Winning Back-to-Back In the Rain

Game Fifty-One – Cubs 8 Reds 3

wflag.jpg For the 6th game in a row the Cubs recorded double-digit hits, Greg Maddux got back on track and Jacque Jones drove in 4 runs on a double and a home run….and the Cubs won their second game in a row for the first time since May 16th and 17th. The game got underway on time but the rain started with 2 outs in the bottom of the 4th and after a 1 hour and 1 minute delay, the Cubs took advantage of Brandon Claussen, who was sharp before the delay, and scored 4 runs with 2 outs to lead the way for Greg Maddux’s 6th win of the season and the 324th of his career that tied him with Nolan Ryan and Don Sutton for 13th on the All-Time list.

Jacque Jones had a huge night at the plate for the Cubs that more than made up for his defensive problems in right field. The bullpen held the Reds scoreless over the last 3 1/3 innings of the ballgame and allowed only 1 walk to the high-powered Reds offense.

Greg Maddux was brilliant on Tuesday night and looked like the pitcher the Cubs Faithful saw in April. Maddux threw 5 2/3 innings before having to leave the game in the 6th with what was thought to be dizziness. The post game report stated it was stiffness from the rain delay….most of the damage the Reds did was after the delay when he did not look as sharp. Maddux gave up 3 runs on 7 hits, struck out one and did not issue a walk on the night.

The Reds scored in the 2nd after a leadoff double by Adam Dunn and with 2 outs Edwin Encarnacion hit a single to right, Jacque Jones charged the ball and on his throw home, he over threw everything except for the backstop….to say it was air mailed would be an understatement. Encarnacion ended up at 3rd and Maddux struck out Ryan Freel to end the inning. Not only did Maddux have his command back, but he remembered his glove as well and recorded two put outs in the 2nd inning. Maddux recorded the first two outs of the 5th inning before giving up a single to Ryan Freel and an infield single to Brandon Claussen. (Cedeno made a good stop on the grounder in the hole and a good throw would have gotten him….Cedeno committed a throwing error in the 9th, he was a little wild on Tuesday.) But the Ole Professor reached back and struck out Felipe Lopez to end the inning.

The Reds scored their other 2 runs of the evening in the 6th on a single by Ken Griffey, Jr. and a double by Adam Dunn that should have been caught by Jacque Jones. Maddux then got Austin Kearns to ground out to short to score Griffey and gave up a single to Javier Valentin to score Dunn. David Aardsma came in and got Edwin Encarnacion to pop up to Tony Womack to end the inning. The bullpen was just about perfect and Will Ohman retired Griffey, Dunn and Kearns in order in the 8th to just about seal the victory. Ryan Dempster looked good in the 9th and if not for the throwing error by Cedeno, he would have retired the Reds in order to seal the victory.

Cubs pitching only allowed 1 walk on the evening.

The offense did get a little help from the Reds and although the box score only states 2 errors, there were several more that included a passed ball, a wild pitch and a miscommunication on a bunt attempt with Encarnacion and Freel in the 7th. The Cubs have been on the other end of these types of games all season and it was nice to see it happen to the other side.

Jacque Jones had a HUGE night for the Cubs and for his performance to happen against two left-handers was UNBELIEVABLE….the left-handed batting practice pitcher must really be working out. Jones was 2 for 4 with 4 RBI’s on a bases clearing double and a home run in the 8th.

Claussen had kept the Cubs guessing before the rain delay and in 3 2/3 innings had only allowed 2 hits and of his 43 pitches, 33 were for strikes. After the delay it was a different story and he allowed 5 runs on 4 hits and could not find the strike zone. Matt Murton doubled in the 4th with 1 out before the rain came and with 2 outs, Todd Walker drew a 5-pitch walk that included a wild pitch that advanced Murton to 3rd. Ronny Cedeno took a 4-pitch walk to load the bases and Jones cleared them with a double into the right field corner. Henry Blanco then singled to score Jones and was thrown out trying to stretch the single into a double….that was Blanco’s second hit of the season. The Cubs added another run in the 5th.

With 1 out, Juan Pierre doubled and attempted to steal 3rd. Valentin’s throw sailed into left and Pierre scored without a throw. The Cubs added 2 more in the 6th after a leadoff single by Aramis Ramirez, Todd Walker doubled to the wall in left center to score Ramirez. Ronny Cedeno then recorded an infield single on a bunt and ended up at 3rd after the throwing error by Edwin Encarnacion. Cedeno was shaken up on the play but did not leave the game. Walker scored on the throw and Cedeno was left at 3rd. The Cubs loaded the bases twice in the 7th but were unable to score. Ramirez grounded into a 5-2-3 double play and after an intentional walk to Walker, Cedeno grounded out to Lopez at short to end the inning. Jacque Jones ended the Cubs’ scoring with the solo home run in the 8th.

The Cubs recorded 4 walks, 1 intentional, left 5 on base and was 4-9 on Tuesday night with runners in scoring position and 2 for 4 with RISP and 2 outs. The offense looked very sharp and although they did hit a home run, it was a much-needed insurance run, they won the game playing solid fundamental baseball and took advantage of the gifts that the Reds gave them….

The Cubs will go for the sweep on Wednesday night when Carlos Zambrano faces Eric Milton.

Quote of the Day

"Baseball is all I ever wanted. I could eat, sleep, and dream baseball." - Smoky Joe Wood

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