Once again, Omar Daal was a tough deal for the Chicago Cubs, throwing with a herky-jerky motion and releasing pitches from a variety of angles at different speeds.
He shut them out five days earlier and was doing it again Tuesday night in a fast-paced matchup with Kevin Tapani.
Then, with two outs in the eighth, the Cubs finally solved the Arizona Diamondbacks' left-hander. They found a way to score a run.
"Tapani and Daal were going pitch to pitch. I didn't see either weakening or tiring," Mickey Morandini said after his two-out, eighth-inning single broke a scoreless tie and sent the Cubs to a 2-0 victory.
"Daal is tricky. And with two strikes. you're not looking to do much but make contact," Morandini said. "I got a chance to do something."
Daal (5-6) struck out the first two hitters in the bottom of the eighth. And after pinch-hitter Jeff Blauser singled and Lance Johnson walked, he got ahead of Morandini 0-2.
Morandini, having his most consistent major league season, then fouled off three pitches, almost striking out before slapping a single to right with pinch-runner Tyler Houston beating the throw to the plate.
"I kept throwing the ball away to Morandini, but I missed a spot on the last pitch," Daal said. "I was trying to get a popup."
Last Thursday in Phoenix, he shut the Cubs out on four hits, the first complete-game shutout in the Diamondbacks' short history.
"They knew me and I knew them," he said. "I'm the same person that threw the last game."
Tapani (13-7), the loser to Daal last week, allowed just four hits through eight innings and Rod Beck gave up a hit in the ninth before getting his 33rd save.
"That's just the way I like to work throw it over the plate, get it back and throw it again and see who's better," Tapani said following the 2-hour, 5-minute game.
After Morandini singled, he was caught between first and second. But when the Diamondbacks tried to keep Johnson from scoring, he got back to third and Morandini made it to second.
Sammy Sosa was intentionally walked, and Glenallen Hill hit a run-scoring single. Morandini was thrown out at the plate trying for the third run.
"That's probably as good as Tapani's pitched all season," Arizona manager Buck Showalter said. "Omar matched him. He was not in danger most of the game. It's about the best 7 2-3 innings you could expect."
Daal allowed just five hits, walked three and struck out nine, tying a career high and the club record.
Tapani pitched out of a bases-loaded jam in the first, striking out Tony Batista. The only extra-base hit he allowed was a fourth-inning double by Damian Miller.
He retired 12 straight in one stretch before an eighth-inning ingle by Jay Bell.
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