06/20/07 12:39 AM ET
Lee, bullpen prove worth in Texas win
Slugger doubles in decisive run; relievers pitch perfect
By Carrie Muskat / MLB.com
Lee hit a tiebreaking RBI double with two outs in the sixth inning, and Carlos Marmol picked up the win, pitching three shutout innings in relief, to lift the Cubs to a 5-4 Interleague victory over the Texas Rangers.
This is the second regular-season meeting between the two teams and first since 2002. The Cubs are 5-2 in Interleague Play so far this season.
Lee, playing his first game since he was slapped with a five-game suspension for taking a swing at San Diego pitcher Chris Young, drove in the game-winner off Joaquin Benoit with two outs in the sixth. Lee is appealing the penalty and able to play until he has a hearing.
"What can you do?" Cubs manager Lou Piniella said before the game. "It hurts us more than it does San Diego, no question. Losing Lee for five games [will be] a big loss to us."
There were plenty of Cubs fans in the crowd of 38,290 at Rangers Ballpark, and they had a chance to see history as Sammy Sosa was one swing away from hitting his 600th home run. Sosa will have to wait. He struck out three times and flew out to center in his first regular-season game against his former team.
"They pitched me great," Sosa said. "They pitched me confidently and didn't make a mistake. You have to give them credit and be ready for tomorrow."
The game marked the first time Cubs starter Sean Marshall did not post a quality start this year. The lefty served up three homers: solo shots by Ian Kinsler in the first and Brad Wilkerson in the third, and a two-run blast by Kinsler in the fifth. Marshall exited after four-plus innings, giving up four runs on five hits and three walks.
But Marshall did strike out Sosa twice.
"I wanted to make good pitches. I guess I did a good job with him," Marshall said. "He's about the only guy I can say I pitched well to."
As for Sosa, he has struck out before, and he'll strike out again.
"I'm an aggressive guy," Sosa said. "I'm not a guy who swings like a girl. I'm going to swing. I've been striking out all my life. I just have to come out and be ready tomorrow."
By the way, Mike Fontenot, one of the players the Cubs acquired from Baltimore in the Sosa deal in February 2005, had two hits, a walk and scored two runs, including the tiebreaker in the sixth. Piniella apparently hasn't studied Fontenot's career transactions.
"I didn't know that," Piniella said of the Sosa-Fontenot connection. "Fontenot is doing well. He really is. He got a couple hits, scored a couple runs."
The second baseman is doing so well, Piniella said they're considering moving him into the No. 2 hole in the lineup. It's a thought.
"I'm happy to be anywhere in the lineup," Fontenot said.
Marmol (2-0) picked up the win, striking out five, while Ryan Dempster pitched the ninth for his 16th save in 18 opportunities.
"Our bullpen pitched really well," said Piniella, who hasn't been able to say that much this year. "The people we used tonight did an outstanding job. Marmol gave us three good innings of baseball. [Bob] Howry and Dempster, one-two-three eighth and one-two-three ninth.
"We're fortunate we got a really nice performance from our bullpen, and we needed it," he said.
After Kinsler's first homer, the Cubs answered with two outs in the third when Fontenot singled and advanced on a fielding error by catcher Gerald Laird, who overran Alfonso Soriano's chopper in front of the plate. Felix Pie tripled to drive both in and go ahead, 2-1.
Wilkerson quickly tied the game with a leadoff homer in the Rangers' third, his seventh.
In the Chicago fourth, Cliff Floyd doubled, advanced on Michael Barrett's single and scored on Mark DeRosa's sacrifice fly. Robinson Tejeda then walked Fontenot to load the bases and walked Soriano to force in Barrett, making it 4-2.
Kinsler connected on his 13th homer with one on in the fifth to tie the game and chase Marshall.
"He tried to get in on Kinsler twice, and I guess he didn't learn from the first one," Piniella said.
"The guys picked me up and swung the bats well, and the bullpen did an awesome job," Marshall said. "It was a good win even though I didn't pitch the way I would like to pitch.
"I couldn't settle down, I couldn't get into a good groove," he said. "I couldn't make the pitches I needed to when I needed to. I'll just get them next time, I guess."
Marmol did exactly what was needed when he came on in the fifth and struck out the side. What's the difference this year for the right-hander?
"I got a lot of experience last year," said Marmol, who was 5-7 with a 6.08 ERA last season with the Cubs. "I know I was struggling last year. There's a big difference -- everything's different. I've been working hard. I know there are good hitters here."
Carrie Muskat is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.