Game Twenty-Eight – Cubs 3 Brewers 4
WP – Brian Shouse (2-0) LP – Kerry Wood (2-1, BS 3) Save – Eric Gagne (9)
The Cubs gave one to the Brewers on Thursday afternoon at the old ballpark, plain and simple. Carlos Zambrano was once again very effective on a day he did not have his best stuff. The Cubs’ ace held the Brewers to just 1 run, a solo home run by Ryan Braun, on 7 hits with 2 walks and 3 strikeouts in 6 1/3 innings. Zambrano even put the first run of the game on the board for his team in the 3rd inning. Zambrano’s opposite field home run was the 13th of his career and tied him with Ferguson Jenkins for the most round trippers by a Cubs’ pitcher. Zambrano appeared to be on his way to his 5th win of the year after the Cubs plated 2 runs in the 6th and Carlos Marmol setup the save for Kerry Wood.
For the second time in two games against the Brewers, Wood hit Craig Counsell with his first offering to start the 9th. Gabe Kapler followed with a double over Alfonso Soriano’s head on a 1-2 pitch. Soriano badly misplayed the ball and his fear of the wall was on full display. With the tying runs in scoring position, Jason Kendall singled up the middle but Ryan Theriot kept the ball in the infield and preserved the lead. Wood walked Rickie Weeks to load the bases with no outs. Mike Cameron struck out but Ryan Braun doubled to right center to give the Brewers the lead. Weeks was thrown out at the plate for the second out of the inning….but the damage was done and Felix Pie grounded into a 6-4-3 double play in the bottom of the inning to end the game.
Lou Piniella was not happy. After taking out his frustrations on what appeared to be a water cooler. Piniella was visibly upset in his post game press conference. When asked if he thought about moving Reed Johnson to left when Pie came into the game. Piniella replied with, “Your damn right I thought about it. Do you think I’m stupid or something? God darn it.”
While it was just the first game in May….it was the toughest loss of the season for Lou Piniella’s crew. The Cubs offense continued to put runner after runner on base and they made the Brewers pitching staff work. While the defense committed two other errors and Ryan Theriot committed one of the Cardinal sins of baseball by making the first out of the inning at 3rd base. The Cubs outplayed the Brewers….except for the one inning.
The Cubs other two runs came in the 6th inning. Ryan Theriot reached on his third hit of the game, a single to right. Derrek Lee reached on an infield single to the hole at short but a weak throw by Craig Counsell got away from Rickie Weeks. Theriot took off for 3rd and was thrown out by Prince Fielder. Lee advanced to 2nd on a head’s up base running play.
Aramis Ramirez reached on the first walk issused by Yovani Gallardo. Kosuke Fukudome followed with a swinging bunt down the 3rd base line and the bases were loaded for Mark DeRosa. Lee scored on a sacrifice fly to left by DeRosa that broke the 1-1 tie. Geovany Soto doubled to left on a 0-1 pitch from Gallardo. Ramirez scored easily but Fukudome was called out at the plate. Replays showed Fukudome slid under the tag of Jason Kendall and the home plate umpire was out of position to make the right call. Piniella argued but the out stood and when all was said and done, the Cubs could have used the run.
Kosuke Fukudome and Geovany Soto hooked up on a great play to end the top of the 6th. Bill Hall singled to right and Prince Fielder headed to the plate with what would have been the go ahead run. Fukudome threw a one-hop strike and Soto took the hit from Fielder, held his ground and tagged him out to end the inning.
Alfonso Soriano was 0-for-4 in his return to the lineup…with 3 groundouts to the left side of the infield.
The Cubs do not face the Brewers again until a 4-game series at the end of July. Get ready because the gloves will be off by then….if both teams are still in the thick of the race like most think they will be.
The Cubs open a big 3-game series in St. Louis on Friday night. Rich Hill will face Adam Wainwright in the opener. The Cubs will enter play with an upset manager, hopefully a little ticked off….and a 1/2 game back of the Cardinals.