The Cubs will stay in first for at least one more day, as Alfonso Soriano delivered a walk-off grand slam in the 13th inning on Monday night for a 5-1 win over the Astros at Wrigley Field.
The Cubs had a chance in the eighth. With two outs, LaTroy Hawkins walked Derrek Lee, who had homered earlier. Aramis Ramirez swung at the first pitch, and then took the next. Hawkins said something to home-plate umpire Mike Everitt about the call, and was ejected. Jose Valverde took over, and got Ramirez to hit into a force at second.
Cubs starter Carlos Zambrano induced inning-ending double plays in the fifth and sixth innings, and struck out Chris Coste to finish the seventh and strand two. Zambrano punctuated the punch out with a fist pump.
Zambrano had doubled in the third, and the Astros chose to intentionally walk Koyie Hill to face Zambrano with two outs and a runner at second in the eighth. Lou Piniella stuck with the pitcher at the plate, but Zambrano grounded out.
For the game, Zambrano gave up three hits over seven innings, including Carlos Lee's 16th homer leading off the Houston second. It was Lee's fifth of his career off Zambrano, and he launched the pitch to straightaway center, hitting the top of the batter's eye suite.
Lee, who hit 20 homers total in 2008, notched his 20th of '09 leading off the Chicago fourth, sending an 0-2 pitch from Astros starter Wandy Rodriguez over the left-field bleachers and onto Waveland Avenue. Rodriguez also yielded just one run over seven innings.