Mets Win First at Wrigley Since '02

The New York Mets got their first win at Wrigley Field in over three years on Monday, hitting three home runs in a game that was delayed twice by rain and resulted in a 7-4 New York victory over the Cubs (13-18).

Jon Leicester, making his first career big league start, gave up a two-out three-run homer to Mike Piazza in the first inning. By the time the Cubs got on the scoreboard, the Mets had held a 4-0 lead for four innings. Leicester was gone after three innings. He allowed four runs and five hits in what could be his last start in the Cubs' rotation for some time.

The Cubs eventually got to Mets starter and former first round draft pick Aaron Heilman in the sixth inning. Neifi Perez doubled to lead things off and Derrek Lee drew a walk to put two on. Aramis Ramirez then flied to deep right, prompting a pitching change from Mets manager Willie Randolph.

With runners at the corners and one out, former Met Jeromy Burnitz gave the Cubs their first run with an RBI single to center off reliever Dae Koo. Michael Barrett then followed with a clutch, three-run homer that tied the game and took Leicester off the hook. Barrett's home run was his fourth this season. He has hit safely in seven of his last eight games since starting the season in a .209 funk through his first 19 games.

The score remained 4-4 until the eighth inning when LaTroy Hawkins, demoted from the closer's role recently, served up the go-ahead home run to Doug Mientkiewicz.

Hawkins (1-4) had been moved back to setup man after blowing three saves in seven chances this season. His successor in the closer's role, Ryan Dempster, allowed a pair of RBI singles in the ninth to finish off the Mets' scoring.

Earlier, Todd Wellemeyer, Cliff Bartosh and Mike Remlinger each had scoreless outings with Wellemeyer being the most impressive of the group. He threw two scoreless frames and struck out three.

In the bottom of the ninth, Jose Macias' pinch-hit leadoff double was wasted when Mets closer Braden Looper got three straight outs for the save. The loss was the Cubs' eighth in their last nine games.

Afterward, manager Dusty Baker was again scratching his head. "I don't know what to say," he told reporters following the loss.

On Sunday, the Chicago Tribune's Paul Sullivan reported that highly touted outfield prospect Jason Dubois would be given an everyday chance in left beginning Monday.

Yet when starting lineups were announced before the game, Dubois was nowhere to be found (though he did pinch-hit later in the game), and Hollandsworth got the start again.

So, why was Dubois allegedly promised a chance as the Cubs' everyday left fielder beginning Monday night, yet was benched again in favor of the slumping Hollandsworth?

Baker explained to reporters that his team "needs" Hollandsworth.

Even so, could Baker and Cubs brass have had conflicting views on the matter?

Did Sullivan, or someone with the Cubs, speak prematurely?

And why did clubhouse reporters choose not to press Baker further on the issue?

Perhaps inquiring minds would be more interested in these questions, rather than Dempster's new hair color ...

At any rate, the Mets' win was their first at Wrigley since April 11, 2002. In 2003 and '04, Cubs pitching held the Mets to five runs in six games at Wrigley.

Game two of the series is another 7:05 CDT start Tuesday night. Greg Maddux is scheduled to start for the Cubs against Kris Benson. Maddux's career 33 wins against the Mets are his most versus any team.

Northsiders Report Top Stories