For six innings, the Chicago Cubs looked like winners. Then, in the seventh, they looked like, well, the Cubs. An error. A bad pitch. A mental mistake. And yet another loss.
The seventh inning of Tuesday’s 5-3 loss to the Florida Marlins in the home opener was a microcosm of everything that has gone wrong this season for the Cubs, who have matched their worst start ever - 0-7.
“That’s just how it’s been going for us,” Chicago starter Steve Trachsel said. “If you think about it, it’ll drive you nuts.”
At St. Louis, pinch-hitter Willie McGee’s solo home run with two outs in the ninth inning ended the St. Louis Cardinals’ worst start in their 106-year history, giving them a 2-1 win over the Montreal Expos.
The Cardinals’ 0-6 start included the short end of a three-game, season-opening sweep at Montreal. A crowd of 47,542 saw the N.L. Central champions win their home opener and send the Expos to their fourth straight loss.
Braves 4, Astros 2
Tom Glavine pitched seven shutout innings to beat Houston for the second time in five days, and Jeff Blauser went 4 for 4 to lead Atlanta.
Pirates 2, Padres 0
Pittsburgh’s Steve Cooke combined with two relievers on a one-hitter, earning his first victory in nearly three years.
Steve Finley cleanly singled to right field with two outs in the first inning for San Diego’s lone hit.
Phillies 2, Giants 1
Mark Leiter allowed three hits in seven innings and rookie Scott Rolen singled home the go-ahead run in front of a crowd of 6,260 on an evening when chilly winds gusted to 50 mph.
Mets 5, Dodgers 3
Bobby Jones pitched eight innings for his second win and John Olerud went 4 for 4 to lead New York.
Jones (2-0) allowed three runs and five hits before leaving for a pinch-hitter in the eighth.
Shortly after the clock struck midnight, after a hurried, ominous trip to his throat specialist, Brett Butler rescued the Dodgers in Monday’s game.
His all-or-nothing dash from second base to home in the 15th inning gave the Dodgers a 3-2 victory over the Mets.
Butler did not start the game, the first time he had been out of the starting lineup this season. He didn’t get back to the ballpark Monday night until the fourth inning, having visited his doctor to check on a growing soreness in the area where a cancerous tumor and lymph nodes were removed last May.
The pain had bothered Butler for several days.
“I had the doctor tell me, ‘Hey, it’s not what you’re thinking.’ Everything’s fine,” Butler said.
Butler was diagnosed with tonsil cancer last May 2 and later underwent surgery as well as six weeks of radiation treatments in June and July.
Clearing the bases
The Rockies have allowed only 14 earned runs - and 17 overall - in their last six games. The starters have a 2.08 ERA during that span… . Mets pitcher Joe Crawford made his major league debut in Monday’s 15th-inning loss to the Dodgers. He was used as a pinch-hitter and struck out on three pitches. However, he is a good hitter, with a .455 (15 for 33) career minor league average. … Reds manager Ray Knight spent part of his off day at a Denver area hospital following a skiing accident… . Barry Bonds of the Giants is on pace to walk 234 times.
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