Piniella Tests New Lineup

With the Cubs having scored just one run in their previous two games, manager Lou Piniella made drastic changes Friday.

A lineup makeover of some kind wasn't out of the question, but there was at least one big surprise this time.

The biggest was that Piniella dropped left fielder Alfonso Soriano out of the leadoff spot for the first time all season. Soriano dropped to third, with shortstop Ryan Theriot moved up to the top spot.

Piniella wanted to take advantage of Theriot's .424 on-base percentage entering the game. He also wanted to put some pop into the middle of a lineup that has provided little power of late.

The Cubs got little power and had mixed results with the rest of it in a 4-3 loss to the Cardinals. Theriot went 0-for-5 in the top spot. Soriano was 1-for-4. His only hit, a double, came when he led off the eighth inning.

The other effects of the shakeup were Derrek Lee moving down from third to fifth and Aramis Ramirez moving up from fifth to fourth.

Soriano, who likes hitting first, said he'd go along with whatever Piniella wanted to do, especially if the Cubs are winning. Piniella said he wanted to "take a look at it and see how it works."


RHP Ryan Dempster pitched scoreless ball until the fifth, when the Cardinals scored three runs on three hits. Dempster made it through six innings, giving up seven hits and three runs. Carlos Marmol was charged with the loss after giving up one in the eighth. The Cubs scored all three runs in the seventh, but needed help from some sloppy defense by the Cardinals.


--OF Milton Bradley did not start again, but he did pinch-hit and walk in the ninth inning. Bradley has been hobbled since April 12 with a right-groin strain, and Piniella says he won't play Bradley until he's 100 percent. After walking, Bradley came out for a pinch runner.

--Soriano batted third for the first time since May 20, 2007. He began last year as the No. 2 hitter in the order, but that experiment was abandoned after two games.

--Kosuke Fukudome moved from center field to right, and Reed Johnson started at center as Piniella went for better defense. The lineup casualty was Micah Hoffpauir, who committed an error in right Thursday against the Reds. Fukudome's single in the fourth gave him a streak of 13 games in which he has reached base.

--Ramirez left the game in the fifth inning. He strained his left calf running out a double in the second. He appears to be day-to-day. He said his leg was sore after the game.

--Marmol had to come out of the eighth inning after his left spike caught in the dirt as he delivered a pitch. Marmol twisted the leg, and the Cubs said he has a strained muscle near the left knee. The Cubs say they'll know more about Marmol Saturday. The Cubs opened the season with no player on the DL, and they've remained that way.

--Mike Fontenot struck out three times and doubled. He moved to third base when Ramirez left the game. Aaron Miles took over at second. Fontenot is coming off a homestand during which he went 2-for-22. With the injuries to Milton Bradley and now Ramirez, the Cubs' depth is being tested.

"We've got no bench," Piniella said. "We've got to get somebody in here."

--The Sports XChange



At Des Moines, the Cubs (11-5) scored five ninth-inning runs to win in their last at-bat. LF Jason Dubois (1-for-2) hit a game-winning, walk-off three-run home run to give Iowa the victory. The Cubs tallied 11 hits in the game. 1B Jake Fox (3-for-4) hit his Pacific Coast League leading eighth home run, and RF Brad Snyder (2-for-3) and 2B Bobby Scales (2-for-4) added two hits apiece. Scales has seven multi-hit games in his last nine games. RHP Mitch Atkins started and received a no-decision. He allowed four runs and seven hits over six innings and struck out five batters while walking two. RHP Chad Fox (1-0) got the win in relief. RHP Greg Reinhard tossed two scoreless innings in relief to extend his scoreless streak to 11 straight innings to open the season. He has 17 strikeouts to three walks in that span.


At Jackson, Tenn., the Smokies (7-7) allowed 13 hits in the loss Friday. RHP Jay Jackson (0-3) started and suffered his third consecutive loss to open the season. He allowed six runs and a season-high nine hits over 4 1/3 innings, walking three batters and striking out two. LF Ty Wright (2-for-3) led the Smokies' offense with two hits, including a triple and a run scored. The Smokies were held to six hits.


At Daytona Beach, the Cubs (6-8) were held to six hits Friday. CF Marwin Gonzalez (2-for-4) and SS Starlin Castro (2-for-3) paced the Cubs' offense with two hits apiece. 1B Russ Canzler (1-for-4) singled to extend his hit streak to 13 consecutive games to open the season and is batting .380 with five doubles and seven RBI. RHP Rafael Dolis (0-2) started and suffered the loss, allowing two runs and two hits in five innings. He struck out a season-high five batters and did not allow a walk.


At Milwaukee, the Chiefs (5-8) allowed 14 hits in the loss Friday at Miller Park for their fourth consecutive defeat. SS Ryan Flaherty (2-for-3) paced the offense with two doubles, two walks, a stolen base and a run scored. RHP Aaron Shafer (2-1) started and suffered his first loss, allowing a season-high four runs and nine hits. He struck out four batters without allowing a walk.

--Staff Reports

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