Back to Even

Game Thirty – Cubs 3 Pirates 4 – 15 innings
WP – Jonah Bayliss (3-2) LP – Neal Cotts (0-1) Save – Salomon Torres (10)

For the second time in as many games the Cubs played into extra innings but this time with a much different result. After taking a 3-2 lead in the 7th, the Cubs were unable to build to their lead in the 8th and Ryan Dempster gave up the lead in the 9th on a sacrifice fly by Jack Wilson, his first blown save of the year. Each team had plenty of opportunities to put the game away, both bullpens pitched their way in and out of trouble but it was Jack Wilson again, in the 15th inning, who drove in the game winner with a sacrifice fly to left center field.

The Cubs wasted another fine outing by Ted Lilly and like so many of his previous starts, received very little run support while he was on the mound. Several bad base-running plays cost the Cubs valuable runs that as it turned out, would have been the difference in the game. Alfonso Soriano recorded his third outfield assist of the year and extended his hitting streak to 16 games, a new career high. Derrek Lee has now reached base in all 30 games the Cubs have played and his single in the 8th increased his hitting streak to 15 games.

Neal Cotts took the mound to start the 15th inning and gave up a single to Ronny Paulino. Jose Bautista attempted to sacrifice bunt him to 2nd but after Derrek Lee fielded the ball, his throw to 2nd was off line and it hit Paulino. The Pirates called on pitcher Zach Duke to pinch-hit for Jonah Bayliss. With Duke at the plate both Paulino and Bautista broke with the pitch and Michael Barrett tried to make a throw to 3rd. Since it was an obvious bunting situation, Aramis Ramirez charged in to field the bunt and when Barrett threw the ball, Ramirez tried to catch it, stuck out his glove and deflected the throw….everyone was safe, throwing error charged to Barrett. Cotts ran the count to 3-2 on Duke before striking him out. Ryan Doumit was hit by Cotts to load the bases. Jack Wilson followed with the game winner to Soriano in left center.

Alfonso Soriano made a great throw in the 11th inning to keep the Pirates off the board. Rocky Cherry walked pinch hitter Don Kelly to lead off the inning and he moved to 2nd on a wild pick off attempt at 1st. Doumit struck out and Wilson grounded out to 3rd. Piniella intentionally walked Freddy Sanchez to pitch to Jason Bay. Bay singled to left but Soriano came up throwing, his one-hopper to Barrett nailed Kelly at the plate to preserve the tie….Barrett did a good job blocking the plate and had a very good game despite the throwing error in the 15th. In the 12th, Ryan Theriot turned a 4-3 double play to get Scott Eyre out of a bases loaded jam.

After Xavier Nady led off the 12th with a double to center (he advanced to 3rd on a throwing error by Jacque Jones), Adam LaRoche walked and Paulino grounded out to Eyre. Jose Bautista was intentionally walked to load the bases and Jose Castillo hit a chopper to Theriot, who tagged out Bautista and his throw barely beat Castillo at 1st.

Tuesday night was a game the Cubs should have won. The Pirates gave them plenty of chances but the Cubs could not cash them in. Several big base-running mistakes by the Cubs kept them off the board early in the game. Soriano failed to score on a sacrifice fly off the bat of Derrek Lee in the 1st inning and seemed to set a tone for the entire evening. The Cubs hit into three unconventional double plays as well including one off of the bat of Jacque Jones in the 8th.

Derrek Lee led of the inning with a single up the middle, Aramis Ramirez followed with a double to right and Jim Lett (Jim Tracy was ejected in the 7th inning for arguing a call) removed Ian Snell for Damaso Marte. With Felix Pie due to bat and Marte being a southpaw, Piniella went to his bench for Matt Murton. Murton popped out to Sanchez in shallow right. Barrett was intentionally walked and Jones followed with a chopper by the bag at 1st, LaRoche fielded it, stepped on the bag, threw home and Paulino tagged Lee to end the inning.

While Ted Lilly continued to throw strikes (110 pitches, 74 strikes) the inability of the bullpen to do the same has to change. Lilly walked one batter in his 7 innings and the bullpen walked 7 more (3 intentional). With 1-out in the 9th and the Cubs ahead 3-2, Ryan Dempster walked pinch hitter Nate McLouth who scored the tying run on the first sacrifice fly by Jack Wilson. The Pirates entire staff combined to walk 2 on the night and the one to Barrett was intentional. Walks change innings and look no further than the 9th inning on Tuesday night for the latest example.

With the loss the Cubs dropped to 1-4 in extra inning games and 1-7 in 1-run games.

Jason Marquis is scheduled to take the mound on Wednesday night against Tom Gorzelanny.

Quote of the Day

"Every strike brings me closer to the next home run." - Babe Ruth