Game Fifty – Cubs 7 Reds 3
With an Injury Update on Angel Pagan
Kerry Wood pitched his best game of the season and provided the go ahead RBI in the 4th inning to end the Cubs 6-game losing streak against the Cincinnati Reds. Wood pitched great and topped out at 95 MPH on the radar gun, he had good command of his pitches, threw a good curve and a great changeup….he looked like a pitcher on Monday afternoon, not a thrower. Wood pitched a very strong 6 innings and gave up 2 runs, 1 earned, on 5 hits, walked 1 and struck out 4 on 85 pitches….56 for strikes, the 2 runs he allowed were assisted by a wild pitch and a passed ball. Wood also helped the Cubs at the plate and added a 2 for 2 day that included a double and a RBI.
For the 5th game in a row the Cubs offense pounded out double-digit hits, but the long balls by Matt Murton and Todd Walker proved to be the difference. Murton hit a solo shot in the 6th and Walker hit a 2-run home run to centerfield in the 7th. Kerry Wood arguably pitched his best game in 2 seasons and the Cubs played a complete game for their first win since May 21st against the White Sox. Kerry Wood and David Aardsma held the high-powered Reds offense to only 5 hits over the first 7 innings and put the Cubs in position to win the ballgame. The Reds were kept off balance and guessing the entire day at the plate against Wood….he had very good location. Aardsma, who was called up just before the game on Monday, struck out 2 of the 4 batters he faced only giving up a walk to Jason LaRue. Aardsma relaxed after he recorded the first 2 outs but was able to get Quinton McCracken to ground out to Tony Womack to end the inning. Aardsma showed what kind of stuff he has on the first two batters he faced and in order for him to be successful at the Major League level he must pitch that way on a consistent basis.
Scott Eyre and Ryan Dempster made the game very interesting over the last 2 innings. Eyre could only record 2 outs in the 8th and he gave up a solo shot to Adam Dunn with 1 out. Rich Aurilia then doubled with 2 outs and Eyre walked Scott Hatteberg to bring the tying run to the plate. Dusty went to the pen for Ryan Dempster who struck out Austin Kearns to end the inning. Ryan Freel led off the 9th with what looked like a solo home run into the basket into left field, it was ruled a double and a break for Ryan Dempster. Jason LaRue, who was 5-9 with a home run lifetime against Dempster, stepped in and was called out on strikes. Javier Valentin popped out into foul ground to Aramis Ramirez and Felipe Lopez was called out on strikes to end the ballgame. Dempster picked up his 9th save and struck out 3 of the 5 batters he faced, but he looks off and Ron Santo thinks it is his release point….whatever the case on Monday it was good enough for the save and hopefully Dempster will be able to regain his confidence with a very important save and victory for the Cubs.
Tony Womack has been a real spark for the Cubs and is 7 for 12 with 2 runs scored and a RBI in 3 games, he started the 1st inning scoring with a 1-out double to left field and with 2 outs scored on a single to center by Todd Walker. Walker then scored on a double by Aramis Ramirez that was misplayed between Brandon Phillips (2B) and Austin Kearns (RF), the ball fell and Ramirez was hustling the entire way. Jacque Jones grounded out to first to end the inning, his first of three groundouts on the day.
Other than a Kerry Wood double in the 2nd the Cubs’ offense was quiet until the 4th when Matt Murton had a infield single with 1-out and moved to 3rd on a hit and run when Ronny Cedeno singled to left. Murton then scored on the Kerry Wood single to left. Juan Pierre attempted to bunt for a hit but was credited with a sacrifice that put runners on 2nd and 3rd before Tony Womack grounded out to 2nd to end the inning.
The Cubs were quiet in the 5th with the exception of a Todd Walker single to left. Matt Murton led off the 6th with a solo home run to left field and after a bunt single by Tony Womack and a fielder’s choice by Michael Barrett, Todd Walker hit a towering home run to centerfield to score Barrett and give the Cubs a 6-2 lead. And in the bottom of the 8th, Ronny Cedeno singled with 1-out to right and moved to second on a wild pitch by Rick White. Cedeno then scored a very important run with 2 outs on a triple by Juan Pierre for his second RBI in two games, which doubled his season total.
The Cubs offense has played their best back-to-back games since Derrek Lee’s injury back on April 19th. The 1-2 punch of Juan Pierre and Tony Womack has played a big part in the offense’s 2 day output of 19 runs and 29 hits. Pierre (3-10) and Womack (6-11) are a combined 9 for 21 (.429) with 4 runs scored and 3 RBIÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s. Todd Walker had a huge day going 3 for 4 with 3 RBI’s, 2 runs scored and a home run. Matt Murton and Ronny Cedeno also added 2 hits apiece and 3 runs scored.
The Cubs are hitting and with the pitching they received without any mental mistakes on Monday afternoon the result was a much-needed W. Now Dusty gets to see the right flag fly….
Greg Maddux goes on Tuesday night under the lights….can the Cubs make it two in a row? We shall all see….
Angel Pagan Injury Update - According to a report on Cubs.com on Monday, Angel Pagan is scheduled to begin his Minor League rehab next week.