Game Thirteen – Cubs 3 Padres 4 – 14 innings
WP – Doug Brocail (1-0) LP – Will Ohman (0-1) Save – Trevor Hoffman (3)
For the past several years the Faithful have heard the name Felix Pie, over and over and over again….on Tuesday they were finally able to put a face with the name. The highly touted Cubs’ prospect made his major league debut and despite going 1 for 6 at the plate had a tremendous day. Pie recorded his first hit, a double, off of Greg Maddux to drive in Henry Blanco for his first RBI as a Cub and in the same inning scored the tying run on a single by Derrek Lee. The concern over the Cubs’ defense in the outfield has been a topic of discussion even before they threw the first ball of spring training at Fitch Park. Felix Pie had a good day in the field before recording the first outfield assist of the year for the Cubs in the 10th inning. Pie nailed Russell Branyan at home plate with one of the better throws from a Cubs’ outfielder in many years.
Wade Miller struggled in his second outing of the year. He had problems with his command and in 5 innings of work he threw 98 pitches, 54 for strikes. He walked 4 on the day while allowing 3 runs on 6 hits in 5 innings. The bullpen had a tremendous day and with help from the Cubs defense, threw 8 innings of shutout ball. Will Ohman had another rough outing and gave up two doubles in the 14th that was the difference in the game. The Padres got on the board in the 1st inning. Marcus Giles singled to right and scored on brother Brian’s double to right that Matt Murton tried to make a play on, could not and it rolled past him. Miller retired Mike Cameron but Adrian Gonzalez (4 for 7, 2 doubles) hit his first double of the day in the right field corner to score Brian Giles. Miller settled down and the Padres were unable to plate Gonzalez. In the 2nd, a 1-out walk to Rob Bowen led to the third run of the day for the Padres.
After the walk to Bowen, Greg Maddux sacrificed him to 2nd and scored on a single to right center by Marcus Giles….and that was it until the 14th inning for the Padres. They had plenty of opportunities (3 for 22 on the day with runners in scoring position) and left a total of 17 on base on the afternoon. The Cubs pitching staff (Piniella emptied his pen) kept the Padres off the board and the defense had a solid game. Of the 14 Padre hits, 6 of them were doubles. Michael Wuertz had another impressive outing and gave Piniella 2 very good innings despite loading the bases in the 9th. Scott Eyre did his job and retired Geoff Blum with the bases loaded in the 9th. Bobby Howry gave up a couple of hits and a walk….and was the beneficiary of the play by Pie. Ryan Dempster threw 2 shutout innings, did not allow a hit (with help from a very good play by Mark DeRosa) and walked just one.
In the 14th inning Will Ohman took the hill and his nightmarish week continued. He gave up a lead off double to Khalil Greene and with 1-out a double by Geoff Blum, that took a bad hop and skipped past Jacque Jones in left, to give the Padres the go ahead run.
Greg Maddux was, well Greg Maddux. He threw a lot of strikes and left after the 5th inning. The Cubs managed all 3 of their runs off of Maddux and 6 of their hits….they did not record a hit from the 2-run 5th inning (Derrek Lee) until 2 outs in the 13th inning (Ryan Theriot). In the 1st inning, Theriot reached on an infield single to 3rd, stole 2nd and scored on a triple to right center off the bat of Aramis Ramirez to make it a 2-1 ballgame at the time.
In the 5th, Henry Blanco doubled to right to lead off the inning. Cesar Izturis pinch hit for Wade Miller and lined out to shortstop. Felix Pie followed with a double to left center to score Blanco. Theriot grounded out to 2nd to advance Pie to 3rd and Derrek Lee singled to right center to score Pie. Lee stole 2nd and Ramirez walked but Matt Murton flied out to right to end the inning. The Cubs had a chance to tie the game in the 14th.
Daryle Ward hit a high pop up to center that was pushed back toward the infield by the wind, Cameron could not make the catch and Ward hustled to 2nd with 1 out. Jason Marquis pinch ran for Ward but Jacque Jones flied out to left and Ronny Cedeno looked at strike three to end the game….Trevor Hoffman recorded his 485th save of his Hall of Fame career.
Felix Pie has the reputation of being a winner and on Tuesday he appeared to pick-up his game when it mattered the most….both in the field and at the plate. While there is a lot of talent on this Cubs team, his might be the right addition to pull it all together.
The Cubs start a 2-game road trip on Wednesday night in Atlanta against a very good Braves’ team. With the fact Lou Piniella had to empty his bullpen on Tuesday, Carlos Zambrano must give his team a solid effort and put a “W” on the board.