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It was Hector Rondon’s game to lose — and he lost it

Chicago Cubs relief pitcher Hector Rondon reacts after New York Yankees' Brett Gardner hit a three-run home run during the ninth inning of an interleague baseball game Friday, May 5, 2017, in Chicago. (AP Photo/Nam Y. Huh) ORG XMIT: CXC124

Winning the four-game series against the Phillies this week took a toll on the Cubs’ bullpen.

It meant that Hector Rondon was the only available closer Friday after Wade Davis had pitched three consecutive games. Rondon (0-1) wound up getting the loss after giving up a two-out, three-run homer in the ninth inning to Brett Gardner.

Before the game, the Cubs demoted right-hander Justin Grimm to Class AAA Iowa and recalled right-hander Felix Pena, who had a 1.86 ERA and four saves in eight appearances at Iowa.

“There was a lot of utilization of the bullpen so we had to do something,’’ said manager Joe Maddon of needing a fresh arm. “Grimm [will] be back relatively soon, but in the meantime we had to do something.’’

Grimm had a 7.30 ERA in 12 relief appearances.

Another ex-Cub

Yankees manager Joe Girardi has had a longer history with the Cubs than Starlin Castro or Aroldis Chapman, who were the centers of attention Friday.

The Peoria native, who was drafted by the Cubs in 1986 and played seven of his 15 seasons with them, said the World Series was as special to him as for any fan.

“You realize how special it was for so many people,’’ Girardi said. “My father was a huge Cubs fan, my grandfather. Just the excitement it caused, it was really kind of neat to see.’’

As for the new looks around the ballpark, “obviously it’s changed since the last time we were here [2014], but it looks good and it’s good to be back.’’

Bullpen ceremony

Cubs president Theo Epstein and general manager Jed Hoyer walked to the visitor’s bullpen before the game to give former right-hander Adam Warren his World Series ring.

Warren made an impact in his brief stint last year. He was among those traded to the Yankees for closer Chapman.

“You work so hard for a championship, and to be honored to be part of this team is special,’’ Warren said. “We did it in the bullpen, and it seemed appropriate.

“I wasn’t here to see it [the Series], but it’s a family and I’ll be proud to be part of it.’’

Follow me on Twitter @toniginnetti.


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