Cubs suffer a loss for the ages

DENVER -- If you watch the Cubs long enough, you will see things happen on the baseball field that have never happened before.

Friday’s losing pitcher, Ryan Dempster, had to watch a 12-run Rockies’ eighth inning while sitting on the bench.

“If you brought out Ramirez, D-Lee and Byrd, and you let them pitch batting practice, and if you put nine fielders out there, I have a real hard time believing they’re going to get 11 hits in a row.”

Those 11 straight hits by Colorado are a new major league record. Dempster, who had control problems, was knocked out the fifth inning, when he failed to retire a hitter. The Cubs’ starting pitcher couldn’t believe what happened to the bullpen in an ill-fated eighth inning.

“It’s embarrassing,” Dempster said. “As much as it is a success [for Colorado] it’s a fluke thing. You can’t do that very often. Hence the reason it’s never been done before.”

Manager Lou Piniella was still shell shocked when he took media questions after the game.

“That eighth inning, I’ve never seen an inning like that, Piniella said. We had two outs and two strikes on a hitter and they scored 12 runs. You don’t expect an inning like that in the big leagues or anywhere."

The last time the Cubs gave up 12 runs in an inning was Sept. 24, 1985 vs. Montreal. The last time the Cubs gave up 10 hits in an inning was June 11, 1989, against the Cardinals.

Piniella leaving team: The Cubs will be without manager Lou Piniella for three games as he attends the wake and funeral of his uncle in Tampa, Fla. Bench coach Alan Trammell will manage the team in his absence. Matt Sinatra will be Trammell’s bench coach.

Trade buzz: The Yankees and Dodgers remain the likely destinations for Ted Lilly as the deadline nears at 4 p.m. ET on Saturday. The Dodgers would like to obtain both Lilly and second baseman Ryan Theriot. The Cubs have asked for second baseman Blake DeWitt back as part of any trade. The Dodgers have no money to take on the contracts of Lilly and Theriot due to the pending divorce between the team’s owners. Dodger GM Ned Colletti is doing his best to be creative to try to make this deal happen.

The Cubs also have a possible deal with Arizona for second baseman Kelly Johnson. The Diamondbacks have asked for Ryan Theriot and left-handed pitcher James Russell in return. The Cubs have been going back and forth on both deals, knowing they can’t trade Theriot twice.

Zambrano update: Piniella said that the team had decided not to pitch Carlos Zambrano under any circumstance on Friday. He’ll be available out of the bullpen on Saturday.