Game Sixty-Nine – Cubs 12 Indians 8
The Cubs scored 12 runs on Monday night in Cleveland; they hit 3 home runs, pounded out 16 hits on the night and scored more runs than their previous four games combined. Sean Marshall pitched well despite giving up 3 home runs to the Tribe, he was hit hard but he was effective and when the rain came after the bottom of the 5th, he and the Cubs were ahead 6-4.
After an hour and thirteen minute rain delay the Cubs offense came to life and recorded three straight singles by John Mabry, Ronny Cedeno and Freddie Bynum and of the 4 pitches thrown by Indians’ reliever Fernando Cabrera, three went for hits….but it was the hot bat of Henry Blanco that was the difference early in the ball game before the Cubs could put it away after the delay. The 12 runs are the most the Cubs have put up since the May 28th loss in extra innings to the Braves. The victory over the Tribe ended their 6-game losing streak and it was their first win in over a week. Sean Marshall did allow 4 runs on 7 hits, 5 were for extra base hits….2 doubles and 3 home runs, he allowed 2 walks and struck out 2. Most of the damage done to Marshall was in the 3rd inning when the Indians scored 3 of their 4 runs and hit 2 of their 3 home runs. Marshall was sharp except with 2 outs he really had trouble bearing down and retiring the side….he could not retire the Indians in order in any of the 5 innings. Marshall has pitched better this season when he could not get the win, on Monday night he did and that was the most important stat. The Cubs got a win for a pitcher that did not have his best stuff….it was a good thing to see. The Indians added 2 hits against Aardsma, Howry, and Eyre and they kept the Indians from scoring. Dempster had another rough night and gave up 4 runs on 4 hits; that included a RBI single by Todd Hollandsworth. Dempster continues to have trouble throwing strikes….he walked two as well….loaded the bases and made the game much closer than it need to be. Dempster at one stretch threw 5 straight balls and 35 pitches (20 for strikes) in the 9th….the Indians batted around.
Henry Blanco continued his hot streak; it was Blanco’s 3-run homer in the 4th inning that put the Cubs ahead for good. Blanco extended his hit streak to seven and was 3 for 4 with 4 RBI’s and 3 runs scored on the night. In his last seven games Blanco is hitting .542 (13-24) with 3 home runs, 11 RBI’s, 6 runs and a walk. All of the nine Cub starters recorded at least one hit. Ronny Cedeno broke out of his mini-slump with a 2-4 night, Freddie Bynum was 3-4 and Juan Pierre keeps showing signs of life at the plate. Pierre was 2 for 5m with a triple, a run scored and 3 RBI’s. In the last 9 games Pierre is hitting .324 (12-37) with 5 RBI’s and 4 runs scored. Phil Nevin added a 2-run homer of his own in the 7th, #200 of his career and his 5th in a Cubs’ uniform. Nevin is his hitting .342 (13-38) with 4 home runs, 8 RBI’s and 5 runs scored in his last 10 games. Jacque Jones led off the 2nd with his 13th home run of the season. The Cubs scored runs in 6 of the 9 innings, left 3 on base and were 4 for 5 with runners in scoring position. It was a great way to end the losing streak and start the road trip.
The Cubs turn to Greg Maddux on Tuesday night to lead them to their first back-to-back victories in over a week.