A Milestone

Game Twenty-One – Cubs 7 Rockies 6 – 10 innings
WP – Kerry Wood (2-0, BS 2) LP – Kip Wells (1-1) Save – Carlos Marmol (2)

wflag.jpgThe Chicago Cubs won their 10,000 game in dramatic, come from behind fashion. Lou Piniella’s crew took a 3-0 lead into the 6th inning behind a very good performance by Rich Hill. The Rockies scored 5 runs in the bottom of the inning with 3 of the runs coming off the first home run of the season by Troy Tulowitzki. Derrek Lee cut the Rockies lead to 5-4 in the 7th and Aramis Ramirez gave the Cubs the lead in the 9th with his 6th home run of the season….a 2-run shot to left.

Kerry Wood struck out the first two batters he faced in the bottom of the 9th but Scott Podsednik reached on a pinch-hit single to left center. Ryan Spilborghs tripled him home to tie the game. Geovany Soto singled to lead off the 10th, Mike Fontenot pinch ran for him and with 2 outs, Ryan Theriot came through with the game winner….a single to right. Carlos Marmol retired the side in order in the 10th for the save.

The Cubs improved to 4-1 in extra inning games, won their 6th in a row and handed Lou Piniella his 100th win as a Cubs manager. In a twist of fate, Kerry Wood was credited with the win….but most importantly, the Cubs improved to 9 games over .500.

The Cubs offense pounded out 15 hits and made the Rockies pitching staff work once again. While all 3 walks were intentional, for the most part, the entire lineup worked the count all night. The Cubs staff threw 165 pitches while the Rockies tossed 192.

Derrek Lee had a huge night. He was 4-for-5 with a run scored, a RBI and his first triple of the year….but he was not alone. Geovany Soto was just a triple short of the cycle. Soto hit his 3rd home run of the season in the 2nd and added a double in the 4th (4-for-5 with a RBI and a run scored). And Soto’s single in the 10th ended up being the winning run. Aramis Ramirez is heating up as well. He has reached base in all 21 games and raised his average to .287 with a 2-for-5 night, Ramirez drove in 3 of the Cubs 7 runs.

Kosuke Fukudome scored the Cubs’ first run of the game. He hit his second triple of the season with 1-out in the 2nd and scored on a sacrifice fly by Mark DeRosa. Geovany Soto followed with a solo home run to left.

The Cubs continued putting runners on base in the 3rd and 4th inning against Franklin Morales but were unable to add to their lead until the 5th.

Derrek Lee tripled to the corner in right with 2 outs and scored on a double to left by Aramis Ramirez….the ball one-hopped the wall. Kosuke struck out looking to end the inning on a very questionable call. That run loomed large after the Rockies took the lead in the 6th.

The Cubs added a run in the 7th. Reed Johnson took one for the team to start the inning. He was hit by a pitch and Ryan Theriot followed with a single to right. Derrek Lee singled to left, Johnson scored….with no outs. With Aramis Ramirez at the plate, Theriot and Lee stole 2nd and 3rd. Ramirez struck out and Fukudome was intentionally walked to load the bases. Mark DeRosa hit a liner to short, Lee was doubled off 2nd to end the inning.

After failing to plate Ronny Cedeno with the tying run in the 8th, the Cubs found themselves down by one going into the 9th against Manny Corpas.

Ryan Theriot popped out for the first out. Derrek Lee then recorded his 4th hit of the game, a single to right center. Lou Piniella pinch ran for Lee with Felix Pie….but it would not matter. Aramis Ramirez came through with his 6th home run of the season to give the Cubs the lead.

Rich Hill deserved the win after turning in a very good outing. Hill has been better, do not misunderstand, but considering the spring and the start he’s had to the season, and the fact he was pitching at Coors Field….Wednesday night had to be a huge lift to his confidence.

Hill left after facing 2 batters in the 6th. He kept the Rockies off the scoreboard for the first 5 innings. Hill walked 4 and stuck out 3 and pitched his way in an out of trouble. After retiring the first two batters to start the game, he gave up a single to Todd Helton and walked Matt Holliday but retired Garrett Atkins on a ground out to 3rd. A well-timed 5-4-3 double play erased a lead off walk to Brad Hawpe in the 2nd.

Hill retired the Rockies in order in 3rd. A very good catch by Kosuke Fukudome in the 4th helped keep the Rockies off the board and Hill threw his best inning in the 5th….a quick, 1-2-3.

Clint Barmes led off the 6th with his second home run of the year. Hill then walked Todd Helton and Piniella made the slow walk to the mound. Michael Wuertz replaced Hill and surrendered a single to center by Matt Holliday. Atkins followed with another single to center, Helton scored to cut the Cubs lead to 3-2. Piniella removed Wuertz and brought in Sean Marshall.

Marshall did his job and struck out Brad Hawpe.

Lou Piniella went to his pen again and brought in Jon Lieber to face Troy Tulowitzki….and the Rockies shortstop deposited his first home run of the year over the left field wall. 5-3 Rockies with one swing of the bat. Lieber retired the next two batters he faced to end the inning.

Jon Lieber sat the Rockies down in order in the 7th and Bobby Howry turned in another perfect inning in the 8th to give the offense a chance at the comeback.

Howry was inline to pick up the win but the 2-out single by Podsednik and the triple by Spilborghs tied the game in the 9th off of Kerry Wood. All three outs recorded by Wood in the 9th were strikeouts. Carlos Marmol picked up his 2nd save of the season with a perfect 10th inning.

Lou Piniella emptied his bench in the win….and almost his bullpen. Kevin Hart was the only reliever not used and Jason Marquis was inserted as a pinch runner in the 10th.

The Cubs showed a lot of character on Wednesday night. It would have been very easy just to give up….and chalk it up as a loss. But they kept hitting and found a way to win.

Jason Marquis is scheduled to start the finale of the 2-game series on Thursday afternoon against Aaron Cook.

Quote of the Day

"You can’t sit on a lead and kill the clock. You’ve got to give the other man his chance. That’s why baseball is the greatest game." - Earl Weaver