Scratching Out a Win on Getaway Day

Game Twelve – Cubs 6 Phillies 5 – 10 innings
WP – Kerry Wood (1-0) LP – Rudy Seanez (0-1) Save – Bobby Howry (1)

wflag.jpgIn the end it was the Cubs defense that ended up being the difference in the finale against the Phillies. Derrek Lee made a game saving play to force extra innings after Kerry Wood and Ryan Theriot turned in a gem for the first out in the 9th. Then in the 10th, Ronny Cedeno made a solid play on a grounder off the bat of So Taguchi to end the game with the tying and winning runs on base.

Jason Marquis did exactly what a number five pitcher in any rotation is supposed to do….he kept his team in the game and gave them a chance to win. Marquis was not sharp but he was effective. He pitched his way in and out of trouble in the early innings and it was actually the Phillies’ overly aggressive hitters that kept them from adding to their lead. Marquis gave up 2 runs on 4 hits with 5 walks and 2 strikeouts in 5 innings.

Michael Wuertz blew the save and surrendered 3 runs on 4 hits in the 6th without recording an out. Sean Marshall allowed an inherited runner to score but otherwise he did his job. Carlos Marmol struck out Pedro Feliz to end the 6th and retired the Phillies in order in the 7th. Kerry Wood gave up a hit, a walk and hit a batter in his 2 innings of relief but did not allow a run and picked up his first win of the season. Bobby Howry surrendered a 2-out double in the 10th to Chase Utley and after an intentional walk to Ryan Howard, retired Taguchi on the ground ball to Cedeno for his first save of the year.

For all the deficiencies that have surfaced over the first two weeks of the season for the Cubs to be 7-5 and to finish a 6-game road trip with a 4-2 record is an accomplishment all in its own.

The Cubs were very opportunistic on Sunday afternoon in Philadelphia. They took advantage of a miscue by Geoff Jenkins and an error by Chase Utley….considering the ball did not bounce the Cubs way in the first two games, it was good to see the Cubs receive a couple of breaks.

The Cubs were down 1-0 when Henry Blanco led off the 3rd inning with a single to left. Jason Marquis popped up the sacrifice bunt attempt for the 1st out and Blanco made it safely back to 1st base. Alfonso Soriano followed with a solid single to left. Reed Johnson then singled to left, Pat Burrell bobbled the ball and Blanco scored to tie the game….Mike Quade was waiving Blanco in the whole time, Burrell’s bobble just made it a little easier on Hank White.

Derrek Lee worked the count to 2-2 and then popped a ball down the right field line. Geoff Jenkins short armed the ball and did not make the catch….in his defense, this is Jenkins’ first season in Philly. Lee took ball three from Jamie Moyer before doubling over Jayson Werth’s head in straight away center….both Soriano and Johnson scored to give the Cubs a brief 3-1 lead. Aramis Ramirez flied out to right and Kosuke Fukudome grounded out to 1st to end the inning.

The Cubs added a run in 6th on a controversial call. Mark DeRosa was given a home run after a ball he hit down the left field line was ruled fair and not foul. The Cubs received a break as replays showed the ball was indeed foul. Charlie Manuel argued and was ejected from the game, but he had every right to dispute the call.

After the Phillies took the lead in the bottom of the 6th, the Cubs offense was quieted until the 8th inning.

Kosuke Fukudome struck out to start the 8th, but Mark DeRosa walked to start the rally. Piniella went to his bench and brought in Ronny Cedeno to pinch run for DeRosa. Ryan Theriot followed with a solid single to left. With runners on 1st and 2nd with 1-out, Jimy Williams went to his bullpen for southpaw J.C. Romero after Felix Pie was announced as the pinch hitter for Henry Blanco.

Once Williams brought in Romero, Piniella lifted Pie for Geovany Soto. Ronny Cedeno stole 3rd but Theriot held at 1st with Soto at the plate. With Piniella’s reaction to the play, the assumption was made that he called for a double steal. Soto then blooped a single into right field on a check swing. With the go ahead run in scoring position, Daryle Ward struck out and Alfonso Soriano flied out to right to end the inning.

After escaping the bottom of the 9th, Ronny Cedeno led off the 10th with a walk. Theriot sacrificed him to 2nd and Soto walked to put runners on 1st and 2nd….only 1-out. With Piniella out of position players he went to his bench for Carlos Zambrano. Zambrano pinch hit for Kerry Wood and grounded the first pitch he saw to short. Eric Bruntlett shoveled to Chase Utley but the throw to 1st was wide, Ryan Howard could not scoop and Ronny Cedeno scored the eventual winning run.

Geovany Soto made a good hard slide into Utley….but did Carlos Zambrano’s reputation for always playing hard figure into Utley rushing his throw?

It looked early on that the Phillies would sweep the Cubs in Philadelphia for the first time since July of 1999. Jason Marquis struggled with his command but the Phillies managed only 1 run in the first 4 innings….when it should have been a lot more.

Marquis hit Jayson Werth with 1-out in the 1st inning. Chase Utley singled to right and both moved up 90′ on a double steal….Henry Blanco’s glove actually broke on the play. Marquis could not find the strike zone against Ryan Howard and after falling behind 3-1, Piniella had the 4th ball thrown intentionally wide to load the bases. Pat Burrell followed with a sacrifice fly….1-0, Phillies. Pedro Feliz flied out to left center to end the inning and after loading the bases with only 1-out, Marquis allowed only the one run.

The Phillies loaded the bases again in the 2nd inning but came away empty. Chris Coste walked to start the inning, advanced to 2nd on a passed ball and went to 3rd on a groundball to Ryan Theriot off the bat of Eric Bruntlett….Theriot held the ball too long. Jamie Moyer sacrificed Bruntlett to 2nd but Geoff Jenkins popped out on the first pitch to Theriot in short left. Marquis walked Werth to load the bases. With 2 outs and the bases loaded….Chase Utley swung at the first pitch and flied out to left to end the inning.

Jayson Werth led off the 5th with a home run to left center for the Phillies other run off of Marquis.

The Phillies took advantage of the first bad outing of the year by Michael Wuertz. Eric Bruntlett homered to lead off the 6th and before Piniella could get Sean Marshall loose, the Phillies tied the game on a single by Jayson Werth. Chase Utley drove in the go ahead run on a sacrifice fly off of Marshall. Ryan Howard flied out and Carlos Marmol struck out Pedro Feliz, after walking Pat Burrell, to end the inning….Bill Welke was squeezing the plate.

The 9th inning was very interesting and featured an excellent defensive play and a spectacular one.

Kerry Wood started the 9th by issuing a 4-pitch walk to Pat Burrell. With the game tied, So Taguchi pinch ran for Burrell. Pedro Feliz tried to sacrifice him into scoring position but Wood picked up the ball with his bare hand and threw a strike to Ryan Theriot covering 2nd to force Taguchi….it was a gusty play by Wood and an excellent stretch by Theriot. Wood hit Greg Dobbs to put the winning run in scoring position.

Wood struck out Eric Bruntlett for the second out and then Derrek Lee robbed Carlos Ruiz of a possible game winning RBI (Fukudome was positioning himself for a throw to the plate). Lee made an incredible play on a hard hit grounder and beat Ruiz to the bag to end the inning.

Sunday’s win was not pretty, the Cubs did not play fundamentally sound baseball for the entire game….but once again they pulled out a win in a game they probably would have lost a year ago. The Cubs are now 3-1 in extra inning games, with all three wins coming on this road trip.

The Cubs fly back to Chicago for an off day on Monday before starting a big 3-game series on Tuesday night against Dusty Baker and the Cincinnati Reds. Ryan Dempster is scheduled to face Aaron Harang in the opener.

Quote of the Day

"A day without laughter is a day wasted." - Charlie Chaplin

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