That’s More Like It

Game Three – Cubs 6 Brewers 3
WP – Ryan Dempster (1-0) LP – Dave Bush (0-1) Save – Kerry Wood (1)

wflag.jpgWho would have thought a week ago that Ryan Dempster would record the first win of the season? Ryan Dempster made his first start in nearly three years and responded with a very impressive outing. The Brewers scored two runs off the Cubs’ former closer in the 1st inning, one was unearned, and then Dempster shut down the very dangerous Brewers’ offense. Dempster allowed only 2 runs, 1 earned, on 3 hits with 5 strikeouts and a walk in 6 innings. Carlos Marmol surrendered the Brewers third run of the day in the 8th. Kerry Wood bounced back from his bad outing on Monday and struck out Jason Kendall looking for the 27th out….his first career save.

Lou Piniella’s offense had a solid afternoon at the old ballpark. Aramis Ramirez hit his first home run of the year, Alfonso Soriano drove in a pair with a walk and a single and the Cubs offense totaled 6 walks against Brewers pitching. Kosuke Fukudome finished his first series in the majors with a 1-for-2 day with a double, 2 walks, 2 runs scored and a stolen base. The Cubs also ran a little on Jason Kendall, they swiped a total of 4 bases on the afternoon.

The game did not start off on a positive note. The boo-birds made a very early appearance after a walk, a double and a sacrifice fly plated 2 runs for the Brewers. Ryan Dempster walked Rickie Weeks to start the game. Dempster then gave up a double to Tony Gwynn, Jr. that put runners on 2nd and 3rd with no outs. Prince Fielder stepped in and hit what appeared to just be a sacrifice fly.

Kosuke Fukudome caught the ball and threw home. The ball took a weird hop and Geovany Soto had put himself in position to catch the throw and tag out Weeks. But when the ball hopped over his head, Weeks plowed over Soto, knocking him to the ground. The ball got away and Gwynn scored all the way from 2nd base. Fukudome was charged with an error and it looked like the Cubs were on their way to starting the season 0-3.

Dempster, however, righted the proverbial ship and shut down the Brewers offense. The Brewers could not add to their lead as Dempster kept them off the board and gave his struggling offense a chance to make a comeback.

Carlos Marmol was very effective once again out of Lou Piniella’s pen. He retired the Brewers in order in the 7th but did allow the run in the 8th after giving up a lead off double by Rickie Weeks. With 1-out and the Fielder-shift on, the Brewers’ first baseman singled off of Mark DeRosa’s glove in shallow right field….Weeks scored. But Marmol retired the next two batters he faced to end the inning.

Kerry Wood quickly recorded the first 2 outs in the 9th before giving up a single to Craig Counsell. Wood fell behind Jason Kendall 3-0 before battling back and retiring Kendall on his second strikeout of the inning.

The Cubs offense finally got on the board in the 2nd inning without hitting a home run. Aramis Ramirez started the inning with a walk. Kosuke Fukudome hit a double over Ryan Braun’s head in left and Mark DeRosa singled to left past Bill Hall to plate Ramirez. Fukudome advanced to 3rd on the play and scored on a sacrifice fly to center by Geovany Soto.

Felix Pie singled to put runners on 1st and 2nd with 1 out but Ryan Dempster could not lay down a bunt and Alfonso Soriano grounded out to short to end the inning.

The Cubs typically over aggressive lineup broke a 2-2 tie in the 4th without a hit. Fukudome walked to leadoff the inning. He stole 2nd ahead of Dave Bush hitting Mark DeRosa. Soto walked to load the bases….with no outs. Both Felix Pie and Ryan Dempster struck out. Alfonso Soriano walked to force in the go ahead run but Ryan Theriot grounded out to end the inning.

The Cubs tacked on another run in the 5th. Aramis Ramirez led off the inning with his first dinger of the new season. And they added 2 more in the 6th after a 1-out, pinch-hit double by Mike Fontenot. Alfonso Soriano followed with his first hit of the year, Fontenot scored. Soriano quickly stole 2nd and scored the Cubs last run of the day on a double to right by Ryan Theriot.

Whatever Lou Piniella said after Wednesday’s game worked….there was an entirely different team on the field on Thursday afternoon. Fly the flag!

The Cubs open a 3-game series on Friday against the Houston Astros at Wrigley. Rich Hill is scheduled to face Chris Sampson.

Quote of the Day

"Build up your weaknesses until they become your strong points." – Knute Rockne