Game Seventeen – Cubs 13 Pirates 1
WP – Jason Marquis (1-0) LP – Tom Gorzelanny (1-2) Save – None
For the second time in the last 7 days, the Cubs set a new season high in runs scored as they moved to 5 games over .500 for the first time on the young season. The Cubs offense clicked on all cylinders and Jason Marquis turned in his best performance since last May. Derrek Lee put the Cubs on the board with his 7th home run of the year, a 2-run shot in the 1st inning and the Cubs plated runs in 5 of the 8 innings. Daryle Ward recorded his first hit of the season, a 2-run homer in the 7th that capped the Cubs scoring.
Lou Piniella’s offense also set a season high in walks with 10 as they actually scored more runs than they recorded hits. Ryan Theriot had a big day with a 2-for-4 performance with 3 runs scored and a walk. Kosuke Fukudome reached base in 3 of his 5 trips to the plate with 2 runs scored and a stolen base. Ronny Cedeno turned in an excellent 12-pitch at bat in the Cubs’ 4-run 3rd inning that helped add two runs. The patience at the plate the offense displayed on Saturday afternoon reflected in the final score.
Jason Marquis looked comfortable on the mound and showed very good command in his 6 innings of work. Marquis threw first pitch strikes to a majority of the batters he faced, kept the ball down and allowed only 1 run on 6 hits with 7 strikeouts and 1 walk. Lou Piniella needed production from the backend of his rotation and on consecutive days he received it.
Mark DeRosa led off the 2nd inning with walk. Geovany Soto worked the count to 3-2 and with DeRosa running doubled to left. DeRosa scored the third run of the game. The 3rd inning is when the Cubs put the game away and chased Gorzelanny from the mound.
Aramis Ramirez reached with a 1-out walk and advanced to 3rd on a single to right by Kosuke Fukudome. Mark DeRosa singled to left, Ramirez scored. With Geovany Soto at the plate, Lou Piniella called for a double steal. Fukudome and DeRosa executed it perfectly, although a good throw might have gotten Kosuke at 3rd. Ryan Doumit threw the ball into left field, Fukudome scored and DeRosa advanced to 3rd. Soto popped out to 2nd with the infield in for the second out.
Ronny Cedeno stepped in and quickly fell behind the count 0-2. Cedeno worked the count to 2-2 against Gorzelanny and then on the next pitch, he uncorked a wild pitch. DeRosa scored from 3rd. The 12th pitch of the at bat was ball 4….Cedeno looked like a big leaguer for the first time during that at bat. Jason Marquis followed with a double to right and the fleet footed Cedeno scored from 1st. Cedeno’s at bat changed the inning and ended up chasing Gorzelanny from the game. Patience is good….
The Cubs put the game out of reach in 6th inning. With the score 7-1, Ryan Theriot singled to right with 1-out. Daryle Ward walked and so did Aramis Ramirez….on 4 pitches. The ‘On Base Machine’ walked on 4 pitches to force in Theriot from 3rd. Mark DeRosa then hit a sacrifice fly to plate Ward and Soto walked to reload the bases. Ronny Cedeno followed with a single to right, Ramirez and Fukudome scored and the Cubs were up 11-1.
Daryle Ward’s 2-run homer in the 7th after a walk to Ryan Theriot accounted for the final 2 runs of the game.
To say Jason Marquis turned in a great game would be an understatement. The only mistakes he made was giving up 3 singles in the 1st and 2nd innings with 2 outs. Marquis appeared in control of both himself and his pitches all afternoon. He also displayed very good command. When Geovany Soto would ask for the ball down, Marquis would hit the glove and when he asked for it up or away, he would do the same.
Reports after the game indicated Derrek Lee left in the 6th inning with a stiff neck but should be in the starting lineup on Sunday.
The Cubs must get the rotation right in order to not burn out the bullpen by June. Outings like Saturday are necessities for success. Lou Piniella’s crew clicked on all phases of the game on Saturday.
The Cubs will look for their fifth win of the homestand on Sunday. Ryan Dempster is scheduled to face another one of the Pirates very talented southpaws in Zach Duke. A sweep of the Bucs would be a great way to get ready for Ron Santo’s favorite team’s arrival to Chicago.