NEW YORK (AP) – Aramis Ramirez hit a two-run single with two outs in the ninth inning, rallying the Chicago Cubs past the New York Mets 5-4 after blowing a three-run lead in the eighth Saturday.
Jason Bay had given the Mets a 4-3 lead in the eighth with a two-out, two-run single. But some more sloppy play by New York in the ninth and another meltdown by Bobby Parnell (3-6) helped the Cubs even a three-game series that will culminate with a ceremony Sunday to mark the 10-year anniversary of the terrorist attacks of 9/11. The Mets are offering free tickets to New York City first responders and their families for that game.
The Mets won the opener Friday night in the ninth after blowing a lead in the top half.
The Cubs built an early 2-0 lead with help from two errors by Jose Reyes in a dog of a game through seven innings on Bark in the Park day, a benefit for the North Shore Animal league.
David Wright made New York’s fourth error of the game when he couldn’t handle Geovany Soto’s grounder leading off the ninth. Pinch-hitter Bryan LaHair doubled to put runners at second and third. Parnell then got two outs before Ramirez lined an opposite-field single to right for the go-ahead runs.
Kerry Wood (3-5) earned the win even though he gave up two runs in the eighth in relief of Randy Wells, who pitched neatly into the eighth inning.
Carlos Marmol gave up a one-out walk in the ninth but finished for his 34th save in 43 opportunities.
Trailing 3-0 in the eighth and having wasted several opportunities against Wells, the Mets scored four times after pinch-hitter Willie Harris walked leading off, the third time they had the leadoff batter reach in four innings. Reyes followed with an RBI double to end Wells’ day.
Wood entered and gave up a hit to Ruben Tejada and an RBI single to Wright after striking out Lucas Duda. Angel Pagan struck out and Wright stole second without a throw when the count was 0-2 to Bay.
Bay then lined a hit over leaping shortstop Starlin Castro for two runs, wasting another strong effort by Wells.
Most of the dogs were gone by the time the Mets mounted their eighth-inning rally to take a 4-3 lead.
Marlon Byrd had an RBI double in the eighth inning off Ryota Igarashi after Chris Capauno pitched seven impressive innings for New York to make it 3-0.
Reed Johnson doubled and scored in the first when Reyes jumped to catch Jeff Baker’s sharp line drive right at him but dropped the ball. Johnson then added an RBI fielder’s choice in the fifth a batter after Reyes fumbled Starlin Castro’s grounder before he tried to make a throw to second for a forceout.
Wells has not lost since July 28 when his ERA was 6.16. In eight starts since then, he has lowered it to 4.73. The right-hander didn’t allow a baserunner until Mike Nickeas singled with one out in the third. Duda and Wright had consecutive hits in the fourth but Jason Bay grounded out to shortstop to end the inning. The Mets also wasted opportunities in the fifth and sixth innings against Wells, who walked one and struck out three.
Capuano rebounded from his worst start of the year in which he gave up six runs in four innings against the Marlins on Monday with seven solid innings. He gave up five hits and two runs, striking out six.
Castro had two hits for Chicago to up his NL-leading total to 186.
NOTES: The Cubs improved to Mets LHP Johan Santana will make another rehab start, either in the minors or in a simulated game in New York. Manager Terry Collins said “we have no plans to see him here” this season. … Cubs manager Mike Quade said the “medical people will decide what’s best for” RHP Andrew Cashner, who was activated from the 60-day DL on Monday. Cashner (strained right rotator cuff) hasn’t pitched in the majors since being injured on April 5, his only outing of the season. … Cubs RHP Matt Garza (8-10) faces RHP Miguel Batista (4-2) on Sunday.
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