Game Five – Cubs 9 Astros 7
WP – Kevin Hart (1-0) LP – Roy Oswalt (0-2) Save – Kerry Wood (2)
Lou Piniella’s offense had a big day against one of the best pitchers in the National League. Everyone got into the act, and even the outs late in the game were productive. The Cubs scored 5 runs in a 28-minute 7th inning sparked by a 2-out, game tying single by Derrek Lee and a 2-out, 2 run double by Kosuke Fukudome. Lee finished the day 4-for-4 with a double and his second home run of the year. Fukudome added another impressive day in the field and at the plate. He was 2-for-4 with a run scored, 2 RBI’s and a perfectly placed bunt single in the 6th that led to a run. The Cubs offense scored a season high 9 runs on 14 hits with 4 doubles, a triple and a home run.
Jason Marquis was effective but struggled with his command. He pitched his way in and out of trouble in his 5 1/3 innings of work. Marquis surrendered 5 runs, 4 earned, on 8 hits with 2 strikeouts and a walk. Kevin Hart picked up the first win of his big league career. Bobby Howry was roughed up again and gave up a pair in the 8th before Carlos Marmol came in and shut the door on an Astros’ rally. Kerry Wood retired all 3 batters he faced in the 9th for the save. After missing several opportunities early in the game, the Cubs offense appeared to get more and more comfortable as the game went on. The Cubs hit the ball extremely hard against Roy Oswalt early but left runners on base in the first 5 innings.
Geovany Soto tripled with 1-out in the 2nd inning and scored on a 2-out double to right by Jason Marquis. Derrek Lee hit his second long ball of the year in the 3rd for the Cubs’ second run of the game. The Cubs put runners on in the 4th and 5th innings but a double play and a bad baserunning decision by Jason Marquis kept the Cubs from cutting into the Astros lead.
The Cubs were down 5-2 in the 6th inning but were able to cut into the Astros’ lead with a manufactured run.
Derrek Lee led off the inning with double to the right field corner. Aramis Ramirez popped out to center but Kosuke Fukudome came through with a beautiful bunt single to 3rd base. The Astros’ defense was not expecting it and was so confused they could not make a play. Lee advanced to 3rd and scored on a passed ball by Brad Ausmus. Without Fukudome’s fundamental play, the Cubs would not have scored the gift run.
The Cubs offense granted Ron Santo’s request in the bottom of the 7th. Ryan Theriot led off with a walk and advanced to 2nd on a pitch-hit infield single to the hole at short by Mike Fontenot. Alfonso Soriano grounded out to 3rd but it was a productive out, both runners advanced. Reed Johnson stepped in and drove in his first run as a Cub with a ground out to short….Fontenot advanced to 3rd on the play.
Derrek Lee then delivered a single to left that scored Fontenot with the tying run. Roy Oswalt departed and then the game got very exciting.
Oscar Villarreal walked Aramis Ramirez and Cecil Cooper went back to his pen for rookie southpaw Wesley Wright. With the go ahead run in scoring position, Kosuke Fukudome put together a tremendous at bat. He took two very close pitches from Wright to work the count to 3-1. The crowd started chanting FU-KU-DOME and after a couple of foul balls he came through with a double to left….Lee and Ramirez both scored after Carlos Lee misplayed the ball. Dome-AY ended up at 2nd and after a balk scored on a double by Mark DeRosa.
The Cubs batted around in the 7th with an impressive 5-spot on the scoreboard without the benefit of a home run.
The Astros cut the lead to 8-7 in the 8th but Ronny Cedeno reached on a 1-out bloop single to right center. Soriano grounded out to 3rd on the first pitch of the at bat. Cedeno advanced to 2nd and scored on a single to left by Reed Johnson….the ninth and final run of the day.
Jason Marquis had trouble with his command and elevated his pitches all afternoon. The Cubs defense turned three double plays with him on the mound….two of them were started by Marquis. Carlos Lee took advantage of Marquis’ command and hit a double and a home run. A great running catch in right center by Kosuke Fukudome in the 6th kept the Astros from adding to their lead.
Kevin Hart took over for Marquis in with 1-out in the 6th and struck out both Ty Wigginton and Mark Loretta to end the inning. Hart gave up a 2-out triple to Michael Bourn in the 7th but retired Hunter Pence on a fly out to right to end the inning.
Bobby Howry replaced Hart in the 8th and struggled once again. Howry allowed 2 runs on 3 hits in 1/3 of an inning. Darin Erstad led off with a single to right and advanced to 3rd on a double by Carlos Lee. Miguel Tejada grounded out to 2nd, Erstad scored and Lee advanced to 3rd on the play. Geoff Blum pinch-hit for Tomas Perez and singled to center to cut the Cubs’ lead to 8-7. Piniella made the slow walk and brought in Carlos Marmol.
With the tying run on 1st, Marmol retired Loretta on a fly out to right and Ausmus on a ground out to 3rd. Kerry Wood was perfect in the 9th. He retired the Astros in order on 12 pitches, 8 strikes, for his second save of the year.
Derrek Lee and Kosuke Fukudome led the Cubs to a much-needed come from behind victory….2-3 sounds a lot better than the alternative.
Carlos Zambrano will pitch for the second time on the young season on Sunday. The Cubs will try to even their record against Brandon Backe.