Steppin’ Up

Game One Hundred Fifteen – Cubs 6 Rockies 2
WP – Jason Marquis (9-7) LP – Aaron Cook (8-7) Save – None

wflag.jpg The new look Cubs’ lineup put up double digit hits for the second game in a row led by Jacque Jones, Jason Kendall and Matt Murton. Jones homered for the first time since June 1st while adding a bunt single, a double and 2 RBI’s. Murton hit his 3rd home run of the road trip and his second in as many days to go along with 2 runs scored. Jason Kendall added another 3 hit night and has totaled 6 hits in the first two games of the series. Kendall’s 2-out single in the 3rd turned out to be the difference in the game. The trio totaled 9 of the Cubs’ 12 hits and drove in 5 of the Cubs’ 6 runs on the night.

Jason Marquis pitched a gem. He was in cruise control until he hit Jeff Baker in the head with a pitch in the 7th inning with 2 outs. Marquis gave up 1 unearned run on 5 hits without a walk and 5 strikeouts in 6 2/3 innings. Marquis also added a leadoff double in the 4th and scored the Cubs 4th run on a 2-out double by Jacque Jones. Bobby Howry pitched out of a bases loaded, no-out jam in the 8th inning and allowed 1 inherited run to score. Ryan Dempster pitched a perfect 9th with the last two outs of the game being recorded on solid defensive plays by Derrek Lee and Ronny Cedeno. The Cubs handed Aaron Cook his first loss of the second half and with the win, moved back to 5 games above .500. The Cubs needed a good outing from Jason Marquis and that is exactly what he gave them. Marquis pitched through adversity, errors and an incredibly inconsistent strike zone by home plate umpire Bill Miller. But in Miller’s defense, at least he was inconsistent to both teams. The only hard hit ball for the Rockies came off the bat of Troy Tulowitzki when he doubled in the 4th. Marquis kept the ball down and recorded 11 ground ball outs compared to 4 fly outs. He was also very efficient and could have probably gone deeper in the game if not for hitting Baker. Marquis threw 89 pitches, 61 strikes, and did not allow multiple base runners in the same inning until the 7th. Lou Piniella could have left Marquis in the game but after he hit Baker, Piniella did not have a choice.

Whenever the Cubs start Jason Marquis, they never know what they will get….but on Friday night he gave them one of his best of the year. Marquis worked around a 1-out single by Kaz Matsui in the 1st and retired the Rockies in order in the 2nd inning. Willy Taveras singled with 2 outs in the 3rd but Marquis retired Matsui on a pop up in foul ground to Mark DeRosa.

The only run the Rockies scored with Marquis on the mound came in the 4th. Matt Holliday reached on an error by DeRosa. He advanced to 2nd on a ground out to short by Garrett Atkins. Brad Hawpe struck out but Troy Tulowitzki doubled to left to score Holliday. Marquis struck out Yovit Torrealba to end the inning.

Marquis retired the Rockies in order in the 5th and 6th innings. Brad Hawpe doubled to center to lead off the 7th. Felix Pie took a bad route to the ball and could not make the diving catch. Pie did keep the ball from rolling to the wall. Tulowitzki swung at the 1st pitch and grounded out to short for the first out. Torrealba grounded out to 2nd, Hawpe advanced to 3rd but a fastball got away from Marquis and hit Jeff Baker in the head. The ball knocked Baker’s helmet off and he remained on the ground face down for several minutes. Baker was helped off the field and left the game….reports on ESPN after the game stated Baker has a mild concussion. Lou Piniella then brought in Carlos Marmol.

Marmol had a rough night. He walked Ryan Spilborghs to load the bases but struck out Willy Taveras to end the 7th inning. Marmol remained in the game in the 8th. Matsui reached on a swinging bunt and Holliday followed with an infield single off of Marmol’s glove. He walked Atkins to load the bases with no outs.

Bobby Howry followed and perhaps pitched his best inning of the year. He retired Hawpe on a popup to shallow center to Ryan Theriot. Tulowitzki swung at the first pitch and grounded out to 3rd. DeRosa threw him out at first, Matsui scored and they had runners on 2nd and 3rd with 2 outs. Howry retired Torrealba on a fly out to center.

Ryan Dempster recorded the 27th out on a wild play. Cory Sullivan appeared to ground out to DeRosa to end the game but he threw the ball past Derrek Lee for his second error of the game. A hustling Ronny Cedeno backed up the play and threw a strike to Theriot at 2nd. Theriot applied the tag for the last out.

The Cubs bullpen worked out of bases loaded jams in the 7th and 8th innings and allowed just 1 run.

All 3 runs the Cubs scored in the 3rd were unearned. Jacque Jones led off the inning with a bunt single to 3rd. Derrek Lee followed and grounded to 1st but Baker could not make the throw to 2nd. The ball ended up in the outfield and Jones took 3rd on the error. Matt Murton followed with a tapper toward the mound. Jones got hung up between 3rd and the plate, in a run down and was eventually called out when he left basepath. Mark DeRosa was walked on 4 pitches to load the bases. Mike Fontenot followed with a ground out to 2nd and Derrek Lee scored from 3rd. Jason Kendall followed with a single to center….Murton and DeRosa scored.

Jason Marquis led off the 4th with a double off the base of the wall in straight away center. Theriot flied out but Jacque Jones doubled to left center for the Cubs’ 5th run of the game.

Matt Murton homered to left for his 4th of the season in the 9th.

Friday night was a good win for Lou Piniella and a great win for Jason Marquis.

Rich Hill is scheduled to start the 3rd game of the series against Josh Fogg on Saturday night under the lights.