NEW YORK (AP) -- The "Let's Go Cubs!" chant began almost
immediately after Derrek Lee singled to give Chicago the lead in
the 10th inning.
The Cubs have a more loyal following than manager Dusty Baker
"I've never seen that here in New York," Baker said. "Chicago
people are everywhere. It's always great to hear."
Chicago gave its fans plenty to cheer about Friday night,
rallying for a 2-1 victory over the Mets and maintaining its lead
over San Francisco in the NL wild-card race.
The Cubs won their fourth straight and 13th in 16 games,
improving to 8-2 on a 12-game road trip. They began the day a
half-game ahead of the Giants, who hosted Los Angeles later Friday
Chicago (87-66) moved more than 20 games over .500 for the first
time since Oct. 1, 1989, when it finished 93-69.
"We're playing with a lot of confidence," reliever Mike
Remlinger said. "It seems like we come in here every day expecting
to find a way to win."
Mark Grudzielanek was walked by Braden Looper (2-4), pitching
for the third straight night, to lead off the 10th. Grudzielanek
advanced to second on Corey Patterson's tapper in front of the
plate -- he failed twice at a sacrifice attempt -- and scored on
Lee's single to center with one out.
The Cubs have won by a run in three of their past four games.
"We're playing good baseball," Lee said. "When you win
one-run games like that, you're playing pretty good baseball."
Glendon Rusch held his former team to a run in six innings, and
four Chicago relievers kept the Mets scoreless the rest of the way.
Aramis Ramirez tied the score 1-all and ended Kris Benson's
string of shutout innings at Shea Stadium at 21 over three starts
with a leadoff homer in the seventh. Ramirez rounded the bases to
an equal mixture of applause and boos from a crowd of 28, 196 --
including a large number of Cubs fans wearing the team's road
"He should be able to make one mistake," Mets manager Art Howe
said of Benson.
The Cubs then loaded the bases with some help from the Mets
outfielders. Moises Alou hit a drive that center fielder Gerald
Williams couldn't get a handle on while trying to make a catch on
the warning track with his back to the plate. Alou was given a
double and he advanced to third when Nomar Garciaparra's shallow
fly down the right-field line glanced off Victor Diaz's glove for
"In a 1-1 ballgame you have to keep them (from scoring),"
Benson said. "It was a lot of fun to be in that situation."
Piazza made two sparkling plays at first base, twice diving to
snare hard grounders down the line. Maligned for his subpar play in
his first season at the position, Piazza stopped Rusch in the third
inning and Walker in the fifth.
"I got some help from Piazza there," Benson said. "He kept me
in the ballgame, keeping guys off base."
The Mets scored in the first on back-to-back doubles by Diaz and
Jason Phillips. Jeff Keppinger then singled to left but Phillips
was thrown out trying to score when catcher Barrett caught Alou's
throw up the third-base line and dived back to apply the tag on
Phillips, who slid headfirst.
Mets shortstop Jose Reyes went 1-for-5 in his first game since
going on the disabled list Aug. 13 with a stress fracture in his
"I feel good, nothing bothered me," Reyes said.
Garciaparra played in his 1,000th game. ... The Cubs' game
Oct. 2 against Atlanta was changed to 12:20 p.m. The game will be
broadcast on Fox. ... Mets SS Kaz Matsui struck out as a
pinch-hitter in the seventh inning. It was his first action since
Aug. 8. ... The Mets learned RHP Mike DeJean has a broken right
leg. He was hit in the leg by a line drive on Aug. 19 and went on
the DL Aug. 30, but an MRI and X-ray on Monday revealed the break.
He should be ready for spring training.