Game Thirty-Two – Cubs 3 Reds 5
WP – Johnny Cueto (2-3) LP – Ryan Dempster (4-1) Save – Francisco Cordero (5)
It’s not too often a pitcher loses a game without giving up an earned run but that is exactly what happened to Ryan Dempster on Monday night. Dempster was the victim of two errors….one by Mike Fontenot in the 1st inning that led to 3 runs and the other by Mark DeRosa in the 3rd inning that led to an Adam Dunn 2-run homer, the difference in the game. Dempster pitched a good game but was not able to get out of the trouble the miscues put him in. Despite pitching a very good game, Dempster is still winless at Great American Ball Park.
The Cubs defense actually turned in two very good plays on the night. A tremendous catch by Felix Pie in the 5th robbed Ken Griffey, Jr. of home run #598. Ryan Theriot also made a fine stab on a ball in the 6th off the bat of Edwin Encarnacion.
The Cubs offense struggled once again and could not reach their magic number. Geovany Soto hit his 6th home run of the year to put the Cubs on the board in the 2nd inning. Soto continued swinging a hot bat and recorded 3 of the Cubs 9 hits and reached base in all 4 trips to the plate. Ryan Theriot and Derrek Lee came through with 2-out RBI’s in the 5th. Lou Piniella’s crew loaded the bases for the 16th game in a row in the 9th on two different occasions but came away empty. Mike Fontenot was thrown out at the plate trying to score on a wild pitch for the 2nd out and Derrek Lee grounded out to Joey Votto at 1st on a bang-bang play to end the game.
The Cubs dropped another disappointing game to a division rival after Lou Piniella stated in his pre-game show that his team must learn how to win low scoring ballgames….
Ryan Dempster struck out Ryan Freel to start the game on 3 pitches but gave up back-to-back infield singles to Ken Griffey, Jr. and a swinging bunt to Brandon Phillips. Dempster appeared to get out of the inning but Mike Fontenot booted the tailor made double play ball….the Reds loaded the bases with only 1 out.
Dempster walked Edwin Encarnacion to force in Griffey with the game’s first run. Adam Dunn stepped in with the bases loaded and Dempster struck him out looking on a 3-2 pitch….but Jeff Keppinger came through with a broken bat, bloop single to center that plated the Reds other two runs.
Dempster struck out the side in the 2nd but Edwin Encarnacion reached on a 2-out error in the 3rd by Mark DeRosa. Adam Dunn followed with a monster 2-run shot to right field.
All 5 runs the Reds scored against Ryan Dempster were unearned. Dempster gave up only 4 hits, struck out 7 and walked 1 in 6 innings…one of his better outings of the season.
Sean Marshall gave up a couple of hits in his 2/3 of an inning but Chad Fox struck out Brandon Phillips to end the 7th. Kerry Wood pitched a perfect 8th with a strikeout.
Johnny Cueto was as advertised….a very good, young pitcher and he kept the Cubs off balance the first time through the lineup, with the exception of Geovany Soto. Soto hit a solo blast off of Cueto in the 2nd inning to left.
The Cubs’ offense faired a little better the next time through the lineup. Griffey took a home run away from Alfonso Soriano in the 3rd….and Felix Pie would repay the favor later in the game. Ryan Theriot singled with the Cubs second hit but Derrek Lee grounded out to end the inning.
Felix Pie led off the 5th with a walk. Ryan Dempster followed and attempted to sacrifice him to 2nd but Dempster bunted the ball back to Cueto….the Reds defense erased the walk with a 1-6-3 double play. Dempster failing to lay down the bunt ended up being a big play in the game.
Alfonso Soriano followed with a single to center. Ryan Theriot doubled down the left field line on a 3-2 pitch. Soriano scored and Derrek Lee drove in Theriot with a single to left. Kosuke Fukudome flied out to center to end the inning.
The Cubs made the game very interesting in the 9th.
Mike Fontenot led off the inning with a single to left. Felix Pie followed with another single to left off of Francisco Cordero. Daryle Ward lined out to Corey Patterson in right center and Alfonso Soriano walked to load the bases after starting the at bat with a 0-2 count. Ryan Theriot stepped in and on the second pitch of the at bat, Cordero uncorked a wild pitch. Mike Fontenot tried to score from 3rd. The ball beat him to the plate, he was called out but he appeared to get his foot in under the tag. Fontenot got a late break to the plate….and simply made a bad decision.
Ryan Theriot walked to reload the bases. Derrek Lee hit a grounder to Joey Votto toward the hole but Cordero did not break for the bag….Votto barely beat Lee to the bag to end the game.
The difference on Monday night was the three extra outs the Cubs defense gave the Reds.
Lou Piniella stated before the game they are working on improvements….so they are coming. And the Cubs are still 4 games above .500 with as bad as they have played over the past two weeks.
It will not get any easier for the Cubs offense on Tuesday night. Carlos Zambrano is scheduled to take the mound against Aaron Harang.