Game One Hundred Fifty-One – Cubs 7 Reds 6
WP – Will Ohman (2-4) LP – David Weathers (2-6, BS 6) Save – None
A walk, a single, a 2-run game tying triple, an intentional walk and a walk off single….the only thing missing was Harry Caray shouting at the top of his lungs, “Cubs Win! Cubs Win!” The Cubs were down by 2 runs in the bottom of the 9th when Ryan Theriot stepped in against David Weathers. Theriot worked the count to 3-2 before fouling off two pitches and eventually drawing a walk. Derrek Lee followed with only his second hit in 20 at bats against Weathers, a single to right. Aramis Ramirez then tripled just over the glove of a diving Norris Hopper into right center, both Theriot and Lee scored to tie the game. Sam Fuld pinch ran for Ramirez and the Reds intentionally walked Daryle Ward. With no outs and the winning run on 3rd, Pete Mackanin brought Hopper in from the outfield for a 5th infielder. Mark DeRosa completed his perfect night at the plate with a single up the middle off the glove of David Weathers and past a diving Brandon Phillips with the game winner. Wrigley exploded, the entire team rushed the field and a very joyous Carlos Zambrano hoisted DeRosa in the celebration.
The job the Cubs’ bullpen did in the final 3 innings will be lost in the incredible comeback on Monday night. Kevin Hart shutdown the Reds offense and did not allow them to keep tacking on runs. Hart gave up just 1 hit in 2 scoreless innings of relief and Will Ohman pitched a perfect 9th with a strikeout to earn the win.
Cliff Floyd and Mark DeRosa hit back-to-back home runs in the 3rd inning and Jacque Jones tied the game in the 5th with a RBI single. Aramis Ramirez was 2-for-4 with 2 RBI’s and a run scored. DeRosa tied a career high with a perfect 5-for-5 at the plate.
The Cubs unbelievable comeback put a great ending on a rather ugly game. Lou Piniella’s team never quit and the emotion and enthusiasm shown at the end of the game was truly priceless. The Cubs are 7 games over .500 on the season and maintained their 1-game lead in the central division. The bottom of the 9th inning more than erased the other 8 innings of the game. It was a remarkable comeback sparked by all things….a walk. Those pesky leadoff walks that have cost the Cubs game after game over the years finally sparked a Cubs’ comeback when this team needed a win to remain in sole possession of first place. Ryan Theriot has taken a lot of heat from sites such as this, as well as the mainstream media, in recent days but he stepped up big when his team needed him the most. Theriot found a way to get on base in front of the guys that are paid to drive runs in. Theriot took several close pitches from David Weathers and made him throw his second strike before he ever swung the bat. Theriot walked on the 8th pitch of the at bat.
The Cubs offense continued to hit the ball very well against Reds’ pitching but they struggled to get those runners in. They left 5 on base in the first 4 innings and 11 total for the game. Those runs must start scoring. The offense did hit at least one home run for the 11th game in a row, a new season high. Cliff Floyd hit his 9th of the year in the 3rd inning after a 2-out walk to Aramis Ramirez. Mark DeRosa followed with his 10th of the year that gave the Cubs a brief 3-1 lead.
In the 5th, Norris Hopper made a great catch at the wall in straight away center to rob Aramis Ramirez of an extra base hit. Derrek Lee had walked and until the 9th, that play looked like it would be the difference in the game. After Floyd popped out, DeRosa singled to left. Jacque Jones followed with a single to right, Lee scored and DeRosa ended up at 3rd after Ken Griffey’s throw hit him. Kendall followed with a pop out to 2nd base. The Cubs had runners on 1st and 3rd three different times in the first 5 innings….but all is well that ends well.
Rich Hill was very sharp at the beginning of the game. At one point he struck out 4 in a row and finished with 7 on the night. Bronson Arroyo started 2 of the 3 run scoring innings by the Reds. After Arroyo’s hit in the 5th, Hill was never the same. He allowed only 1 run in the first 3 innings and worked out of a jam in the 4th with 2 timely strikeouts. Bronson Arroyo led off the 5th with a single to left. Norris Hopper reached on bunt single and moved to 2nd on an error by Derrek Lee. Jeff Keppinger (3-for-4, a home run shy of the cycle with 2 runs scored and 2 RBI’s) singled of the wall in left, Arroyo scored. Brandon Phillips singled to center with 1-out and Hopper scored to tie the game. With the go ahead run on 3rd, Adam Dunn appeared to hit into an inning ending double play but he beat out Theriot’s throw and Keppinger scored. Lou Piniella argued, then removed Hill for Michael Wuertz. Wuertz gave up a single to Encarnacion but struck out Jorge Cantu to end the inning.
Bronson Arroyo blooped a single into right on a check swing with 1-out in the 6th. Hopper grounded out to short….Arroyo was forced at 2nd. With Keppinger at the plate, Hopper took off for 2nd. Keppinger blopped a single to center, Jacque Jones could not make the diving catch and Hopper scored all the way from 1st….Keppinger reached 2nd and was given a double. Piniella made the slow walk and replaced Wuertz with Scott Eyre.
Ken Griffey (8-for-23 with 4 home runs against Eyre before Monday) followed with a single to right center. Keppinger scored and the Reds were up by 2.
Kevin Hart was very impressive and gave his team a chance at the comeback. Will Ohman had his best outing in months. Ohman retired Ken Griffey, Brandon Phillips and Adam Dunn in order in the 9th on 9 pitches, 8 for strikes.
Monday was a very big win….regardless of the month.
The Cubs will turn to their ace Carlos Zambrano on Tuesday night. The Reds are scheduled to start Cy Young candidate, Aaron Harang.