A Capitalizing ‘W’

Game One Hundred Fifty-Four – Cubs 13 Pirates 8
WP – Scott Eyre (2-1) LP – Franquelis Osoria (0-2) Save – None

wflag.jpg Lou Piniella’s crew took advantage of several miscues by the Pittsburgh Pirates and beat them at their own game. Neither starting pitcher made it through the 3rd inning and the two teams combined to score 14 runs in the first three frames. The Cubs bullpen took over for Jason Marquis with 2 outs in the 3rd and allowed only 2 runs to cross the plate in the last 6 1/3 innings of the game. Will Ohman allowed an inherited run to score in the 3rd and Ryan Dempster gave up a solo home run to Xavier Nady in the 9th. Six relievers allowed a total of 1 run on 4 hits with 4 walks and struck out 9.

Alfonso Soriano hit his 11th lead off home run of the year, his 5th of the month and 29th of the season tied the game at 1 on the first pitch from Paul Maholm. Aramis Ramirez hit two 3-run home runs, drove in 6 and his second home run of the day was the difference in the game. Geovany Soto hit his 3rd home run since September 1st, a 2-run shot in the 5th. Derrek Lee was 3-for-5 with a RBI and 3 runs scored. Lee hit the 300th double of his career in the 2nd inning. The Cubs offense scored 8 runs after Pirates’ mistakes and kept tacking on with the wind blowing out.

Each starter recorded at least one hit, the offense totaled 16 on the afternoon and tied a season high with 13 runs scored. With the win the Cubs tied a season-high mark of 8 games over .500, they have won 9 of 12 and remain in first place in the division by a game and a half.

It was a wild Friday afternoon at the old ballpark. Even a recording of Harry Caray singing the 7th inning stretch was used by Dutchie Caray….Friday was the 10-year anniversary of the last time Harry sang “Take Me Out to the Ballgame” at Wrigley. The players on the field responded with an afternoon the Faithful had been waiting all summer for. The Cubs offense carried the team to victory on a day their starter just did not have it.

Jason Marquis had his worst outing of the year. He lasted just 2 2/3 innings and gave up 7 runs on 8 hits with 2 walks and a strikeout. Marquis struggled from the first pitch of the game. The Pirates scored a run in the 1st inning on just 1 hit. Nyjer Morgan and Nate McLouth both stole a base and after an intentional walk to Adam LaRoche, Xavier Nady drove in the first run of the game on a soft grounder to 3rd the Cubs were unable to turn an inning ending double play on. The Pirates scored another run in the 2nd after a double by Cesar Izturis. Nyjer Morgan singled him in but Geovany Soto threw him out at 2nd to end the inning. Geovany Soto continues to be impressive both behind the plate and with his bat.

The Pirates scored 5 runs in the 3rd after McLouth started the inning with a single to center. LaRoche doubled to right, Jose Bautista double to left, Ronny Paulino singled to tie the game and Izturis tripled.

Former Cub, Cesar Izturis had a big game against his old team before leaving with an injury. Izturis was 2-for-2 with a double, a triple, 2 runs scored and a RBI. Izturis’ triple in the 3rd gave the Pirates a 6-5 lead and ended Marquis’ day. Paul Maholm drove in Izturis with a bunt over Will Ohman to drive in the last run of the game for the Pirates….it was a very unusual play.

Kevin Hart started the 4th. He retired the first two batters on strike outs before issuing 2 walks. With LaRoche and Nady on, Bautista flied out to right center to end the inning….it was the first inning Cubs’ pitching did not allow a run. Hart then retired the Pirates in order in the 5th, the first time on the afternoon. Scott Eyre retired 3 of the 4 batters he faced to get the win. Carlos Marmol worked out of a jam in the 7th with 2 strikeouts.

Kerry Wood did a tremendous job in the 8th. Wood was very sharp. He showed good control and retired the Pirates in order. Ryan Dempster gave up the home run to Xavier Nady in the 9th.

On a day Marquis simply “did not have it”, it was a good thing the bullpen did.

The Cubs offense scored early and often Friday…. 4 in the 1st, 1 in the 2nd, 2 in the 4th, 5 in the 6th and 1 in the 7th. After Soriano led off the game with a home run. Mark DeRosa was hit by a pitch and Derrek Lee singled. Aramis Ramirez followed a monster home run that ended up landing across Waveland and rolling onto Kenmore.

Derrek Lee doubled with 2 outs in the 2nd and scored on a throwing error by Izturis. Lee made a good slide at the plate to avoid the tag.

Geovany Soto led off the 3rd with a single to left. Craig Monroe followed with another single to left. Ryan Theriot then hit what appeared to be a routine fly to left, the wind caught it and blew it into the ivy….just short of the basket. The runners held, Theriot ended up with a single and the bases were loaded. Ronny Cedeno pinch hit for Will Ohman and delivered a single to right center. Soto scored by Quade held Monroe at 3rd. Jim Tracy lifted Maholm for Franquelis Osoria.

Osoria retired Soriano on an infield fly and DeRosa struck out. Osoria then uncorked a wild pitch behind Derrek Lee and Monroe scored the tying run. Lee flied out to the track in right center to end the inning. Osoria did not allow any runs in the 4th or 5th innings.

Soriano led off the 6th with a single to left. DeRosa lined out to short and Derrek Lee hit what appeared to be an inning ending, 6-4-3 double play. Matt Kata picked the grounder at the hole at short, threw to Freddy Sanchez but he took his eye off the ball and dropped it….everyone was safe. Aramis Ramirez stepped in and took a 1-0 offering from Osoria over the left field wall. Tracy brought in John Grabow to face Matt Murton.

Murton followed with a single to the hole at short. Geovany Soto then homered to left….it was a wind blown shot.

With 2 outs in the 7th, Mark DeRosa reached 2nd after an infield single to 3rd and a throwing error by Bautista. Derrek Lee then singled to left, DeRosa scored. Aramis Ramirez stepped in and appeared to hit his 3rd of the game, but it ended up being a long fly out to the track in left.

Friday was a good, all-around team win….and in late September, is there anything better?

Rich Hill is scheduled to face Zach Duke on Saturday afternoon in game two.

Quote of the Day

"And if I have my choice between a pennant and a triple crown, I'll take the pennant every time." - Carl Yastrzemski
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