endy Chavez. Wuertz then walked Chavez, and fell behind Carlos Beltran 3-0 before intentionally walking him to load the bases.
Piniella chose not to use lefty reliever Scott Eyre, but stayed with Wuertz, who walked Delgado after a 10-pitch at-bat.
"It shouldn't have come down to that," Wuertz said. "I should've gotten guys out before that. It was a terrible performance on my part. It's a tough one to swallow and a tough way to lose the game. I was just bad."
The problem wasn't that Wuertz couldn't get his slider over the plate. He fell behind in the count and couldn't locate his fastball.
"They weren't bad pitches -- they could've been better," Wuertz said. "I've just got to pitch better. This is one of those nights I'm going to forget about and I have to move on."
Whether he'll get another chance remains to be seen.
"The bullpen -- we thought that would be the strong point of our pitching staff," Piniella said. "I haven't seen it."
"I'm going to find out if there are some kids down in Triple-A throwing the ball," Piniella said. "Maybe that's the answer -- get some different kids up here who can throw the ball. I don't know what else to say. I've tried everybody out there. You keep hoping it comes around, but we're getting into the middle of May now."
Cubs starter Jason Marquis was unsuccessful in his bid to win his sixth straight start. He gave up four runs on five hits, including a two-run homer by David Wright, and walked three over five-plus innings. He also went 2-for-3 at the plate, hitting a two-run single to help himself. It's the second time in eight starts that Marquis has not gone at least six innings, and only the third time he's served up more than one run.
"It's one of those nights where you try to keep your team in the game," Marquis said. "Things didn't feel in sync. You just have to battle to give your team the best chance to win."
He had pitched a complete game in his previous start, and the plan was to shorten his outing and try to get six innings.
Alfonso Soriano, batting third for the first time since the last game of the 2006 season, doubled with two outs in the Cubs' first and scored on Aramis Ramirez's single. Soriano was filling in for Derrek Lee, who returned to Chicago to undergo tests on his neck after spasms forced him out of Sunday's game. Soriano did bat third more than once in 2006 with the Nationals, hitting .153 (11-for-72). He has led off most of his career.
"[Piniella] called me before he made the lineup," Soriano said. "It's not a problem -- I understand. Wherever he puts me in the lineup is fine."
Mark DeRosa, subbing at first base for Lee, walked to lead off the second and reached third one out later on Angel Pagan's double. Both scored on Marquis' single, and one out later, the pitcher tallied on Cesar Izturis' double to make it 4-0.
Marquis walked Delgado to start the Mets' fourth and Wright followed with his fourth home run off a 3-1 pitch to close the score to 4-2. The blast was the third home run off Marquis this season.
The Cubs missed a chance to tack on runs in the fifth, when they loaded the bases with two outs on consecutive walks by Tom Glavine to Soriano, Ramirez and Matt Murton, but DeRosa flied out to center. The Cubs are now 0-for-15 with the bases loaded this month.
"I had a great at-bat there," DeRosa said. "He made a 3-2 pitch, threw a changeup, I hit it good and popped it up.
"It's frustrating -- I want to come through in those situations. You love to be in those situations. I felt comfortable. It's just par for the course for me. I can't get anything going. You hope to be in those situations again."
"It's amazing," Piniella said. "When they walk us, we have trouble getting them in, but when we walk them, they score quickly."
The Mets tied the game in the sixth. Delgado and Wright each singled to chase Marquis, and one out and one pitcher later, Paul Lo Duca hit an RBI single off Rocky Cherry. Damion Easley then hit a game-tying sacrifice fly.
DeRosa handled first base just fine, but he may be sidelined indefinitely. In the Mets' fifth, he collided with Chavez trying to field an off-balance throw from Marquis. It was similar to the freak accident that Lee had in April 2006 when he fractured his wrist in a collision at first with Rafael Furcal.
DeRosa sprained the ring finger on his right hand, and his status is day to day.
"I should've gotten out of the way," DeRosa said. "I wanted to do too much and hang in there."
"We were supposed to win this game," Soriano said. "We have to play nine innings every night. It's tough to lose a game like that."
Carrie Muskat is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.