A Rough Night

Game Ninety-Two – Cubs 2 Giants 4
WP – Barry Zito (7-9) LP – Carlos Marmol (2-1) Save – Brad Hennessey (6)

Lou Piniella thought he had found a lineup that solved the riddle of the southpaw when his team put up 7 runs against Wandy Rodriguez on Sunday afternoon but then Barry Zito took the mound on Tuesday night. Zito handed the Cubs their 15th loss of the season against left-handed starters as he pitched his best game in well over a month and set a new season high in strikeouts with 8. The Cubs offense managed just 2 runs on 5 hits with only one RBI against Zito and was unable to mount another come from behind victory after the bullpen could not pick up where Sean Marshall left off.

Marshall threw a very good game once again and proved he is more than just the Cubs’ 5th starter. He held the Giants to 2 runs on 5 hits in 6 innings of work and put his team in a position to win the ballgame. The Giants scored 2 runs in the 8th inning with the eventual winning run being forced in on a bases loaded walk issued by Will Ohman. Carlos Marmol took the loss for his first of the year and Jason Kendall’s Cub debut was less than memorable as he was involved in two plays that figured in the outcome. Barry Bonds did not start but was used in the 8th inning in a pinch-hit role, he lined out to left in his only plate appearance. Derrek Lee hit his second home run in three games but the Cubs lost their first game of the second half.

The Cubs offense was held in check for the second day in a row, this time on a dominating performance by Barry Zito. Zito threw the ball extremely well, mixed in all of his pitches and kept the Cubs guessing and off balance at the plate all night. Zito struck out 8 and for the first time this season did not walk a batter. He threw 109 pitches and 81 were for strikes.

Sean Marshall held his own against the former Cy Young Award winner. He gave Piniella 6 strong innings and threw 88 pitches, 62 for strikes. The only runs he allowed came in the 4th inning. Marshall walked Omar Vizquel to lead off the inning. Randy Winn followed with a single to left center. Bengie Molina singled to left with 1-out and Alfonso Soriano came up throwing. Soriano threw a strike to the plate but it short hopped Jason Kendall and bounced off his chest protector. Vizquel slid in safe with the first Giants’ run of the evening. The play should have been made and the Wrigley Faithful let Kendall know their displeasure. Marshall retired Rich Aurilia but gave up a double to left by Pedro Feliz that scored the go-ahead run and put runners on 2nd and 3rd with 2 outs. Marshall intentionally walked Kevin Frandsen to load the bases and retired Barry Zito to end the inning.

After Derrek Lee tied the game in the 6th with his 8th home run of the season, Carlos Marmol took the mound to start the 8th for his second inning of relief duty. Marmol quickly got ahead of Bengie Molina but on a 1-2 pitch, Molina fouled the ball back behind home plate. Kendall did not make a move to make the catch until it was too late. Kendall apparently thought the ball was going foul but when Marmol started running in from the mound, Kendall broke back, tried to make a sliding catch but the ball bounced off his glove and fell to the ground. Molina got a freebie and took advantage. He singled to left and was replaced by speedster, Fred Lewis. Marmol fell behind Aurilia before striking him out looking but with a 3-2 count, Lewis was off with the pitch and slid in safe at 2nd as Kendall’s throw was to high and to the 1st base side of 2nd….the throw appeared to be their in time, it just sailed. Marmol walked Feliz on 4 pitches and Piniella made the slow walk with Barry Bonds being announced as the pinch hitter.

Will Ohman came into face Bonds and after getting ahead in the count, Ohman ended up running the count to 3-2 before getting Bonds to lineout to left. Piniella visited the mound and Ohman walked pinch hitter, Guillermo Rodriguez on 4 pitches to load the bases. Ohman got ahead of Dave Roberts, 1-2, but could not find the strike zone after that (he threw 16 pitches in his 1/3 inning of work and only 5 were strikes) and walked him to force home the go-ahead run. Piniella brought in Michael Wuertz to face Vizquel. Wuertz gave up a swinging bunt to Vizquel that he picked up along the 1st base line as Vizquel ran past him to 1st. Wuertz could not make a play and Feliz scored. Wuertz struck out Randy Winn to end the inning.

Billy Petrick sat the Giants down in order in the 9th on 10 pitches, 7 for strikes.

The Cubs’ other run came in the 1st inning. Ryan Theriot doubled to leadoff the game and scored on an error. Mike Fontenot put down what appeared to be a sacrifice bunt but Molina’s throw to 1st was bobbled by Rich Aurilia and dropped. The ball rolled away and Theriot scored on the play.

The Cubs will look to bounce back on Wednesday afternoon. Carlos Zambrano is scheduled to face Matt Cain in the first of 5 consecutive day games at the Friendly Confines.

Quote of the Day

"When you play, play hard; when you work, don’t play at all." – Theodore Roosevelt