LOS ANGELES (AP) -- Ronny Cedeno's game-winning hit eased some of
Derrek Lee's pain, though it wasn't enough to reduce manager Dusty
Baker's anxiety level after losing his most productive hitter
because of a sprained right wrist.
Kurkjian on Lee
Tim Kurkjian spoke on Mike & Mike about the impact Derrek Lee's injury could have on the Cubs.
Cedeno drove in the tying and go-ahead runs with an
eighth-inning single after Lee departed, and Ryan Dempster set a
club record with his 23rd consecutive save to lead the Chicago Cubs
to a 5-4 victory over the Los Angeles Dodgers on Wednesday night.Lee, the reigning NL batting champion and a two-time Gold Glove
winner, was injured on a freakish play in the Dodgers' seventh.
Rafael Furcal led off the inning with a bunt single to the right of
the mound, and reliever Scott Eyre dove for the ball before
flipping it toward first base with his glove. The ball sailed over
Lee's glove as Furcal crashed into him at the bag.X-rays were inconclusive and Lee was to be re-examined in
Chicago on Thursday. Erye also was hurt on the play, leaving the
game with a bruised right knee."You never see anyone lose two guys on one play," Baker said.
"But nobody cares if Lee's hurt or not, except us and the people
in Chicago and the people who know him. We'll just have to adjust
and just keep on adjusting."I've got John Mabry and Todd Walker, who can play first base.
But before we jump to those conclusions, we've got to see how D.
Lee is."Lee has appeared in no fewer than 155 games in any of the
previous six seasons and has never been on the disabled list since
making his big-league debut in 1997 with San Diego. He had a career
year last season with a .335 average, 46 homers and 107 RBI, and
played in his first All-Star Game.The Cubs overcame Lee's injury with a three-run eighth inning
against reliever Danys Baez (0-1), turning a two-run deficit into a
5-4 lead. All three runs were unearned due to an error by the
right-hander, who bobbled Jacque Jones' dribbler to the right of
the mound with two outs."They gave him an error on that? That was a tough play," Cubs
catcher Michael Barrett said. "The ball was going away from him.
How we were able to get three runs in that inning was hard to
understand for us. But I don't think he was rattled after that
play. When you're a closer, you've probably seen worse things that
that."Barrett's RBI single narrowed the gap to 4-3 and Cedeno followed
with a sinking liner that Jose Cruz Jr. trapped in short right
field."I knew it was going to be close. I had a decent jump on it,
but the ball just kind of sank on me at the end," Cruz said. "If
it hangs up there a split-second more, I catch it. It's never easy
to lose like that."Scott Williamson (2-0) pitched a scoreless seventh, Bob Howry
the eighth and Dempster got the last three outs for his fourth
save, breaking Joe Borowski's franchise mark for consecutive
conversions. Dempster has not allowed an earned run in 31 1-3
innings spanning his last 32 appearances.Dempster converted 33 of his 35 save opportunities last season
for the Cubs after being converted into a closer. He began his
career as a starter with the Florida Marlins, but his career took a
detour after he underwent Tommy John surgery in 2003 while with
Cincinnati."I enjoy this role, but I don't think it was a silver lining
because it was a grueling 12 months of rehab before that,"
Dempster said. "I'd much rather have just stayed healthy and
continue doing what I did before I got hurt. But I got a second
life, and I've just tried to make the most out of that opportunity
by preparing every time and get ready and stay focused every time
that ninth inning comes up."Dodgers starter Brad Penny allowed two runs and nine hits,
struck out seven and walked one.Chicago left-hander Sean Marshall allowed two runs and two hits
over five innings in his third major league start, striking out
four and walking three.The rookie was pulled after 86 pitches and gave way to David
Aardsma, who made his Cubs debut and walked the first two batters
in the sixth. Cruz advanced to third after Olmedo Saenz flied out,
and Sandy Alomar Jr. snapped a 2-2 tie with a two-out RBI single to
right.Aardsma then loaded the bases with a walk to Jason Repko and
Ricky Ledee batted for Penny, greeting Eyre with another RBI single
that made it 4-2.Three of Chicago's hits against Penny were bloop singles by
Jones, Juan Pierre and Todd Walker, whose first-inning hit fell in
front of a charging Repko in left field and gave Chicago the lead
after Pierre's leadoff double.
Among the press box crowd observing the Penny-Marshall
pitching matchup was actor David "Squiggy" Lander, who was Penny
Marshall's co-star on "Laverne and Shirley" back in the 1970s.
"She's probably at the Lakers game tonight," said Lander, who
works as an associate scout for the Seattle Mariners.