Game Fifty-Four – Cubs 8 Rockies 4
WP – Michael Wuertz (1-1) LP – Matt Herges (2-2, BS 2) Save – None
Lou Piniella’s crew won their 4th game in a row with another dramatic come from behind win. The Rockies took a 4-3 lead in the top of the 7th inning off of Michael Wuertz. Ryan Spilborghs singled to start the inning, stole 2nd and scored on a RBI double by Ian Stewart. After Yorvit Torrealba failed to advance Stewart to 3rd, Omar Quintanilla lined into an 8-4 double play to end the inning.
Alfonso Soriano reached on 1-out bloop single to right center in the bottom of the 7th. Stewart tried to make an over the shoulder catch on the pop fly but the ball fell to the ground untouched. The Cubs took advantage and never looked back. Ryan Theriot followed with a single to right, Soriano advanced to 3rd with the tying run. Derrek Lee hit a tapper up the 3rd base line, Matt Herges fielded the ball, held Soriano at 3rd but hit Lee in the leg with the ball on his throw to 1st. Soriano scored and Theriot advanced to 3rd on the error. Herges then hit Aramis Ramirez on a 2-1 pitch to load the bases. Geovany Soto put together a quality at bat before flying out to deep right to drive in Theriot with the go ahead….and eventual winning run.
Carlos Marmol retired the Rockies in order in the 8th with 2 strikeouts….his Major League leading 15th hold.
Mark DeRosa started the 8th with a double to right center on the 11th pitch of the at bat. Ronny Cedeno ran for DeRosa and advanced to 3rd on a sacrifice bunt by Reed Johnson. Taylor Buchholz committed the second error by a Rockies’ pitcher in as many innings….a throwing error that allowed Johnson to reach. Micah Hoffpauir drove in his first big league run with a broken bat, soft liner to center. Cedeno scored the all-important insurance run, but the Cubs were not done.
Reed Johnson and Micah Hoffpauir executed the double steal to perfection and with the infield in, Alfonso Soriano singled to center. Johnson and Hoffpauir scored to give the Cubs a 4 run lead after 8 innings….3 of the Cubs last 5 runs were unearned. Kerry Wood struck out 3 of the 4 batters he faced to end the game.
With the win the Cubs improved to a season high 12 games above .500 and own the best record in Major League Baseball. The Cubs took advantage of every opportunity the Rockies defense gave them. Other than the performances by Carlos Marmol and Kerry Wood, the most impressive stat was that 6 different Cubs recorded RBI’s on Thursday night….Alfonso Soriano, Derrek Lee, Aramis Ramirez, Geovany Soto, Reed Johnson and Micah Hoffpauir. Lou Piniella is getting contributions from his entire roster game after game.
Jason Marquis left with 1-out in the 6th inning after loading the bases with no outs. Marquis kept his team in the game and his ‘one bad inning’ cost him a decision….but his team won the game. Marquis pitched his way in and out of trouble. He allowed 3 runs on 7 hits in 5 1/3 innings with 3 strikeouts and 2 walks. Marquis threw 95 pitches, 53 for strikes.
Marquis gave up a run in the 4th following a leadoff triple by Ian Stewart. Yorvit Torrealba hit a sacrifice fly to right center that allowed Stewart to score.
Ian Stewart started the 6th with an infield single on a check swing. Torrealba followed with a solid single to left. Marquis walked Omar Quintanilla to load the bases. Jeff Baker pinch hit for Jeff Francis and worked the count to 2-2 before Marquis struck him out swinging for the first out of the inning.
Lou Piniella made the slow walk and lifted Marquis in favor of Neal Cotts. Clint Hurdle sent Willy Taveras up to pinch hit for Scott Podsednik. Cotts quickly got ahead of Taveras 0-2 before giving up a bloop single to right off the glove of Derrek Lee. Lee reached as high as he could but the ball skipped off the top of his glove and into the Rockies bullpen….2 runs scored to tie the game.
Cotts struck out Seth Smith for the second out but walked Todd Helton to load the bases. Piniella brought in Michael Wuertz to face Garrett Atkins. Atkins worked the count to 3-2 before looking at strike three to end the inning….the game changing at bat.
Piniella turned the game over to Carlos Marmol and Kerry Wood after the Cubs took the lead in the bottom of the 7th. Marmol and Wood dominated the last 2 innings. At one point the duo struck out 4 in a row and 5 of the last 7 batters they faced.
Aramis Ramirez put the Cubs on the board in the 1st inning. Ryan Theriot reached on a single to center and Ramirez drove him in with a double to left center. Theriot made a good slide at the plate to score the game’s first run.
Derrek Lee hit his 13th home run of the year in the 3rd, a solid line drive to left center. Lee did not hit his 13th home run last season until August.
Kosuke Fukudome led off the 4th with a double off the right center field wall. Reed Johnson drove him in with a 1-out single to right.
Thursday night’s game was number 54 of 162….1/3 of the season is complete.
This version of the Cubs is playing with a lot of confidence right now. Their patience at the plate and ability to work the count has been the difference so far this season. This team refuses to quit and it is showing in the win-loss total.
Ted Lilly will try to get back on track on Friday afternoon against Aaron Cook….weather permitting.