CHICAGO (AP) - Geovany Soto was unable to hang onto the ball on a close play at the plate, and before long the Chicago Cubs had let two games slip away Tuesday.
With the Cubs leading by one in the fifth inning and a runner on third, Rodrigo Lopez induced a one-out fly to center. Reed Johnson charged in to make the catch and with his momentum going toward the plate, made a perfect throw to Soto, who tagged the sliding Andres Torres.
Home plate umpire Tim McClelland initially called Torres out, but when the ball trickled away, the call was changed. Cubs manager Mike Quade charged onto the field, arguing that Soto held the ball long enough for the out. The umpires consulted at the mound, but the call wasn't changed and the game was tied at 2.
The San Francisco Giants went on to score four more times that inning and Barry Zito pitched seven strong innings as the Giants beat the Cubs 6-3 to sweep a day-night doubleheader and extend their winning streak to seven games.
``I got the ball, applied the tag, took my mask off and tried to flip the ball to my bare hand to show it. As I flipped the ball, I dropped it,' Soto said. ``I saw the play on video and I still think he was out, but the umpire was behind me so it was tough for him to judge. Tough break right there.'
Quade agreed with Soto, but didn't think that play had to decide the game.
``It's the fifth inning, there's lots of baseball left, it's 2-2,' Quade said. ``We had good matchups with two outs and two on with (John) Grabow and he just couldn't make a pitch. Then it snowballed.
``That play was obviously huge, but we had plenty of time to get out of that inning in a tie situation.'
After the disputed call, Lopez (0-2) allowed back-to-back singles to Aubrey Huff and Cody Ross, and was removed after throwing 96 pitches.
Grabow's first pitch to Nate Schierholtz was lined for a single, scoring Huff. Brandon Crawford doubled, scoring Ross and Schierholtz. Eli Whiteside singled in Crawford. The first four batters to face Grabow reached.
Lopez was charged with four runs - one earned - and eight hits over 4 2-3 innings.
``Long, taxing (day) from a bullpen standpoint, but you better not hang your head for long because we'll be back here in short order to play these guys again and (Tim) Lincecum's pitching,' Quade said.
Lou Montanez hit a two-run homer in the third inning - his first in a Cubs uniform - but Zito (1-1) allowed only four hits over seven innings, pitching for the first time since leaving his April 16 start with a right foot sprain.
Montanez's last home run came May 9, 2009, with Baltimore.
After Aramis Ramirez led off the ninth with a solo home run, Brian Wilson entered the game and retired the next three batters to earn his 24th save.
The Giants battered Doug Davis in the first game, scoring 10 runs off him en route to a 13-7 victory.
Davis (1-7) allowed 10 earned runs and 12 hits over 4 1-3 innings, the most runs he has given up since his major league debut on Aug. 9, 1999.
Pat Burrell and Aaron Rowand each drove in three runs as the Giants surpassed their previous season high of 12 runs, which they set at St. Louis on June 2.
Burrell, who came in just 1 for 15 lifetime against Davis, had three hits against the lefty. He scored two runs and homered. Rowand had two hits, scored twice and hit a three-run double.
``Just a tough day for Doug,' Quade said. ``We scored enough runs, we did enough offense. We just didn't get a good start from him.'
Before the game, Quade stressed the importance of getting as much out of his starters as possible on this seven-day, eight-game homestand. The Cubs won't get another day off until the All-Star break.
They forfeited their off day Monday to make up a game against the Colorado Rockies and added a fourth game to this series due to a May 15 rainout.
Chris Carpenter threw 41 pitches over 1 2-3 innings and James Russell threw two innings in his fourth appearance in five days in the first game. Grabow allowed a home run to Miguel Tejada in a 13-pitch ninth in Game 1 and gave up two more runs on three hits while retiring just one batter in the nightcap.
Jeff Samardzija tossed two scoreless innings in the second game and Marcos Mateo pitched a perfect eighth after being called up from Triple-A Iowa between games to help bolster the fatigued bullpen.
Ryan Vogelsong (6-1) won the opener despite allowing a season-high six runs - three earned - in five innings. He matched his high for the season with four walks.
Carlos Pena hit a two-run homer, walked and scored two runs. Blake DeWitt had two singles and three RBIs, and Koyie Hill added a solo homer.
NOTES: Quade got a nice pregame surprise when it was announced that Giants manager Bruce Bochy had added him to the NL staff for the All-Star game, to be played July 12 in Phoenix. Quade replaced former Washington manager Jim Riggleman, who resigned last week. ... Cubs CF Marlon Byrd was hit by a pitch in his first rehab game for Triple-A Iowa. Byrd has been out since May 21 with facial fractures suffered when he was beaned by Boston's Alfredo Aceves. The Cubs are hoping that Byrd, who walked, stole a base and scored two runs in five plate appearances for Iowa, will return to the lineup next week.
The Associated Press News Service
The Associated Press
All Rights Reserved