A Sloppy Monday

Game One Hundred Twenty-Three – Cubs 4 Cardinals 6
WP – Joel Pineiro (4-2) LP – Ted Lilly (13-6) Save – Jason Isringhausen (23)

The Cubs and Cardinals completed their abbreviated 4-game series after the 4th rain delay in 3 games. The Cubs fell behind early and tried to play catch-up all afternoon. They were down 6-to-4 when the rain came in the 7th inning and after a 1 hour and 27 minute delay had the tying runs on base in the 8th. Jason Isringhausen got a well-timed double play in the 8th to end the threat and retired the Cubs in order in the 9th to earn a rare 2-inning save. Albert Pujols homered for the third straight game and Rick Ankiel was 2-for-5 with a double, 2 runs scored and his 4th home run of the season. Ankiel set the tone early when he threw out Ryan Theriot trying to stretch a double into a triple to start the game.

Ted Lilly could not shut the door on the Cardinals offense. Most of the damage the Cardinals did against Lilly came with a 2-strike count. He gave up 5 runs on 7 hits with 3 walks and 3 strikeouts in 6 innings and lost his first back-to-back start since April 15th and April 20th. The Cubs offense out hit the Cardinals, 10-to-8 with 3 solo home runs. Derrek Lee hit his 14th in the 6th inning and Daryle Ward and Mark DeRosa went back-to-back in 2nd inning, it was Ward’s second in as many games and the first for DeRosa since June 27th. The Cubs grounded into two rally killing double plays in the 3rd and 8th innings.

Lou Piniella’s crew took 2 of 3 from the Cardinals. The two rivals have 5 games left this season and the Cubs have won 7 of the first 11.

What a difference one game makes. Tony LaRussa realized the importance of Monday’s game when he inserted his closer into the game in the 8th inning. The Cardinals left Chicago 3 games back of the Cubs instead of 5 back and the battle for the division figures to go well into late September. At times on Monday, the Cubs defense, especially Derrek Lee, kept them in the game but at other times, the defense let Ted Lilly down.

The first 3 runs on the afternoon for the Cardinals came off of doubles by Scott Rolen in the 1st and 3rd inning. Aramis Ramirez missed played a ball hit by Rolen in the 3rd, slipped and Rolen was given a double….it could have easily been ruled an error. The 4th run came in the 3rd on a ground out by Jim Edmonds with runners on 2nd and 3rd. Derrek Lee slipped but got the out at 1st base.

The Cardinals’ other 2 runs came off of solo home runs by Albert Pujols in the 5th and Rick Ankiel (off of Carmen Pignatiello) in the 7th.

Michael Wuertz and Kerry Wood threw 3 scoreless innings to close out the game.

The only run the Cubs did not score via the home run ball came in the 3rd inning. Ryan Theriot led off the inning with a single. Jacque Jones struck out but Lee singled to right center with Theriot running. With runners on 1st and 3rd, Aramis Ramirez singled to left center to drive in Theriot. Daryle Ward hit into a 4-6-3 double play to end the inning.

Daryle Ward just missed a home run in the 6th, he ended up with a double.

The Cubs finished the homestand with a 3-3 record….and one yet to be determined.

The Cubs start a 6-game west coast swing on Tuesday night against the red-hot San Francisco Giants. Jason Marquis is scheduled to take the hill against rookie, Tim Lincecum.

Quote of the Day

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