Game One Hundred Fourteen – Cubs 10 Rockies 2
WP – Ted Lilly (13-5) LP – Ubaldo Jimenez (1-2) Save – None
Lou Piniella reportedly met with his team before Thursday night’s game and apparently what he said worked. After scoring just 5 runs in the 3-game series in Houston the Cubs offense bounced back with a 10 run, 16-hit performance and for one night cooled off the very hot Colorado Rockies. The usually sure-handed Rockies defense committed two errors in both the 1st and 2nd innings that led to the first two runs of the game for the Cubs. After grabbing the early lead the entire team appeared to relax and just play the game. Jacque Jones was 4-for-5 and drove in 3 of the first 4 runs of the night. Jones tied a season-high with 4 hits and 4 RBI’s. Felix Pie doubled twice in his return to the starting lineup. Both Mark DeRosa and Jason Kendall were 3-for-5 with 2 runs scored while Matt Murton hit his 3rd home run of the season in the 3rd inning.
Ted Lilly won his 13th game of the year with a solid 6-inning performance on a season-high, 127 pitches. Lilly allowed just 2 runs on 5 hits with 5 strikeouts and 5 walks. The Cubs defense turned in a solid performance behind Ted Lilly led by two game changing plays by Mike Fontenot and Matt Murton. Fontenot made a sliding catch in foul ground that retired Matt Holliday in the 1st inning and Murton threw out Yovit Torrealba trying to stretch a single into a double to lead off the 2nd inning. Lou Piniella’s crew ended their 4-game losing streak and picked up a half game in the Central Division standings.
Ryan Theriot led off the game with a single to center. He advanced to 3rd on a wild pickoff attempt at 1st base by Ubaldo Jimenez. Jacque Jones followed with a single to center for the first run of the game.
Jason Kendall singled to center with 1-out in the 2nd inning. With 2 outs, Ted Lilly drew a walk after a 7-pitch at bat. Ryan Theriot appeared to ground out to 3rd but Garrett Atkins charged the ball and it went under his glove into left field. Kendall scored from 2nd on the error with Lilly and Theriot advancing into scoring position. Jacque Jones followed with a double to left over the out-stretched glove of Matt Holliday….more runs with 2 outs.
Matt Murton led off the 5-run 3rd inning with a home run to left field. Mark DeRosa singled to right and scored on Mike Fontenot’s 4th triple of the year. With the infield in, Kendall singled to left to score Fontenot and he advanced to 3rd on a double to right by Felix Pie. Clint Hurdle lifted Jimenez for Taylor Buchholz. Ryan Theriot followed with a sacrifice fly to center and Jacque Jones singled to center for his 4th RBI of the game.
Mark DeRosa singled to left with 1-out in the 4th inning. He scored on Jason Kendall’s 1st triple of the season to left center. The Cubs offense did not manage another run after the 4th and left a total of 7 on base. Of their 16 hits, 6 were for extra bases….1 home run, 2 triples and 3 doubles.
Ted Lilly gave his team exactly what they needed, another quality start and a win. Lilly struggled with his command early in the game in large part due to the incredibly small strike zone of home plate umpire Ed Montague. Lilly was around the plate all night and made just one mistake….a solo home run by Jeff Baker in the 2nd inning. The Cubs did receive a gift before the game when neither Todd Helton nor Willy Taveras were in the starting lineup.
Lilly’s start might not have been textbook but it was more than effective. Lilly worked out of trouble all night and had runners to deal with in the first 5 innings he pitched, Lilly did not record a 1-2-3 inning until the 6th inning.
The Rockies 2nd run came in the 5th inning after a 1-out walk to Matt Holliday. Atkins singled to left center and Ryan Spilborghs hit a sacrifice fly to center to score Holliday.
Kerry Wood pitched a scoreless 7th inning. He did not give up a hit, walked two and struck out 2 on 17 pitches, 8 strikes. Carlos Marmol pitched a perfect 8th and Bobby Howry recorded the 27th out with a strikeout of Clint Barmes. Lou Piniella’s bullpen threw 3 scoreless innings of relief and did not give up a hit with 5 strikeouts.
Lou Piniella’s crew needed a solid win on the road against a very good team….and that’s exactly what they got.
Jason Marquis is scheduled to start the second game of the series on Friday night against Aaron Cook.