Cubs
Astros
7 - 2 Final
  for this game

Soto's inside-the-park homer sends Cubs past Astros

May 20, 2008 - 4:41 AM HOUSTON (Ticker) -- Not only does Geovany Soto have the best seat in the house to witness Ted Lilly's incredible May, but he is also providing a huge boost to the league's most prolific offense.

Soto hit a three-run, inside-the-park homer and Lilly won his fourth straight start Monday, leading the Chicago Cubs to a 7-2 victory over the Houston Astros.

Chicago, which is 9-2 over its last 11 games and the highest-scoring team in baseball, has been home to a pair of the majors' best batterymates lately.

Soto, who has been behind the plate for each of Lilly's four wins in May, already has four home runs and 13 RBI this month and leads all catchers with 33 RBI.

Meanwhile, Lilly (5-4), who is 4-0 with a 3.56 ERA in May after going 1-4 with a 6.46 ERA in April, allowed two runs and four hits over 5 1/3 innings, walking two and striking out six.

In the fourth inning with one out and two runners on in a scoreless game, Soto lifted a line drive off Astros starter Brian Moehler (1-1) that hit high off the wall in deep left-center field.

While the Astros' outfielders paused as the ball hit off the vertical yellow line on the wall that signifies a home run, Soto continued to round the bases, easily beating the throw home for a rare stand-up, inside-the-park home run.

In Minute Maid Park, a hit to the left side of the line in that part of the field would have meant the ball was still in play, while a ball on the other side of the line should be ruled as an automatic home run.

Astros center fielder Michael Bourn did not immediately chase it - believing it was already a home run - which gave Soto time to circle the bases.

Soto surprised himself with the inside-the-park job, unable to recall ever hitting one in his life.

"That left field is so big," Soto said. "I didn't think I hit it out. A double, maybe a triple, if they misplayed it. When I turned first, the umpire called safe (meaning the ball didn't leave the park). I tried to get to third. I was ready to shut it down when I saw (third base coach Mike Quade) waving me home."

It was the first inside-the-park home run for a catcher since Joe Mauer of the Twins hit one against the Angels on July 21, 2007, and the first such hit by a National League catcher since Kelly Stinnett hit one for Arizona on August 29, 2005.

Lilly, who has tossed at least six frames in each of his last six starts, was pulled after 95 pitches, but not before striking out the red-hot Lance Berkman, who went 0-for-4 with three strikeouts to end his 17-game hitting streak.

"He had about 100 pitches," Cubs manager Lou Piniella said. "It was hot. We felt it was time."

"I was just mixing pitches," Lilly said of facing Berkman. "I made an extended effort to keep the ball out of the center of the plate. Watching tape, he's been making a living on mistakes."

Still, even though he was pushing the century mark with his pitch count on a warm evening, Lilly wasn't ready to leave.

"I told Lou I wanted to get through (the sixth)," he said. "I knew my pitch count was high. Our bullpen's been working a lot lately. I'm not sure I deserved (to finish the inning)."

Moehler permitted three runs and seven hits over five frames to take his first loss in three starts this season.

Although the Astros responded with one run apiece in the fourth and fifth innings, Derrek Lee and Ryan Theriot added insurance runs on RBI singles in the seventh and eighth, respectively, before Aramis Ramirez put the game away with a two-run blast in the ninth.








  • NL
    FINAL
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 R H E
    - - - - - - - - - - - -
    CHICAGO CUBS 0 0 0 3 0 0 1 1 2 7 14 0
    HOUSTON 0 0 0 1 1 0 0 0 0 2 7 0 (FINAL)

    BATTERIES: CHN - TED LILLY, JON LIEBER (6TH), MICHAEL WUERTZ (8TH), CARLOS
    MARMOL (8TH), BOBBY HOWRY (9TH) AND GEOVANY SOTO
    HOU - BRIAN MOEHLER, TIM BYRDAK (6TH), FERNANDO NIE

    May 19 10:28 PM


  • NL
    AT HOUSTON - SCORING UPDATE
    TWO-RUN HOME RUN BY ARAMIS RAMIREZ (7) TO LEFT WITH 0 OUT
    IN THE 9TH OFF DAVE BORKOWSKI SCORED DERREK LEE.
    CURRENT SCORE: CHICAGO CUBS 7, HOUSTON 2
    DUE UP FOR CHICAGO CUBS: K FUKUDOME (.321, 2-FOR-3, BB)

    Cubs 7, Astros 2  Top 9, 0 OutsMay 19 10:15 PM


  • NL
    AT HOUSTON - SCORING UPDATE
    SINGLE BY RYAN THERIOT SCORED MARK DEROSA.
    SITUATION: 1 RUN IN, 1 LEFT ON, 3 OUT
    CURRENT SCORE: CHICAGO CUBS 5
    HOUSTON 2 END TOP, 8TH

    Cubs 5, Astros 2  Top 8, 0 OutsMay 19 9:55 PM


  • NL
    AT HOUSTON - SCORING UPDATE
    SINGLE BY DERREK LEE SCORED RYAN THERIOT.
    SITUATION: 1 RUN IN, D LEE ON FIRST, 1 OUT
    CURRENT SCORE: CHICAGO CUBS 4
    HOUSTON 2 TOP, 7TH
    DUE UP FOR CHICAGO CUBS: A RAMIREZ (.282, 2-FOR-3)

    Cubs 4, Astros 2  Top 7, 0 OutsMay 19 9:24 PM
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    Elephande Added 5 roots

    Cubs 3, Astros 2  Top 7, 0 OutsMay 19 9:20 PM


  • NL
    AT HOUSTON - SCORING UPDATE
    SINGLE BY MICHAEL BOURN SCORED TY WIGGINTON.
    SITUATION: 1 RUN IN, M BOURN ON FIRST, J CRUZ JR ON SECOND, 1 OUT
    CURRENT SCORE: CHICAGO CUBS 3
    HOUSTON 2 BOTTOM, 5TH
    DUE UP FOR HOUSTON: K MATSUI (.288, 0-FOR-1, BB)

    Cubs 3, Astros 2  Bot 5, 0 OutsMay 19 8:55 PM


  • NL
    AT HOUSTON - SCORING UPDATE
    SINGLE BY CARLOS LEE SCORED MIGUEL TEJADA.
    SITUATION: 1 RUN IN, C LEE ON FIRST, 2 OUT
    CURRENT SCORE: CHICAGO CUBS 3
    HOUSTON 1 BOTTOM, 4TH
    DUE UP FOR HOUSTON: H PENCE (.288, 0-FOR-1)

    Cubs 3, Astros 1  Bot 4, 0 OutsMay 19 8:31 PM
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    Yankee82 Added 5 roots

    Cubs 3, Astros 0  Bot 4, 0 OutsMay 19 8:26 PM


  • NL
    AT HOUSTON - SCORING UPDATE
    THREE-RUN INSIDE-THE-PARK HOME RUN BY GEOVANY SOTO (9) TO
    DEEP CENTER WITH 1 OUT IN THE 4TH OFF BRIAN MOEHLER SCORED ARAMIS
    RAMIREZ AND KOSUKE FUKUDOME.
    CURRENT SCORE: CHICAGO CUBS 3, HOUSTON 0
    DUE UP FOR CHICAGO CUBS: J EDMONDS (.179, 0-FOR-1)

    Cubs 3, Astros 0  Top 4, 0 OutsMay 19 8:12 PM
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    jayrthomas Added 5 roots

    Cubs vs. AstrosMay 19 4:04 PM
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    davipilot Added 5 roots

    Cubs vs. AstrosMay 19 3:20 PM