Game One Hundred Eighteen – Cubs 5 Reds 6
WP – Aaron Harang (12-3) LP – Carlos Zambrano (14-9) Save – David Weathers (23)
Lou Piniella’s old team handed his current crew their 6th loss of the season in their 10 head-to-head match-ups. The Cubs spotted the Reds a 4-0 lead by the 4th inning but kept battling back all night. They scored 5 runs in the last 5 innings and had the tying run on base in the 8th and 9th inning. Matt Murton flied out to the warning track in left for the 2nd out in the 9th and after a 2-out walk to Jason Kendall, Mike Fontenot flied out to Norris Hopper in right field with his back against the ivy.
The Cubs found their power stroke against Aaron Harang, but nothing else. The Cubs managed just 4 hits off of Harang in 7+ innings and 3 of them were home runs. Derrek Lee and Aramis Ramirez both went deep in the 4th, only the second time this season the Cubs hit back-to-back home runs, and Jacque Jones became the first Cub to hit a ball onto Sheffield Avenue this year with his 4th of the season in the 6th.
Carlos Zambrano lost back-to-back games for the first time this season with his 3rd loss of the year to the Reds. He allowed 6 runs and tied a season high with 13 hits allowed. Zambrano walked 2 and for the second time this year did not record a strikeout. The Cubs dropped their 3rd game in a row and with the loss fall to 2 games above .500. After dominating the Reds the last time he faced them in Cincinnati, Carlos Zambrano struggled against the Reds once again. If it were not for bad baserunning plays from Ken Griffey, Jr. and Javier Valentin, the Reds offense would have scored a lot more than they did. The first 4 hitters in the Reds lineup were 10-for-18 on the night with 4 runs scored, 4 RBI’s and a walk. And it was Brandon Phillips that scored the winning run after being hit by a pitch from Zambrano in the 7th with a 0-2 count. Phillips stole 2nd and scored on a 2-out single to left by Scott Hatteberg.
Zambrano gave up a single to Josh Hamilton and walked Jeff Keppinger to start the 3rd inning. Griffey followed with a double but was thrown out by Jacque Jones trying to stretch it into a triple. Brandon Phillips then reached on an infield single….the Reds 4th hit in a row before Adam Dunn popped out to Jason Kendall and Hatteberg grounded out to 2nd.
Javier Valentin and Edwin Encarnacion singled to lead off the 4th. Aaron Harang sacrificed them to 2nd and 3rd. With the infield back, Hamilton broke his bat on a ground out to 2nd, Valentin scored. Keppinger then singled to left to plate Encarnacion. The Reds 5th run of the night came in the 5th.
Brandon Phillips doubled to lead off the 5th. Zambrano retired both Dunn and Hatteberg on pop outs to shallow center but Javier Valentin blooped a single into left center, Phillips scored and Kendall threw out Valentin trying to advance to 2nd.
Zambrano retired the Reds in order once, the 2nd inning.
Aaron Harang pitched the way a team’s ace is expected to. He retired the first 11 he faced, struck out 7, hit a batter and walked 1….the last batter he faced in the 8th. Derrek Lee homered into the basket in right center in the 4th and broke up the perfect game Harang was throwing at the time. Aramis Ramirez followed with his 17th of the season to left and the Cubs did not manage another hit off Harang until the 6th. Jacque Jones hit his 4th onto Sheffield and then Matt Murton recorded the 4th and final hit of the night off of Harang in the 7th. Harang hit Mark DeRosa with 2 outs in the 7th. With Murton at the plate, Harang uncorked a wild pitch, DeRosa advanced to 2nd and scored on Murton’s single to center past a diving Jeff Keppinger.
Harang walked Mike Fontenot to lead off the 8th, the last batter he faced. Pete Mackanin went to his pen for Jared Burton. Ryan Theriot grounded out to 2nd, Fontenot was forced but Theriot was safe at 1st. Jacque Jones struck out for the second out of the inning but Theriot stole 2nd on strike three. Derrek Lee followed with a very good at bat and singled to right to plate Theriot….the Cubs were down by only 1 run.
Mackanin went to his pen once again and brought in David Weathers to face Aramis Ramirez. Ramirez walked and Derrek Lee became the tying run. Piniella then tried to call time with Daryle Ward at the plate but the umpiring crew did not see him. Weathers threw strike one to Ward and a livid Piniella finally got home plate umpire, Randy Marsh’s attention and substituted Ronny Cedeno for Ramirez at 1st….it did not matter, Ward popped out to center on the next pitch to end the inning.
The Cubs managed 5 hits on the night.
Ted Lilly will try to right the Cubs’ ship on Wednesday night against a fellow lefty, rookie Phil Dumatrait.