Game One Hundred Nine – Cubs 6 Mets 2
WP – Ted Lilly (12-5) LP – John Maine (12-6) Save – None
Ted Lilly not only bounced back from his last start, he dominated the New York Mets. Lilly kept the Mets offense off balance all afternoon by throwing strikes and pounding the inside part of the plate. He gave up just 2 runs, both solo home run by Moises Alou, and scatted 5 other hits while walking 1 and striking out 8 in 7 2/3 innings. Lilly worked out of trouble in the 1st inning and a fine defensive play by Mark DeRosa kept the Mets off the board in the 3rd. Lilly gave Lou Piniella exactly what he needed, a quality start and a win.
The Cubs scored all 6 of their runs in the 3rd inning with 2 outs on only 4 hits. Jacque Jones doubled and singled in the inning, Aramis Ramirez walked with the bases loaded to force in a run and John Maine hit Cliff Floyd to drive in another. Mark DeRosa’s 2-run single was the big hit of the inning that was sparked by the hustle of Ryan Theriot. The Riot reached on an infield single that drove in Jason Kendall with the first run of the game. The Cubs ended their mini 2-game slide and put together an impressive team-win against the best in the National League. After his last two starts there was a little concern about how Ted Lilly would be able to finish the season but all of those concerns were put to rest on Saturday. Lilly threw a gem against one the better offensive teams in the league. He threw first pitch strikes and worked ahead in the count until he ran out of gas in the 8th inning. Lilly challenged the Mets and was very aggressive on the mound. He worked the inside of the plate all afternoon to both righties and lefties while keeping his pitch count low. He finished the day after throwing his 113th pitch but 76 were strikes….a very good ratio and the only walk he gave up came with 1-out in the 8th inning. To say Lilly was on top of his game would be an understatement.
John Maine looked unhittable in the first 2 innings. He retired the Cubs on 6 pitches in the 1st and 9 in the 2nd while retiring the first 6 batters he faced with ease….the Cubs did not get the ball out of the infield in the 1st inning. But Jacque Jones doubled to lead off the 3rd inning and Maine lost his command.
Jason Kendall followed the Jones double with a walk but Ted Lilly bunted the ball too hard and Carlos Delgado threw out Jones at 3rd on a rather bizarre play. David Wright appeared to step on the bag for the force out while Jones slid past the base. But Paul Schrieber did not call the out. Mike Quade tried to get Jones back on the bag but Wright tagged him out for the first out. Alfonso Soriano grounded back to Maine for the second time and both Kendall and Lilly advanced to 2nd and 3rd on the play. Ryan Theriot followed with a slow hit grounder to Jose Reyes. Reyes charged the ball, threw to 1st but Theriot beat it out and Jason Kendall scored. Maine walked Derrek Lee to load the bases for Aramis Ramirez.
Ramirez quickly fell behind in the count 1-2 but ended up working a walk to force in the second run of the game. Maine fell behind Cliff Floyd before hitting him on the leg (very close to where Kyle Lohse hit him on Thursday) to force in another run. Mark DeRosa followed with a single to left that scored Lee and Ramirez then Jacque Jones singled to center to drive in Floyd for the last run of the inning.
Lou Piniella’s crew showed very good patience at the plate early on in the game and that was the difference. They managed just 3 more hits on the afternoon against the Mets bullpen.
Carlos Marmol pitched 1/3 of an inning in relief of Ted Lilly in the 8th. He gave up a walk to Moises Alou that gave the Mets a shot of cutting into the Cubs’ lead. But Marmol struck out Damion Easley on a nasty slider in the dirt to end the threat. Jason Kendall made a great stop on the pitch and tagged out Easley for the out. Bobby Howry worked a perfect 9th and Kerry Wood’s much-anticipated 2007 debut will have to wait another day.
The Cubs will go for the series win in the finale on Sunday night under the lights. Jason Marquis will face Tom Glavine who will be going for his 300th win of his Hall of fame career.