Two-Out Damage

Game One Hundred Fifty-Eight – Cubs 14 Brewers 6

wflag.jpg The Cubs bounced back from their humiliating losses in Cincinnati and took out a lot of their frustrations on the Milwaukee Brewers. The Cubs pounded out 18 hits and three different Cubs had at least 3 RBI’s on the night. Henry Blanco tied career highs in hits (4) and RBI’s (4). Juan Pierre added 2 more hits to bring his season total to 198 and he stole his 57th bag of the season to tie him with Frank Chance for the most steals in a single season by a Cub since 1903 (67). Jose Reyes recorded his 1st Major League hit, a 2-out, 2 RBI single in the 8th. The Cubs made several fine defensive plays on the night but Scott Moore had the distinction of making the play of the game in the 6th that kept the Brewers from tying the game.

Sean Marshall had a good outing and was very effective. He had trouble settling in early and getting into a rhythm but once he did he threw 6 strong innings to earn his 6th victory of the season….most importantly he was able to finish the season on a winning note, his first since July 5th. Of the 14 runs, 11 were scored with 2 outs….finally the Cubs were able to give another team a dose of their own medicine.

Sean Marshall finished the season with a 6-9 record and a 5.59 ERA. He threw 6 innings, gave up 3 runs on 6 hits, walked 3 and struck out 3….on 94 pitches, 51 for strikes. Marshall threw a perfect 1st inning but gave up a home run to Bill Hall to lead off the 2nd. Marshall could not recover and walked the next batter, Corey Hart, but regained his composure and induced a 6-4-3 double play off the bat of Kevin Mench. After Mench, he allowed a 2-out double by David Bell, threw a wild pitch but was able to retire Mike Rivera on a ground out to end the inning.

The walks came back to bite Marshall in the 4th. He walked Hall and Hart to start the inning, David Bell doubled again to plate Hall and Rivera grounded out to 2nd to score Hart….2 runs on just 1 hit. The 4th inning prompted Ron Santo to say the following:

“Thou shalt not pass. The Cubs pitching staff has no discipline. Numbers are so important in today’s game, walks are not, but they are important in winning ballgames.”

That quote was in response to Pat Hughes reading the following stat: Cubs’ pitchers have walked 660 entering Tuesday night’s game. Cubs’ hitters have walked 384 times….a difference of 276….almost 2 to 1.

The Cubs most improve on this aspect of the game more than any other before they take the field next April in Cincinnati. The Brewers walked 3 times on the night and 2 of those scored….the Cubs walked 2 times on the night and 1 scored.

Roberto Novoa had a rough 7th inning and gave up a run on 3 hits. Ryan Dempster threw a perfect 8th and struck out 2. Jae Kuk Ryu gave up the other two Brewers runs in the 9th on 3 hits. Ryu looked great at times during the inning but left a couple up in the zone, of the 3 outs he recorded, 2 were via strikeouts.

The Cubs offense was unbelievable, as they have shown at times this season….7 of their 18 hits were for extra bases. Jacque Jones was a triple shy of the cycle. Every starter recorded at least 1 hit and they scored in all but 3 innings on the night….and even put up 5 in the 6th and 4 in the 8th. The Brewers defense opened the door in the 1st inning. Juan Pierre led off with a single and Ryan Theriot hit into a tailor-made double play, but Bill Hall threw the ball away. Jones followed with a double to left, Matt Murton was hit by a pitch (he was hit twice on Tuesday night) to load the bases. John Mabry struck out and Hank White singled to left to score Theriot and Jones. For the second day in a row, Blanco came through with a 2 RBI single to left in the 1st inning.

In the 3rd Theriot doubled to lead off the inning and scored on Jones’ 2-run homer to right. Murton followed with a double but was caught in a run down attempting to score. In the 5th Murton hit his 2nd double of the night and after a walk by John Mabry scored on a bloop single to center, with 2 outs, by Henry Blanco. Santo said later in the game that Blanco will be back next season.

All 5 runs the Cubs scored in the 6th were with 2 outs. Pierre reached on a bunt single to 3rd and stole 2nd. Theriot walked and Pierre scored on a single to right by Jones. Murton singled to right to score Theriot and Mabry hit a 3-run homer to right. They added 4 more in the 8th with 2 outs, Murton scored on a double by Blanco after being hit by a pitch. Moore singled to right to score Blanco, who had advanced to 3rd on a wild pitch by Derrick Turnbow. Ronny Cedeno reached on an infield hit and he and Moore moved up 90′ on a throwing error by Turnbow. Jose Reyes recorded his first Major League hit and RBI’s on a single to left that scored Moore and Cedeno.

Tuesday night was “one of those games” played by two teams just playing out the schedule….but it is always good to come out on the winning end.

Rich Hill is scheduled to make his final start of the year on Wednesday night in the season finale against Dave Bush and the Brewers. Hill needs to finish like Marshall and a .500 record for Hill would be amazing after the way his season started.

Quote of the Day

"You can't help getting older, but you don't have to get old." - George Burns
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