Cubs' 4-3 losses on pair of 2-run homers

Mark Leiter Jr. did something Wednesday afternoon against the Rays that no Cubs reliever ever had done before: give up a pair of 2-run homers that were the opposing team's only runs.

The first homer tied the score at 2. The second put the Rays ahead to stay, 4-3.



The Cubs have played 17,098 games since the start of 1914, first season for which has searchable home run data.

In 2,253 of those games, 13 percent, the Cubs have allowed exactly 4 runs.

They have won 957 such games and lost 1,289.


In all games since 1914, Cubs pitchers have surrendered 13,152 home runs, of which 3,793 -- 29 percent -- came with 1 runner on base.

They have served up 2 homers of any kind in 2,163 games, slightly less than 13 percent.

But in only 344 games, 2 percent, have they given up 4 runs as well as 2 homers.


Wednesday's game was just the 23rd in which the 4 runs came on 2 homers, both with 1 aboard. Those 23 amount to 0.13 percent of all games.

And the Cubs won 10 of those 23 games, so the loss to the Rays was merely their unlucky 13th on a pair of 2-run homers.

It was their first loss in which the second 2-run homer turned a 3-2 lead into a 4-3 deficit.



In 14 of the 23 games, the Cubs' starter was the victim of both homers.

Ferguson Jenkins did it 3 times, in 1972, 1982 and 1983. The last time, Mets pitcher Walt Terrell hit the homers. The Cubs lost that game, 4-1, the same score as a year earlier. They had won in 1972, 5-4, in 11 innings.

Matt Clement did it twice in 2004: a 4-3 loss to the Phillies on July 31 and 13-4 win over Brewers on Aug. 24.

Clement also gave up the first 2-run homer in an 8-4 win over the White Sox in 2002. Kyle Farnsworth gave up the second.


The other starters who gave up both 2-run homers for all an opponent's run were Tex Carleton (1935 in 5-4 win), Larry French (1938, 4-2 loss), Taylor Phillips (1958, 4-3 loss), Ken Holtzman (1969, 13-4 win), Greg Maddux (1987, 6-4 win), Jim Bullinger (1992, 5-4 win), Shawn Boskie (1992, 4-2 loss), Steve Trachsel (1995, 4-3 loss), Ted Lilly (2008, 7-4 win), Randy Wells (2009, 4-2 loss) and Jason Hammel (201, 4-2 loss).


The starter/reliever pairs who each gave up a 2-run homer, besides Clement and Farnsworth, were Amaury Telemaco/Mel Rojas (1997, 4-1 loss), Jason Bere/Juan Cruz (2002, 4-1 loss), Carlos Zambrano/Kerry Wood (2005, 4-2 loss), Jason Hammel/Tommy Hunter (2015, 5-4 win) and Jon Lester/Mike Montgomery (2019, 12-4 win).



The 2-run home runs off Leiter in the seventh and eighth innings on Wednesday were not the latest in any of the 23 games in which those produced the opposing team's only runs.

That happened on May 17, 1997, at home against the Giants.

Brian McRae tripled leading off the first for the Cubs and came home on a fly out by Doug Glanville.

The score remained 1-0 until the eighth, when Amaury Telemaco issued a 3-2 walk and Rick Wilkins homered.

In the ninth, Barry Bonds singled and trotted home on Jeff Kent's homer off Mel Rojas. The final score was 4-1.


On May 31, 2002 -- 21 years to the day before Wednesday -- Jason Bere gave up a homer to Richard Hidalgo of the Astros to break a scoreless tie in the top of the seventh.

After Sammy Sosa's solo shot made the score 2-1 in the eighth, Hidalgo homered again with 2 out in the ninth, off Juan Cruz.



On Aug. 22, 2005, Chipper Jones gave the Braves a 2-0 lead with a homer off Carlos Zambrano in the fourth.

The Cubs scored once in the bottom of the inning on a bases-loaded double play, then Derrek Lee tied the game with a leadoff homer in the seventh.

The score still was 2-2 when Kerry Wood took over from Zambrano in the ninth. The first batter he faced grounded out. The second singled. Jones, the third, homered.



In 9 of the 23 games, the same player blasted both homers.

Here are all 9, in chronological order:

July 21, 1935: Mel Ott, Giants, first and sixth innings; Cubs lost, 4-2

Sept. 4, 1982: Terry Kennedy, Padres, third and fifth; Cubs lost, 4-1

Aug. 6, 1983: Walt Terrell, Mets, third and fourth; Cubs lost, 4-1

May 5, 1999: Raul Mondesi, Dodgers, fourth and sixth; Cubs lost, 4-3

May 31, 2002: Richard Hidalgo, Astros, seventh and ninth; Cubs lost, 4-1

June 14, 2002; Paul Konerko, White Sox, sixth and eighth; Cubs won, 8-4

Aug. 22, 2005: Chipper Jones, Braves, fourth and ninth; Cubs lost, 4-2

June 25, 2008: Jay Payton, Orioles, second and fourth; Cubs won, 7-4

July 12, 2009: Ryan Ludwick, Cardinals, first and sixth; Cubs lost, 4-2


7 of those 9 games were at Wrigley Field. The exceptions were the games in 1982 and 1999.

Of all 23 games, 17 were at Wrigley and just 6 on the road: 3 at Dodger Stadium and 1 each at Jack Murphy Stadium in San Diego, Busch Stadium in St. Louis and Globe Life Park in Arlington, Texas.



Only 3 of the 12 losses before Wednesday had been by 4-3.

The first time it happened was on Aug. 19, 1958, at Wrigley Field, against the Pirates.

Taylor Phillips, a 25-year-old left hander, was the starting pitcher that day for the Cubs. Phillips, in his third big league season, had been acquired from the Braves on Dec. 5, 1957, along with catcher Sammy Taylor, for veteran pitcher Bob Rush and 2 others.

"T-Bone" had won his first 4 decisions as a Cub, completing every game, including a 6-hit, 1-0 win at Milwaukee, and had not allowed more than 1 earned run.

On July 10, he held the Pirates to 2 runs, a pair of solo homers, and 5 total hits, in 6.1 innings of an 8-7 victory. That made his record 6-2 and his ERA, 3.69. But in his next 7 appearances, 6 of them starts, Phillips was 0-4 with a 9.11 ERA.

In a July 30 start at Pittsburgh, he yielded a season-high 7 runs on 7 hits, 1 of them a homer. On Aug. 3, at Philadelphia, he lasted just 2.1 innings while giving up 6 runs on 4 hits and 3 walks.

Phillips did not pitch again for a week, until he threw 2 scoreless innings in relief.

Then he was idle for 9 more days before facing the Pirates once more on Aug. 19.


The Cubs handed Phillips an early lead. Tony Taylor singled to lead off the first. With 1 out, he tried to steal second. When the catcher's throw bounced to the shortstop side of the base, Taylor headed for third.

The pitcher dashed to cover the base, as the third baseman retrieved the ball. Once he did, he fired it past third, enabling Taylor to score.

The lead lasted only 2 batters. Frank Thomas doubled, then Bill Mazeroski homered.

The Cubs pulled even in the fourth. Ernie Banks and Walt Moryn drew 1-out walks. After a fly out, Dale Long smacked a double off the glove of right fielder Roberto Clemente that scored Banks.

Phillips pitched a 1-2-3 fifth. He got the first batter in the sixth, too. Then Clemente singled and Dick Stuart followed with a wallop onto Waveland Avenue that was estimated to have traveled 450 feet.

After Phillips gave up a single to the next batter, he gave way to Glen Hobbie, who blanked the Pirates the rest of the way.

The Cubs got 1 run back in their half, on a leadoff hit by Moryn and a 2-out RBI single by Taylor.

But they failed to score again, leaving runners on second and third when they made the final out.


Phillips pitched in 10 subsequent games, just 3 of them starts. He ended the season 7-10, with a 4.76 ERA.

In his first 2 starts of 1959, he was rocked for 14 runs, all earned, on 22 hits in 16.2 innings. The Cubs then swapped him to the Phillies for another lefty, Seth Morehead.



On May 10, 1999, Tyler Houston homered leading off the second inning at Dodger Stadium.

With 1 out in the fourth, Steve Trachsel gave up a single. His first pitch to Raul Mondesi was wild, advancing the runner. His second wound up over the outfield wall.

The count was 1-2 when Mondesi homered again with 1 out and a man on first in the sixth, making the score 4-1.

Henry Rodriguez doubled home a run for the Cubs in the seventh and added a 2-out RBI single in the ninth. The next batter struck out on 3 pitches.



On July 31, 2004, Mike Lieberthal of the Phillies followed a 1-out error in the top of the second with a homer off Matt Clement.

The Cubs responded with 2 runs in their half, on back-to-back walks, an RBI hit by Aramis Ramirez and a groundout.

But Chase Utley reached on an error to start the Phillies' fourth, then Bobby Abreu homered.

In the bottom half, an outfielder dropped Sammy Sosa's 2-out fly. Moises Alou doubled Sosa home, making the score 4-3. A groundout ended the inning.

Ramirez singled leading off the fourth and was erased in a double play. The Cubs had only 1 runner the rest of the game, on a walk to Ramirez to open the seventh.



Since 1914, the Cubs have scored 4 runs and hit 2 homers in 341 games, 3 fewer times than their opponents.

They have won 175 such games and lost 166.

They played 5,475 games before the first in which the 4 runs came on a pair of 2-run homers: a 5-4 loss at home to the Phillies, on July 31, 1949.

They have turned the trick 25 more times since then, for a total of 26, 3 more than the number in which their opponents did it.

The most recent of the 26 was on Sept. 9 of last year. Yan Gomes and Nico Hoerner hit the homers in a 4-2 win over the visiting Giants.

The Cubs are 12-14 when their runs came on 2 homers with 1 man on base.

14 of the games were at Wrigley Field and 12 on the road: 4 at Milwaukee (3 vs. the Brewers, 1 vs. the Braves), 2 at New York (both vs. the Giants) and 1 each at Cincinnati, Houston, Miami, Philadelphia, St. Louis and Washington.



In only 5 of the games did the same Cub hit both homers:

Walt Moryn, on April 27, 1956, in a 4-7 loss at Cincinnati

Antony Rizzo, on April 26, 2013, in a 4-2 win at Miami

Alfonso Soriano, on May 4, 2013, in a 6-4 loss at home to the Reds

Soriano, on July 6, 2013, in a 4-1 win at home vs. the Pirates

Ian Happ, on Aug. 26, 2022, in a 4-3, 10-inning win at Milwaukee.



18 of the first 21 sets of homers by the Cubs came against the same pitcher, but just 1 of the last 5. They were hit by Patrick Wisdom and Willson Contreras against Ryan Weathers of the Padres at home on June 1, 2021.

That game, and the 1 in which Happ homered twice last year, are the Cubs' only 4-3 wins with a pair of 2-run homers.


On Aug. 15, 1964, Pirates starter Don Schwall left the game after walking the leadoff man in the bottom of the first.

Reliever Tommy Sisk blanked the Cubs until the fourth, when he gave up a 2-run homer to Billy Williams with 1 out.

He got Ron Santo to line out, then walked Ernie Banks and gave up a homer to Billy Cowan that gave the Cubs the lead, 4-3. They eventually lost, 5-4.


The only reliever since then to serve up a pair of 2-run homers for the Cubs' only runs was Zach Stewart of the White Sox, on May 19, 2012.

Alfonso Soriano and Joe Mather hit the homers, with 2 out in the ninth. As a result, the Cubs lost, 9-4, instead of 9-0.

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