Game One Hundred Thirty-Five – Cubs 2 Giants 4
Matt Cain was tremendous; he repeated his performance from last September against the Cubs and struck out 4 of the first 9 Cubs he faced on Saturday afternoon. Cain allowed just 1 run (unearned) in 7 2/3 innings on 4 hits. struck out 7 and walked just 2. Sean Marshall pitched a very good game in his return but his unwillingness to pitch to Barry Bonds with 2 outs in the 6th cost him and the Cubs the game. Marshall retired 11 of the first 12 he faced but Bond’s 728th home run of his controversial career allowed the first run of the day for the Giants. All 4 runs the Giants scored were via the home run ball. Marshall allowed 4 runs on 5 hits in 5 2/3 innings, he worked quick and looked very confident early, he just hit a wall in the 6th and could not get through the inning.
Derrek Lee hit his 5th home run of the season and his first since his return from the DL to lead off the 9th. Jacque Jones followed with a long single and Ryan Theriot walked after a very impressive at-bat. The Cubs had the tying runs on base but Mike Stanton picked off Theriot from 1st and Ronny Cedeno struck out to end the game. Aramis Ramirez had a spectacular game in the field and the Cubs bullpen gave up just 2 hits in the last 2 2/3 innings of the game. The Cubs did not play bad; this was just a game they lost….plain and simple. Matt Cain had a perfect game going until the 5th when Derrek Lee led off with a single to right. Cain overpowered the Cubs and they had trouble catching up to his very impressive fastball. Jones reached on an error by Pedro Feliz at 3rd, Michael Barrett popped up to 2nd and Angel Pagan grounded out to 1st but beat out the relay throw to put runners on 1st and 3rd with 2 out. The lone run scored off of Cain came off a bunt by Cedeno that scored Derrek Lee.
Sean Marshall looked very good, especially early, in his first start in nearly 6 weeks. He had very good command and looked extremely confident on the mound. Marshall did not give up a hit until 1 out in the 3rd but he settled down until Bonds stepped to the plate in the 4th. Bonds’ home run was the first run of the game and Marshall settled down and retired Ray Durham to end the inning. But Marshall’s inability to retire Bonds with 2 outs would cost the rookie again in the 6th. Marshall walked Bonds, again with 2 outs, and then gave up back-to-back home runs to Ray Durham and former Cub Moises Alou. Marshall was lifted for David Aardsma after walking Pedro Feliz. The bullpen shut down the Giants and gave the Cubs a chance at the comeback that just fell short.
Sean Marshall looked good, as previously stated, this was just one of those games that a team loses during a 162-game schedule. The back-to-back performances by Rich Hill and Sean Marshall shows a lot of promise for the future but it would be great to see the very talented lefties put together back-to-back wins before this season ends.
Angel Guzman is scheduled to pitch on Sunday against Jason Schmidt. Guzman has not been consistent for the Cubs since his last call-up. He is coming off a horrible start against Pittsburgh but the start before was the best of his career against the Phillies. A first career victory would be great to see on Sunday afternoon against a very good pitcher in Schmidt.