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77-68, 40-33 Away
4
Final
8
MontrealExposMON
73-73, 48-26 Home

Chicago honk puts Houston in NL Central lead

SAN JUAN, Puerto Rico (AP) -- Matt Clement had everything under
control, taking a no-hit bid into the sixth inning against the
Montreal Expos.

Then he lost his rhythm and Chicago later lost its composure as
the Expos scored five runs in the eighth and overcame a four-run
deficit to beat the Cubs 8-4 Wednesday night.

Clement walked his first three batters in the sixth, with the
Cubs ahead 4-0. When manager Dusty Baker came to the mound for the
second time and with the no-hitter still at hand, he knew his time
was up.

"I think Dusty made a good move," Clement said. "I wasn't
worried about the no-hitter and I didn't know I had one.
Unfortunately the result turned out the wrong way for us."

Clement was replaced by Mark Guthrie, who walked the next two
batters, forcing in a pair of runs. Orlando Cabrera followed with
an RBI single off Dave Veres to make it 4-3.

"We gave it away," Baker said. "Five walks in one inning.
It's tough to look up there and see two runs and still a
no-hitter."

The Cubs could have escaped with a 4-3 win but they crumbled in
the eighth.

Endy Chavez opened the inning with a single off Mark Remlinger
and stole second. Kyle Farnsworth (3-2) relieved, and Cabrera
bunted to first baseman Randall Simon, who missed the tag as
Cabrera reached on the infield hit.

"I did tag him," Simon asserted.

Two outs later, pinch-hitter Jose Macias hit what appeared to be
a routine fly to short left field, but three Cubs stood around as
Moises Alou made a failed last second effort and the ball fell to
put Montreal ahead 5-4.

Brian Schneider doubled down the right-field line for a 6-4
lead, and Henry Mateo and Jamie Carroll hit RBI singles.

Shortstop Alex Gonzalez, who ran back on the play and watched as
the ball dropped, said nobody took charge on the Macias flyball.

"That was one of those plays you look back at. It's a tough
game to lose," Gonzalez said.

Chicago began the night tied with Houston for the NL Central
lead. The Astros beat Milwaukee 3-1 later Wednesday and took a
one-game lead in the division.

Luis Ayala (9-3) pitched a perfect eighth for the win.

All of the Cubs' runs scored on homers off Livan Hernandez.
Aramis Ramirez hit a two-run drive in the second, Kenny Lofton a
solo homer in the third, and Alou homered in the sixth.

Game notes
Sammy Sosa went 0-for-4. ... Montreal has one game left in
Hiram Bithorn Stadium, where the Expos play 22 home games this
season. ... Attendance was 18,002, the fifth sellout in San Juan
this season.

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