Finally….Fifty

Game Eighty-Three – Cubs 9 Giants 2
WP – Ted Lilly (9-5) LP – Barry Zito (3-12) Save – None

wflag.jpgLou Piniella’s crew bounced back from the weekend and ended their 4-game losing streak with a solid win against the Giants. The Cubs became the first team in the National League to post their 50th victory of the season. Mark DeRosa hit 2 home runs, including his 3rd career grand slam and tied a career high with 6 RBI’s. DeRosa became the first Cubs third baseman to hit 2 home runs, score 3 runs and drive in 6 in the same game since Ron Santo in 1961. The Cubs offense walked 9 times on the night, 5 of those scored and the offense made Barry Zito work….Zito threw 113 pitches in 5 innings. Kosuke Fukudome drove in the Cubs first run with a 2-out RBI single in the 2nd and Matt Murton knocked his first two doubles of the year. Murton drove in 2-runs with a 2-out double in the 3rd inning.

Ted Lilly came through with his best outing of the year. Lilly did not allow a run in 8+ innings on the mound, gave up 7 hits, struck out 5 and walked 2. Lilly started the 9th inning in search of his first complete game shutout as a Cub but back-to-back singles by Randy Winn and John Bowker chased Lilly from the game. Rich Aurilia hit a 2-run double off of Kerry Wood in the 9th that accounted for both runs.

The win ended not only the Cubs 4-game losing streak but their 6-game road skid and they finished a very difficult month of June with a 15-12 record, tied for the second most wins in the National League with the Cardinals and just one behind the Brewers.

With Aramis Ramirez out for the first three games, the questions leading up to game time centered on all of the injuries, the pitching staff and where the offense would come from….and for one night all but one of those questions were answered.

Mark DeRosa and Matt Murton stepped up and drove in 8 of the Cubs 9 runs and Ted Lilly took care of the rest. Lilly dominated the Giants offense. He retired 13 of 15 batters at one point and did not allow the lead off hitter to reach in 6 consecutive innings. Lilly kept the ball down and did not allow a home run for the first time in 3 outings….7th start this season he did not serve up a long ball.

Jim Edmonds scored the Cubs first run after walking to start the 2nd inning. Matt Murton flied out and Ronny Cedeno reached on an error by Jose Castillo at 3rd base. Castillo let one go right under legs….it was a tailor made double play ball. Ted Lilly (0-for-5, 5 strikeouts) struck out on a failed bunt attempt but Kosuke Fukudome came through with the Cubs first hit….a single to center that plated Edmonds.

Geovany Soto (2-for-4, with a double, a walk and 3 runs scored) reached on a 1-out single to left in the 3rd. Mark DeRosa walked and scored on Matt Murton’s first extra base hit of the season. Murton drove in Soto and DeRosa with a double to right center. Ronny Cedeno was intentionally walked but Ted Lilly struck out to end the inning….3-0 Cubs going into the bottom of the 3rd.

Geovany Soto blooped a double down the right field line to start the 5th….that landed just fair. Mark DeRosa followed with a monster shot to left center….4-5 rows deep over the 404′ sign in left center, his 9th of the year. With the Cubs up 5-0, Ted Lilly went into cruise control and did nothing but throw strikes.

Billy Sadler took the hill to start the 8th inning for the Giants. He struck out Kosuke Fukudome for the first out of the inning. Sadler then walked Ryan Theriot, Derrek Lee and Geovany Soto to load the bases. Mark DeRosa stepped in and hit a 1-0 pitch to almost the same location as the one he hit in the 5th, just to left of the 404′ sign in left center….9-0 Cubs.

DeRosa bounced back from a bad finish to Sunday night’s game and filled in for Aramis Ramirez at the plate and in the field….DeRosa made several difficult plays look very routine on Monday night by the Bay. The Grand Slam was DeRosa’s second as a Cub, DeRosa went deep on the Sunday series finale following the Zambrano-Barrett Game and Lou Piniella’s Ejection against the Braves last season,

Kerry Wood struggled a little with his command in the 9th. Wood made his first appearance since last Wednesday and struck out the first batter he faced, Aaron Rowand, with 2 on and no outs in the 9th. Rich Aurilia then hit a double to right center that Jim Edmonds appeared to have a play on….Edmonds misjudged the ball and two runs scored. After a walk to Travis Denker, Wood struck out Emmanuel Burriss swinging and Steve Holm flied out to center to end the game.

The Cubs picked up a big win, on the road, against a pitcher they had not fared to well against in the past.

Jason Marquis is scheduled to face Matt Cain in the second game of the series on Tuesday night.

Quote of the Day

"You can't help getting older, but you don't have to get old." - George Burns
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