Top Relievers Staying Fresh

Marmol has been a mystery (STAFF PHOTO/PAM DAVIS)

One of the byproducts of the Cubs losing lately is that manager Lou Piniella has had little reason to use his top relievers, especially setup man Carlos Marmol.

In Thursday's 6-5 win over the White Sox, Marmol worked two-thirds of an inning, giving up three hits and two runs. It was his first outing in four days.

"We haven't been winning that much, so you tend to not use your short people as much," Piniella said. "They get used a lot more when you're winning with more consistency. And yesterday, he didn't seem very sharp to me."

Marmol also has had trouble with his command since spring training. In 31 innings this year, he has walked 32 and hit five batters.

On the bright side, Piniella says he likes the way lefty Sean Marshall has performed since going from the rotation to the pen. He's 1-1 with a 2.45 ERA in eight relief appearances. He's unscored on in his last three appearances.

CUBS 8, INDIANS 7 (10 innings): Ryan Theriot's two-out single in the bottom of the 10th scored Alfonso Soriano, who walked and stole second base. 1B Derrek Lee homered twice, including one in the ninth inning off former Cubs closer Kerry Wood, to tie the game at 7-7.

NOTES, QUOTES

--Lee extended his hitting streak to 16 games with two homers and a double. He has reached base safely in 26 straight games. "He's swinging it, isn't he?" said Piniella. It was his first two-homer game since Sept. 11, 2006 at Atlanta.

--INF Jake Fox made his first career start at third base as Piniella tried to find a spot for Fox's bat. Fox had been the hottest hitter in the minor leagues, and he's in his second stint with the Cubs this year. He may get some DH time next week in American League parks at Detroit and at the White Sox.

ROSTER REPORT

--RHP Rich Harden gave up seven runs in five innings. The run total was one shy of his career worst, set in 2003 against Boston when Harden was with Oakland. Harden has a 6.15 ERA over his last six starts.

--Rookie RHP David Patton tossed two scoreless innings of relief. He struck out three in a row to end the sixth and begin the seventh inning. The Cubs bullpen worked five scoreless innings, giving up one hit.

--Theriot had his second walk-off single of the week. He beat Minnesota with a walk-off single in the ninth inning Sunday. Theriot has four game-winning RBI. He was 0-for-5 before the hit.

MEDICAL WATCH:

INF/OF Ryan Freel (strained left hamstring) went on the 15-day disabled list May 28. He began a rehab assignment with Class AAA Iowa on June 15.

3B Aramis Ramirez (dislocated right shoulder) went on the 15-day disabled list May 9. He hit soft-toss pitches June 17, and he hopes to be back by the All-Star break.

LHP Jason Waddell (non-baseball-related medical issue) went on the 15-day disabled list retroactive to June 13.

RHP Chad Fox (right elbow inflammation) went on the 15-day disabled list May 10. He might miss the remainder of the season.

MINOR LEAGUES

MEMPHIS 8, IOWA 6 (CLASS AAA)

At Des Moines, the Redbirds closed with four unanswered runs to take the victory Friday. The Cubs (36-33) collected 10 hits in the loss. Freel (2-for-5, RBI) and RF So Taguchi (2-for-5) led Iowa in hits. LHP J.R. Mathes started and allowed four runs and seven hits in five innings in a no-decision. RHP Jeff Stevens (0-3) suffered the loss in relief, allowing three runs and two hits in one-third of an inning.

TENNESSEE 8, CAROLINA 7 (CLASS AA)

At Sevierville, the Smokies (30-38) rallied with two ninth-inning runs for the victory Friday. 2B Tony Thomas (2-for-5) had two doubles and two RBI and brought in the tying run. LF Ty Wright (2-for-4) and SS Darwin Barney (2-for-4) also had two hits with Wright hitting his fourth home run. RF Tyler Colvin (1-for-2) hit his sixth home run of the season and his fourth in the past three games. He has hit safely in six straight games to raise his average to .327 through 17 games at Double-A. CF Jim Adduci (0-for-3, two walks) had his 11-game hit streak snapped but extended his consecutive on-base streak to 14 games. RHP Hung-Wen Chen started and received a no-decision. He allowed four runs and five hits in five innings. LHP John Gaub (3-1) picked up the win in relief, allowing one run and three hits in two innings.

PEORIA 12, BURLINGTON 10 (CLASS-A)

At Peoria, the Chiefs (37-30) and Bees combined for 11 errors with Peoria erasing an 8-0 deficit in the comeback victory Friday. The win was the Chiefs' seventh in a row.

Peoria scored three runs in the eighth to take the lead for good when SS Ryan Flaherty (1-for-4, walk) hit a three-run home run, his ninth of the season.

LF Kyler Burke (3-for-5, four RBI) hit his 28th double, the most in all of professional baseball, and added a two-run triple in the sixth, his first of the season.

"All I can tell you is I don't know what happened," Chiefs manager Marty Pevey said. "All I can tell you is Burke had a big hit and Flaherty had a big hit. There were too many plays. There were 11 errors for God's sake.

"I don't think I've ever seen that before, a team coming back eight runs down like that. You have to tip your hat to the players. They did a great job, errors or no errors. Once they scored all the runs and we started mounting a rally, they started gripping the ball a little tighter."

RHP Erik Hamren (2-3) got the win in relief, and RHP Chris Huseby earned his sixth save with a scoreless ninth inning. He struck out the side and now has 39 strikeouts and two walks to go with a 2.33 ERA in 27 innings.

InsideTheIvy.com correspondent Adam Franey in Peoria contributed reporting.

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