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NL ROUNDUP

Alou Is Furious After Cub Loss

September 27, 2004|From Associated Press

Moises Alou measured his words, trying to control his anger. Eventually, the frustration spilled over and the Cubs' slugger let loose.

Alou was called out on strikes twice by plate umpire Bill Miller during a 3-2 loss Sunday to the lowly Mets at New York, putting another dent in Chicago's playoff hopes.

"The guy had a terrible strike zone," Alou said. "It was terrible, not even close. I think because I argue, they're after me. Is it a coincidence? I don't know, but I've got to do something about it. I got a letter that said if I get thrown out again, I'll get suspended. Maybe they know. Maybe they're baiting me. It's like guarding Shaq with five fouls."

Al Leiter struck out Alou with the bases loaded to end the fifth. Alou glared at the umpire, dropped his helmet at the plate and walked away.

"It was definitely a strike, I looked at the replay," Met catcher Jason Phillips said. "It's where it crossed the plate, not where I catch it."

In the eighth, Miller called Alou out on strikes again, and he made a long, agonizing walk back to the dugout.

"I'm not a guy to complain. But just make the right call. If they make the right call, it's tied and we'd still be playing right now," Alou said.

Maybe the Cubs should be more concerned about their offense. They managed only seven runs in 30 innings over the weekend, losing two of three games to the fourth-place Mets.

Chicago remained a half-game ahead of San Francisco in the wild-card race. Houston is 1 1/2 games back, and San Diego is 2 1/2 games behind.

The fifth-inning strikeout of Alou was the turning point for Leiter (10-8), who pitched two-hit ball for six innings to earn his first win in six weeks. The Mets gave him an early cushion, scoring three runs in the first by capitalizing on a wild stretch by Chicago starter Kerry Wood (8-8).

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Atlanta 6, Florida 3 -- The 2003 World Series champion Marlins were eliminated from postseason contention, losing their sixth game in a row as the Braves' John Thomson (14-8) held them to one run in seven innings at Atlanta.

Last year, the Marlins won the NL wild card at 91-71 and went on to upset the New York Yankees in the World Series. Sunday's loss dropped Florida to 79-76 with seven games to go -- not enough to catch the wild-card leading Chicago Cubs (87-68).

"Yeah, I'm disappointed, certainly," Manager Jack McKeon said. "You go back to the starting pitching, what have we got in results the last two weeks? From the starters, not too good. We haven't gotten many wins out of them."

Dontrelle Willis was one of them, dropping to 10-11 after going 14-6 last year and winning the NL rookie of the year award.

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Houston 11, Milwaukee 7 -- Raul Chavez drove in a career-high five runs, helping the Astros win at Milwaukee.

Tim Redding (5-7), the third of eight Astro pitchers, was credited with the win after throwing a 1-2-3 fourth inning. It was the fourth time in club history that the Astros used eight pitchers in a nine-inning game.

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San Diego 7, Arizona 1 -- Jake Peavy (14-6) pitched six strong innings and lowered his NL-leading earned-run average to 2.25 to help the Padres win at San Diego

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St. Louis 9, Colorado 3 -- Albert Pujols hit his 46th homer to move within one of the major league at Denver and lead the Cardinals to their fifth consecutive victory.

Pujols was four for five and had four runs batted in, and Hector Luna tied a career high with four of the Cardinals' 16 hits.

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Pittsburgh 4, Cincinnati 2 -- Tike Redman hit a pair of run-scoring singles at Pittsburgh to help the Pirates end a five-game losing streak.

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Philadelphia 2, Montreal 1 -- Bobby Abreu hit a two-run double for the Phillies at Montreal.

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