Cubs manager Lou Piniella spotted Marty Brennaman wearing a pink shirt in the interview room Wednesday when he decided to poke some fun at the Reds announcer.
"Boy, hot pink from Cincinnati," Piniella said. "Is it Sadie Hawkins Day or what?"
But after Cincinnati rode the arm of Bronson Arroyo to a 2-1 victory over the Cubs before a crowd of 40,509 at Wrigley Field, it was Brennaman and the Reds who had the last laugh.
Ted Lilly's best outing since mid-June went by the wayside as the Cubs' offense couldn't find a way to solve Arroyo, who allowed one run on three hits over seven innings. Francisco Cordero struck out the side in the ninth for his 24th save.
Lilly allowed only two runs on two hits over seven innings. But a wild pitch on a strikeout in the sixth and a pop fly that dropped into left field in the seventh led to his downfall.
Lilly lost for the first time since a 12-7 loss July 10 to the Reds at Wrigley despite one of his better performances of the year.
"It's going to be one of those games you look back and second guess yourself a little," Lilly said.
Mark DeRosa had two hits, including an RBI single, and made two fine defensive plays at second base, but that was about all the Cubs could muster in a lackluster performance. With the loss, Milwaukee moved to within five games of the Cubs in the National League Central.
DeRosa's two-out, run-scoring single in the second gave them a 1-0 lead, but they wasted opportunities the next two innings. With men on first and second and one out in the third, Aramis Ramirez grounded into a double play. With runners on the corners and no outs in the fourth, Kosuke Fukudome flied to shallow center and Geovany Soto grounded into a double play.
"We had opportunities, never got a big hit," Piniella said. "First and third, no outs ... put the ball in play on the ground somewhere, you get a run."
Lilly pitched five no-hit innings before catcher Ryan Hanigan doubled to the base of the center-field wall leading off the sixth. Hanigan advanced to third when Lilly threw a wild pitch on Chris Dickerson's strikeout to put runners on the corners with one out. Jeff Keppinger followed with a hard shot toward second that DeRosa made a great diving play to get a force at second as the tying run scored.
Cincinnati went ahead 2-1 in the seventh when Edwin Encarnacion's popup dropped in behind shortstop Ryan Theriot in left for a double. Encarnacion advanced on a groundout and scored on Jolbert Cabrera's sacrifice fly.
David Weathers replaced Arroyo in the eighth and pitched a perfect inning before Cordero struck out Ramirez, Jim Edmonds and DeRosa in the ninth.
"You get into those competitions, and you want to win 1-0," Lilly said. "I was sitting on the bench [Tuesday] night watching Rich [Harden] pitch and talking to [ Ryan] Dempster about it, about how much fun it is to win those 1-0 games."
Instead, Lilly fell to 12-7 with the tough-luck loss.