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Cubs Blow Huge Lead, Lose To Houston

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Carlos Marmol

Carlos Marmol (AP Photo/Charles Rex Arbogast)

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CHICAGO (AP) Cubs closer Carlos Marmol blew his third save of the season, allowing six runs in the ninth inning as the Houston Astros beat Chicago 7-3 on Tuesday night.

Matt Downs’ pinch-hit, two-run double tied the game and Michael Bourn singled in the go-ahead run off Marmol (1-2). Hunter Pence added a three-run shot for the Astros.

Jordan Lyles tossed seven brilliant innings in his Major League debut, but committed a throwing error in the eighth which cost him a chance to earn his first big league victory. He scattered five hits and struck out four and was charged with two runs, one earned.

Fernando Rodriguez, Jr. (1-0) got one out to earn his first career win.

Marmol faced seven batters and recorded just one out, a sacrifice bunt. He hadn’t allowed a run in 13 1-3 innings before the blow-up.

After a Geovany Soto leadoff double in the eighth, Lyles tried to gun down pinch runner Brad Snyder at third on Tyler Colvin’s pinch-hit sacrifice bunt. The throw sailed off the tip of third baseman Chris Johnson’s glove and into left field, allowing Snyder to score and tie the game at 1-1.

Darwin Barney doubled off Wilton Lopez later in the inning to give the Cubs a 2-1 lead. Aramis Ramirez had three hits, two doubles, for the Cubs.

Lyles was starting in place of the injured Wandy Rodriguez, who is on the 15-day disabled list with swelling in his left elbow.

Brett Wallace led off the fourth inning with a solo homer off Carlos Zambrano to give the Astros a 1-0 lead.

Zambrano settled down to retire the next 11 batters, including six by strikeouts. The streak was broken up by Lyles’ first career hit, a soft single under the glove of first baseman Carlos Pena.

Wallace’s home run was the lone blemish on Zambrano’s outing. The righty allowed seven hits over eight innings and struck out seven.

Lyles ran into trouble in the fifth inning when Blake DeWitt’s leadoff pop-up to shallow left field fell to the ground untouched in a moment of miscommunication between shortstop Clint Barmes and left fielder Carlos Lee. DeWitt was credited with a double and advanced to third on a Tony Campana sacrifice bunt.

But the righty promptly struck out Soto and Zambrano to end the threat. Zambrano broke his bat over his knee out of frustration after going down swinging.

Lyles, the youngest active player in the Major Leagues at 20 years and 224 days, surrendered his first hit to Starlin Castro, the second youngest player in the majors. Castro, who turned 21 on March 24, tripled to right field in the first inning but failed to score. Lyles struck out Castro in his next at-bat.

Notes: Astros OF Jason Bourgeois (strained left oblique) took live batting practice Tuesday and is scheduled to play rehab games Thursday through Saturday with Triple-A Oklahoma City if all goes well. … RHP Brandon Lyon (right biceps tendinitis and rotator tear) is scheduled to throw a simulated game Thursday in San Diego. … Cubs RHP Matt Garza (elbow) is doubtful for a return this weekend at St. Louis, as the club initially hoped for. Manager Mike Quade said the team wants to play it safe and give Garza an extra side session. He will be able to start during the Cincinnati series June 6-8.

Copyright 2010 by STATS LLC and The Associated Press. STATS LLC and The Associated Press contributed to this article. Any commercial use or distribution without the express written consent of STATS LLC and The Associated Press is strictly prohibited.

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