07/09/10 1:42 AM ET
Cubs can't hang onto late lead in LA
By Carrie Muskat / MLB.com
Furcal had three hits, including a two-run, line-drive homer with two outs in the seventh, to lift the Los Angeles Dodgers to a 3-2 victory Thursday night over the Cubs and snap their winning streak at three games.
"I made one big mistake and paid for it," Wells said.
Wells (4-7) scattered six hits over seven innings and struck out seven. The most painful hit came in the seventh. The Cubs led 2-1 but Russell Martin singled to lead off and two outs later, Furcal drove the first pitch he saw into the right-field corner, just clearing the low wall.
"Wells tried to cut a fastball in on his hands and he left it out over the plate and he hit it," Lou Piniella said.
Furcal entered the game 1-for-6 off Wells but had doubled in the first and scored on James Loney's single and singled in the third.
"He's a good hitter, pesky, covers a lot of pitches," Wells said. "I thought I made some pretty good pitches and he put the ball in play. The home run was pretty simple -- I tried to throw a cutter and it backed up and he put a good swing on it."
Wells was mad at himself at the pitch selection.
"In that situation, you don't want to get beat with your fourth best pitch," he said. "That's the thing that stings. I could've gone sinker away, changeup away, something that was in my top two or three pitches. To go with your fourth best pitch there, especially after you've been doing it to him all night, is a tough thing as well."
Wells did impress the Dodgers.
"He was working quick, changing speeds -- he's kind of got a quick delivery, quick arm," Casey Blake said, snapping his fingers. "When he works fast like that, if you let him work fast, you know you're more susceptible to the off-speed pitches. He made pitches today."
Balls don't sail out of Dodger Stadium that easily in the evening but Furcal's shot wasn't high enough to get in any jet stream.
"The ball Furcal hit was like a laser, a 2-iron," Piniella said. "The wind wasn't going to play with that one. It's not an easy park to hit in. Runs are a premium and when you have leads, you have to hold onto them."
Marlon Byrd wasn't around to see the end of the game. The Cubs center fielder was ejected in the ninth after striking out. First-base umpire Hunter Wendelstedt said Byrd went around on his swing, although Byrd disagreed. As he headed to the dugout, Byrd was muttering to himself and somehow the umpire heard him.
"The umpire at first base said he heard him talking to him, complaining to him," Piniella said. "That was it."
Byrd called it a "misunderstanding."
"I was talking to myself, going over the at-bat in my head, and Hunter thought I was talking to him," Byrd said. "When I was walking toward him, I wasn't even thinking. I was walking toward him to have a conversation and you can't do that."
Byrd also made one of two baserunning miscues in the third. Ryan Theriot singled with one out and was caught stealing. Byrd then singled, but was nabbed in a rundown as he overran the bag.
"I was trying to be aggressive, hoping the ball would kick away," Byrd said. "It was sort of stupid baserunning on my part, especially with two outs, and Derrek Lee coming up. You have to stay on the bag and hopefully get something going."
Byrd did make a stellar catch in the Dodgers fifth. With two outs, Clayton Kershaw reached on an error by Aramis Ramirez and Wells hit Furcal. Matt Kemp lofted the ball toward the gap in right center and Byrd tracked it down at the wall to end the inning.
"Right when he hit it, I had to put my head down and run to a spot and hopefully I didn't lose it because it was twilight time," Byrd said. "I got to the spot and thank goodness, I had enough speed to get out there."
Alfonso Soriano showed his left elbow is just fine. He was plunked on Wednesday in Arizona and questionable for Thursday's game but tied it at 1 with one out in the second when he hit the first pitch from Kershaw (9-4) to left. It's the third time in four years with the Cubs that Soriano has reached 15 homers by the All-Star break.
Ramirez blooped a double down the right field line with one out in the Chicago fourth and scored on Geovany Soto's single to go ahead 2-1.
Kershaw was tough, striking out a season-high 12 batters, one shy of his career best.
"The lefty they had out there was throwing the ball pretty good," Piniella said. "He struck out quite a few of our hitters. ... We just didn't hold onto a slim lead and that was the ballgame."
Carrie Muskat is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.