Game Seventeen – Cubs 6 Cardinals 0
WP – Jason Marquis (2-1) LP – Anthony Reyes (0-3) Save – None

wflag.jpg For the second time in a week the Cubs pitching staff threw a combined shutout, this time led by Jason Marquis. Marquis threw strikes and in his 7 innings of work he did not allow a single walk. The Cubs’ defense had a solid game, especially Felix Pie and despite an error, Ronny Cedeno. Marquis was shown the door by the Cardinals, maybe he made Tony LaRussa regret his decision….at least for one day.

Ronny Cedeno had a huge day at the plate and in the field. He hit a RBI double in the 2nd and a solo home run in the 7th. Will Ohman combined with Marquis on the shutout and threw 2 scoreless innings of his own. The bottom of the Cubs order was 7 for 17 with 2 home runs, 3 doubles and all 5 of the Cubs RBI’s on the day. Saturday was the first time the Cubs shutout the Cardinals at Wrigley since September 2003.

Jason Marquis had a tremendous game and arguably his best as a Cub. He threw first pitch strikes and kept the ball down, 9 groundouts to just 7 strikeouts and of the 117 pitches he threw, 77 were for strikes. His pitch count was rather high at the end of the 4th inning, 79, but the he settled down and retired the Cardinals in order in the 5th on just 8 pitches and in the 6th on just 9 pitches.

The Cardinals did have plenty of opportunities early on and they left 4 on base in the first two innings. In the 1st inning Marquis retired David Eckstein and Chris Duncan before hitting Albert Pujols. Scott Rolen singled to left but Marquis induced a ground out off the bat of Jim Edmonds to end the inning. In the 2nd after a lead off single by Preston Wilson, Adam Kennedy hit a fly ball to deep right center that Felix Pie made a very good catch on, Gary Bennett followed with a single to put runners on 1st and 2nd. Marquis struck out Anthony Reyes and Eckstein grounded out to 3rd to end the inning.

In the 3rd the “Keystone Cubs” made an appearance. Chris Duncan singled to left to start the inning and Pujols hit a pop up in the infield. With the high sky, the ball was lost momentarily and eventually bounced off of the glove of Aramis Ramirez….an alert Marquis picked up the ball and threw Duncan out at 2nd. Scott Rolen followed with a pop up of his own, this time to the right side that Derrek Lee and Mark DeRosa had a communication problem with and DeRosa caught the ball to record the out. Edmonds followed with a fly out to left center that Felix Pie made another fine catch on.

In the 4th Marquis pitched around an error by Ronny Cedeno and a bobbled ball by Ramirez that kept the inning alive due to the missed double play. Wilson led of the inning by reaching on the error, Kennedy singled to right and Bennett flied out to Jacque Jones….who made a fine catch of his own. Reyes hit a grounder to Ramirez, he bobbled the ball and was able to only make the out at 1st. David Eckstein worked the count to 3-2 and on ball 4, Marquis hit him to load the bases. Marquis settled down and struck out Chris Duncan to end the inning.

Will Ohman came into the game in the 8th and other than a walk to Preston Wilson he was perfect. The past several outings for Will Ohman has been anything but positive….but on Saturday it was. Ohman threw strikes and made the Cardinals swing at his pitches, instead of the other way around.

Jason Marquis did his job, threw strikes, went deep into the game and most importantly won his second game of the year.

The Cubs were able to get on the board in the 1st inning thanks to a big fly off the bat of Michael Barrett. With 1 out Matt Murton singled to right, Derrek Lee hit a single to left, his 1200th hit of his career. Aramis Ramirez struck out but on a 2-0 pitch, Barrett hit a 3-run homer over the left field wall. In the 2nd Mark DeRosa led off with a double to right center and scored on a double down the 1st base line by Ronny Cedeno…only his second hit of the season. Marquis advanced him to 3rd but neither Felix Pie nor Murton were able to score him from 3rd.

The Cubs were quiet until Marquis led off the 5th with a double to left center but was stranded at 3rd when Derrek Lee grounded out to end the inning. Cedeno homered with 1-out in the 7th, his second of the year and the Cubs tacked on another run in the 8th. Murton doubled to lead off the inning and with 2 outs advanced to 3rd on a passed ball by Bennett. Barrett hit a high pop up into shallow right that Aaron Miles tried to make a play on, it bounced off of his body, Murton scored, Miles was given an error and Barrett ended up at 1st without an RBI. After a single by Jones and another passed ball by Bennett, DeRosa grounded out to 3rd to end the inning.

Aramis Ramirez hitting streak came to an end on Saturday.

The Cubs played a solid game behind another good start by Jason Marquis, they need this game in more than one way. Before the game the Cubs announced Alfonso Soriano would not play until at least Monday and when he returns it will be in left field. During the ball game, Joe Girardi mentioned the fact Jacque Jones will likely be the every day centerfielder….

The Cubs will look to win the series on Sunday with Wade Miller scheduled to face Adam Wainwright.

Quote of the Day

"People who write about Spring Training not being necessary have never tried to throw a baseball." – Sandy Koufax