Pitching, Defense and Clutch Hitting

Game Fifty-Two – Cubs 3 Dodgers 1
WP – Sean Gallagher (2-1) LP – Hiroki Kuroda (2-4) Save – Kerry Wood (12)

wflag.jpgLou Piniella’s crew won the second game of a series for the first time since May 10th on a cold night in Chicago. Sean Gallagher pitched a very good game and turned in the longest outing of his brief big league career. Gallagher held the Dodgers to 1 run on 4 hits over 7 innings. Despite committing 2 errors on the night, the Cubs defense was the difference in the game, especially Kosuke Fukudome. The Cubs’ right fielder turned in a tremendous diving catch in the 6th inning and caught a ball off the bat of Juan Pierre in the 8th that appeared destined to roll all the way to the ivy.

The Cubs offense hit the ball hard early in the game against Hiroki Kuroda but due to the weather conditions they turned into routine fly balls. The Cubs managed only 5 hits off of Kuroda through the first 6 innings and a failed sacrifice bunt attempt helped keep them off the board until the 7th.

Ryan Theriot hit for Sean Gallagher and reached on the Cubs’ second botched sacrifice bunt attempt. Alfonso Soriano worked the count to 3-2 before advancing Theriot to 3rd on a single to left. Blake DeWitt could not handle a slow roller in the hole off the bat of Mike Fontenot and Theriot scored from 3rd to tie the game at 1. After a sacrifice fly by Derrek Lee to right advanced Soriano to 3rd, Aramis Ramirez worked a full count, the third of the inning, before lining a single to center that plated Soriano with the go ahead run. Kosuke Fukudome then doubled down the left field line and Fontenot scored the Cubs third and final run of the night.

Carlos Marmol pitched his way in and out of trouble in the 8th. Marmol loaded the bases with only 1 out but struck out James Loney and retired Matt Kemp on a ground out to short to end the inning. Kerry Wood allowed a hit in the 9th but struck out two of the four batters he faced for his 12th save of the season.

With the win the Cubs improved to 10 games over .500 and are 21-8 at Wrigley Field.

Sean Gallagher showed a lot of poise and confidence on the mound Tuesday. On a night where runs were few and far between, Gallagher kept his team in the game and made the late inning comeback possible. Lou Piniella mentioned in his post-game press conference that Gallagher did a very good job but that he still has a couple of things to work on. Piniella stated Gallagher is “showing us he wants to stay in the rotation.

Piniella sounded a little frustrated when he was asked about the lack of execution on the failed bunt attempts (three total on the night). He said, “We’re going to work on our bunting tomorrow,” and he finished by saying he has already told the coaches to be prepared to do so. Carlos Marmol’s wildness in the 8th inning was also addressed and Piniella said he is going to have to rest Marmol a little more than he planned….and that he is going to stay away from using Marmol for 2 innings at a time for a while.

The Cubs offense pounded out 11 hits against Dodgers’ pitching. Failed bunt attempts coupled with running themselves out of innings early in the game kept them off the board until the 7th inning.

Hiroki Kuroda retired the first 6 batters he faced on just 15 pitches (2 innings) and it appeared the Cubs were determined to get the game over as soon as possible. But they became more and more patient at the plate as the game wore on. The Cubs made both Kuroda and Jonathan Broxton work in the 7th inning and scored all 3 of their runs with a good mixture of patience and a Dodgers’ error….two of the three runs were scored with 2-out hits by Aramis Ramirez and Kosuke Fukudome.

Sean Gallagher took advantage of the weather conditions and pitched to contact. The Cubs defense turned in play after play. The only run he allowed came in the 4th inning.

Derrek Lee robbed Luis Maza of an extra base hit and after a solid play by Kosuke Fukudome held Andre Ethier to a single, Geovany Soto threw him out trying to steal 2nd base. James Loney reached on a 2-out single to left past a diving Ronny Cedeno. A wild pitch advanced Loney to 2nd and Gallagher walked Matt Kemp. Blake DeWitt followed with a single to left. Alfonso Soriano’s throw was off line, hit Loney and both runners advanced to 2nd and 3rd on the throwing error. Gallagher reached back and struck out Chin-lung Hu to end the inning.

Gallagher retired the Dodgers in order in the 5th and 6th innings and finished his night by sitting down 9 of the last 10 batters he faced.

The Cubs put together an impressive come from behind win….on Kosuke Fukudome Bobblehead night.

Carlos Zambrano is scheduled to face an old nemesis in the finale on Wednesday night. The Cubs’ new-found patience at the plate will be tested by the sinker of Derek Lowe.

Quote of the Day

"There are places I remember. All my life though some have changed. Some forever not for better. Some have gone and some remain. All these places have their moments ... " John Lennon/Paul McCartney