Game One Hundred Forty-Five – Cubs 9 Dodgers 8 – 11 innings
The Cubs and Dodgers combined for 8 errors on the night but there were several more defensive miscues than the scorecard indicates. The game started out with light rain and by the 2nd inning it looked like the game might be delayed but the skies cleared and the sloppiest game of the season took place under the lights at Wrigley. The Cubs were down 7-0 in the 3rd but scratched their way back to take the lead in the 8th to see it disappear in the 9th thanks to errors by Derrek Lee and Cesar Izturis.
The Cubs scored the winning run in the 11th after a leadoff walk by Matt Murton, who had a great game, Geovany Soto grounded into a 5-4 force out, Henry Blanco flied out to right, Aramis Ramirez walked and Dusty pinch ran Juan Mateo for Soto. Cesar Izturis singled to center and Mateo scored, without sliding, on the throw from Kenny Lofton….it was a close play. A true Cubs fan must have a since of humor, isn’t that how the commercial goes and to see this team win after committing 6 errors….let’s just say it was the most improbable win of the season.
Sean Marshall did not have a good outing but he was a victim of 4 errors and of the 7 runs he allowed only 3 were earned. The Dodgers scored 4 runs in the 1st inning and 6 of the first 10 Dodgers scored. Freddie Bynum committed 3 errors that led to 4 runs for the Dodgers and he should have been charged with a 4th. Ironically enough Rafael Furcal popped out to Derrek Lee in foul territory to start the game. Marshall then gave up back-to-back singles to Julio Lugo and Nomar Garciaparra. With J.D. Drew at the plate, Marshall threw the first of two wild pitches on the night and eventually walked Drew. Jeff Kent singled to left to plate Lugo and with the bases loaded Andre Ethier hit a ground ball to Bynum, he could not get it out of his glove, threw to 1st, every one was safe and Nomar scored. Matt Kemp then grounded to Cedeno, he threw to 2nd and Bynum threw the ball away. Cedeno did have trouble getting the ball out of his glove but a good throw would have ended the inning. The Dodgers scored 4 runs, 2 earned, on 3 hits, 2 errors, a walk and a wild pitch.
The Dodgers added 2 more in the 2nd off of Marshall. Derek Lowe popped the ball up to Bynum, the ball drifted to the 3rd base side of 2nd, Bynum dropped it and then Rafael Furcal hit his 11th home run of the season over the left field wall. In the 3rd, Matt Kemp, with 1-out, reached 3rd on a fielding error by Jacque Jones and then scored on a single by Russell Martin. At that point with Derek Lowe on the mound the game appeared to be over. Marshall pitched into the 4th but after recording the first 2 outs of the inning he walked the bases loaded, Dusty went to the pen and Jae Kuk Ryu recorded the last out of the inning.
Sean Marshall was not sharp but he threw the pitches he needed to get himself and his team out of trouble, it is too bad the defense could not do their part. The defensive miscues of this team have cost so many extra pitches all season long and the team victories. Players are not charged with errors on difficult plays or missed double plays, just think if they counted those….what would the actual fielding percentage of this team be?
The Cubs had scratched their way back and were ahead by 1 going into the 9th. Ryan Dempster took the ball and despite the fact that Dempster has been plagued with control problems all season, the 9th inning on Tuesday was not his fault. Jeff Kent reached on an error by Cesar Izturis; Kenny Lofton pinch ran for him and later scored the tying run. Wilson Betemit reached on an error by Derrek Lee, Lofton moved to 3rd on the play and Russell Martin hit into what appeared to be a game ending double play. Izturis threw to Theriot but Theriot’s throw was low and Lee could not dig the ball out of the dirt….game tied. The Dodgers tied the game without the benefit of a hit….2 errors, a fielder’s choice and a hit batsman.
Until the 5th inning the Cubs had more errors (4) than hits (3), Derek Lowe was in cruise control to the point of recording the first 9 outs of the game via the ground ball. Cedeno singled to start the inning, Buck Coats recorded his first Major League hit, an infield single to Furcal, Furcal threw the ball away and both Cedeno and Coats moved up 90′. Pierre singled to center to score Cedeno, Bynum singled to center to score Coats, Lee singled to right center to score Pierre….5 straight singles. After Jones struck out, Murton doubled to right to score Bynum and Lee scored. Scott Moore singled to put runners on 1st and 3rd with 1 out. Henry Blanco grounded into a 6-4-3 double play to end the inning.
The Cubs tied the game in the 7th after a leadoff single by Jones, Murton walked and Moore sacrificed them to 2nd and 3rd. Henry Blanco walked to load the bases and Dusty pinch hit for Cedeno. Aramis Ramirez had been given the night off but came through with a pinch hit single to left to score Jones and Murton….Ramirez is 2-2 on the season with 3 RBI’s coming off the bench. Ryan Theriot scored the go ahead run in the 8th after a 3-base error by J.D. Drew in right, Lee hit a shallow fly to right and Theriot scored from 3rd on a great slide around Martin. It was a gutsy call by Speier, but what do they have to lose?
Matt Murton continued his 2nd half onslaught, he finished 3 for 4 on the night with 2 RBI’s, a double, a run scored and 2 walks, he raised his average to .299 on the season.
The Cubs pulled out the ugliest win of the season, one that took a team effort….whether that is good or bad is debatable. The team played with a lot of heart and never gave up….They bailed Sean Marshall out, of what appeared to be his 10th loss of the season, and played together as a team….as sloppy as it was it was good to see.
Angel Guzman will attempt to record his first big league win on Wednesday night against Brad Penny….hopefully the Cubs will remember how to catch and throw the ball.