's dream of a storybook return to the major leagues, and the Chicago left-hander was plenty tough on Boone's Houston teammates,
Just a little more than five months after open-heart surgery, Boone played first base in the Astros' 2-0 loss to Lilly's Cubs.
Boone went 0 for 3, with his drive to left in the fifth inning getting caught at the warning track.
''(Homering) would have been a fun way to come back but it wasn't in the cards today, so go get 'em next time,'' Boone said.
''Lilly was real good today, obviously.''
Lilly has been one of baseball's underrated pitchers for some time. His eight shutout innings Wednesday, backed by
's two-run homer, gave him his seventh consecutive 10-win season.
, CC Sabathia and
are the only other active lefties in that club.
It was Lilly's fourth attempt at Win No. 10 since coming back from a shoulder injury, and he had allowed four runs in the
first three games without anything to show for his efforts.
''It's nice to win these close ones,'' said Lilly (10-8), whose previous victory was on July 11. ''I was getting outpitched
by the opposing pitcher.''
Lilly, who is 7-1 with a 1.72 ERA at home, made up for what manager
called ''that ill attempt trying to steal second base'' in the third inning with hard-throwing Astros rookie
on the mound.
Asked if Lilly had been given the green light to steal, Piniella laughed and said: ''The light was red as hell.'' The manager
added that Lilly pitched ''a wonderful, wonderful game.''
worked the ninth inning for his eighth save. He walked
with one out and gave up
's single before retiring
Boone, best remembered for his 2003 AL pennant-winning homer for the
New York Yankees
Boston Red Sox
, was on deck when Blum popped out.
''Sure, that's a little bit of a thought ... get an opportunity with some runners on to impact the game,'' said Boone, who
of a third-inning double with a diving stop. ''But it didn't happen. Hopefully, I'll get in that position again.''
Lilly hasn't given up any runs to the Astros in 20 2-3 innings and is 4-0 against them this season. After scoring 26 times
in Lilly's first three victories over Houston, however, the Cubs managed little offense against the overpowering Paulino (2-7),
who held Chicago to four hits in six innings.
led off the fourth with a double and Lee followed with his 27th homer of the year. Lee, who after a slow start is batting
.322 with 24 homers in 92 games since May 19, reached the 90 RBI mark for the fifth time in his career.
''He just left a fastball over the middle for me,'' Lee said.
The Cubs went 11-6 against the Astros this year, matching their most victories over Houston in one season.
The Astros ended a nine-game road trip with only two victories, making it their worst multi-series trip this season. Like
the Cubs, they have slumped badly the last month to fall well behind St. Louis in the NL Central.
Notes: Even though Astros CF
has reached base in 25 straight games, the longest active streak in the majors, he was given the day off. ''I really didn't
want to do it,'' manager
said. ''Michael's probably the MVP of our team. I'm aware of (the streak), but I need to play some of these other guys, and
he's 1 for 8 against (Lilly).''
played CF and went 0 for 3. ... The Cubs activated RHP
from the DL, giving them 29 players on their active roster.