CHICAGO – Mike Quade's first game as the full-time manager of the Chicago Cubs seemed all too familiar. To Cubs fans, anyway.
The Cubs looked comfortable with a 2-0 lead and Ryan Dempster on the mound. And then suddenly a couple of walks and two swings of the bat changed everything and spoiled opening day.
Dempster gave up a grand slam to Neil Walker in the fifth — after two walks — and a two-run homer to Andrew McCutchen in the seventh after getting two outs.
Dempster was disappointed by Walker's grand slam on a 3-2 pitch. McCutchen's drive really put the Cubs in a hole.
"Two quick outs and the guy hits a double and McCutchen hits the ball out," said Dempster who threw 114 pitches in his 6 2-3 innings, giving up six hits and six runs with four walks. "I felt strong but was not able to get the job done. ... When it's 4-2 and you're right in the game and give up those add-on runs, those usually end up putting you away."
Quade went incognito en route to Wrigley Field on Friday, wearing a hat and jacket while riding the elevated train from downtown that he caught around 8 a.m. He said he sat quietly in the back of the car with his head down so there was no chance of being recognized, saying he wanted to enjoy the atmosphere of the day.
During the season, he'll live within walking distance of the park. And after games like Friday when the Cubs lost despite getting 11 hits, he'll need the jaunt to clear his thoughts. Chicago also left 10 on base
"We got beat by two big hits today and that happens," said Quade, who managed more than 2,000 minor league games before getting his chance at the highest level, first as an interim manager for 37 games at the end of last season.
"If we had played poorly and pitched poorly and played a poor game, I would have been more disappointed.
"The kid Walker is a nice player and McCutchen is who he is. We got to figure out how to get them out better."
With the Pirates trailing 2-0, Ryan Doumit began the fifth with a single and Dempster walked two around winner Kevin Correia's sacrifice, bringing up Walker.
The Cubs cut it to 6-3 when Kosuke Fukudome hit an RBI single to score Barney, who'd reached when his pop fell between the plate and the mound. Aramis Ramirez flied out to the track with two runners on.
Joel Hanrahan pitched the ninth for the Pirates, working around a walk and infield hit for the save.
"They've got a good young team. In some ways, they can't get it done, but they've got the pieces there," said Ramirez, who played parts of six seasons with the Pirates before being traded to the Cubs in 2003.
"We hit the ball good. We got a lot of hits. We just didn't have any extra-base hits or key hits."
With the game starting in a light rain on a 41-degree day, the Cubs got an unearned run in the first, thanks to some shaky fielding from Pirates third baseman Pedro Alvarez. He couldn't come up with a hard grounder from Starlin Castro that was ruled an infield single. He then caught Marlon Byrd's bouncer and threw the ball over first baseman Lyle Overbay's head as Castro raced home, sliding headfirst.
Carlos Pena got his first RBI with the Cubs in the third. After three singles, he hit a grounder that made it 2-0. Pena, signed as a free agent after spending the last four years in Tampa, also flashed his glove, making a couple of nice scoops of low throws on a wet infield.
NOTES: Both teams sported a remembrance of a well-known member of the organization who passed away since last season. The Cubs wore a No. 10 for former third baseman and popular broadcaster Ron Santo. The Pirates had a patch for Chuck Tanner, who managed the Bucs for nine years and led them to a World Series title in 1979. ... The Cubs held a moment of silence for Santo and for the victims of the Japanese earthquake and tsunami. ... Santo's son and daughter led the singing during the seventh inning stretch. ... The fans cheered when the sun made an appearance in the bottom of the ninth. ... Dempster is 0-4 in his last four starts against the Pirates, dating back to last May. He has a 7.23 ERA in those games.