Game Sixty – Cubs 1 Padres 2
WP – Heath Bell (3-3) LP – Ted Lilly (5-5) Save – Trevor Hoffman (12)
If Wednesday night was indeed the last time Greg Maddux faces the Cubs in his career then he saved one of his best for last. Maddux held Lou Piniella’s offense to just a single run on 3 hits in 7 innings. The Cubs could not make Maddux work and he threw only 69 pitches while not issuing a walk in a game that lasted only 2 hours and 16 minutes.
After a bad 1st inning, Ted Lilly settled down and turned in one of his better outings of the season. Lilly gave up a solo home run to Scott Hairston in the 1st inning and did not allow the second run until the 8th. Brian Giles led off the inning with a double to right center. Adrian Gonzalez advanced Giles to 3rd on a sacrifice fly. Lou Piniella lifted Lilly for Carlos Marmol but Kevin Kouzmanoff elevated a low fastball into center that allowed the winning run to score on a sacrifice fly.
The night belonged to Greg Maddux and unfortunately for the Cubs it ended one of the longest winning streaks in club history. Lou Piniella’s crew was simply beaten by a first ballot Hall of Famer on Wednesday night….despite the fact he was not credited with the win. Greg Maddux repeatedly threw strike one and pitched ahead in the count for a majority of the night. A good example of the dominance of Greg Maddux….he retired the Cubs on 7 pitches to start the game and on 7 pitches again in the 7th inning, his last of the game.
Ted Lilly turned in the best start of a Cubs’ pitcher in at least a week. He gave up only 2 runs on 7 hits with 8 strikeouts and 2 walks in 7 1/3 innings. Lilly’s velocity increased as the game wore on. After his worst outing of the season, it was good to see Lilly bounce back. At one point Lilly retired 11 of 12 and he recorded the first 1-2-3 innings of the series….in the 3rd and 5th.
The Cubs lone run of the game came in the 4th inning. Alfonso Soriano led off with the Cubs’ first hit of the game. He stole 2nd and advanced to 3rd on a single to right by Ryan Theriot. Derrek Lee hit a sacrifice fly into right that plated Soriano. While it was the Cubs’ only run, it was good to see them manufacture one on the road. Theriot stole 2nd with Aramis Ramirez at the dish, but Aramis tried to pull an outside pitch and grounded out to short. Kosuke Fukudome grounded out to 1st to end the inning.
The Cubs managed only 2 base runners after the 4th inning.
Not only did Maddux end the Cubs’ 9 game winning streak but he also kept them from having a lead for the first time since May 7th….25 games.
Wednesday’s loss was one that a team losses over the course of the season….nothing more, nothing less. And at least the streak was ended by a future Hall of Famer.
The Cubs will try to get back on track on Thursday in Los Angeles. Ryan Dempster is scheduled to start the first of four against Chad Billingsley and the Dodgers.