Game Ninety-Three – Cubs 3 Giants 1
WP – Bobby Howry (3-2) LP – Tyler Walker (3-5) Save – Kerry Wood (24)
For the second time in 10 days, Matt Cain dominated the Cubs offense but they were patient this time and made him work….despite the fact they could still not put the bat on the ball. Cain tossed 7 more shutout innings against the Cubs offense and Lou Piniella’s crew managed to scatter only 3 hits. In two outings against the Cubs this year, Cain threw a combined 15 innings of shutout ball with 19 strikeouts. Cain departed after throwing 115 pitches in 7 innings.
Jason Marquis matched Cain pitch for pitch, but was a little more efficient. Marquis threw only 81 pitches in 7 innings, gave up 3 hits but no runs, walked 2 and struck out 4. Only one Giant reached 2nd base in the 7 innings Marquis was on the mound….clearly one of his better outings of the season.
Bruce Bochy brought replaced Cain with Tyler Walker in the 8th inning of a scoreless game. Ryan Theriot singled up the middle to start the inning and Mike Fontenot sacrificed him to 2nd. Bochy decided to face Aramis Ramirez instead of Derrek Lee with the go ahead run in scoring position. Bochy intentionally walked Lee to face The RBI Machine.
Aramis Ramirez had never faced Tyler Walker in a big league game and he deposited the first pitch he saw from Walker down the line in left. The only question was would it go foul….the ball cleared the old ball park and ended up on Waveland Avenue. The 17th home run of the year by Aramis Ramirez gave the Cubs a 3-run lead….it was his 9th long ball of the season hit after the 7th inning.
Kerry Wood made the top of the 9th very exciting. After a misplayed ball in left by Mark DeRosa put Ray Durham at 2nd base. Wood walked Eugenio Velez. Bengie Molina singled to right, Durham scored and Velez ended up at 3rd with no outs. Wood struck out Aaron Rowand looking for the first out but pinch runner Emmanuel Burriss stole 2nd.
With the tying runs in scoring position, John Bowker flied out to right for the second out on a 0-1 pitch and Velez had to hold at 3rd. Rich Aurilia grounded out to Derrek Lee, who tossed to Wood, on the second pitch of the at bat, to end the game.
The Cubs won for the fourth time and five games and improved to 19 games above .500….maybe next season they will be able to figure out how to plate runs against Matt Cain. For whatever reason, Matt Cain has the number of the Chicago Cubs offense. The line he has put up in his last two starts against the Cubs is phenomenal….no runs on 5 hits with 6 walks and 19 strikeouts in 15 innings of work. Thankfully for the Cubs, the weather at Wrigley changed just before game time and Jason Marquis came to the park ready to pitch.
The forecast for Friday was for a very humid, hot day, similar to the one the Reds used to their advantage on Thursday. But the winds changed and what was supposed to be one of the hottest days in Chicago turned cool….the game time temperature was just 70 degrees. The change of temperature hurt the Cubs offense but helped Jason marquis keep the ball in the park.
Marquis came through with one of his best outings when he needed it. With all of the questions that must be answered in the second half concerning the starting rotation, Jason Marquis more than earned another start when his turn comes back around.
The Cubs offense had chances to plate runs against Matt Cain but could not come up with the hit early in the game. The best opportunity came in the 7th after a lead off double to right by Daryle Ward. Piniella pinch ran Ronny Cedeno for Ward but did not call for a sacrifice bunt. Mark DeRosa and Reed Johnson struck out and pinch hitter Kosuke Fukudome, fouled out to Bengie Molina to end the inning.
Piniella said after the game, it is hard to get down a bunt against Matt Cain because of his velocity.
The Cubs pulled out a win on a day they were dominated by a very good young pitcher that rarely receives run support….
Rich Harden is scheduled to make his Cubs’ debut on Saturday against Kevin Correia at 12:05pm….not the originally scheduled 2:55pm.