Derrek Lee blooped an RBI single and Aramis Ramirez followed with a two-run homer to give the Chicago Cubs a 10th-inning 9-6 win over the New York Mets.
The Mets put runners on third base with no outs in the seventh, eighth and ninth innings, but could manage just one run out of those opportunities when Ramon Martinez drew an eighth-inning bases loaded walk to tie the game at 6.
The Mets appeared poised for a walk-off victory in the bottom of the ninth after rookie Daniel Murphy led off with a triple. But after Cubs reliever Bob Howry struck out David Wright, he issued an intentional passes to Carlos Delgado and Carlos Beltran and then got Ryan Church to ground into a fielder’s choice that forced Murphy out at home. Howry then struck out Ramon Castro to send the game to extra innings.
The emotional roller coaster ride began in the second inning when Mets starter Oliver Perez gave the Cubs a 1-0 lead on a solo homer by Mark DeRosa.
Cubs starter Carlos Zambrano, just two starts removed from throwing a no-hitter, was wild but nearly unhittable. But the Mets pounced on him for five runs in the third, as three straight walks, an umpire who wouldn’t give up the corners and Jose Reyes creeping down the third baseline proved too much of a distraction. Zambrano threw a 3-2 pitch, and Carlos Delgado blasted it over the left center field wall for a grand slam that gave the Mets a 5-1 lead.
Unfortunately, Perez would give back those runs in the fifth when he yielded a bases-loaded double to DeRosa and reliever Duaner Sanchez let Perez’s other two baserunners score on a single.
The Cubs took a 6-5 lead in the seventh when Alfonso Soriano doubled home Ronny Cedeno, which held until the eighth-inning bases-loaded walk.
Perez lasted just 4 1/3 innings, giving up five earned runs on five hits and five walks while striking out six. His no-hitter disappeared right off the bat. Soriano lead off with a single to left-center that fell just out of the reach of a diving Murphy, extending our NoNoHitters.com count of Mets games without a no-no to 7,478 games.
It also marked the 39th time this season that a potential Mets no-no was broken up on the first at bat. (See our No-hitters killed by first at bat page for more details.)