The dawn of the Felix Pie era looked eerily familiar to the end of the Sammy Sosa era three years ago.
Plenty of flash and dash, but the results were the same.
Pie's major-league debut Tuesday was spoiled by another crushing one-run defeat for the sputtering Cubs, who ended their first homestand 2-5 after a 4-3, 14-inning loss to San Diego.
After the Cubs tied the game off Greg Maddux in the fifth on Pie's run-scoring double and Derrek Lee's RBI single, five Padres relievers combined to give up only two hits over nine scoreless innings.
The Cubs dropped to 5-8, with all five home losses coming by one or two runs.
"You hope to do better," said manager Lou Piniella, who kept his emotions in check during a terse postgame news conference.
With a man on second and one out in the 14th, Geoff Blum's run-scoring hit off Will Ohman eluded left fielder Jacque Jones, who watched it take a strange bounce past him and roll to the warning track as Blum scampered into second with the game-winning double.
"Geoff Blum hit a great pitch," Ohman said. "Slider down. He reached down. Game over."
The Cubs put the tying run on second in the 14th when Daryle Ward's wind-blown popup dropped into center for a double. Jason Marquis was inserted as a pinch-runner by "assistant manager-for-the-day" Cliff Floyd. Because the Cubs were out of position players, Marquis would have played first base in the 15th if the game had been tied up.
"I told Floyd to figure it out," Piniella said. "That was his job."
Floyd said he chose Marquis because of his athleticism, but wasn't really sure why he was asked to make the decision.
"I was just sitting down there chilling," Floyd said, "hoping we'd win this game."
But Ronny Cedeno took a called third strike to end it, leaving the Cubs 2-for-28 from the fifth inning through the 14th, including an 0-for-22 stretch.
"It was tough to get a hit," Lee said. "C'mon. The wind was blowing in at 100 miles per hour. That wasn't even a baseball game really. You saw balls dropping in that weren't normally [hits]. Crazy. [Blum's double] took a funny hop and ended up scoring a run. I thought we played well. We played some great defense, pitched well. Both teams battled. They got the better of us."
The Cubs played one of their better games defensively, with Pie throwing out a runner at the plate to preserve a 3-3 tie in the 10th and Mark DeRosa making a diving catch of Marcus Giles' line drive to rob him of the go-ahead single in the 12th.
With the pregame decision to option Angel Guzman to Triple-A Iowa and bring up Pie for injured center fielder Alfonso Soriano, Piniella was forced to empty his depleted bullpen.
"We did what we did," Piniella said of Guzman's demotion.
Cubs relievers pitched eight scoreless innings after starter Wade Miller was removed, before Ohman lost it in the 14th.
Maddux, making his first start against his former team since pitching for Atlanta in Game 3 of the 2003 Division Series, was chased after five innings, allowing three runs on six hits and one walk. Padres relievers faced a minimum three batters per inning from the sixth to the 12th, allowing only two walks—both of which were wiped out by double plays.
Ryan Theriot's 13th-inning single snapped the 0-for-22 stretch, but Lee flied out to send it to the 14th.
"It's bad," Lee said of the team's poor start at home. "It's not a good position. It's not a good start, but it's not the end of the world either.
"It's early, so we can turn it around. We will turn it around."
Padres 4, Cubs 3 (14 inn.)