Game Seventy-Five – Cubs 10 Rockies 9
WP – Bobby Howry (4-4, BS 4) LP – Brian Fuentes (0-2, BS 4) Save – None
On Monday afternoon Alfonso Soriano was named the National League Player of the Week and on Monday night he showed why he deserved the honor. The Cubs took the field in the 9th up by 5 runs but Scott Eyre could not find the strike zone and Bobby Howry gave up back-to-back RBI singles to Garrett Atkins and Brad Hawpe. With the tying runs on base, Troy Tulowitzki hit Howry’s first offering over the left center field wall to give the Rockies the lead and all of this before the Cubs could record the first out of the inning. When the Cubs left the field, they found themselves trailing in a game they appeared to have well in hand.
Mark DeRosa led off the 9th with a bloop single to center and 2-outs later Koyie Hill singled to left to put the tying run in scoring position. Ryan Theriot hit what appeared to be a game ending grounder to Kaz Matsui, but he bobbled the ball to load the bases. Alfonso Soriano stepped in and took a 1-0 offering into right center to drive in Jacque Jones from 3rd and Koyie Hill from 2nd with the winning run.
What will be lost in the 9th inning comeback are the performances by Jason Marquis and Mike Fontenot. Marquis threw extremely well and deserved to pick up the win. Fontenot was a perfect 5-for-5 on the night with 2 RBI’s and 2 runs scored. After the 9th inning meltdown by the bullpen the Cubs looked well on their way to a very disappointing loss but instead they never quit and won their 4th game in a row. After sweeping the Sox over the weekend, the Cubs hit the ball right out of the gate. Jeff Francis had been just about unhittable of late but the Cubs scored 4 runs in the 1st inning, all with 2 outs and added another in the 3rd without hitting the ball out of the infield. Francis had his sinkerball working but the Cubs’ offense hit ‘em in the holes and the Rockies’ defense could not help their pitcher out.
The Cubs offense pounded out 18 hits, scored 10 runs and left 10 on base on the night while walking just twice. But of the 10 runs they scored, just 3 came via the home run ball and of the 10 hits, 4 never made it to the outfield. They scored at least one run in 6 of the 9 innings.
Mike Fontenot reached on an infield single with 1-out in the 1st inning but with Derrek Lee at the plate, Francis picked him off 1st. Lee singled up the middle with 2-outs and Aramis Ramirez followed with a single to left. At that point the pickoff of Fontenot looked huge, as runs had come at a premium against Francis. Mark DeRosa singled to left for the 4th straight hit, Lee scored. Angel Pagan followed with his 3rd home run of the season to left field to put the Cubs up 4-1.
Fontenot led off the 3rd with an infield single to 3rd. Lee followed with a tapper to short and beat out the weak throw by Tulowitzki. Ramirez followed with a high chopper on the infield, the Rockies forced Lee at 2nd but Ramirez beat out the throw. DeRosa followed with a high bouncer on the left side, Fontenot scored on Atkins’ throw to 1st. Pagan ended the inning with a pop out to shallow center.
In the 5th, Fontenot doubled to lead off the inning and moved to 3rd on a single to left by Derrek Lee. Ramirez popped out but Mark DeRosa grounded out to short to score Fontenot. Pagan and Bowen walked to load the bases but Cesar Izturis grounded out to end the inning. The Cubs added what turned out to be a big run in the 8th.
Ryan Theriot doubled to left center, stole 3rd while Soriano swung at strike three and Mike Fontenot doubled to left to score Theriot….the Bayou Boys came threw again. Fontenot was stranded but the Cubs looked like they were well on their way to victory. But remember every inning counts….
Mark DeRosa led off the bottom of the 9th with a bloop single to center off of Brian Fuentes. Angel Pagan took strike one before Lou Piniella inserted Felix Pie to run for DeRosa. Pagan struck out and Rob Bowen hit a check swing grounder to Todd Helton at 1st base. Helton went to 2nd but Fuentes did not cover 1st and the inning continued. With the lefty Fuentes on the mound, Piniella used his last right-handed pinch hitter, or in this case switch hitter. Koyie Hill stepped in for Bobby Howry and singled to right. With Bowen at 2nd, Piniella pinch ran with Jacque Jones. Ryan Theriot hit a grounder up the middle that was bobbled by Matsui, Jones dove back to 3rd, everyone was safe and the bases were loaded for Soriano. Soriano was 0-5 on the night but he came through with a single to right center, Jones scored, Hill scored, Wrigley erupted and the Cubs danced on the field.
Jason Marquis threw the ball very well and allowed 3 runs on 7 hits in 5 2/3 innings while walking 2 and striking out 5. Marquis gave up a 1st inning run and did not give up a hit after a 1-out single to right by Yoruit Torrealba until Garrett Atkins singled with 1-out in the 6th. Marquis threw first pitch strikes all night and kept the ball down….8 ground ball outs to 4 fly ball outs.
After the Atkins single, Mike Fontenot made a great stop on a ball hit by Brad Hawpe but could not get the ball out of his glove. With runners on 1st and 2nd, Troy Tulowitzki swung at the first pitch and flied out to left. Torrealba singled to left to load the bases. Jeff Francis was lifted for Ryan Spilborghs and he singled to right to score Atkins and Hawpe. Lou Piniella made the slow walk and Marquis left ahead 6-3. Michael Wuertz retired Willy Taveras on a ground out to short.
Wuertz retired the first two batters he faced in the 7th but walked the last two he faced….Todd Helton and Garrett Atkins. Piniella brought in Scott Eyre to face Brad Hawpe and he struck out Hawpe to end the inning. In the 8th Eyre gave up a double to Tulowitzki and walked Torrealba before Spilborghs grounded into a 6-4-3 double play and pinch hitter Jeff Baker struck out swinging to end the inning.
Eyre started the 9th and gave up a lead off single to Matsui and walked Matt Holliday. Todd Helton doubled to score Matsui and Piniella brought in Bobby Howry to end the game. But….Atkins singled off of Howry, 8-5….Cubs. Hawpe singled to right, 8-6….Cubs, still no outs. And Troy Tulowitzki hit Howry’s first pitch over the left center field wall, 9-8…Rockies. A “fan” charged the mound and the Cubs had lost a lead in the 9th….once again. Howry retired the next three batters to end the inning to set the table for the comeback in the 9th.
The 9th inning was one that the Faithful will not soon forget and while it was a very good comeback, that should not have happened….but it did and maybe, just maybe….well, you know the rest.
Ted Lilly is scheduled to take the mound on Tuesday night under the lights against Rodrigo Lopez…..