Game Eighty-Four – Cubs 1 Astros 0
For the 4th time this season Cubs pitching shutout the opponent and the Cubs ended their 7-game losing streak to the Astros. Sean Marshall out pitched Roy Oswalt in a well-pitched game on both sides. Todd Walker tallied the only RBI on the night and the Cubs avoided being swept by the Astros for the 2nd time this season. Wednesday night was a “good-ole-fashion” pitchers duel from beginning to end, both teams had their opportunities, but the Cubs were able to come out on top….a rare feat of late.
This was the second time this season Sean Marshall was involved in a 1-0 decision at Minute Maid Park, this time he was victorious. Marshall pitched 7 innings of shutout ball and held the Astros to just 6 hits and gave up only 3 walks….a big key to the game. He pitched out of a bases loaded jam in the 6th and a lead off double in the 7th. This was Sean Marshall’s best outing of the season and if you missed it, you missed a gem. Marshall retired the Astros in order twice but he was effective and had control when he needed it the most. Marshall threw 102 pitches, 56 were for strikes and of the three walks he surrendered, one was intentional. Michael Barrett did a fine job at communicating with the rookie left-hander, every time Marshall got into trouble, Barrett went out to calm him down and the result was shown in the following pitch. Of the 6 hits he surrendered only 2 were for extra bases, both doubles, one by Jason Lane and the other by Craig Biggio. The Astros left 12 on base on Wednesday night at the Juice Box. Marshall was magnificent….there is nothing else that can be said.
Roy Oswalt became the first pitcher since Sidney Ponson in 2002 to throw back-to-back complete game losses. Oswalt was dominating as well and pitch for pitch probably better than Marshall. The Cubs recorded 8 hits off of the All-Star right-hander and 2 walks but they did leave 8 on base including 6 in scoring position with 2 outs. The Cubs are hitting .174 on the season with RISP and 2 outs. Neifi Perez had a 3-hit night to lead the Cubs but it was Todd Walker’s double that scored Michael Barrett in the 5th that was the difference.
Barrett singled to right with 1-out and scored on the double to left by Walker. Chris Speier gambled when he sent Barrett home from third. The play would have taken perfect execution from the Astros to get Barrett, the throw from Eric Bruntlett sailed and Barrett scored.
The Cubs, for once this season, were on the winning end of a game like this. Ryan Dempster picked up his 13th save of the season….it was a very nerve racking 9th, but a save is a save, and Bobby Howry pitched a perfect 8th….reaching 100 MPH on the gun for his final pitch. The Cubs are now 30-29 all-time at Minute Maid Park.
This was a game the Cubs needed before heading to Milwaukee for a 4-game series against the Brewers. Thursday night it is Chris Capuano vs. Greg Maddux….will the Cubs be able to score against Capuano this time? We will all see….