Two Bad Innings

Game Eighty-Six – Cubs 3 Giants 8
WP – Tim Lincecum (10-1) LP – Sean Gallagher (3-4) Save – None

The Cubs struggles on the road continued on Thursday night. The Giants scored 7 of their 8 runs in two big innings….four in the 2nd and three in the 7th. Sean Gallagher gave up 4 runs, 3 earned, on 4 hits in the 2nd. Tim Lincecum drove in the Giants second run of the game with a 2-out single to right and scored the Giants’ third run on a triple by Fred Lewis.

The Cubs cut the Giants’ lead to 4-3 in the 6th and put the tying run on 3rd with 2 outs in the 7th but Keiichi Yabu struck out Derrek Lee on three pitches to end the inning.

Jose Ascanio started the bottom of the 7th and gave up a bloop single to Jose Castillo. Ascanio misplayed an attempted sacrifice bunt by Omar Vizquel and his throwing error put runners on 1st and 3rd with no outs. Lou Piniella brought in Carlos Marmol and Bruce Bochy countered with pinch hitter Rich Aurilia. Marmol fell behind Aurilia 2-0 and then elevated another fastball that Aurilia launched into the stands in left field. Four of the Giants 7 RBI’s came from the number nine hitter in the lineup…..and both of the Giants big innings were fueled by two Cub errors.

The Cubs split the 4 game series with the Giants and are 2-5 on the current trip with 3 games left over the weekend in St. Louis.

Tim Lincecum approved to 9-0 following a Giants’ loss with a very impressive outing. Lincecum kept the Cubs guessing at the plate. They made him work but he struck out 8 and walked only 1 while allowing 3 runs on 7 hits in 6 innings. Pitching and defense wins ball games and unfortunately the Cubs had neither on Thursday night by the Bay.

The 2nd inning was a microcosm of what has led to the Cubs losing record on the road. Whenever one big league teams gives another extra outs and free runners it typically adds up to a loss….

The Cubs jumped out to a 1-run lead in the 1st inning after a leadoff double by Reed Johnson and a 1-out RBI single by Derrek Lee. Sean Gallagher worked around a leadoff walk in the 1st inning but was not as fortunate in the 2nd inning.

Aaron Rowand started the inning with a single to right off of Derrek Lee’s glove….Lee thought he caught the liner. Aramis Ramirez (0-for-4) made a good defensive play and took a hit away from John Bowker. Ramirez dove in the hole, stopped the ball, made a bare hand pickup and threw out Bowker at 1st….Rowand advanced to 2nd on the play.

Jose Castillo blooped a double down the right field line on the first pitch from Gallagher, Rowand scored to tie the game at 1. Omar Vizquel grounded out to 1st, Castillo advanced to 3rd on the play and scored on a single to right by Tim Lincecum….2-1 Giants. Fred Lewis then ripped a triple into left center, Lincecum scored from 1st and Lewis scored on a pop up near home plate by Ray Durham. Both Ramirez and Soto lost the ball in the sun and as the ball fell to the ground, Lewis scored from 3rd….4-1 Giants.

Sean Gallagher settled down and retired the next 7 batters he faced before issuing a 1-out walk to Fred Lewis in the 5th.

The Cubs finally got to Lincecum in the 6th. Derrek Lee led off the inning with the Cubs 5th hit, a double down the left field line. Aramis Ramirez broke his first of two bats in the game with a ground out to 3rd. Jim Edmonds singled to right and with runners on 1st and 3rd, Lincecum struck out Geovany Soto.

Mark DeRosa fell behind 0-2 then doubled to right center….the deepest part of the park, Lee and Edmonds scored. With the tying run at 2nd, Ryan Theriot grounded out to short on the first pitch of the at bat.

The Cubs tried another comeback but Rich Aurilia’s home run put the game out of reach. Aurilia’s home run was the third off Carlos Marmol in as many appearances.

Lou Piniella’s crew needs a healthy Alfonso Soriano back in the lineup as soon as possible. For all of his defencies in the field and lack of plate discipline, when he gets hot he can carry a team. The offense needs a spark….

Carlos Zambrano is expected to face Braden Looper in the first game of the Cardinals series on Friday.

Happy 4th of July from everyone here at the CCO!

Quote of the Day

"Don’t ever permit the pressure to exceed the pleasure." - Joe Maddon