Game Eighty-Seven – Cubs 2 Cardinals 1
WP – Carlos Zambrano (9-3) LP – Braden Looper (9-6) Save – Kerry Wood (22)
Carlos Zambrano made his first start since June 18th after spending the last 15 days on the DL and proved why he is so important to the Chicago Cubs. Zambrano threw 6 innings of shutout ball, struck out 5 and walked 2 on 87 pitches. Zambrano allowed only 4 hits and 2 of them did not leave the infield. Zambrano was very efficient, threw strikes and allowed only three runners to reach 2nd base….not a single Cardinal reached 3rd against Cubs’ pitching on Friday night.
Kosuke Fukudome gave the Cubs a 1-0 lead in the 1st inning after a tremendous at bat. Fukudome’s 7th home run of the season came on the ninth pitch from Braden Looper. Geovany Soto was a perfect 3-for-3 at the plate with a walk and his 14th long ball of the year in the 4th gave the Cubs a 2-0 lead….and it proved to be the difference in the game.
Albert Pujols was responsible for the lone Cardinals run. The 300th dinger of his career with 2 outs in the 8th inning off of Bobby Howry cut the Cubs lead to 2-1.
Jim Edmonds was 0-for-4 with 3 strikeouts in his return to St. Louis. Edmonds received a standing ovation from the Cardinals fans and tipped his cap in appreciation. Kerry Wood recorded the 27th out of the game for his 22nd save of the year. The announcement could be made on Sunday that the former Rookie of the Year will join his manager and his catcher in the Bronx for the 79th Midseason Classic.
Friday night was an excellent game by two of the best in the National League. Lou Piniella’s crew evened their season series with the Cardinals at two a piece with their 52nd win of the year. Friday night was the first of many games down the stretch with the Cardinals that figures to go down to the final out. For as good as Carlos Zambrano pitched, Braden Looper was just as good and continued to fool the Cubs’ lineup. The Cubs just out homered the Cardinals and won a good ole fashion pitcher’s duel.
The Cubs offense out hit the Cardinals 8-6 but could not capitalize on a leadoff double by Derrek Lee in 6th. Aramis Ramirez hiked up his pant legs in order to change things up and finished the night 0-for-4 (0-for-last-25). With Lee at 2nd, Ramirez grounded out to 3rd and Looper struck out Jim Edmonds for the second out of the inning. Geovany Soto was intentionally-unintentionally walked but tried to advance to 2nd on a pitch in the dirt. Derrek Lee got a good jump but Yadier Molina threw out Soto to end the inning.
Friday night was all about Carlos Zambrano. He won his 8th straight decision against the Cardinals and did not skip a beat after missing his last two starts.
Ted Lilly is scheduled to face Kyle Lohse on FOX in game two on Saturday afternoon.