The Cubs already set franchise records this year by going winless in a season series against one club, San Diego, and by serving up eight home runs in a game to two clubs, Atlanta and Detroit.
But facing the team Cubs fans most love to hate in a nationally televised game at Wrigley Field, the Cubs managed to outdo themselves with an inning for the ages.
For the first time in the 130-year history of the franchise, the Cubs gave up two grand slams in one inning Sunday in a stupefying 13-7 loss to the New York Mets.
Former Thornwood High star Cliff Floyd and Carlos Beltran smacked opposite-field grand slams off Sean Marshall and Roberto Novoa, respectively, sparking the Mets to an 11-run sixth inning that turned a 5-2 deficit into a 13-5 lead.
"It was a total nightmare," manager Dusty Baker said, "because we gave them too many outs."
The Cubs are 15-27 at Wrigley and have lost 14 of their last 17 home games.
They knocked out former White Sox starter Orlando "El Duque" Hernandez in the second inning, pounding him for five runs on seven hits, including Marshall's first career home run. But Marshall watched it all unravel in the sixth, when Todd Walker suffered a complete meltdown, committing two errors, followed closely by meltdowns by Marshall and Novoa.
"They always say this game will humble you at some point in time," Walker said. "I was embarrassed to be out there today."
Walker's teammates sprang to his defense.
"It's not Todd Walker's fault," Phil Nevin said. "Sure, he made a couple of mistakes out there, but it's not for a lack of effort. They scored how many runs? Thirteen? They weren't all his fault. He didn't make the wind blow out and have a couple balls fall in the basket."
Leading 5-2 in the sixth, Marshall retired the first batter before everything fell apart.
Beltran hit a routine grounder to Walker, who bobbled the ball and threw late to first for an error. Carlos Delgado followed with a blooper to center that Juan Pierre barely missed on a diving attempt and David Wright's blooper to right loaded the bases.
Floyd followed by lining a 1-2 pitch into the basket in left field, his second home run of the game, giving the Mets a 6-5 lead.
"It looked like he didn't hit it very well," Baker said. "It was a situation where Clifford was hitting [.174] before today's game against lefties with one home run. Then he ends up hitting two home runs against Sean. It was his day. It started out being Sean's day."
Marshall was removed after walking Xavier Nady, and Novoa induced Ramon Castro to hit a potential inning-ending, double-play grounder. But Walker dropped third baseman Aramis Ramirez's throw, leaving two on with one out. Endy Chavez dropped a hit inside the foul line in right to bring home another run, and after an infield hit by Jose Valentin loaded the bases again, Beltran poked his grand slam.
"Pretty good pitches," catcher Michael Barrett said of the two slams. "I hate to give the other team credit. They had some lucky hits and bloop hits."
Wright added a two-run homer off Novoa to add insult to injury, and Baker received the loudest booing of his career in Chicago when he finally removed Novoa.
"We played an excellent baseball game as a team," Marshall said. "It was just that one half-inning that hurt us."
Mets 13, Cubs 7