Raise the Flag

Game One Hundred Six – Cubs 5 Phillies 4
WP – Ryan Dempster (2-3) LP – Brett Myers (1-3) Save – None

wflag.jpg The 2007 season hit the homestretch on Wednesday as the calendar flipped to August. Fifty-six games remain on the Cubs’ schedule but with another come from behind victory coupled with a Brewers’ loss, Lou Piniella’s crew moved into first place in the Central Division by percentage points over their rivals to the north. The last time a Cubs’ team was in first place on August 1st was 2001.

Matt Murton scored the winning run with 1-out in the bottom of the 9th inning. Murton led off the inning with a double and advanced to 3rd on Brett Myers’ first wild pitch of the inning. Myers walked Ronny Cedeno and Jacque Jones to load the bases and after striking out Jason Kendall, Myers uncorked his second wild pitch of the inning with Cliff Floyd at the plate that allowed Murton to score the game winner.

Rich Hill had a rough outing. He gave up 4 runs, 3 earned, on 8 hits in 4 2/3 innings of work. His error on the first play of the game allowed the Phillies to take the early lead and he worked out of trouble all evening. Hill drove in the Cubs second run of the game with a single to center in the 2nd. Derrek Lee hit his 29th and 30th doubles of the year and scored 2 runs. Matt Murton was 2-for-4 with a RBI and Ronny Cedeno was 1-for-4 with a run scored and a RBI. Jacque Jones doubled home a run in the 3rd and made a great catch to rob Tadahito Iguchi of a leadoff single in the 9th. Lou Piniella once again pulled all the right strings and his crew improved to 8 games over .500 for the first time this season.

What a 9th inning…. After loading the bases and failing to score in the 8th, Matt Murton led off the 9th with solid hit into left center. Jason Werth was inserted into left for defensive purposes at the beginning of the inning and the ball found him on the first play. Werth appeared to make a diving catch, the ball was in his glove but when he hit the ground, the ball popped out and Murton slid head first into 2nd with a double. Ronny Cedeno attempted to sacrifice him to 3rd but Brett Myers threw a wild pitch during the at bat that advanced Murton to 3rd and Myers eventually walked Cedeno. Jacque Jones was intentionally walked to load the bases with no outs. Charlie Manual brought his infield and outfield in. Jason Kendall struck out for the first out of the inning. Piniella sent Cliff Floyd to the plate for Ryan Dempster and on the second pitch of the at bat, Myers threw his second wild pitch of the inning that allowed Murton to score from 3rd.

The Cubs’ offense finally put up good numbers against a southpaw. They scored 4 runs on 9 hits in 5 innings off of Jamie Moyer. Derrek Lee was hitless in the first two games of the series (0-8) before he doubled to left center with 2 outs in the 1st inning. Mark DeRosa walked and Matt Murton hit a soft liner past the diving Jimmy Rollins at short to drive in Lee with the Cubs’ first run.

Jason Kendall doubled to right center with 1 out in the 2nd and scored on a single to center by Rich Hill, his 3rd RBI of the season and a proud Ron Santo took full credit. Alfonso Soriano singled to left but Mike Fontenot hit into a 4-6-3 double play to end the inning.

Derrek Lee led off the 3rd with his 30th double of the season to left. DeRosa struck out and after a 10-pitch at bat by Matt Murton, he flied out to center. Ronny Cedeno stepped in and singled to left center. Aaron Rowand tried to throw out Lee at home. He missed the cut off man and that allowed Cedeno to advance to 2nd base. Jacque Jones followed with a double down the left field line that scored Cedeno.

The Cubs offense managed just a lead off double by Mark DeRosa in the 5th, a 2-out single by Soriano in the 6th and a walk by Murton in the 7th until the 8th inning. Soriano walked with 2 outs in the 8th. He appeared to be picked of 1st by J.C. Romero but Ryan Howard’s throw to Jimmy Rollins was high and Soriano slid in under the tag. Lou Piniella made a rare move that paid off. Mike Fontenot was at the plate when Soriano stole 2nd and had a 1-1 count. Piniella decided to pinch-hit with Ryan Theriot in the middle of the at bat. Theriot worked a walk. Soriano stole 3rd without a throw with Derrek Lee at the plate but he walked to load the bases Mark DeRosa popped out to right to end the inning.

The Cubs scored 4 of their 5 runs with 2 outs.

Rich Hill barely made it out of the 1st inning and could not complete the 5th. Chris Roberson reached on Hill’s error in the 1st, Roberson hit a ball in front of the plate, Hill picked it up and attempted to throw him out at 1st. The ball got by Derrek Lee and Roberson advanced to 2nd base. Tadahito Iguchi followed with a single to right and Hill hit Jimmy Rollins to load the bases. Larry Rothschild made a visit to the mound. Hill settled down, struck out Ryan Howard on three pitches and Aaron Rowand looked at strike three. A wild pitch by Hill allowed Roberson to score the game’s first run. Pat Burrell walked to reload the bases and Carlos Ruiz popped out to 1st to end the inning.

Rich Hill did a good job with limiting the damage. He threw 27 pitches in the 1st inning….17 were for strikes.

Hill struggled through the 2nd but worked around a leadoff single by Abraham Nunez. He retired the Phillies in order in the 3rd, the first and only time the Phillies went in order with Hill on the mound.

Hill pitched around a leadoff double by Pat Burrell in the 4th….it was only the third hit allowed by Hill to that point. But Hill would not be on the mound to complete the 5th.

Iguchi doubled to center to lead off the 5th. Rollins reached on a single to left that scored Iguchi. Ryan Howard followed with a double to right center. Rollins scored to cut the Cubs lead to 4-3. Jones’ throw from center missed Theriot and Fontenot but Derrek Lee made a nice barehanded pick up and threw out Howard at 3rd….that would turn out to be a big play and possibly the difference in the game. Aaron Rowand followed with a home run to left center. After a 2-out walk by Ruiz, Nunez was walked but Moyer lined out to center to end the inning.

Scott Eyre threw 1 1/3 innings in relief after Rich Hill left the game with 2 outs in the 5th inning. Carlos Marmol pitched a scoreless 7th and Bobby Howry did the same in the 8th….but Ryan Dempster loaded the bases in the 9th.

Jacque Jones made a web gem like catch to take at least a leadoff single away from Iguchi. But Rollins singled to center. Dempster struck out Howard then walked Aaron Rowand (after he appeared to strike him out) and Burrell to load the bases with 2 outs. Ruiz hit into a 6-4 fielder’s choice to end the inning. Dempster threw 32 pitches in the 9th….17 where strikes.

Some of the Faithful waited after the game to see the Cubs flag put above the Brewers flag for the first time this season. This was a good team win against a very good Phillies team.

Sean Marshall is scheduled to take the mound on Wednesday afternoon against the newly acquired Kyle Lohse in the series and season finale against the Phillies.

Quote of the Day

"People who write about Spring Training not being necessary have never tried to throw a baseball." – Sandy Koufax