Fifth-inning lapse haunts Haren
Right-hander solid in start, but falters briefly in loss to Cubs
CHICAGO -- It wasn't a bad pitch, but Dan Haren would certainly like to have it back.
The D-backs right-hander would like to put that 1-0 fastball to Ted Lilly maybe a little bit farther down or on one of the corners.
Instead Lilly got a knee-high fastball and stroked it into center to key a two-run fifth inning that propelled the Cubs to a 3-1 win on a chilly Friday afternoon at Wrigley Field.
Haren (4-2) certainly deserved a better fate in this one, as he allowed just two runs in his seven innings of work, and it looked like he was on his way to a win before things fell apart in the fifth.
Chris Young got Arizona off on the right foot with a two-out homer in the first. It was Young's three-run homer in the second inning of Game 2 of the National League Division Series that frustrated Lilly so much he took his glove off and fired it into the ground as the ball cleared the fence.
This time, there was no show of emotion from Lilly as he settled in to retire the side and toss six more scoreless innings.
"We couldn't get in sync it seemed like," D-backs manager Bob Melvin said of his offense. "CY got us off to a good start, but we just couldn't follow it up. Didn't get many hits today, really didn't get too many good swings today.
"Hats off to Lilly too, he didn't have great velocity today, but mixed his changeup in very well -- back-door slider, curveball every now and then, and kind of surprise fastballs inside to open up both sides of the plate."
The Cubs didn't get many good swings against Haren until the fifth.
The inning started out well for Haren, as he fanned the first two batters. Mark DeRosa then doubled to left and with No. 8 hitter Reed Johnson at the plate, Melvin ordered him walked intentionally to get to Lilly.
"You've got to," Melvin said of the decision. "In a 1-0 game like that, you have to. Johnson's hitting [.346] with runners in scoring position and if Johnson gets a hit there, I feel worse than I do. You've got to make the pitcher beat you in that situation."
Beat them is just what Lilly did.
After missing up with a fastball, Haren came back with a two seamer that caught a little too much of the plate and Lilly's single scored DeRosa to tie the game.
"For me, not being a good-hitting pitcher, if a guy falls behind 1-0, there's a 99 percent chance you're getting a fastball after that," Haren said. "He knew that, and everyone knew that, and he did a good job. Didn't try to do too much. Put the bat on the ball. At that juncture of the game, and with two outs, I'll take my chances against Lilly. Probably nine times out of 10 I get him out, but that just happened to be that one time."
Alfonso Soriano followed by lacing a slider down the left-field line to score Johnson and give the Cubs a 2-1 lead.
"He's a different kind of hitter," Haren said. "He's a good hitter. With him, you don't have to throw strikes. He's very aggressive. It was low, but I was trying even to go down more and he just hooked it inside the line."
The Cubs added an insurance run in the eighth on a homer by Derrek Lee, and Kerry Wood set the D-backs down in order in the ninth to record his sixth save.
With the loss, the D-backs have now dropped five of their last eight games.
Steve Gilbert is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.