Now his job is to keep the Marlins from getting back to the
playoffs and to help the Chicago Cubs return.
"I got a lot of friends over there. But you got to put it aside
and go out there and win games," Lee said Saturday after his
three-run double in the eighth sent the Cubs to a 5-2 victory.
The Cubs lead San Francisco, 5-3 winners over Arizona, by two
percentage points in the wild-card race. Houston fell a game back
with their 5-2 loss in Pittsburgh. Chicago dropped the Marlins 2½
"I can't say it does mean more to beat your former team because
I didn't like leave on a bitter note," said Lee, traded to the
Cubs in the offseason. "These are big games, so it feels good to
win. They mean a lot."
Lee, who had key hits for the Marlins last October in both Game
6 and Game 7 of the NLCS at Wrigley Field, has been a steady
presence in the field and at the plate for the Cubs. And he's got
the postseason experience after helping the Marlins beat the
Yankees for the World Series championship last season.
"We were talking about it today. How funny it is. You play
130-some odd games, and you got three teams tied for the wild
card," Lee said. "It's pretty rare, so it's going to be fun and
will probably come down to the last week. Whoever gets on a roll
will probably come out of it."
The Cubs came back from a 2-0 deficit and tied the game in the
eighth on an RBI single by Sammy Sosa, who was dropped to sixth in
the batting order for the first time in 10 years and was booed
loudly after striking out in his first two at-bats.
"I don't have a problem with that," Sosa said of the batting
order change. "If that is going to help the ballclub, it's OK with
Neifi Perez hit an infield single to shortstop, and when Alex
Gonzalez's low throw got by Jeff Conine for an error, Perez raced
to second and slid around Luis Castillo's tag. Sosa delivered a
tying RBI single.
After Guillermo Mota (9-6) plunked Mark Grudzielanek with a
pitch and Michael Barrett struck out while trying to bunt, Matt
Perisho relieved and gave up an infield single to pinch-hitter Todd
Walker that loaded the bases.
Following a lineout, Lee drove a 3-2 pitch from Rudy Seanez to
left center, clearing the bases. Ryan Dempster (1-1) got the win in
relief of Carlos Zambrano, and LaTroy Hawkins pitched the ninth for
his 21st save in 27 chances.
"Our bullpen is our strong suit, but it didn't pay off today,"
Marlins manager Jack McKeon said. "Guys are due to have a rough
outing every once in a while. Missed opportunities have been piling
Zambrano allowed two runs -- one earned -- and six hits in seven
innings, while Willis gave up one run and six hits.
The Marlins manufactured their first-inning run after Castillo
bunted for a single and raced to second when Zambrano fielded it
and threw wildly to first for an error. Castillo moved up on a
grounder and scored on Barrett's passed ball.
Mike Lowell doubled in the second and scored on Gonzalez's
two-out, broken-bat single.
Cubs RHP Matt Clement will miss his scheduled start Sunday
because of a sore muscle in his back and neck. Clement left his
last two starts prematurely because of the injury. He probably will
pitch Tuesday against Pittsburgh. Glendon Rusch will start in his
place Sunday. ... SS Nomar Garciaparra, dropped from third to fifth
in the batting order, left after the fifth inning and was replaced
by Ramon Martinez. Garciaparra said he tweaked his groin and will
probably sit out Sunday. ... Asked what kind of reception the
Marlins might get Monday and Tuesday when they play Montreal at
U.S. Cellular Field, McKeon wasn't sure. "I have no idea. I
imagine we'll have a lot of White Sox fans and lot of Cubs fans who
will come over there and root for us," McKeon said tongue-in-cheek
while rolling his eyes. The games were moved to the White Sox's
home park because of Hurricane Ivan. It will be determined Monday
where the remaining three games of the series will be played.