The Backup Plan

Game Ninety-Three – Cubs 12 Giants 1
WP – Carlos Zambrano (12-7) LP – Matt Cain (3-11) Save – Sean Gallagher (1)

wflag.jpg With Derrek Lee deciding to serve his 5-game suspension and Aramis Ramirez with a scheduled day off, the Cubs’ starting lineup featured just one player in the same position as Opening Day. Lou Piniella’s bench was led by Koyie Hill, who drove in 5 of the Cubs 12 runs, all with 2 outs, with a pair of doubles from both sides of the plate. Jacque Jones drove in the first 2 runs of the game with a big 2-out single in the 4th inning. The Cubs scored 4 runs with 2 outs in the 4th and added a 5 more runs in the 5th before tacking on 3 more in the 8th. The Cubs scored 12 runs on 10 hits and walked 10 times on the afternoon.

Carlos Zambrano threw 5 innings of shutout ball, gave up just 2 hits and became the first pitcher in the National League with 12 wins. Zambrano has not allowed a run in the second half and extended his scoreless innings streak to 15 2/3 innings. Sean Gallagher picked up his first big league save in his 4 innings of relief and allowed the only run of the game on 4 hits and a pair of walks. The Cubs improved to 14-5 with Hill behind the plate and with the win Lou Piniella’s crew has won 17 of their last 22.

What started out as a pitcher’s duel, ended up a blowout. Carlos Zambrano was once again dominating but so was Matt Cain until Cliff Floyd singled with 2 outs in the 4th inning. Cain had a no-hitter and a shutout going to that point, he had allowed just 2 walks and faced one over the minimum. Alfonso Soriano scored the 5th run of the game without a hit while the Cubs showed a lot of patience at the plate, but they did receive a little help from the Giants defense. The first two runs of the game came off a misplayed ball by Ryan Klesko and Guillermo Rodriguez had two passed balls in the 5th while Matt Cain added a wild pitch before Rodriguez left the game with what appeared to be dehydration. Lou Piniella put his faith in his bench and they responded with an impressive performance against a very good pitcher.

Carlos Zambrano threw just 80 pitches in his 5 innings of work. He walked two and struck out three. With the large lead, the weather and a very long bottom of the inning, Lou Piniella decided to give Zambrano the rest of the day off after the 5th. There was a scare in the 1st inning. Dave Roberts hit a liner back up the middle and Zambrano knocked it down with his bare hand. Zambrano stayed in the game and all reports later in the evening stated everything was O.K. with Big Z. The Giants did not record their 4th hit in the game until the 9th inning and plated their only run in the same inning off of Sean Gallagher. Gallagher had his best outing at the Major League level.

The Cubs managed just a pair of walks before Cliff Floyd broke up the no-hitter with 2 outs in the 4th. Floyd took Cain’s first offering into centerfield and Mark DeRosa followed with a single to left….his first hit of the series. Mike Fontenot fell behind Cain 0-2 before working a walk on a very close call on ball 4. Jacque Jones found himself in a 0-2 count before hitting a single to right off of Ryan Klesko’s glove to drive in Floyd and DeRosa with the first runs of the game. Koyie Hill followed with a double down the right field line, Fontenot scored from 3rd and Jones circled the bases and scored the 4th run of the inning. The Cubs scored 4 runs on 4 hits with a walk….all with 2 outs.

The 5th inning was a very long inning and lasted nearly 30 minutes. Alfonso Soriano walked to lead off the inning, advanced to 2nd on the first passed ball by Rodriguez. Theriot walked and on ball 4, Cain threw a wild pitch that advanced Soriano to 3rd. Bruce Bochy went to his pen and brought in lefty Patrick Misch to face Daryle Ward. On a 1-1 pitch, Rodriguez let another one pass by him and Soriano scored from 3rd. Rodriguez went out to the mound, called for the trainer and after a lengthy discussion left the game.

With 1-out, Floyd came through again. He ripped a grounder to Pedro Feliz at 3rd, the ball went off his knee and Theriot scored on the double. Fontenot worked another walk and so did Jacque Jones. With the bases loaded, Koyie Hill took Misch’s first pitch over Roberts’ head in straight away center and cleared the bases with his second double of the day. Koyie Hill had a career day with his 5 RBI’s and will make it very hard on Lou Piniella to keep him on the bench if he continues to produce the way he did on Wednesday.

Ryan Theriot and Daryle Ward walked in the 8th inning after Soriano struck out. Angel Pagan doubled to center to score Theriot and DeRosa singled to score Ward. Mike Fontenot hit a sacrifice fly to left to score Pagan from 3rd with the 12th run of the game.

The Cubs put up a very good win against a pitcher they had not had much success against in the past.

Ted Lilly will look to give the Cubs the series win on Thursday afternoon against former Cardinal, Matt Morris. All reports have indicated Barry Bonds will be in the starting lineup.

Quote of the Day

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