Game Twenty-Six – Cubs 7 Pirates 1
WP – Jason Marquis (4-1) LP – Ian Snell (2-2) Save – None
After securing the win in the suspended game from Tuesday night, Jason Marquis took the hill in search of his 4th victory of the year and he responded with his best outing thus far. Marquis made just one mistake, a home run to Ryan Doumit in the 2nd inning. He threw 8 strong innings, allowed just 4 hits, struck out 5 and did not walk a single batter. Marquis kept the ball down, threw strikes and appeared to be in line for his first complete game since 2005.
Alfonso Soriano homered for the second time in as many games, Derrek Lee doubled for the 8th straight game, Ryan Theriot was on base 4 out of 5 times and the three drove in 5 of the 7 runs on the day. The Cubs won their second consecutive series and finished the road trip with a 4-1 record. While the offense responded with a 7-run, 9 hit performance with 5 of the hits being for extra bases, Jason Marquis dominated the Pirates offense….which appeared to be shell shocked after losing the suspended game they led 5-2 going into the 7th inning. Marquis continues to impress and appeared to go into cruise control down the stretch. Marquis retired the last 7 Pirates he faced and 9 of the last 11. Marquis showed very good command and other than the Doumit home run, the Pirates did not hit the ball hard all afternoon.
The Pirates were not able to string together any hits against Marquis. He retired the Pirates in order in the 1st inning with help from Cliff Floyd in right and Derrek Lee made a very good catch on a foul ball off the bat of Jason Bay in the 2nd. Lee reached a couple of rows into the crowd to record the out, which ended up being a big play. Marquis retired Adam LaRoche on a grounder to 2nd and then Doumit followed with the home run….a solo shot that tied the game. Lee’s play kept Bay from having another chance that could have changed the entire inning.
Marquis retired the Pirates in order in the 3rd inning, allowed just a single to Bay in the 4th and Ronny Paulino reached on Cesar Izturis’ 6th error of the season in the 5th. With 2 outs in the 6th, the Pirates appeared to be mounting a comeback. With the score 4-1 at the time, Freddy Sanchez reached on an infield single and Bay followed with a single to left. Adam LaRoche worked a 3-2 count before grounding out to Derrek Lee to end the inning….the last threat on the afternoon for the Pirates.
Michael Wuertz recorded 2 outs in the 9th before Piniella went to the pen for Scott Eyre to pitch to LaRoche. The Pirates took exception to Piniella’s move and the Pirates 3rd base coach, Jeff Cox, and Piniella shared a few pleasantries. Eyre retired LaRoche on a fly out to center to end the game.
Ryan Theriot and Derrek Lee hit back-to-back doubles in the 1st inning to get the Cubs on the board before Alfonso Soriano’s 2nd home run of the season in the 3rd inning. Lou Piniella has been preaching patience at the plate, in the 5th inning the Cubs were able to score 2 runs without recording a hit.
Jason Marquis walked with 1-out, after a very good at bat, Soriano struck out and Theriot followed with a 2-out walk of his own. Derrek Lee walked to load the bases. With Aramis Ramirez at the plate, the bases loaded and a 0-2 count, Ian Snell uncorked a wild pitch that allowed Marquis to score. Ramirez worked the 4th walk in the inning to reload the bases. Snell followed his 4th walk by hitting Cliff Floyd on his right knee. Floyd limped around for a while and was lifted for Felix Pie….Theriot scored before Michael Barrett grounded out to end the inning.
The Cubs added 3 more in the 9th after Piniella lifted Marquis for Daryle Ward, who walked to start the inning. Ronny Cedeno pinch ran and advanced to 3rd on the 11th double of the season by Alfonso Soriano. Theriot followed with his second double of the game to score Cedeno and Soriano. Derrek Lee singled to center to plate Theriot for the last run of the game. Lee raised his average to .415 with the 2-hit performance.
After a rough first month for Piniella’s club, the first two games of May have been exactly what the Faithful have been waiting for….somewhere Ernie Banks has a big smile on his face.
The Cubs have an off day on Thursday before opening a 6-game series at Wrigley on Friday against the Washington Nationals. Carlos Zambrano is scheduled to pitch the opener with Rich Hill slated for Saturday.