Not Much of an Encore

Game Thirty-Eight – Cubs 1 Mets 8
WP – Jorge Sosa (3-0) LP – Rich Hill (4-3) Save – None

A day after scoring 10 runs on 15 hits the Cubs managed just one hit off of Jorge Sosa. The start of the game was delayed for 3 hours and 7 minutes the Cubs appeared flat from the start. Sosa was very impressive in his 3rd start of the season and only 5 runners reached base against him 7+ innings.

Rich Hill retired the first five batters he faced to start the game and appeared to be well on his way to putting his last start behind him. After a 2-out single by Paul Lo Duca in the 2nd inning, the Mets rattled Hill and he was unable to regain his early confidence and most-importantly, his command.

Rich Hill gave up 4 runs on 7 hits in 6 innings while striking out 6 and walking 4. While Hill’s outing was sub-par to his earlier starts he kept his team in the game but the offense could not respond against Jorge Sosa. The lone run of the game for the Cubs came in the 8th inning with the game well in hand. Alfonso Soriano’s streak of reaching base in every game he has played this season came to an end at 31 on Wednesday night. Here is how the late game played out….

First Inning

Cliff Floyd drew a 1-out walk and was the only base runner in the inning. Both Floyd and Theriot showed patience against Jorge Sosa but Floyd was stranded at 1st when Soriano flied out and Ramirez popped out to Easley at 2nd.

Rich Hill was very sharp in the bottom of the 1st. Jose Reyes struck out looking and argued with home plate umpire, Chad Fairchild, as he walked back to the bench. Damion Easley followed and after working the count to 3-2 looked at Hill’s curve for strike 3. Carlos Beltran popped out to Cesar Izturis on Hill’s first pitch to end the inning. Hill threw first pitch strikes to all 3 batters he faced.

End of 1: Cubs 0 – Mets 0

Second Inning

Jorge Sosa was very efficient and retired the Cubs in order with two groundouts and one fly out.

Rich Hill struck out Carlos Delgado to start the 2nd. David Wright grounded out to Ramirez at 3rd. With 2 outs, Paul Lo Duca singled on a 0-1 count and Shawn Green followed with a single to left on a fastball that Hill left up. Carlos Gomez blooped a single to right over the head of Daryle Ward to score Lo Duca from 2nd (the first career RBI for Gomez). Hill struck out Sosa to end the inning.

End of 2: Cubs 0 – Mets 1

Third Inning

Cesar Izturis led off the 3rd with a single to center (extended his hitting streak to 9 games). Rich Hill sacrificed him to 2nd, Theriot grounded out, moved Izturis to 3rd but Floyd grounded out to 2nd to end the inning.

Rich Hill could not find the strike zone in the 3rd. He walked 3 in the inning, 1 intentional. Aramis Ramirez made a very good play behind the bag at 3rd to retire Reyes to start the inning but Hill issued a 4-pitch walk to Easley and Carlos Beltran singled to left to put runners on 1st and 2nd with 1-out. Delgado walked and with the bases loaded David Wright popped out to Theriot in shallow right. With Theriot’s momentum heading him toward right, Easley tagged and scored from 3rd. With Lo Duca at the plate, the Mets executed a double steal with Beltran and Delgado. Piniella intentionally walked Lo Duca and Green grounded out to Ward to end the inning. One of the three walks scored and more 2-out runs allowed after retiring the first two batters.

End of 3: Cubs 0 – Mets 2

Fourth Inning

David Wright robbed Soriano of at least a long single but threw wide of the bag and Delgado made a good snag and tagged out Soriano for the first out. Aramis flied out to center and after Ward reached on an error by Easley, Barrett grounded out to end the inning.

Ramirez turned in his second defensive gem of the night. He robbed Gomez of at least a double when he dove to his right, snagged the line drive and fell into foul ground. Sosa broke his bat and grounded out to short but Reyes kept the inning alive with a bloop single to right. Hill served up a long home run into the Cubs’ bullpen in left to Damion Easley….his 6th of the year. Beltran grounded out to 3rd to end the inning. The Mets’ runs came after 2 outs and nobody on….again.

End of 4: Cubs 0 – Mets 4

Fifth Inning

Jorge Sosa retired the Cubs in order again in the 5th….through 5 innings, just a walk by Floyd, a single by Izturis and Ward reached on an error.

Delgado flied out to left to start the Mets half of the inning but Wright singled and stole 2nd. Hill concentrated a lot on Wright and lost any rhythm he might have had. Lo Duca flied out to deep left in the corner, a good catch by Soriano. Hill gathered himself after a visit from Michael Barrett and struck out Shawn Green looking to end the inning on a beautiful curveball.

End of 5: Cubs 0 – Mets 4

Sixth Inning

Jorge Sosa was in total control in the Cubs half of the inning. He struck out Cliff Floyd for his 4th of the night in between fly outs by Theriot and Soriano. At the end of 5 and a half (thanks Pat) the Cubs look very confused at the plate against a very confident Jorge Sosa.

Hill started the inning by throwing strikes. He got ahead in the count 0-2 on Gomez before he popped out to Ward in the middle of the infield. After throwing Sosa a first pitch strike, Hill ended up walking him for his 4th free pass of the game. Hill threw 3 straight balls to Reyes before he flied out to Soriano in left. Damion Easely worked the count to 3-2 but Hill was able to strike him out swinging on his 113th pitch of the night.

End of 6: Cubs 0 – Mets 4

Seventh Inning

Aramis Ramirez led off the inning with a fly out to deep left. Ward followed and drew a walk….the first base runner for the Cubs since Ward reached on the Easley error in the 4th. Barrett grounded out to 3rd, Ward advanced to 2nd and the Cubs put a runner into scoring position for only the second time in the game. Jacque Jones worked a 3-2 count but struck out swinging at ball 4 to end the inning.

Rich Hill was replaced by Neal Cotts to start the 7th and like Hill….Cotts could not find the strike zone and walked Beltran to start the inning. Delgado singled to center, David Wright had a very good at bat against Cotts before doubling to left….Beltran scored, runners on 2nd and 3rd with no outs. Lo Duca hit a sacrifice fly to center, Delgado scored. Green grounded out to 2nd, Wright advanced to 3rd and Gomez doubled to left to score Wright. Sosa flied out to center to end the inning.

The 3-run 7th inning for the Mets started with a walk.

End of 7: Cubs 0 – Mets 7

Eighth Inning

Cesar Izturis walked to lead off the inning and after Angel Pagan was announced for Neal Cotts, Willie Randolph went to his pen for Joe Smith. Jorge Sosa finished his outing after allowing just 1 hit in 7+ innings of work. Pagan grounded out to 1st, Izturis advanced to 2nd; Theriot worked the count to 3-2 before grounding out to short and advancing Izturis to 3rd. Cliff Floyd singled to right to score Izturis and the Cubs second hit of the night broke up the shutout. Soriano struck out to end the inning and his streak of reaching base came to an end.

Bobby Howry received mop up duty in the 8th and did not show any signs of returning to his previous form. Jose Reyes singled to left to lead off the inning but came up limping as he ran to 1st and was lifted for a pinch runner. Ruben Gotay advanced to 2nd on a single up the middle by Easley that went through the legs of Howry. Beltran flied out and Gotay advanced to 3rd….Lou Piniella appealed the tag. Delgado grounded into a 3-6 fielder’s choice, Gotay scored and Howry struck out Wright to end the inning. Reyes left the game with slight tightness in his right hamstring and is listed as day-to-day.

End of 8: Cubs 1 – Mets 8

Ninth Inning

Billy Wagner pitched the 9th for the first time in the series….in an obvious non save situation. Ramirez, Ward and Barrett went in order to end the game.

The Cubs are 2-4 on the road trip with 1 game left before heading home to start the 11th season of Interleague play with the White Sox on Friday. Angel Guzman is scheduled to make his 3rd start of the season against a Mets’ pitcher that has yet to be determined.

Quote of the Day

"You can’t sit on a lead and kill the clock. You’ve got to give the other man his chance. That’s why baseball is the greatest game." - Earl Weaver