Mr. Floyd and the Catching Corps

Game One Hundred Twenty-Five – Cubs 4 Giants 2 – 10 innings
WP – Carlos Marmol (3-1) LP – Patrick Misch (0-3) Save – Ryan Dempster (20)

wflag.jpg A night after driving in the winning runs, Cliff Floyd came through again. Floyd doubled to right to lead off the 10th. Felix Pie pinch ran and advanced to 3rd on Bengie Molina’s 13th passed ball of the season. After a walk to Mike Fontenot, Pie scored the winning run on an error by Rich Aurilia off the bat of Jason Kendall. Henry Blanco made his first appearance since May 30th and executed the suicide squeeze to perfection, Fontenot scored from 3rd and Lou Piniella’s crew won their first extra inning game on the road this season.

Rich Hill once again was a victim of no run support. He threw a tremendous game, at one point retiring 12 in a row and 13 of the last 14 batters he faced. Hill gave up 2 runs on 6 hits in 7 innings with only 1 walk and 10 strikeouts. Carlos Marmol threw 2 scoreless innings of relief with 4 strikeouts of his own for the win. Ryan Dempster pitched a perfect 9th for his 20th save of the season, the third year in a row Dempster has recorded at least 20 saves. For the second night in a row the Cubs came from behind and won the game in their last at bat. The Cubs have won 5 of their last 6 and improved to 5 games over .500 while taking over sole position of first place in the NL Central.

The theme of the game was pitching, pitching and more pitching. Rich Hill and Barry Zito were at the top of their game, but the Cubs bullpen ended up being the difference. Carlos Marmol and Ryan Dempster struck out 5 batters in the last 3 innings and Piniella’s staff totaled 15 on the night to just 3 walks, 2 intentional, and gave up 2 hits after the 3rd inning. The Cubs offense struggled against left-handed pitching. They managed only 2 runs on 5 hits against Zito and for the night totaled 6 hits, 2 doubles, and they scored 2 runs in the 10th without a hit.

Both of the runs the Giants scored against Rich Hill came after 2 outs with the bases empty. Randy Winn continued his dominance of Cubs pitching on Wednesday night. Winn doubled to left with 2 outs in the 1st inning. Hill pitched around Barry Bonds before intentionally walking him to put runners on 1st and 2nd with 2 outs. Bengie Molina followed with a single to right to score Winn. Hill then struck out Pedro Feliz to end the inning.

Hill settled down when he came back out for the 2nd inning. He struck out the side, all swinging and retired the first two batters he faced in the 3rd. Winn blooped a single into right on a 0-2 pitch. Barry Bonds then doubled off the wall in right, Jake Fox tried to play the ball of the wall but it bounced past him and he slipped as he was trying to pick it up. That allowed Winn to score from 1st and anyone other than Bonds would have had a triple. The double was Bonds’ 600th of his career and the RBI was his 1990th which moved him past Babe Ruth for 3rd on All-Time list. Bengie Molina followed with a single to left, Bonds held at 3rd and Feliz popped out to Ryan Theriot to end the inning.

Hill did not allow another hit or baserunner after Molina’s single in the 3rd until a 2-out single to left center by Barry Zito in the 7th.

Carlos Marmol took the mound in the 8th. He struck out the side but intentionally walked Bonds with 2 outs. Marmol was very sharp in the 8th….Senor Nasty! In the 9th, Marmol walked Feliz to lead off the inning. Rich Aurilia could not lay down a bunt and eventually popped out to center. Omar Vizquel then hit a hard grounder that appeared to be a tailor made double play ball but Fontenot misplayed it. Vizquel was given a single but it should have been a routine 4-6-3 double play. Ryan Klesko pinch hit for Zito and Marmol fell behind him 3-0. Klesko flied out to center and Marmol struck out Rajai Davis to end the inning….Marmol left the field pumping his fist.

Ryan Dempster threw strikes and retired the Giants in order for the save.

Barry Zito retired the first 10 batters he faced. Mark DeRosa singled with 1-out in the 4th for the Cubs first hit. Derrek Lee followed with a single to center and the RBI Machine, Aramis Ramirez followed with a double to left center. DeRosa scored easily and Mike Quade waved in Lee all the way from 1st to tie the game.

Mark DeRosa singled in the 6th and Jason Kendall led off the 8th with a single to left….those were the only other hits from the 4th inning until Floyd’s double in the 10th.

The Cubs once again never gave up and that proved to be the difference.

Carlos Zambrano is scheduled to pitch the finale of the 3-game series on Thursday afternoon against Matt Cain….from breaking stuff to hard stuff in just over 12 hours.

Quote of the Day

"Don’t ever permit the pressure to exceed the pleasure." - Joe Maddon