Game Fifty-Four – Cubs 8 Cardinals 5
Updated – 8:23pm C.T. with Injury Update and Roster Move on Scott Williamson…Williamson Headed for DL…Cubs Call Up Carlos Marmol from the West Tenn Diamond Jaxx (AA)
Glendon Rusch pitched his best game of the season, Roberto Novoa was very sharp in his 3 innings of relief and the Cardinals committed 3 errors in the 4th inning, the first time that had happened since September 23, 2000 and the Cubs capitalized on every mistake to beat the Cardinals for the second day in a row and the sixth time this season. The offense pounded out 13 hits led by Aramis Ramirez’s grand slam in the 4th, a 2-run home run in the 5th by Phil Nevin and a 3-4 day with a walk for Jacque Jones, all against lefties.
The Cubs have quietly won 4 of their last 5 and have at least 10 hits in eight of their last nine games. What will over shadow the Cubs second back-to-back victories in less than a week and the fact that they are playing much-better ball was the injury to Albert Pujols that forced him to leave the game in the top of the 3rd. Tony LaRussa said during an in game interview that Pujols heard something “pop” in the rib cage area. Pujols was injured in the 2nd attempting to catch a foul ball off the bat of Aramis Ramirez and after the game was said to have a right oblique strain. Glendon Rusch was tremendous on Saturday, he did not allow a home run and only walked 2. He had control and kept the Cardinals guessing in the 5 innings he pitched. Rusch gave up only 3 runs on 4 hits and struck out 5….it was a treat to watch him pitch. Rusch even had two perfectly executed sacrifice bunts and had almost a 3 to 1 ratio on strikes to balls (90-59). Roberto Novoa pitched 3 full innings in relief of Glendon Rusch and had arguably his best outing as a Cub and even recorded his first Major League hit, a ground rule double off of Mark Mulder in the 7th inning that bounced into the right center field stands to score Jacque Jones. Novoa’s performance was big for him and his team. Novoa has been in consistent at best throughout his Major League career and with the 14 inning game on Friday night, the bullpen needed a rest and what Novoa did lifted his bullpen, gave them some rest and put his team in position to win the game….a victory the Cubs needed. Novoa allowed only 2 base runners in his 3 innings of work, a hit and a walk, and struck out 1 while throwing 33 pitches, 19 for strikes.
Scott Williamson came in to pitch the 9th and for the second day in a row had control problems and threw 2 wild pitches, walked a batter and allowed 2 runs on 2 hits in 2/3 of an inning of work before having to leave the game with an injury. Bobby Howry came in and retired Aaron Miles to end the game and earn his first save of the season.
Were the Cubs perfect on Saturday afternoon in St. Louis, of course not but they took advantage of all the extra outs the Cardinals were willing to give them. They totaled 13 hits (2 doubles and 2 home runs) and scored runs on both of the free passes they were given on Saturday….Michael Barrett walked and scored on the Nevin home run and Jacque Jones scored on the Novoa double.
The 5-run 4th inning is the one the Cubs Faithful will be talking about for the next 20 hours. Neifi Perez reached on an error by David Eckstein to start the inning and was followed by a single to left by Michael Barrett. Nevin reached to load the bases on an error by Scott Rolen and on a 2-0 pitch from Mark Moulder, Aramis Ramirez hit the ball over the right center field wall to clear the bases. Matt Murton then singled to right and moved to 3rd on the single by Jacque Jones to center. Murton actually advanced to 3rd on the third error of the inning by the Cardinals, So Taguchi dropped the ball while trying to get the ball back to the infield. Ronny Cedeno singled to right to score Murton to end the scoring. The Cubs sent 10 batters to the plate against Mulder on a day where Tony LaRussa did not have the option of removing Mulder do to the game on Friday night.
Phil Nevin’s homerun in the 5th to centerfield was a great sight to see and although the box score shows 1 for 5, he hit the ball hard in his other 2 trips to the plate including just missing a solo shot in the 6th. In Nevin’s two games with the Cubs he is 1 for 5 with a walk, 2 runs scored and 2 RBI’s.
The Cubs defense turned 3 double plays and did not commit an error on Saturday….the difference in the game. Michael Barrett’s performance will also be over looked, not only did he finish the day 3 for 4, but he scored 2 runs and with a walk was on base 4 times on Saturday and that performance after catching all 14 innings on Friday….he has now caught 23 innings in less than 24 hours.
The Cubs announced on Saturday that Kerry Wood will not start Sunday’s game against the Cardinals and Greg Maddux will take the mound for the Cubbies instead. What will Sunday bring? Leave those brooms in the closet they have not been working as of late….but a sweep would certainly be a nice way to start the road trip.
Update – According to a report from the Associated Press out of St. Louis, Scott Williamson will be put on the 15-day DL soon with tindinitis in his right elbow.
O’Neal also said he advised placing Williamson on the DL because he couldn’t guarantee he’d be ready to pitch in a few days. Williamson is scheduled to meet with Reds surgeon Tim Kremchek, who performed both of the reconstructions, on Monday in Cincinnati.
“He’s got good strength and he’s got good motion,” O’Neal said. “But right now he’s sore and I think the best bet for us is to put him on the DL.”
According to a report on Cubs.com, the Cubs called up Carlos Marmol from West Tenn (AA) and have already put him on the Active Roster and he will wear #61. Marmol was 3-2 in 11 games for the Diamond Jaxx with a 2.33 ERA. In 58 innings of work this season Marmol has walked 25, struck out 67 and given up 18 runs, 15 earned, on 42 hits.