Not Pretty…But That’s Number Nine

Game Fifty-Nine – Cubs 9 Padres 6
WP – Jason Marquis (3-3) LP – Bryan Corey (1-1) Save – Kerry Wood (16)

wflag.jpgThe Cubs came from behind for the 8th game in a row and earned their first series win on the road since April 7th, April 9-April 10th against the Pirates. Lou Piniella’s offense was once again the difference in a poorly pitched game from both teams. Jason Marquis was credited with the win but turned in one of his worst outings as a Cub. Marquis walked more batters than he gave up hits, worked around his command problems and his manager’s temper long enough to pick up his third win of the season. Kevin Hart walked two batters in the 8th, including one with the bases loaded, in his first game back in the big leagues. Hart was tagged with 3 earned runs on 2 hits with a pair of walks in just a third of an inning. Piniella used seven different pitchers to pick up the win.

The Cubs and Padres allowed 15 runs on 21 hits with 13 walks in a game that never quite found a rhythm. Four of the seven walks issued by Cubs’ pitching came around to score.

After a very slow start against Wil Ledezma, the Cubs offense chipped away at the early 3-0 deficit and tied the game in the 5th inning. Geovany Soto hit his 10th round tripper in the 6th that broke the 3-3 tie. Mark DeRosa added a 2-run shot a batter later and Alfonso Soriano hit a 3-run homer in the 8th that turned out to be the difference in the game.

The Cubs stayed aggressive on the bases all night. They executed two double steals and swiped a season high 6 bases. The ‘Big Three‘ recorded at least one RBI and for the game, six different Cubs drove in runs.

With the win, Lou Piniella’s crew improved to 17 games over .500 on the season and to within a game of the .500 mark on the road….12-13.

Lou Piniella was very animated on Tuesday night, especially toward Jason Marquis. To say Marquis was awful would be an understatement. Piniella tagged him earlier in the season with the ‘one bad inning‘ line but Marquis’ performance could simply be described as ‘a bad outing‘. A better team would have ended the game before the offense had a chance to chip away at the lead.

Marquis struggled through the first two innings but did not allow any runs. He retired Kahlil Greene to start the 3rd but walked Wil Ledezma. With Jody Gerut at the plate, Marquis thought of throwing over to Derrek Lee, but Lee was not covering the bag with the pitcher running. A balk was called then Marquis walked Gerut after 5 pitches.

Tadahito Iguchi flied out to center for the first out, Ledezma tagged, advanced to 3rd and scored on a wild pickoff throw to 1st by Marquis. After the error, Piniella shouted toward the mound, “What the (blank) are you doing?” Marquis walked Brian Giles and gave up a 2-out single to Adrian Gonzalez….Gerut scored, 2-0 Padres.

Marquis walked Paul McAnulty to start the 4th. Michael Barrett followed with a single to right center. With runners on 1st and 3rd and no outs, Kahlil Greene drove in the Padres’ third run with a sacrifice fly to center. Marquis issued a 4-pitch walk to Jody Gerut with 2 outs but Iguchi grounded out to short to end the inning.

Marquis’ best inning came in the 5th. He retired 3 of the 4 batters he faced and struck out McAnulty to end the inning and his outing. Marquis gave up 3 runs on 4 hits with 5 walks and 2 strikeouts in 5 innings.

Michael Wuertz and Scott Eyre kept the Padres off the board in the 6th and 7th innings. Kevin Hart could not find the strike zone and made the game a lot closer than it needed to be. Neal Cotts allowed an inherited run to score on a single to right by Edgar Gonzalez. Bobby Howry allowed another inherited run to score on a ground out to the hole at short. With the score 9-6, and runners on 1st and 3rd, Howry struck out Brian Giles looking on a 3-2 pitch to end the inning.

Kerry Wood gave up a leadoff double to Adrian Gonzalez in the 9th but struck out the next two batters he faced and retired Michael Barrett on the first pitch, fly out to right, to end the game.

Wil Ledezma faced the minimum the first time through the lineup. Alfonso Soriano recorded the Cubs’ first hit, a double to left, to start the 4th. Ryan Theriot walked on 4 pitches and Derrek Lee struck out on a 3-2 pitch….both runners were moving with the pitch and advanced into scoring position. Aramis Ramirez grounded out to short and Soriano scored the Cubs’ first run….his 40th RBI of the season.

Reed Johnson started the 5th with a double down the left field line. Mark DeRosa walked but on the 3-2 pitch, Johnson stole 3rd. Ronny Cedeno tapped back to the mound, DeRosa advanced to 2nd….the stolen base by Johnson kept the Cubs out of the double play. Soriano was intentionally walked to load the bases with 2 outs. Ryan Theriot walked to force in the Cubs second run and Derrek Lee tied the game with an infield single to the hole at short.

Geovany Soto, Mark DeRosa and Alfonso Soriano’s home runs were responsible for the Cubs other 6 runs. The offense continued taking pitch after pitch and found themselves in hitter’s counts all night.

The Cubs are winning games, but Lou Piniella is not happy….this is a good thing because complacency is bad, especially in baseball.

Ted Lilly is scheduled to start the series finale on Wednesday night against Greg Maddux. Lilly better bring his A-game….because the Old Professor will.

Quote of the Day

"The more reasons you have for achieving your goal, the more determined you will become." - Brian Tracy

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