Five in the Ninth

Game One Hundred Twenty-Four – Cubs 5 Giants 1
WP – Scott Eyre (1-1) LP – Tim Lincecum (7-4) Save – None

wflag.jpg The Cubs’ offense managed only 2 hits in the first 8 innings against rookie Tim Lincecum but it was a 2-out walk by Jason Kendall in the 8th inning that played a huge role in the comeback. Kendall’s walk was just the Cubs third baserunner of the night but he flipped the order to set up the 9th inning. Ryan Theriot doubled to lead off the inning, Jacque Jones singled and Derrek Lee followed with the Cubs’ third hit in a row to tie the game at one and chase Lincecum from the game. Brad Hennessey walked Aramis Ramirez to load the bases with no outs and with the infield in, Cliff Floyd hit a single to right to give the Cubs the lead. After a sacrifice bunt by Mark DeRosa put runners on 2nd and 3rd with 1-out, Jason Kendall came through once again with a 2-out single up the middle.

Jason Marquis struggled to get out of the 1st inning. He threw 25 pitches and walked the bases loaded but limited the damage. Ryan Klesko drove in the Giants only run against Marquis with a groundout to short. Marquis settled down and threw a gem on his 29th birthday that included striking out Barry Bonds. He shut the Giants down for the last 6 innings he pitched and allowed only 3 hits. Scott Eyre pitched a perfect 8th for the win with one of his best outings of the year. Lou Piniella’s crew put together one of their best come from behind wins of the year and broke the Giants’ 5-game winning streak. The Cubs improved to 4 games above .500 while keeping pace in the division.

A sign of a good team is one that never gives up….and that exactly describes what took place on Tuesday night in San Francisco. The Cubs appeared to be going through the motions for the majority of the game. Tim Lincecum dominated the Cubs for the first 8 innings and the only clean hit he allowed was a single to Jason Kendall to lead off the 6th. Mark DeRosa reached on an infield single with 2 outs in the 2nd inning. Lincecum struck out 7 and gave up only the one walk to Jason Kendall. Omar Vizquel continues to play a very solid shortstop. He took several hits away from the Cubs and kept his young pitcher out of trouble. The Cubs’ swung at several of Lincecum’s first pitches and he averaged just a little over 10 pitches in the first 7 innings (72)….he had 4 innings in which his pitch count was in the single digits. But, again, they never gave up and while we have been told walks clog bases, they can also flip an order.

Jason Marquis walked the first two batters he faced and it looked like it was going to be a long game for the Piniella’s pen to start the road trip. With Dave Roberts and Ray Durham on, Randy Winn worked the count to 3-2 before grounding out to 2nd base for the first out. Marquis intentionally walked Barry Bonds to load the bases. Ryan Klesko then grounded out to Theriot, Roberts scored but Bengie Molina popped out to Derrek Lee to end the inning.

Marquis took the mound in the 2nd and retired the side in order on just 9 pitches. Randy Winn blooped a single over the ahead of Aramis Ramirez (that was almost caught by Theriot) for the first hit of the game off of Marquis with 2 outs in the 3rd. Bonds followed and on a 2-0 pitch, just missed a home run to right before grounding out to 1st to end the inning.

The Giants’ third hit off of Marquis came in the 4th with 2 outs. Pedro Feliz hit a fly ball to center that was misjudged by Jacque Jones, the ball fell and Feliz was given a double. Marquis intentionally walked Vizquel and retired Lincecum to end the inning….of the 5 walks Marquis allowed, 2 were intentional and 2 came in the 1st inning. He was truly a different pitcher when he took the mound to start the 2nd inning. Marquis’ location was just about perfect and he appeared to get into a rhythm. Jason Kendall did a fine job with communicating with him as well….

The only hard hit ball Marquis gave up all night was a triple by Vizquel with 1-out in the 7th. With the infield in, Lincecum grounded out to 2nd. Marquis walked Roberts but struck out Ray Durham to end the inning.

Scott Eyre (insert bad Piniella jokes here) pitched the 8th and retired the Giants in order on only 5 pitches. Randy Winn flied out to left center, Bonds grounded out to Ramirez at short (the shift) and Klesko flied out to left. Ryan Dempster pitched the 9th. He walked Pedro Feliz with 1-out (his only baserunner in three outings) but retired the other 3 batters he faced on 13 pitches, 7 strikes.

Tuesday was a good win….

Rich Hill is scheduled to face the pitcher he is most compared to on Wednesday night, Barry Zito….get ready to see a curveball or two.

Quote of the Day

"There are places I remember. All my life though some have changed. Some forever not for better. Some have gone and some remain. All these places have their moments ... " John Lennon/Paul McCartney