Game One Hundred Fifty-Nine – Cubs 3 Brewers 2
Freddie Bynum tied the game in the 9th with a solo home run into the basket in right and Henry Blanco hit the game winning single to left center to win the game. After a career night on Tuesday, Blanco came through for his team again and had another solid night behind the plate. The Cubs managed only 7 hits on the night and just 3 off of Brewers’ starter Dave Bush. Bush was perfect through the first 4 innings until Matt Murton led off the 5th with a triple.
Rich Hill had another quality outing for the Cubs and left trailing 2-1 in the 7th. Hill made only a few mistakes and gave up 6 hits, 2 walks and struck out 7. The difference in the game was another long ball, his 4th in his last 2 starts. Although Hill did not pick up the win, he and the Cubs have to feel very good about the way he finished his season. The Cubs offense struggled to get runners on base against Dave Bush but had not problems with Francisco Cordero. Bynum took the first pitch he saw from Cordero just in to the basket in right, Pierre followed with an infield single to 2nd, his 199th of the season, and Theriot bunted him into scoring position. The Brewers elected to pitch to Matt Murton, instead of Jacque Jones, and intentionally walked Jones. Murton made Ned Yost regret that decision and blooped a single to center to load the bases. John Mabry struck out and Blanco singled to end the game. Henry Blanco has had a fine season for the Cubs after a horrible start….his average is up to .272.
The Cubs other run came in the 7th after Theriot reached on a bunt single, Jones doubled to right and Theriot scored on a ground out to 2nd by Murton. Murton was 2 for 4 on the night and his season average is at an even .300 after his performance on Wednesday. Pierre is just one hit shy of the magic number….200 and Ryan Theriot’s hustle and desire continues to impress.
Rich Hill finally pitched the way the Cubs thought he would at the Major League level. His struggles before his last call-up were well documented but the way he finished the season was just short of spectacular. Game after game Hill took the ball and showed a lot of confidence and poise on the mound….Wednesday was no exception. He did not allow a hit until the 4th inning. He threw 115 pitches, 77 for strikes and mixed in his signature curve effectively with his fastball. Ron Santo mentioned that Hill has plans to work on a third pitch in the off-season to make him more effective next year. With the Cubs starting rotation in disarray any improvements Hill can make on his 2nd half might cause the Cubs Faithful to say “Prior Who?”. Rich Hill has a bright future if he can continue to improve the way he has this season.
The Cubs paid attendance on Wednesday night was 36,273 and for the 3rd straight season their home attendance passed the 3,000,000 mark. The win against the Brewers gave the Cubs a .500 record against the Central Division….42-42 and against the Brewers….8-8.
And Wednesday was also the 3rd Anniversary of the Cubs double-header sweep of the Pirates that clinched the Central Division title….with the play of the past two seasons, that seems like an eternity ago.
The Cubs have their last off day of the year on Thursday. They start the final 3-game series of the season on Friday afternoon at Wrigley against the Rockies. Carlos Zambrano against Josh Fogg….Can Z hit number 7 and win number 17?