Knocking on the Door?

Game Twenty-One – Cubs 9 Brewers 3
WP – Ted Lilly (2-2) LP – Elmer Dessens (1-1) Save – None

wflag.jpg After Tuesday night’s game Lou Piniella stated, “One of these days, we’ll break the barn door down and get going.”….well a 9 run, 16 hit performance that featured the first home run of the season by Derrek Lee, against a division rival, is a good start.

Ted Lilly had another solid outing and held the Brewers to just 1 earned run in 7 innings of work while not giving up a single walk, in fact the Cubs’ pitchers did not give up a free pass on the day. On the day the announcement was made that Mark Prior will not pitch again this season, the Cubs were able to put a much-needed win on the board.

The start of game was delayed one hour and eleven minutes and the conditions were anything but favorable for baseball….the Cubs decided to give Alfonso Soriano the day off because of the wet outfield. Ted Lilly continued to be impressive and stopped the losing streak at 3 games. Lilly threw strikes but was hit hard on the afternoon and the Cubs’ defense made plays when needed.

Prince Fielder was kept in the park and recorded the only hit, a single to right, in the 1st inning but Lilly struck out Bill Hall to end the frame. He retired the Brewers in order in the 2nd, 3rd and 4th innings, retiring 10 in a row at one stretch. Johnny Estrada led off the 5th with a single to left and Kevin Mench followed to put runners on 1st and 2nd with no outs. Corey Hart flied out to deep center and Estrada advanced to 3rd. Tony Graffanino reached on an infield single off the glove of Aramis Ramirez to score Estrada. Tony Gwynn, Jr. pinch hit for Elmer Dessens and attempted to bunt the runners up 90′. Lilly crossed up Barrett and a passed ball advanced Mench to 3rd. Gwynn then grounded out to 2nd to score Mench. Lilly gave up just two more hits on the afternoon, a single to right in the 6th by Prince Fielder and a double to left in the 7th by Corey Hart.

Lilly threw 100 pitches on the afternoon, 74 for strikes and recorded 3 strikeouts.

Michael Wuertz pitched the 8th and gave up his first earned run on the season, a home run onto Waveland Avenue off the bat of Rickie Weeks. Wuertz gave up a couple of more hits in the inning to Hardy, after the home run but retired Fielder on a fly out and struck out Bill Hall. Estrada singled to left with 2 outs but Mench grounded out to short to end the inning. Bobby Howry pitched the 9th and gave up just 1 hit.

The Cubs offense came to life and finally gave Ted Lilly more than a run or two to work with. Ben Sheets started the game but left after the 3rd inning with a right groin strain. Before Sheets left the game he had not allowed a run and given up just 4 hits….a bad base running play by Theriot in the 3rd when Sheets made a very good defensive play is reportedly when he hurt himself.

Ted Lilly recorded his first hit as a Cub (and his first since September 19, 1999 off of Kevin Millwood) a single up the middle that J.J. Hardy fielded and could not get out of his glove. Ryan Theriot followed with a grounder up the middle that Hardy fielded, touched 2nd but threw wide of Fielder at 1st. Cliff Floyd singled to right but the throw got away from Hardy at 2nd and Theriot took off for 3rd. Graffanino fielded the ball and tossed to Sheets who was waiting for Theriot at 3rd….he was out by 20′. Derrek Lee grounded out to short to end the inning….but as it turns out Sheets was hurt on the play and had to leave the game. In the 4th the Cubs broke the game open.

Elmer Dessens came into pitch for Sheets and walked Aramis Ramirez on 4 pitches to lead off the inning. Barrett struck out looking but Jacque Jones reached on an error by Hardy….the ball hit off the mound and Hardy could not catch the ball on the short hop. The ball went into center with Ramirez headed to 3rd, he stumbled and went back to 2nd, just beating the throw by Hall. The Cubs caught two breaks on that play….one it was a tailor made double play ball and two, Hall would have thrown Ramirez out at 3rd by a mile.

Mark DeRosa followed with a single to right to score Ramirez and extended his hitting streak to 8 games. Felix Pie singled to left to load the bases. With 1-out, Lilly struck out swinging but Ryan Theriot came through with a big 2-out single to right (on the first pitch he saw) that scored Jones and DeRosa. Cliff Floyd followed with a double to right, Hart could not get a handle on the ball and Pie and Theriot scored easily but Floyd was thrown out trying to advance to 3rd.

Derrek Lee led off the 5th and took the first pitch he saw from Matt Wise over the left field wall for his first home run of the year. Felix Pie doubled in the 6th but was stranded in scoring position. In the 7th the Cubs tacked on two more. Floyd singled to right to lead off the inning and Derrek Lee followed with a double to right. Barrett singled to right to score Floyd and Lee. DeRosa was hit in the wrist by a pitch in the 7th, he went to the ground and writhed in pain but he stayed in the game, went to 1st and returned when the Cubs went on the field in the 8th.

In the 8th, Theriot singled to right and Floyd followed with his 4th hit of the day….a single to center. Floyd tied a career best with 4 hits on the afternoon. Derrek Lee followed with another double that scored Theriot.

Cliff Floyd and Derrek Lee were a combined 8 for 10 on the afternoon with 3 doubles, a home run, 3 runs scored and 4 RBI’s while Ryan Theriot went 2 for 5 with 2 runs scored and 2 RBI’s out of the leadoff spot. While Piniella stated after Tuesday’s game that his lineup was set he used the 16th different lineup in 21 games. Ryan Theriot played a solid shortstop and made strong accurate throws, Theriot’s energy made things happen on Wednesday.

As previously stated one game does not make a season but maybe Wednesday will be a start.

The Cubs are have an off day on Thursday before hitting the road for 6 more games against teams in the central. Jason Marquis is scheduled to start in St. Louis on Friday night against Anthony Reyes.

Quote of the Day

"No one is useless in this world who lightens the burden of it to anyone else." - Charles Dickens
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