SAN JUAN, Puerto Rico (Ticker) -- The
dropped out of first place when
could not make a routine catch.
The Cubs saw their six-game winning streak come to an end when Alou misplayed a shallow fly ball into a double, keying a five-run eighth inning that gave the slumping
an 8-4 victory over the Cubs.
Chicago (77-68) fell one game behind Houston in the National League Central Division.
"This is real tough," Cubs manager
said. "We gave it away."
The Cubs were clinging to a 4-3 lead when
led off the eighth with a single off
, who was replaced by
(3-2). Chavez stole second, and
bunted up the first base line and eluded
's tag for a hit.
Chicago's bullpen wriggled out of a similar situation in the sixth and looked as if it would do it again as Farnsworth struck out slugger
on a comebacker as the runners held.
Farnsworth induced pinch hitter
to pop up into short left field and shortstop
backpedaled but peeled off as if he had been called off the play. But Alou either misjudged or got a late break on the ball and his full-speed lunge did not get there in time.
As both runners scored to give Montreal the lead, Baker put his head in his hands.
The play, which was scored a double, opened the floodgates.
doubled in a run and scored on a single by
, who took second on the throw, stole third and scored on
's infield hit.
(9-3), who pitched a hitless eighth, got the win.
, Montreal's fifth pitcher, worked a scoreless ninth.
No-hit for five innings by
, the Expos (73-73) had lost nine of their last 10 games but climbed back to .500. They complete their two-leg, 22-game sojourn to Puerto Rico on Thursday.
"We got a break in the eighth inning, and Clement was our other break," Expos manager
said. "All of a sudden he lost the strike zone."
The Cubs used the long ball to take a 4-0 lead after 5 1/2 innings.
hit his 22nd homer in the second, a two-run shot.
hit his 11th homer in the third third and Alou hit his 21st homer in the sixth.
All three homers came off Expos starter
, who gave up four runs, five hits and a walk in six innings, striking out four. The righthander repeatedly fell behind hitters.
Meanwhile, Clement was working on a no-hitter when he was lifted in the sixth. After breezing through the first five innings, he walked the bases loaded to open the sixth and was pulled by Baker.
"I wasn't worried about the no-hitter. I didn't know I had one," Clement said. "I didn't have much choice. It was (Baker's) second trip to the mound."
"It's a move that a manager agonizes over sometimes," Robinson said. "You have to put the game ahead of individual accomplishments when you're fighting for a division title."
came on and issued walks to
and Chavez that pushed home runs and had Baker seething.
"He just lost his my rhythm," Baker said. "Five walks in one inning It's hard to look up there and see two runs on the scoreboard and still have a no-hitter."
with a single to plate another, making it 4-3 and bringing up the dangerous Guerrero. But Veres got Guerrero to pop to shallow center and struck out Calloway and
to preserve the lead.