Z Crooked Numbers

Game Thirty-Eight – Cubs 12 Padres 3
WP – Carlos Zambrano (6-1) LP – Randy Wolf (2-3) Save – None

wflag.jpgFor the first time this season Randy Wolf allowed a run in the 1st inning after a 1-out single by Ryan Theriot and a opposite field double by Derrek Lee. The Cubs loaded the bases but were not able to add to their lead. Wolf settled down, retired 9 of the next 10 batters he faced and found himself with a 2-1 lead to start the bottom of the 5th inning.

Carlos Zambrano turned in a very good outing but it was his bat that jump-started the offense. Zambrano led off the 5th with a double to right center and scored on Alfonso Soriano’s 4th home run of the year. The Cubs offense scored 4 more runs in the 5th and 5 runs in the 6th while batting around in both innings. The Cubs continued to show a lot of patience at the plate, walked 9 times on the night to go along with 13 hits and tied a season high with 6 runs in the 5th. Five different Cubs recorded at least two hits on the night. The Cubs have scored at least 5 runs in an inning 13 different times this season….10 of those at Wrigley, tops in the big leagues. After 38 games, the Cubs have scored 223 runs, best in the Majors.

Carlos Zambrano allowed 3 runs on 6 hits in 7 innings with 5 strikeouts and 2 walks. Zambrano was very sharp early on and retired the Padres in order in the first two innings on just 19 pitches. Zambrano finished the night throwing only 96 pitches, a much-improved mark than in years past. Big Z also added hits from both sides of the plate.

With the win, Lou Piniella’s crew improved to 8 games over .500 and took over sole position of first place in the Central by a full game over the Cardinals.

After jumping on Randy Wolf in the first inning with a very good game plan, the Cubs looked like they would put the game away early. Ryan Theriot had a great game and reached on a 1-out single to right. Derrek Lee followed with a double down the right field line that plated Theriot with the first run of the game. Each of the first 6 hitters in the lineup hit Wolf’s outside pitch the opposite direction. Wolf issued back-to-back walks to Kosuke Fukudome and Geovany Soto to load the bases. But Mark DeRosa lined out to left to end the inning.

The Cubs managed only one base runner over the next 3 innings against Randy Wolf, a 2-out walk to Mark DeRosa in the 4th.

Carlos Zambrano doubled off the base of the wall in right center to start the 5th. Alfonso Soriano followed with a 2-run home run to left center. Ryan Theriot (2-for-3 with 2 walks and 3 runs scored) walked. Derrek Lee singled to left and Aramis Ramirez blooped a single into right center that plated Theriot with the Cubs’ fourth run. The first five in the inning reached….and they were not done.

Kosuke Fukudome walked to load the bases. Geovany Soto came through with a single to center that plated both Lee and Ramirez….and ended Randy Wolf’s night. Mark DeRosa greeted Sean Henn with a single to left off of Kevin Kouzmanoff’s glove….Fukudome scored. Reed Johnson grounded into a 4-3 double play and Carlos Zambrano struck out swinging to end the inning.

Alfonso Soriano led off the 6th with a double to the corner in left. Ryan Theriot walked but Derrek Lee struck out looking. Aramis Ramirez received a 4-pitch walk from Henn to load the bases. Kosuke Fukudome walked to force in Soriano with the Cubs eighth run of the game.

With the bases loaded, Mark DeRosa worked the count to 3-2. Lou Piniella started the runners and DeRosa hit a hot shot down the 3rd base line. Kevin Kouzmanoff made a good play on the ball but tried to beat Aramis Ramirez to the bag. Ramirez slid in safe before Kouzmanoff could record the putout and the young 3rd baseman tried to make an off balance throw across the diamond to get DeRosa at 1st. The throw was to the right field side of the bag. Adrian Gonzalez could not haul it in and the errant throw cleared the bases….

DeRosa advanced to 2nd on the error and scored on a single to center by Reed Johnson. Carlos Zambrano singled to center (from the left side) and with runners on 1st and 3rd with 2 outs, Soriano flied out to right center to end the inning.

11 runs in 2 innings….

Lou Piniella emptied his bench to start the 7th and by the 8th inning only Kosuke Fukudome and Ryan Theriot remained in their starting positions.

Early on it looked like Carlos Zambrano would be unhittable but a leadoff single in the 3rd by Scott Hairston erased that idea. Zambrano retired Josh Bard on a line out to right for the first out. Randy Wolf popped up a bunt but it landed before Aramis Ramirez could get to it. Ramirez made an off-balance throw to second and Theriot made a good scoop to save an error. Zambrano then walked Jody Gerut on 4 pitches.

Zambrano showed discomfort after throwing a pitch to Tadahito Iguchi. Geovany Soto and Derrek Lee went to the mound and were soon joined by Mark O’Neal, Larry Rothschild and Lou Piniella. Zambrano stayed in and gave up a single to Iguchi on a 3-2 pitch that tied the game at one.

Jody Gerut stepped in with 2 outs in the top of the 5th and gave the Padres a brief lead. Gerut deposited a 2-0 pitch from Zambrano onto Sheffield Avenue.

The Padres third run came in the 7th after a leadoff infield single by Kahlil Greene. Scott Hairston grounded into a 6-4 force. Josh Bard grounded out to 1st on a great play by Derrek Lee but Hairston advanced to 2nd on the play. Edgar Gonzalez (older brother of Adrian) stepped in for his first Major League at bat and delivered a single to center that plated Hairston. Zambrano walked Gerut but Iguchi grounded out to short to end the inning….and Big Z’s outing.

Scott Eyre and Bobby Howry gave up 4 hits in the last 2 innings of the game with no walks allowed.

Lou Piniella said before the game how important it was for the Cubs to keep it going against the Padres….and for at least one night they did.

Jason Marquis is scheduled to face former Cub, Shawn Estes in game two of the series on Tuesday night.

Quote of the Day

"Don’t ever permit the pressure to exceed the pleasure." - Joe Maddon