Winning with the Longball

Game One Hundred Forty-Eight – Cubs 3 Cardinals 2 – Game One
WP – Kerry Wood (1-1) LP – Ryan Franklin (4-4, BS 5) Save – Ryan Dempster (27)

wflag.jpg Lou Piniella’s crew won their 4th in a row in come from behind fashion. In the first 7 innings, the Cubs’ offense managed just 1 run on 3 hits against Braden Looper and were down 2-1 in the 8th. Cliff Floyd walked to start the 8th against Cardinals’ reliever Ryan Franklin. Alfonso Soriano worked the count to 3-2 before depositing his 26th of the year into the stands in left field.

Ted Lilly gave up 2 runs in the 1st inning on a day when he did not have his best stuff. Lilly did not surrender another run in the last 5 innings he pitched and gave his skipper another quality start. Kerry Wood pitched a perfect 7th to earn his first career win out of the bullpen and his first big league victory since May 29, 2006. Carlos Marmol faced the heart of the Cardinals lineup and threw a scoreless 8th with a walk and a strikeout. Ryan Dempster rebounded from his struggles on Friday night with an impressive 9th inning. Dempster retired all 3 batters he faced with 2 strikeouts.

The Cubs won the all-important first game of the day-night doubleheader and improved to 6 games over .500 on the year while handing the Cardinals their 9th loss in a row. The Cubs won a very big game when they were not at their best. They appeared to be sleep walking through the game but Alfonso Soriano stepped up with his 8th home run in his last 17 games. It was only the Cubs fourth hit of the game and came at the right time.

While Soriano gave the Cubs enough runs to win the game, once again the Cubs’ pitching staff threw a great game. Ted Lilly had problems with his location and rarely threw his breaking ball but did everything he could to keep his team in the game. Both runs the Cardinals scored came in the 1st inning with 2 outs. Albert Pujols singled to left, Ryan Ludwick walked and Jim Edmonds doubled off the right field wall.

Lilly worked around two errors and both started off innings. Miguel Cairo led off the 2nd with what appeared to be a pop out to Derrek Lee down the right field line. Lee missed the ball for his 5th error of the year. Braden Looper sacrificed him to 2nd and Ryan Theriot threw out Brendan Ryan at 1st on a very close play for the second out. Aaron Miles grounded out to 3rd to end the inning.

Lilly retired the Cardinals in order for the first time in the 3rd. Yadier Molina singled with 1-out in the 4th….the Cardinals 3rd hit. Cairo popped out to DeRosa in foul ground but Looper singled to center with 2 outs. Lilly retired Ryan on a ground out to 2nd to end the inning.

Jim Edmonds led off the 6th with a routine fly out to left. Soriano lost the ball in the sun, was charged his 6th error of the year and Edmonds ended up at 2nd. Molina sacrificed him to 3rd. Miguel Cairo popped out to Lee in foul ground on the 1st pitch of the at bat….a huge turning point. Lilly struck out Looper to end the inning and his outing….Lilly pitched well enough to win but Braden Looper did as well.

Kerry Wood retired the Cardinals in order in the 7th. Albert Pujols stepped in against Carlos Marmol to start the 8th with his team down by a run….Pujols flied out to center. Rick Ankiel struck out but the ball was in the dirt and got away from Geovany Soto. Soto threw a strike to Derrek Lee to get Ankiel by a half a step. Jim Edmonds walked but Molina flied out to left to end the inning….Marmol threw only 12 pitches.

Ryan Dempster got back up on the proverbial horse. Dempster threw strikes, kept the ball down and worked quickly. He threw 16 pitches, 11 for strikes and struck out 2 of the 3 batters he faced, including Chris Duncan to end the game when he made a surprising appearance.

The Cubs other run of the game came in the 2nd inning after a lead off walk by Mark DeRosa. Geovany Soto followed with a double off the base of left field wall. Mike Fontenot hit a sacrifice fly to left center that drove in DeRosa.

The Cubs will start Sean Marshall in game two against Joel Pineiro.