The Third Time’s the Charm

Game Eighty-Six – Cubs 7 Pirates 1
WP – Ted Lilly (8-4) LP – John Van Benschoten (0-3) Save – None

wflag.jpg Ted Lilly won his 4th game in a row and helped his own cause in the 3rd inning. Lilly singled to left to drive in Mark DeRosa for his second career RBI. On the mound Lilly kept the Pirates guessing all night. He did not allow his fourth hit until the 6th inning and kept the Pirates off the scoreboard until the 7th inning. Lilly showed pinpoint command for a majority of the night and gave up 1 run on 8 hits in 7 1/3 innings, struck out 6 and walked just 1, the last batter he faced.

The Cubs offense broke out of their slumber and got out to an early lead. They scored twice in the 1st inning and tacked on runs in the 3rd and 5th innings with contributions from the entire lineup. Alfonso Soriano and Ryan Theriot were a combined 6-for-10 with 3 runs scored and 2 RBI’s. Derrek Lee drove in the first run of the game with a RBI single to left to break his 0-for-12 slump. The offense scored 7 runs on 14 hits without the benefit of a long ball for the 8th game in a row, their longest power outage since 1999 and recorded just one extra base hit. With the win Lou Piniella’s crew guaranteed themselves a winning record for the first half of the season.

The Cubs bounced back from a less than lackluster performance on Friday night with their best game since the finale of the Milwaukee series. They showed rare patience at the plate early in the game and were solid defensively as well. The Cubs did receive a couple of gifts from the usually sure-handed Pirates defense and were able to plate a run after a mental error by Ryan Doumit in 5th inning. The entire lineup hit the ball hard all night and forced the Pirates defense to make plays, and fortunately for the Cubs….they could not. Piniella received more than a quality outing from Ted Lilly and another dominating performance from Carlos Marmol. Piniella’s crew has shown an ability to put together a solid game following a loss and Saturday evening was no exception.

Alfonso Soriano reached on an infield single to the hole at short to start the game. Jack Wilson showed off his range but Soriano beat out his throw to 1st. With Ryan Theriot at the plate, Soriano stole his 13th base of the season and advanced to 3rd on Theriot’s single to right. Derrek Lee followed with a single to left on a 3-2 pitch from John Van Benschoten that drove in Soriano. Aramis Ramirez flied out to left for the first out of the inning but Daryle Ward singled to left center, Theriot scored and Lee advanced to 3rd. Mark DeRosa struck out and Jacque Jones was called out at 1st after his grounder went off of Josh Phelps glove to Freddy Sanchez who threw back to Phelps for the out….the play was close and from the replay, Jones appeared to be safe.

Soriano added his second hit of the game with 2 outs in the 2nd but was stranded at 1st when Theriot grounded out to 3rd to end the inning. However, the Cubs broke the game open and chased Van Benschoten from the game in the 3rd.

Derrek Lee led off the inning with a walk. Ramirez flied out to right center and Ward followed with the second walk of the inning. DeRosa hit a grounder up the middle that appeared to be a perfect chance for a double play to end the inning. However, Jack Wilson could not field the ball, it went into center and Lee scored the Cubs third run. Van Benschoten threw the pitch he wanted, got the result but not the double play. Jacque Jones quickly fell behind 0-2, showed a lot of patience and ended up working a walk (it was arguably one of Jones’ best at bats as a Cub, especially starting 0-2). With the bases loaded, Koyie Hill hit a fly ball to the warning track in right to drive in Daryle Ward and DeRosa advanced to 3rd. Ted Lilly stepped to the plate and on a 0-1 pitch, singled to left for his second career RBI. Lilly’s hit chased Van Benschoten from the game.

Jacque Jones led off the 5th with a ground rule double to left and 2 outs later scored on a single to right center by Soriano. Ryan Doumit, however, decided to throw home to try to get Jones at the plate, the throw was not close and Soriano advanced to 2nd….Doumit’s throw should have gone to the cut off or 2nd base and not to the plate. Theriot hit a liner off of Bautista’s glove at 3rd and Soriano scored the 7th and last run for the Cubs.

Ted Lilly located all of his pitches and his curve ball was just plain nasty. He retired the Pirates in order in the 1st inning and allowed his first hit with 1-out in the 2nd, a bloop single to right by former Yankee, Josh Phelps. Ronnie Paulino hit a hard single to left with 2 outs but Mark DeRosa robbed Jack Wilson of a single to center and made a strong throw to Derrek Lee for the out.

Lilly retired the Pirates on 9 pitches in the 3rd and struck out Xavier Nady and Josh Phelps in the 4th….Nady was 0-for-4 on the night. With 1-out in the 5th, Paulino hit a ringing double to right center but Jack Wilson flied out to center and Jose Castillo grounded out to 2nd to end the inning.

Jose Bautista led off the 6th with a double to right center. Freddy Sanchez flied out to left (he argued with home plate umpire, Ron Kulpa, during the at bat) and Nady popped out to DeRosa at 2nd. Lilly got ahead in the count 0-2 to Jason Bay before he grounded out to 2nd to end the inning.

Ryan Doumit singled to center through Lilly’s legs with 1-out in the 7th and Paulino followed with his third hit of the game, a single to center. Jack Wilson doubled to left center, Doumit scored and the Pirates had runners on 2nd and 3rd with 1-out. Matt Kata pinch hit for John Grabow and appeared to hit a sacrifice fly to left but Soriano got himself into good position and made a strong throw to the plate….Paulino never left 3rd base. Bautista followed and hit a ball up the middle that Lilly knocked down and tossed to Lee for the out. Inning over thanks to two good defensive plays.

Freddy Sanchez led of the 8th with a ground rule double to left center (of the 8 base hits Lilly allowed, 4 were doubles) but Nady grounded out to short for the first out. Sanchez advanced to 3rd on a wild pitch and Lilly walked Bay, his first free pass of the night. Piniella made the slow walk and brought in Carlos Marmol.

Marmol was dominating once again. He struck out both Josh Phelps and Ryan Doumit to end the 8th inning. With a runner on 3rd, the pitcher’s job is not to allow contact and Marmol did his job to perfection….Senor Nasty!! Marmol did walk Jack Wilson with 1-out in the 9th but a ground ball by Rajai Davis forced Wilson at 2nd and Bautista flied out to center to end the game.

Ted Lilly beat the Pirates for the first time this season in three tries and the Cubs won a game they played extremely well in from start to finish, ending the Pirates 4-game winning streak.

Carlos Zambrano is scheduled to take the hill in the last game of the first half on Sunday afternoon against rookie left hander, Shane Youman.

Quote of the Day

"Now there's three things you can do in a baseball game: You can win or you can lose or it can rain." - Casey StengelĀ 

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