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A Numbers Game: Cubs 1, Padres 2

Feels weird to lose, doesn't it?

And isn't that a good thing? After nine wins in a row -- coming from behind in eight of them -- it still felt OK even when the Cubs went down 1-0 in the first inning.

But for the first time in 26 games the Cubs never led, though they tied it at 1 when Alfonso Soriano singled, stole second, went to third on a Ryan Theriot single, and scored on a sacrifice fly. (The last time the Cubs never led in a game before last night was when they were shut out in Cincinnati 9-0 on May 7. The next day they came home and started a four-game winning streak.

There isn't much more to say about last night's 2-1 loss to the Padres. Ironies abounded: the Cubs finally got a good pitching performance out of their starting pitcher, Ted Lilly, but the bats turned silent -- four singles was all they got, and no walks; that's the first time since April 11 at Philadelphia and only the third time all season (April 4 at home vs. Houston the other) that the Cubs have gone walkless, very impressive patience being shown by Cub hitters all year.

Other numbers: Greg Maddux threw only 69 pitches in dispatching the Cubs through the six innings he threw. (You still don't want Maddux? It wasn't Petco that was making his pitches move the way they did last night. Go get him, Jim Hendry!) The Cubs did get a hit off Trevor Hoffman in the 9th inning, but with two out, Hoffman struck out Derrek Lee to end it. The game finished in a snappy two hours and fifteen minutes, probably sped along by the lack of walks (Lilly walked two, but no other pitcher who appeared in the game walked anyone).

Updating my "Best Starts" box, a numbers curiosity: all the teams that started the day of their 60th game of the season with a better record than the 2008 Cubs, lost that game, as did this year's version.

That's it, really; I did fall asleep after the fourth inning, only to wake up during the bottom of the 7th to see that it was still 1-1, and fell asleep again. The next time I woke up some infomercial was on WGN, and I figured I'd find out the result in the morning.

Yes, it feels weird, as it does when every winning streak that gets this long ends. But the Cubs still won the series, and still lead the division by three games, and their starting pitcher looked good, and they saved the entire bullpen except for Carlos Marmol, who retired both of the hitters he faced (even though one of those outs produced the winning run on a sac fly), and Marmol threw only eight pitches.

Onward to Los Angeles and more winning.