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Oswalt Leads Cubs 4-0; Astros Bullpen Gives 3 Back; Result: 4-3 Cubs Loss

Tom Gorzelanny threw well today. Let's hope he's not seriously hurt.
Tom Gorzelanny threw well today. Let's hope he's not seriously hurt.

The Astros tried real, real hard to give today's game to the Cubs, even to the point of booting a ground ball by Ryan Theriot that would have ended the game.

Instead, the Cubs had one more shot, with Theriot in scoring position after a wild pitch, but Kosuke Fukudome struck out, and the Astros had their second win of the year, 4-3 over the Cubs, registering their first save of the season, on a sunny day where many people in the bleachers were in shorts, while the upper deck emptied out in mid-game and a few people in the upper deck corners were seen huddled under blankets like they were at a Bears game.

Roy Oswalt looked like vintage 2005 Oswalt today -- no walks, five hits and six strikeouts in six innings; the Cubs got only two men past first base, and both were stranded. Meanwhile, the key play of the game was turned in by Hunter Pence in the second inning. With Carlos Lee on second and Pence on first, Chris Johnson grounded to Aramis Ramirez. It looked like an easy 5-4-3 DP; a run would have scored, of course, but no one would have been left on base and the next hitter grounded out, which would have ended the inning.

Instead, Pence did an outstanding job of breaking up the DP, which led to a bloop single by J.R. Towles, scoring the second run of the inning -- as it turned out, the difference in the game.

Despite that, Tom Gorzelanny was throwing well -- until Pedro Feliz's shot up the middle hit him in the left shoulder. The ball ricocheted right to Derrek Lee for a putout; after examination by, it seemed, half the Cub staff, Gorz stayed in to finish the inning and was then removed. In the postgame news conference, Lou said that Gorz had wanted to stay in, "to his credit", but they decided to take him out as a precaution. For his own part, Gorzelanny said it was probably the smart thing to do, "considering it was a chilly day", and he said he didn't think it was anything serious, even though Lou said he was hit in the "meat" part of his left shoulder.

Ah, Lou. What a gift of the English language you have!

Anyway, after Oswalt left the game, Brandon Lyon came in and got pounded for four hits by the six batters he faced, including a RBI double by Alfonso Soriano. Soriano does seem to be moving better on the bases, though still not at full speed; his 2-for-4 day bumped his average to .286. No, I'm not going to forget the fly ball he botched in the fifth inning, although no harm was done when the next batter flied to center to end the inning.

Next time you think about criticizing Jim Hendry, think about this: Ed Wade signed Brandon Lyon to a three-year, $15 million deal. That's right, three years, no option years, for someone who's really... bad. Lyon has now allowed 10 hits and six earned runs in 5.1 innings this year for a 10.13 ERA. Granted, small sample size and all, but really. Just remember, things could always be worse.

It would have been nice to sweep the Astros, but Roy Oswalt is, after all, still a pretty good pitcher. Win tomorrow and win the series -- that'd be two series wins in a row and a 4-2 homestand... keep up that kind of work, and it'll be a very nice season.