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Now, this one hurts


Now, this one hurts
So much for the best-laid plans of mice and Lou Piniella.

Just when the Cubs manager made the lineup change fans and pundits have clamored for since he got to Chicago, Piniella watched his roster start crumbling like a glacier in Greenland.

With free-swinging leadoff man Alfonso Soriano moved down to the No. 3 spot for the first time since May 2007, what figured to be one of the bigger storylines of the season -- if it sticks for more than a game or two -- was quickly overshadowed by injuries to third baseman Aramis Ramirez (calf) and bullpen ace Carlos Marmol (knee) in Friday night's 4-3 loss to the St. Louis Cardinals.

With Milton Bradley already sidelined because of a groin injury, and with an outfielder-heavy bench that includes only one infielder capable of playing left of first base, the Cubs likely will be forced to put Bradley on the disabled list today to add an infielder from AAA Iowa.

Candidates could include Iowa shortstop Andres Blanco (.327), who has big-league experience, or versatile second baseman Bobby Scales (.370), who has also been playing third base for Iowa.

''Look, we don't have any infielders,'' Piniella said of losing Ramirez for even a game or two. ''I think we're going to have to get somebody in here.''

Piniella and general manager Jim Hendry met behind closed doors about 45 minutes after the game.

Ramirez and Marmol were to be examined again today.

''We'll see how it is [today], but right now it doesn't feel too good,'' said Ramirez, who hurt the calf in the second inning looking to advance to third after he doubled. He stayed in the game for three more innings.

Marmol was hurt reacting to Albert Pujols' single back through the box with one out in the eighth. He stayed in long enough to allow Pujols to steal second off him and for Ryan Ludwick to drive Pujols in for the lead run. He then hit Brian Barden with a pitch and threw one pitch to Yadier Molina before the trainer, pitching coach Larry Rothschild and eventually Piniella went to the mound to check on him.

He tested the knee with two warmup tosses and left the game.

''I feel OK, but we'll see,'' said Marmol, who said he didn't think he would require a DL stretch.

Until the hits they took to their roster, Piniella and hitting coach Gerald Perry searched for more hits for their lineup, going with Ryan Theriot, Kosuke Fukudome, Soriano and Ramirez as a top half of the order.

''Those have been our best hitters, so we bunched them up,'' said Piniella, who dropped No. 3 hitter Derrek Lee to fifth. ''We'll take a look at it, and if it works, fine. If it doesn't, we'll readjust.''

Piniella said he and Perry talked about the change on the charter from Chicago on Thursday night, and Perry already had broached the idea with Soriano.

''Whatever they want to do to try to make the team better, I'm open,'' Soriano said. ''The lineup looks good like that, so we'll see.''

Soriano didn't seem convinced the move would necessarily last long. ''It depends if we win,'' he said.

But Piniella seems willing to try the new arrangement for at least a few days, despite shortcomings Friday that included extending their streak of consecutive innings without an earned run to 26 before a three-run, error-aided seventh.

Comment at suntimes.com.

THE RECAP

AT THE PLATE

A major lineup shift that included the long-suggested move of Alfonso Soriano out of the leadoff spot -- and into the No. 3 spot for the first time since May 20, 2007 -- didn't produce the immediate results Cubs manager Lou Piniella sought. But Reed Johnson, the new center fielder for now, had two hits from the No. 8 hole, including a single during the three-run seventh.

ON THE MOUND

Starter Ryan Dempster threw shutout ball for all but one of his six innings, but the three-run fifth cost him a win. The maligned bullpen was tagged with a loss when bullpen ace Carlos Marmol allowed a one-out single in the eighth to Albert Pujols, who stole second and scored on Ryan Ludwick's single up the middle.

PIVOTAL POINT

Pujols crept to a huge lead after his single, and despite warnings from the bench that he'd try to steal, Marmol ignored him. The subsequent steal turned out to be the difference in scoring the decisive run.

BOXSCORE:

Cubs AB R H BI BB SO Avg.

Theriot ss 5 0 0 0 0 0 .333

Fukudome rf 4 0 1 0 0 2 .340

A.Soriano lf 4 0 1 0 0 0 .313

Ar.Ramirez 3b 2 0 1 0 0 1 .358

Miles 2b 1 0 0 0 0 0 .095

D.Lee 1b 4 1 1 0 0 0 .210

Fontenot 2b-3b 4 1 1 1 0 3 .213

Soto c 3 1 1 0 1 2 .125

Re.Johnson cf 4 0 2 0 0 1 .333

Dempster p 1 0 0 0 0 0 .000

a-Hoffpauir ph 1 0 0 0 0 0 .333

Heilman p 0 0 0 0 0 0 --

Marmol p 0 0 0 0 0 0 --

A.Guzman p 0 0 0 0 0 0 .000

b-Bradley ph 0 0 0 0 1 0 .043

1-Gathright pr 0 0 0 0 0 0 .000

Totals 33 3 8 1 2 9

St. Louis AB R H BI BB SO Avg.

Schumaker 2b-lf 4 0 2 1 0 1 .308

Ankiel cf 4 0 0 0 0 1 .232

Pujols 1b 4 1 2 0 0 0 .355

Ludwick rf 4 0 2 1 0 0 .364

Duncan lf 3 0 0 0 0 1 .315

Barden 3b 0 0 0 0 0 0 .357

Y.Molina c 3 1 1 0 1 0 .340

Greene ss 3 1 1 0 0 1 .226

Thurston 3b-2b 3 1 1 2 0 1 .308

Wainwright p 3 0 0 0 0 1 .143

McClellan p 0 0 0 0 0 0 --

Franklin p 0 0 0 0 0 0 --

Totals 31 4 9 4 1 6

Cubs 000 000 300--3 8 0

St. Louis 000 030 01x--4 9 2

a-reached on error for Dempster in the 7th. b-walked for A.Guzman in the 9th.

1-ran for Bradley in the 9th.

E--Schumaker (2), Greene (4). LOB-- Cubs 7, St. Louis 5. 2B--A.Soriano (5), Ar.Ramirez (3), Fontenot (3), Y.Molina (4), Thurston (5). RBI--Fontenot (5), Schumaker (8), Ludwick (19), Thurston 2 (10). SB--Pujols (3). S--Miles, Dempster.

Runners left in scoring position-- Cubs 5 (Soto, Theriot 2, Fukudome, Fontenot); St. Louis 4 (Greene 2, Pujols, Y.Molina).

Runners moved up--Y.Molina. GIDP--Theriot, Miles, Pujols, Y.Molina.

DP-- Cubs 2 (Theriot, Fontenot, D.Lee), (Miles, Theriot, D.Lee); St. Louis 2 (Pujols, Greene, Pujols), (Greene, Pujols).

Cubs IP H R ER BB SO NP ERA

Dempster 6 7 3 3 1 6 80 4.88

Heilman 1 0 0 0 0 0 12 0.93

Marmol L, 0-1 0.1 2 1 1 0 0 12 2.35

A.Guzman 0.2 0 0 0 0 0 4 5.40

St. Louis IP H R ER BB SO NP ERA

Wainwright 7 7 3 1 1 6 98 2.70

McClellan W, 1-0 1 1 0 0 0 1 13 1.80

Franklin S, 5 1 0 0 0 1 2 17 0.00

Inherited runners-scored--A.Guzman 2-0. HBP--by Marmol (Barden). WP--Dempster.

Umpires--Home, Eric Cooper; First, Scott Barry; Second, Laz Diaz; Third, Chuck Meriwether. T--2:34. A--45,812.

HOW THEY SCORED

Cardinals fifth Molina walked. Greene singled, Molina to second. Thurston doubled, Molina scored, Greene scored. Thurston to third on throw. Wainwright struck out. Schumaker singled, Thurston scored. Three runs. Cardinals 3, Cubs 0.

Cubs seventh Lee singled. Fontenot doubled, Lee scored. Soto walked. R.Johnson singled, Fontenot to third, Soto to second. Hoffpauir pinch-hitting for Dempster. Hoffpauir safe on Schumaker's error, Fontenot scored, Soto to third, R.Johnson to second. Theriot grounded into a double play, Soto scored, R.Johnson to third, Hoffpauir out. Three runs. Cardinals 3, Cubs 3.

Cardinals eighth Marmol pitching. Ankiel flied out. Pujols singled. Pujols stole second. Ludwick singled, Pujols scored. One run. Cardinals 4, Cubs 3.

TODAY:

At Cardinals

- 3:10 p.m., Fox-32, 720-AM

Cardinals starter: Mitchell Boggs 0-0, 4.50 '09 vs. Cubs : 0-0, 4.50

Career vs. Cubs : 0-0, 4.50

How Cubs have fared: Aramis Ramirez 1-for-1; Kosuke Fukudome 1-for-1


Author:Fox Sports
Author's Website:http://www.foxsports.com
Added: April 25, 2009

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