Stevie Ire and A Curtain Call

Game Sixty-Five – Cubs 10 Braves 5
WP – Ted Lilly (6-5) LP – Tom Glavine (2-3) Save – None

wflag.jpgThe Cubs won their 9th straight game at Wrigley in come from behind fashion. Ted Lilly spotted the Braves a 3-0 lead in the 1st inning on a 2-out, 3-run homer by Greg Norton. Lilly settled down, did not allow another run and gave the Cubs offense a chance to mount another comeback. The Cubs scored 4 runs off of Tom Glavine before he left after the 3rd inning with a left elbow strain, Glavine will miss his next start.

Aramis Ramirez walked to lead off the 2nd inning and scored on a single to left by Kosuke Fukudome. Reed Johnson cut the Braves lead to 3-2 with a sacrifice fly to left that plated Geovany Soto. Derrek Lee tied the game in the 3rd with his 14th home run of the year….12 of Lee’s 14 long balls this season have been hit at the Friendly Confines. Reed Johnson broke the 3-3 tie with a 2-out bloop single to right in the 3rd. Aramis Ramirez drove in the Cubs’ fifth run with a single to right in the 4th.

The Cubs ability to tack on runs was the difference in the game. Kosuke Fukudome reached on a 2-out single to right in the 7th, stole 2nd and scored on a single to right by Mark DeRosa.

The Braves cut the Cubs lead to 6-5 in the 8th off Bobby Howry. Scott Eyre relieved Howry with two on and 2 out and struck out Gregor Blanco to end the inning.

The Cubs took advantage of two errors and a wild pitch by the Braves in the bottom of the 8th and scored 4 runs to put the game out of reach. Derrek Lee hit a sacrifice fly to right that plated Alfonso Soriano with a much-needed insurance run. But the big hit came off the bat of Geovany Soto.

After a wild pitch allowed Ryan Theriot to advance into scoring position, Bobby Cox intentionally walked Aramis Ramirez to face Soto. Soto deposited a 3-2 pitch from Manny Acosta into the basket in left center….the 3-run shot gave the Cubs a 10-5 lead.

With the win the Cubs improved to 27-8 at home for the first time since 1907….

Lou Piniella’s offense continues to thrive at Wrigley as they pounded out 10 runs on 12 hits (10 singles and 2 home runs) with 6 walks against Braves’ pitching. Each starter recorded at least one hit. Aramis Ramirez walked 3 times while Alfonso Soriano walked twice and jump-started the 8th inning with a stolen base. Derrek Lee drove in 2 and Reed Johnson added 2 RBI’s, including the game winner. All of the Cubs 10 RBI’s came from the third though eighth spots in Piniella’s lineup….with 7 coming from Soto, Fukudome, DeRosa and Johnson.

Ted Lilly gave up another home run in the 1st inning but settled down and turned in a solid outing. Lilly allowed a leadoff triple to Omar Infante in the 2nd inning but struck out two of the next three batters he faced….Infante was left stranded at 3rd when the inning ended. Lilly struck out a pair in each of the first 3 innings and finished with 8 on the night with only 3 walks….one to start the game and two of the last three batters he faced in the 7th.

Lilly struggled with his command in the 7th. After retiring Brian McCann on a fly out to right, he walked Omar Infante and Bobby Cox summoned Chipper Jones from the bench. Lou Piniella made the slow walk but left Lilly in to face Jones. With the Cubs up 5-3, Lilly quickly fell behind 3-0 before throwing a strike….Lilly walked Jones on 5 pitches and Piniella brought in Carlos Marmol to face Yunel Escobar. Escobar lined out to Ryan Theriot to end the inning.

Lilly retired 17 of the last 20 batters he faced.

The Braves other 2 runs came in the 8th off of Bobby Howry. With 1-out, Jeff Francoeur singled up the middle. Mark Teixeira flied out to left but Greg Norton reached on a single to left. With runners on 1st and 3rd, Brian McCann singled to right….6-4 Cubs. Omar Infante followed with a single to right….6-5 Cubs and Piniella made the slow walk and replaced Howry with Scott Eyre.

With the tying run on 2nd and the go ahead run on 1st, Scott Eyre struck out Gregor Blanco swinging to end the inning….his 31st straight appearance without allowing a run.

Jon Lieber struggled with his command in the 9th, walked his first batter of the year (Lieber’s other 3 walks on the season were intentional) after giving up a 1-out double to Yunel Escobar. Jeff Francoeur hit into a 5-4-3 double play to end the game.

The Cubs defense was solid once again. Alfonso Soriano made several good catches in left. Aramis Ramirez made a good stop that started the game ending double play and Reed Johnson turned in another highlight reel catch in the 4th inning that took away an extra base hit from Omar Infante. Johnson made a running catch into left center, timed his leap perfectly and made the backhand catch just a couple of steps from the ivy.

After Aramis Ramirez walked to start the 2nd, Geovany Soto singled to left center. With runners on 1st and 3rd and no outs, Kosuke Fukudome put the Cubs on the board with a solid single to left. Mark DeRosa loaded the bases with a hard single to center. Reed Johnson drove in the Cubs’ second run with a sacrifice fly to left.

Derrek Lee hit a 1-2 pitch from Tom Glavine into the bleachers in left to start the 3rd inning. Aramis Ramirez followed with a walk, advanced to 2nd on a swinging bunt by Soto and to 3rd on a ground out to Tom Glavine by Fukudome. Mark DeRosa walked and Reed Johnson gave the Cubs the lead with a bloop single into right.

Alfonso Soriano walked to start the 4th inning. Ryan Theriot singled to left center. Aramis Ramirez came through again with a 1-out single to right center that plated Soriano with the Cubs’ fifth run.

The Cubs offense was very quiet in the middle innings until Kosuke Fukudome singled to right with 2 outs in the 7th. Fukudome stole 2nd and scored on a single down the right field line by Mark DeRosa.

Alfonso Soriano started the 4-run 8th inning with a 1-out single to left. Soriano stole 2nd and advanced to 3rd on a throwing error by Brian McCann. Ryan Theriot hit a tapper back to the mound but Manny Acosta bobbled the ball. Soriano made it back to 3rd and Theriot reached on the error. Derrek Lee hit a sacrifice fly to right, Soriano scored….7-5 Cubs.

With Aramis Ramirez at the plate and 2 outs, Piniella sent Theriot. Acosta uncorked a wild pitch and Theriot advanced into scoring position. Aramis Ramirez was intentionally walked. Geovany Soto fell behind Acosta 1-2 before working the count full. With the crowd standing and cheering, Soto deposited the next offering from Acosta into the basket in left center. Wrigley erupted as Soto trotted around the bases.

The Cubs pulled out a game that was much closer than the final score. The never quit attitude of this team is more than refreshing to see….especially at Wrigley.

Ryan Dempster is scheduled to face Jair Jurrjens on Wednesday night in the second game of the series.

Quote of the Day

"Build up your weaknesses until they become your strong points." – Knute Rockne