Game Seventy-Seven – Cubs 5 Orioles 7
WP – Jeremy Guthrie (4-7) LP – Sean Marshall (0-1) Save – George Sherrill (26)
Lou Piniella’s crew lost for the first time at Wrigley Field since May 17th after not being able to come up with big hits in the last two innings. The Cubs left 5 on base in the 8th and 9th innings after Jim Edmonds and Aramis Ramirez brought the Cubs to within two runs. The Cubs loaded the bases in the 9th inning after a single by Geovany Soto, a walk by Mark DeRosa and an infield single off the bat of Ryan Theriot. George Sherrill then struck out the next three batters….Ronny Cedeno, Kosuke Fukudome and Henry Blanco on 11 pitches. For the first time in over a month, the Faithful were stunned and Lou Piniella was a man of few words after the tough loss.
The Cubs put themselves into position to win the game, but all three pinch hitters Piniella called upon with the game on the line in the 8th and 9th could not come through.
Sean Marshall was very good the first time though the lineup. He allowed only 1 hit and struck out 4 without a walk but the Orioles made adjustments and Marshall ended up allowing 4 runs on 6 hits in his last 2 2/3 innings with a walk and 3 strikeouts. Piniella described Marshall’s outing with a short, fitting answer “O.K.”
The middle relief did not keep the Orioles from tacking on. An error by Eric Patterson opened the Orioles 3-run 6th inning. Michael Wuertz struggled once again and while the runs were unearned, Baltimore’s offense plated 3 against Wuertz. The big hits….a double by Alex Cintron and a triple by Brian Roberts.
Before and during the game the long rumored trade for Brian Roberts this past winter was discussed. Lou Piniella actually mentioned three of the names that would have been sent to the Orioles. While Sean Marshall and Ronny Cedeno have contributed to the Cubs this season, Brian Roberts was the difference on Tuesday night….3-for-5 with a triple, 2 runs scored and a RBI in his first game at the Friendly Confines.
The Cubs ended up losing a tough game that looked to be over in the 6th inning. The entire team appeared flat but never gave up and kept chipping away….the problem is they waited too long to make their move for one of the few times this season. Lou Piniella said after the game the Orioles beat his team and that was all. No let down from the weekend, just beaten….and that is truly the case. The Faithful are witnessing one of the best first halves in the history of the organization. This was only one loss in the third week of June, at home, during a long season. With that said, it was the way the game ended that made it so difficult to swallow.
The Cubs offense could not find a rhythm against Jeremy Guthrie. The only run they managed until the 7th was a solo shot off the bat of Kosuke Fukudome. His 6th of the year cut the Orioles lead in half in the bottom of the 4th….2-1.
The Cubs offense hit into four double plays on the night that put an end to several innings….and when they needed their trademark patience in the 9th, it was no where to be found.
Derrek Lee and Aramis Ramirez started the 7th with back-to-back singles to left off of Jeremy Guthrie. Jim Edmonds stepped in and hit his 3rd home run in 3 games….his 3-run shot to left cut the Orioles lead to 7-4. Geovany Soto followed with a walk but Mark DeRosa hit into the team’s fourth double play of the night and Ryan Theriot grounded out to 2nd to end the inning.
Daryle Ward made his first appearance off the DL and walked on the 9th pitch of the at bat to start the 8th. Fukudome put together a tremendous 12-pitch at bat, but grounded out to 1st and Kevin Millar forced pinch runner Jason Marquis at 2nd. Eric Patterson singled to left on the first pitch.
With runners on 1st and 2nd and 1-out, Derrek Lee grounded to 3rd. Melvin Mora threw to 2nd to start the double play, but he had to throw around Fukudome and pulled Brian Roberts off the bag….Eric Patterson was called out, after all Roberts was “in the neighborhood” and Lee reached. Aramis Ramirez singled to right to plate Fukudome….7-5 Orioles.
Dave Trembley brought in George Sherrill to get the final 4 outs. Piniella replaced Jim Edmonds with Matt Murton. Murton worked the count to 3-2 before flying out to left to end the inning.
Two big positives in the loss: 1) Daryle Ward returned and showed why he is so important off the bench. 2) Carlos Marmol was effective, not nasty but effective….a good sign. 11 pitches, 5 strikes and a hit batsman.
Tuesday night was only one game….
Ted Lilly is scheduled to face fellow southpaw Brian Burres in game two on Wednesday.