Game Seventy-Eight – Cubs 4 Brewers 5
The Cubs showed on Wednesday afternoon how they are capable of playing with a near healthy roster, on Thursday they had plenty of chances to win the game on what should have been their third victory in a row….shoulda, woulda, coulda has become a theme for this year’s team. The Cubs were not patient enough against the Brewers starter and former Cub, Geremi Gonzalez. Gonzalez was given his first victory as a Brewer and his first victory of the season.
Carlos Lee continued killing Cub pitching on Thursday and was 3 for 3 with a walk, a run scored and a RBI, for the series Lee was 8 for 16 with 2 home runs, 4 RBI’s and 3 runs scored. Mark Prior continued to improve on the mound but his 6th inning bases loaded jam was the difference in the ballgame. Prior pitched into the 6th inning and gave up 5 runs on 8 hits, walked 4 and struck out 9. Of the 8 hits off of Prior, three were for extra bases….a double by Carlos Lee, a double by Damien Miller and a home run by Corey Koskie but the 2-out, 2-run pinch hit single by Gabe Gross in the 6th was the hit that chased Prior from the game and put the Brewers ahead for good. After loading the bases with no outs Prior struck out Brady Clark and Damien Miller. Gabe Gross stepped to the plate and recorded his 10th pinch hit of the season, a little blooper into left that dropped in front of Phil Nevin. The bullpen of Roberto Novoa, Scott Williamson and Bobby Howry kept the Brewers from adding to their lead and gave the Cubs a chance to win the game.
The offense had plenty of opportunities against Gonzalez but their lack of patience kept him from getting himself into trouble early. The Cubs had base runners in every inning on Thursday but failed to score until the 5th, a 2-out single by Jacque Jones after Todd Walker reached on an error by Gonzalez. In the 6th, the Cubs had runners on 1st and 3rd with no outs, Matt Murton grounded into a 4-6-3 double play and although the run scored, the double play ended any kind of rally the Cubs had going. In the 7th after a Jacque Jones doubled scored Derrek Lee, the Cubs had runners on 2nd and 3rd with only 1 out, Phil Nevin grounded out to 3rd and Ronny Cedeno flied out to left.
With 2 outs in the 9th, Phil Nevin walked and advanced to second on a wild pitch by Derrick Turnbow, Dusty pinch ran Carlos Marmol for Nevin and for a minute after the wild pitch it looked the Cubs would do it again, but Ronny Cedeno struck out swinging to end the game on a 3-2 count. The Brewers took 3 of 4 from the Cubs at Wrigley and dropped them back to 20 games below .500.
The Cubs walked seven times on the day and left a remarkable 12 on base. Derrek Lee walked 3 times and other than Jacque Jones, the middle of the lineup continued to struggle at the plate and left a total of 16 runners on base.
The World Champs invade Wrigley tomorrow for the first of a 3-game weekend series. Sean Marshall takes the mound for the Cubs….let’s hope he keeps that ball down.