Chicago Cubs manager Lou Piniella went with what he had left on the bench when the game got into extra innings. The strategy worked perfectly. Left-handed pinch-hitters Kosuke Fukudome and Mike Fontenot had consecutive singles in the 10th after rookie Tyler Colvin's leadoff double and the Cubs beat Texas 5-4 on Saturday night to end the Rangers' five-game winning streak.
Texas had already used its left-handed reliever, Darren Oliver, to get through a scoreless eighth. And submarine-throwing righty Darren O'Day has had trouble this season getting out left-handed hitters. "We have all those reports. We had Fukudome sitting there and we had Fontenot," Piniella said. "We used them and it worked for us."
O'Day started the 10th by giving up a double to Colvin, another left-hander who had entered the game as a defensive replacement in the eighth. Fukudome and Fontenot then came off the bench to pull hits to right, the latter breaking a 3-all tie and chasing O'Day. Another run scored on Derrek Lee's grounder with the bases loaded. "There's a little deception there, so the best thing you can do is try to pick up the arm slot and pick up the ball," Fontenot said about facing the sidearm delivery. "You try to pick up the release point and get the head of the bat out there."
After O'Day gave up hits to all three batters he faced, left-handers are hitting .429 (9 for 21) against him this season. "They threw three left-handers up there in a row, and they all came through," Rangers manager Ron Washington said simply. Sean Marshall (4-1) pitched around Josh Hamilton's double after relieving starter Randy Wells with one out in the ninth.
Carlos Marmol worked the 10th for eighth save in 10 chances despite giving up an RBI single to Ian Kinsler. "The big story today was Wells, he went into the ninth," Piniella said. "The pitching kept us in it the whole way." Texas lost for the first time in its homestand that followed being swept in three games at Toronto last weekend, ending what was the longest active winning streak in the majors. The AL West-leading Rangers had won seven in a row at home.