Game One Hundred Twenty – Cubs 12 Reds 4
WP – Jason Marquis (10-7) LP – Bobby Livingston (3-3) Save – None

wflag.jpg Lou Piniella’s crew finally figured out how to beat the pesky Cincinnati Reds at Wrigley Field….just out hit them. The Cubs pounded out a season-high 20 hits, highlighted by 8 doubles but the game was a lot closer than the final score indicates. The Cubs scored 4 runs in the 1st inning to take an early lead but the Reds tied the game with a 4-run 2nd inning of their own and if not for a base running mistake by Ken Griffey, Jr., it may have been a lot worse. The Cubs took the lead in the 4th inning after a 1-out double by Ryan Theriot and an RBI single by Mark DeRosa, but it was a 7-run, 7th inning that provided the margin of victory. Mark DeRosa had a career day at the plate; he was 5-for-5 with 4 RBI’s and 2 runs scored while starting the day at 2nd base and finishing it in right field. Jacque Jones and Aramis Ramirez had 4 hits apiece and Ryan Theriot was 3-for-4 with a walk, 3 runs scored and 2 RBI’s.

Jason Marquis ended the Cubs 4-game losing streak and picked up his first back-to-back win since May. Marquis struggled in the 2nd inning and appeared to be heading for another short outing. He pitched his way in and out of trouble in the first 3 innings before settling down and retiring 9 of the last 12 batters he faced. The Cubs defense turned in another solid effort behind Marquis. He allowed 4 runs on 7 hits with 4 walks and 2 strikeouts in 6+ innings. The Cubs bullpen, led by Scott Eyre and the big league debut of Carmen Pignatiello, rebounded from a horrible outing on Wednesday night and did not allow a run in the final 3 innings. While the Cubs won for just the 5th time in their last 15 games, they picked up a game in the standings and set the stage for a very interesting weekend at the old ballpark.

Has Lou Piniella’s crew finally figured out how to hit lefties? The Cubs offense picked up where they left off on Wednesday and their 2-day production off of lefties was very impressive….14 runs on 19 hits. They scored 4 runs on 4 doubles in the 1st inning and sent 11 to the plate in the 7-run 7th inning.

Ryan Theriot continues to make a case to remain at the top of the lineup once Alfonso Soriano returns. Theriot once again had a big game out of the lead off spot and led off the game with a walk. Mark DeRosa followed with a double over the 3rd base bag, Theriot scored from 1st. Derrek Lee was robbed of an extra base hit by Griffey (Lee was the only starter to not record a hit in the game), DeRosa tagged and advanced to 3rd. Aramis Ramirez took the first pitch from Livingston into right center for a double. Jake Fox followed with a double to left to score Ramirez….his first career big league RBI. Matt Murton flied out to right center but Jacque Jones just missed a home run to left and doubled off the wall to score Fox.

Ryan Theriot jump started the offense and scored the eventual winning run in the 4th. He doubled to right center with 1 out. Mark DeRosa then singled up the middle and Mike Quade attempted to hold up Theriot at 3rd….but The Riot ran through the stop sign and scored with a nice slide at the plate.

Aramis Ramirez led off the 7th with a single to center. Mike Fontenot flied out to center for the first out. Matt Murton worked the count to 3-2 and with Ramirez running, Murton singled to right and Ramirez advanced to 3rd. Mike Stanton replaced Gary Majewski to face Jacque Jones. Jones hit a liner up the middle off of Stanton’s leg, Ramirez scored. Koyie Hill reached on a bloop single to right to load the bases. Stanton walked Jason Kendall on 4 pitches to force in Murton from 3rd. Ryan Theriot then doubled to left center to score Hill and Jones. Mark DeRosa followed with a single to center to complete his perfect game at the plate….Theriot scored and DeRosa advanced to 2nd on the throw from Josh Hamilton. Aramis Ramirez followed with his second hit of the inning, a double to left but Mike Fontenot made his second out of the inning and struck out for the third out.

Jacque Jones singled in the 8th for the Cubs 20th hit of the game….

Jason Marquis did what Lou Piniella needed, he gave his skipper innings and was effective enough to pick up the win. Marquis made a bad habit all afternoon of retiring the first two batters in the inning and then surrendering either a hit or a walk to the next batter he faced. He pitched from behind in the count and caused Ron Santo on several occasions to say, “Here we go again.” To say Santo was very frustrated early in the game with Marquis’ performance would be an understatement.

Marquis pitched around a 2-out single by Griffey in the 1st inning. It was the 2nd inning he barely got out of. The Cubs offense gave Marquis a nice 4-run lead in the 1st inning but Adam Dunn hit Marquis’ second pitch over the right field wall. Marquis then walked Scott Hatteberg on 4 pitches. Javier Valentin flied out to left center. Edwin Encarnacion followed with a double to left. With runners on 2nd and 3rd, Marquis quickly got ahead of Bobby Livingston, 0-2, but ended up walking him to load the bases. Marquis then hit Josh Hamilton to force in Hatteberg from 3rd. Jeff Keppinger then reached on an infield single to the hole at short. Ryan Theriot made a great diving stop to keep the ball on the infield and kept more than 1-run from scoring. Griffey appeared to hit Marquis’ next pitch over the right field wall but it hit off the top of the ivy and bounced away from Jake Fox. Jones picked the ball up and tossed it into Mark DeRosa but Griffey was not paying attention to the runners in front of him and ended up being tagged out by Derrek Lee for the second out of the inning. The runners had held to make sure the ball was not caught….it was a bad baserunning play by Griffey but the Reds coaches should shoulder a lot of the blame. Brandon Phillips grounded out to Ramirez to end the inning.

Marquis retired the Reds in order for the first time in the 4th. Griffey led off the 5th with a double to left. Brandon Phillips was robbed of a hit and a RBI by Mark DeRosa….he made a highlight-reel-diving catch. Adam Dunn lined out to 1st but Marquis walked Hatteberg. Jones made a nice running catch in left center to take away a hit from Valentin to end the inning.

Marquis recorded his second 1-2-3 inning in the 6th but walked Jeff Keppinger to start the 7th, up by just 1 single run. Piniella went to the pen for Scott Eyre.

Eyre retired Griffey on a fly out to right center. He ran the count to 3-2 on Brandon Phillips before striking him out but Keppinger was running with the pitch….and Koyie Hill completed the double play….strike ’em out and throw ’em out. That was a big turning point in the game.

Carmen Pignatiello made his Major League debut in the 8th. He gave up a lead off single to Adam Dunn but retired the next 3 batters he faced, including his first career strikeout….Scott Hatteberg. Ryan Dempster pitched the 9th and gave up a walk and a single with an 8-run lead.

The Cubs won their 2nd game of the season against the Reds at Wrigley….they still have 6 more against the Reds including the last 3 of the season at Great American Ball Park.

The Cubs have a big 4-game series against the Cardinals starting on Friday….in case you have not heard. Rich Hill will start game one against Braden Looper.

Quote of the Day

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