Game Twenty-Seven – Cubs 19 Brewers 5
WP – Ryan Dempster (4-0) LP – Jeff Suppan (1-1) Save – None
Lou Piniella’s crew completed the first month of the season by setting a new franchise record for wins in April with 17. The Cubs’ skipper preached all winter about the importance of a fast start and Piniella can now check that off his list. The Cubs offense came out swinging against Jeff Suppan. They plated 6 runs in the 1st inning, 1 in the 3rd, 5 more in the 4th, 1 in the 6th and 6 more in the 8th.
Geovany Soto led the Cubs offense with two 3-run home runs and set a career high with 6 RBI’s with the first multi home run game of his career. Soto became the first Cubs’ catcher since Barry Foote in 1980 to record 2 home runs and 6 RBI’s in one game.
Even in the lopsided win, the Cubs’ newfound patience continued throughout the entire game. The Cubs walked another 9 times on the night to go along with the 17 hits and set a season high with 19 runs scored. The Cubs offense scored at least 5 runs in 3 different innings and the 19-run outburst was their highest single game total since they scored 20 back in 2001.
Ryan Dempster became the first Cubs’ pitcher to start 4-0 at home in the month of April with another solid start. Dempster allowed 3 runs on 4 hits in 6 innings with a strikeout and 5 walks. Bobby Howry surrendered the other 2 runs on a home run by Mike Rivera in the 7th. Carlos Marmol retired the side in order in the 8th with 2 strikeouts and Michael Wuertz recorded the last out of the game.
The Cubs ended April with a bang….but as the cliche goes, the baseball season is a marathon and not a sprint. Time to keep winning games. The Cubs bounced back from Tuesday’s loss with an impressive offensive explosion. The Cubs batted around in three different innings, scored 6 runs in two different innings and 7 of the 17 hits went for extra bases….and Lou Piniella emptied his bench in the bottom of the 6th inning and by the top of the 7th only Mark DeRosa, Felix Pie, Reed Johnson and Ryan Theriot remained from the starting eight.
The difference in the game early on was the entire team did not give into Jeff Suppan. They made him work and for the most part he pitched behind in the count. Reed Johnson started the 1st with a single to left. Ryan Theriot was extremely patient at the plate, worked the count to 3-2 and with Johnson running, singled to center. Derrek Lee followed with a ringing double of the wall in left. Johnson scored but Theriot was held at 3rd for Aramis Ramirez.
Ramirez followed with a double off the wall in left, Theriot and Lee scored to give the Cubs a 3-0 lead. Kosuke Fukudome lined out to left for the first out. Mark DeRosa walked ahead of Geovany Soto’s first 3-run homer of the night. Felix Pie struck out and Ryan Dempster surprised himself with a single to right. Reed Johnson ended the inning he started with a groundout to short.
Jeff Suppan retired the Cubs in order in the 2nd and after the Brewers scored a run in the top of the 3rd, the game looked far from over.
Kosuke Fukudome led off the 3rd with a hustle double off the foot of Jeff Suppan. The ball ricocheted toward Prince Fielder, took a bad bounce and ended up in the right field bullpen. Fukudome hustled all the way out of the box a legged out the double. Mark DeRosa singled to right center to score Fukudome with the Cubs’ 7th run of the game.
The Cubs put the game away in the 4th inning. Ryan Theriot reached on a 1-out single to left. Derrek Lee singled to left center. With runners on 1st and 3rd, Aramis Ramirez hammered a ball to Bill Hall at 3rd, Hall could not handle the smash and Theriot scored on the error. Fukudome grounded out to 3rd, Ramirez was forced at 2nd and Lee advanced to 3rd. Mark DeRosa followed with a single to center to plate Derrek Lee with the Cubs’ 9th run.
Ned Yost lifted Jeff Suppan for Brian Shouse and Geovany Soto took his 1-0 offering over the wall in left. Soto recorded his first multi homer game just a few short days after striking out 8 times in 8 at bats.
The Cubs added a run in the 6th after Ronny Cedeno pinch hit for Derrek Lee and led off the inning with a walk. Daryle Ward hit for Aramis Ramirez and struck out looking. With Fukudome at the plate, Cedeno advanced to 2nd on a wild pitch from Seth McClung and Kosuke Fukudome blooped a single over Rickie Weeks to drive in Cedeno.
Derrick Turnbow took the mound for the Brewers in the 8th and could not find the strike zone. Turnbow allowed 6 runs on 4 hits with 4 walks in 2/3 of an inning with all of the runs coming with 2 outs.
Mark DeRosa walked with 1-out (DeRosa was 2-for-3 with 3 walks, 3 runs scored and 2 RBI’s). Mike Fontenot singled to left but Felix Pie (the only starter without a hit) flied out to right. Matt Murton singled to center, DeRosa scored and Reed Johnson walked to load the bases. Turnbow walked Theriot to force in a run and Ronny Cedeno hit a double to right center that cleared the bases. Piniella said after the game they have to find a place to get Ronny Cedeno playing time. Daryle Ward recorded his second hit of the year, a double to right center that scored Cedeno with the Cubs’ 19th run of the game.
The Cubs’ offense made a statement on Wednesday night.
Ryan Dempster pitched a good game and was especially sharp early on. Dempster retired the Brewers in order to start the game and worked around a leadoff single by Prince Fielder in the 2nd. The Brewers scored a run in the 3rd after Dempster was visibly upset after not getting a strike three call from home plate umpire Tom Hallion on Mike Cameron.
Dempster walked Cameron with 2 outs and then surrendered a single to left center by Ryan Braun. Rickie Weeks scored the Brewers’ first run. Dempster’s command problems in the 5th led to the other 2 runs he surrendered. Dempster gave up back-to-back walks to Jason Kendall and Rickie Weeks with 1-out. Mike Cameron popped out to 3rd but Ryan Braun doubled to left center to drive in both runs.
The Cubs finished the month with an impressive win.
Carlos Zambrano is scheduled to start the rubber game of the series on Thursday afternoon against Yovani Gallardo.