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Corey, You Still Suck

Now, just in case you think I've gone X-rated on all of you, keep in mind that the word "suck" seems to have passed into common parlance these days, and that we were making jokes in the 9th inning about Orlando Palmeiro, who is a cousin of Rafael Palmeiro, and the latter's connection to Viagra (and incidentally, there was a reference I made to the ad for that drug, which is no longer on the scoreboard at the Cell, something about it being "up", which I won't repeat here), but that's too much for this space -- I mean, my kids read this!

But anyway, we may have hit on something. Corey Patterson started hitting well right after Mike made the "COREY SUCKS" stickers at work, and though we didn't have Carole's clipboard with the sticker on it with us tonight, after he doubled and got picked off, and then let Morgan Ensberg's triple fly over his head, we got on him bigtime.

He responded with a two-run homer in the fourth, and though he struck out each of his later at-bats, the Cubs came from behind no less than three times and beat the Astros 7-5, when Craig Biggio, who really has no business in the outfield at all, couldn't handle Moises Alou's long drive, leading to two unearned runs that turned out to be the winning runs.

Idiot highlights of the day: the indignant woman standing in line when we, the season ticket holders who are allowed in first (so that we, like all the other season ticket holders, can have our preferred seats every day), came up in front of her. I asked her: "Do you really think you won't get your seat if six people go in in front of you?" She didn't have an answer to that, and she wound up in the front row, and I'm sure we'll never see her again.

There was also a guy who was ejected in the first inning holding two large cans of Guinness beer, which leads to the obvious question: how did he get those past security in the first place?

Other than that, it was a peaceful evening, with really pleasant weather, perhaps the nicest weather evening of the summer so far.

Glendon Rusch got roughed up in the first for a run after getting the first two easy outs, and then Patterson's misplay helped lead to three more runs, and it was made worse when Moises Alou actually kicked a ball that got stuck in the ivy; he held up his arms trying to hold the runner to a double, but you can't do that from your own misplay, and Adam Everett circled the bases. I was kind of hoping they'd call it an inside-the-park homer, which would have been about the weirdest one I've ever seen, but it was ruled a double and an error, which allowed Rusch to post that most amorphous of stats, a "quality start" (minimum 6 IP with 3 ER or fewer). He did manage to keep the game close until heroics from Aramis Ramirez (game-tying homer) and the winning rally started by pinch-hitter Tom Goodwin's double in the 7th.

The first-ever major league Beltran vs. Beltran matchup, the Cubs' Francis vs. the Astros' newly-acquired Carlos, resulted in a mammoth home run onto Sheffield that nearly hit a long white limo parked behind us. If Houston keeps up its current slide, now 1-3 since Beltran's acquisition, he may be on the market again, a la Mike Piazza in 1998, with his short stint in Florida in between the Dodgers and the Mets.

Beltran was lucky, since the winning rally took place in the bottom of the inning he threw, and he got the win. We got good Kyle Farnsworth today; he threw an easy seven-pitch, 1-2-3 inning, and LaTroy Hawkins' line shows he gave up two hits, but one of them was an infield grounder that Ramon Martinez wisely sat on.

This was truly a team effort, since Sammy Sosa didn't hit today -- maybe he needed that Whiff-O-Meter that I saw over the weekend -- with three strikeouts and a popup, and this was just after Mike got finished telling me that he's been thinking the team just hasn't jelled in the right way for a while now.

I look at it this way: as I said the other day, the games at the Cell have an other-worldly quality to them, something that doesn't even relate to what's really going on in the NL Central race. I stand corrected on Cub/Sox series -- the Cubs have lost five straight series on the South Side, but did win the Wrigley Field series in 2002, something we hope they repeat this weekend.

The "tough stretch" of the schedule continues (theoretically ending this coming Sunday, though you could argue that with the Brewers playing so well, it might extend through the All-Star break), with the Cubs now 13-8 since it began on June 7, and with the Cardinals and Reds both losing today, the deficit is cut to 3 1/2 games. The Tomato Inning today was the 2nd, in which two doubles scored a run, so we shall continue that new superstition/tradition again tomorrow, which is also the S vs. T (ClemenT vs. ClemenS) re-match of a month ago; the Cubs beat up Clemens pretty good in Houston two weeks ago. Hope remains alive.