Fox, Hoffpauir Have Chance to Step Up

Manager Lou Piniella has several choices for his designated hitter with the Cubs in a stretch of six games in American League parks.

He picked the right one Tuesday, as Micah Hoffpauir hit a two-run homer to give the Cubs a short-lived 4-3 lead in the eighth inning of a game they lost 5-4 to the Tigers at Comerica Park.

Hoffpauir and infielder/outfielder Jake Fox give the Cubs a lefty-righty DH combo if Piniella chooses to go with younger players who are not as strong in the field as they are with the bat.

However, Piniella has other things in play as far as the DH goes. He has talked about resting some of his veterans by slotting them into the DH role. First baseman Derrek Lee is a candidate, but he's in a hitting groove, and Piniella may want to leave him alone. Piniella has talked of giving right fielder Milton Bradley a break by DHing him, but Bradley did not start Monday in Atlanta.

The other option is to give left fielder Alfonso Soriano and his ailing left knee a break by making him the DH and letting either Hoffpauir or Fox play left field. Soriano's knee has prevented him from getting to a lot of balls hit to left and bending down for them.

TIGERS 5, CUBS 4: Closer Kevin Gregg gave up a two-run homer in the bottom of the ninth inning to Ryan Raburn as the Cubs lost their second straight to open their road trip. Hoffpauir put the Cubs ahead 4-3 in the eighth with a two-run homer. RHP Carlos Zambrano gave up three runs in seven innings.


--Lee extended his hitting streak to a personal-best 20 games with a double in the sixth inning Tuesday. Lee had two hits, and he has reached base in 30 straight games. The hitting streak is the longest by a Cub since Soriano hit in 20 straight in 2007.

--OF Brett Jackson agreed to terms, pending a physical, with the Cubs. Jackson was their first-round pick (No. 31 overall) pick in this year's amateur draft, and he finished his junior season at Cal Berkeley.

--RHP Randy Wells won his first career decision in his eighth start Sunday. Wells is 1-3 with an ERA of 2.57, but he's been victimized by some back luck in his earlier starts. "It was pretty nerve-wracking," said Wells of waiting out the victory after the bullpen took over. "I tried to stay in the weight room for most of it."


--Zambrano turned in the Cubs' 44th quality start Tuesday. The Cubs lead the majors in quality starts. Their record in those games is 25-19, as the Cubs have wasted many of the starts by not hitting.

--Soriano was 1-for-5 with a strikeout. He's now 19-for-123 (.154) over his last 28 games. Soriano left two aboard against the Tigers. He has not homered since June 7, and he may be a candidate to get more regular rest, according to Piniella.

--CF Kosuke Fukudome is 0-for-7 on the first two games of the trip. He is 7-for-55 (.127) over his last 15 games, and his batting average has fallen from .309 at the beginning of June to .260.

--Gregg suffered his third blown save of the season. Gregg entered the game with a scoreless-innings streak of 9 2/3. He now has 11 saves in 14 chances.

--SS Ryan Theriot extended his hitting streak to nine games by going 1-for-4. He's 12-for-38 (.316) during the streak. Theriot was back in the second spot in the lineup after leading off Monday in place of LF Alfonso Soriano, who got a rest. Theriot has led off in four games this season.



At Montgomery, Ala., the Smokies (33-39, 1-1) held the Biscuits to four hits in the loss Tuesday. RHP Marcos Mateo (1-5) started and suffered the tough-luck loss, allowing the game's only run and two hits in six innings. He struck out five batters and walked three. RHP Marco Carrillo closed things out in relief with two scoreless innings to extend his scoreless streak to 11 consecutive innings. 1B Doug Deeds (2-for-4) led the team in hits. 3B Marquez Smith (1-for-4) collected his 15th double.


At Lakeland, Fla., the Cubs (33-32, 1-1) held the Tigers to five hits in the loss Tuesday. RHP Andrew Cashner made his 11th start and pitched four scoreless innings, allowing just one hit. He struck out four without allowing a walk to lower his ERA to 1.66 in 38 innings. SS Starlin Castro (3-for-4) continued his hot hitting with three hits for the second straight night.


At Keizer, Ore., the Hawks (0-4) were held to six hits in the loss Tuesday. 1B Sean Hoorelbeke (2-for-4) led the team in hits. LHP Jeff Antigua (0-1) started and suffered the loss, allowing two runs and two hits in four innings. He struck out four and walked two.


At Scottsdale, Ariz., the Cubs (1-2) were held to seven hits in the loss Tuesday. DH Derrick Fitzgerald (2-for-4, two RBI) hit his first professional home run and third double, and RF Jesus Morelli (2-for-4) added two hits. RHP Julio Pena started and pitched three innings, allowing two runs and three hits. RHP Diego Encarnacion (0-1) suffered the loss in relief, allowing four runs and five hits in one inning.


At Des Moines, Class AAA Iowa's scheduled game against New Orleans was postponed due to rain. The game will be made up as part of a doubleheader Aug. 23.

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