Cubs come up short in finale

Cubs come up short in finale

ARLINGTON -- Lou Piniella is getting tired of waiting.

Pinch-hitter Frank Catalanotto hit an RBI single with one out in the ninth inning Thursday to lift the Texas Rangers to a 6-5 victory over the Cubs and take the Interleague series.

With the loss, their fourth in the last five games, the Cubs are 5-4 in Interleague Play with one series remaining this weekend against the crosstown rival White Sox. Where's that hot streak?

"It should've started a month ago," Piniella said. "We're in the middle of the summer almost. I think we all need to go to church and put more in the box."

Whatever works.

With the game tied at 5 in the Rangers' ninth against Bob Howry (3-4), pinch-hitter Kenny Lofton singled to lead off. Alfonso Soriano tried to catch the ball in the gap in left-center, but was late.

Lofton advanced on Adam Melhuse's sacrifice, and Brad Wilkerson hit a comebacker to Howry, who chased Lofton back to second. Howry threw to shortstop Cesar Izturis, covering at the bag, but he missed tagging Lofton. Everybody was safe.

Catalanotto lofted the ball to right, and Angel Pagan made a diving attempt, but missed the ball. It hit his glove.

"We didn't execute that little play back," Piniella said of the Wilkerson play. "Howry made the right play running at the runner. I don't know if he held onto the ball too long or what exactly happened. That's a play you have to make at that time and he didn't make it.

"Two balls off outfielders' gloves, and we go home. We go home and try again tomorrow."

What happened with the botched rundown?

"I held the ball too long," Howry said. "The idea was to run him back and keep the guy from advancing to second. I just held onto it too long, and he was able to get back."

And Pagan?

"It hit my glove," Pagan said. "It hit the top of my glove."

"We've made some mistakes, on both ends, pitching, too," Cubs starter Ted Lilly said. "You can't look at that [Wilkerson play] in particular and say that's the reason. I can look at some of the pitches I made today and say I didn't execute, and maybe make another pitch selection. It's easy to second guess."

The Cubs collected 13 hits and left 13 on base. That's not a winning combination.

"We had too many [opportunities] -- we had a chance to score anywhere from five to 15 runs today and we chose the lower number," Piniella said. "Well, we didn't choose it, but that's what we ended up with. A lot of chances.

"I truly believe this team is going to hit and hit with men on base, but boy, I'll tell you what, I'd like to start seeing it, I really would."

Lilly did not get a decision, but did strike out 10 to match his season high, and mark his 10th career double-digit strikeout game. The left-hander gave up five runs on six hits and one walk over seven innings. Lilly also struck out 10 on April 15 against Cincinnati, and lost that game, 1-0.

"It just goes to show you how important it is to keep the ball in the park," Lilly said. "We had 12 or 13 hits, and our guys battled. We definitely showed up and put up a good fight. I've got to do a better job of keeping the ball in the yard, and limiting those hits to singles."

The Cubs loaded the bases with none out in the second, but Rangers starter Vicente Padilla escaped the jam and was given a 3-0 lead in the next half-inning. Marlon Byrd singled to lead off the Rangers' second and set up Victor Diaz, who clubbed his ninth homer. Melhuse then launched his first homer of the season. Byrd also hit a two-run single in the third to make it 5-0.

The Cubs rattled off six straight hits off Padilla in the fifth. Mike Fontenot doubled to lead off and scored on Derrek Lee's single. Daryle Ward and Mark DeRosa each singled, with Lee scoring on the latter hit. New Cubs catcher Rob Bowen and Pagan each hit RBI singles to close to 5-4 and chase Padilla, who gave up four runs on 10 hits and three walks over four-plus innings.

Soriano doubled to lead off the sixth against Willie Eyre, younger brother of Cubs lefty Scott Eyre, and scored one out later on Lee's single to tie the game at 5.

It was bittersweet for Scott Eyre to watch his sibling.

"Not that I dislike Padilla, but I would've liked to see [Willie] give up a couple runs and pitch good and we win the game," Scott said. "That's the only scenario that works for both teams.

"It's really neat to see him and to watch him pitch out of situations is great. It's almost like a proud father. I'm six years older, and I think he was two when my parents divorced. I've been like a dad.

"I know he's worked hard in the Minor Leagues, and that's the best part. We've talked about his trials and tribulations and the things he's gone through and things he's overcame. It's really neat."

It's not neat for the Cubs.

"It's very frustrating," Pagan said. "You're just trying to make something good happen for the team and keep that good momentum and try to get a good inning after that, and it didn't happen. It's frustrating."

The Rangers have the worst record in the American League. The Cubs had chances.

"It doesn't matter who you're playing," Howry said. "You lose two out of three to anybody, it [stinks]. It doesn't matter if you're playing Texas or playing the Yankees.

"I'm sure everyone's tired of losing. I know I am. All you can do is go out and try to win tomorrow."

Carrie Muskat is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.