The Big Home Run Machine

Game Ninety-Two – Cubs 7 Reds 12
WP – Bronson Arroyo (7-7) LP – Ted Lilly (9-6) Save – None

The only thing missing on Thursday afternoon was the mechanical bull sounding off and smoke coming out of its nose….while Adam Dunn did not receive a free steak, he did hit the building across the street on Sheffield Avenue with a monster blast in the 5th inning. Six different Cincinnati Reds hit 7 home runs off of five different Cubs pitchers and the Cubs’ offense could not keep up. The Reds avoided the sweep by pounding out 18 hits and scoring in all but two of the 9 innings.

The Cubs offense scored 7 runs on 9 hits but hit just one long ball, a 2-run homer by Mike Fontenot in the 4th inning. Ryan Theriot drove in a pair of runs with a clutch 2 out hit in the 2nd inning that gave the Cubs a brief 3-1 lead.

Ted Lilly gave up 3 runs in the 3rd before leaving with 2 outs and Michael Wuertz handed the Reds 4 more in the 4th. Fontenot’s home run cut the deficit to 8-5 but the Reds hit 4 more home runs in the 5th, 6th, 7th and 9th innings and the Cubs could not get any closer than a 10-7 score in the 6th.

Ted Lilly did not have it and Lou Piniella lifted him with 2 outs in the 3rd. Michael Wuertz replaced Lilly and walked the bases loaded before striking out Bronson Arroyo to end the inning. Wuertz gave up back-to-back singles to start the 4th before serving up the 605th home run of Ken Griffey, Jr.’s Hall of Fame career, on a 2-2 pitch after being ahead in the count 0-2. Jon Lieber did not fair much better, he gave up two more dingers to the Reds, that is six in two outings this season. Chad Gaudin made his Cubs’ debut and surrendered the second home run of the day by David Ross but pitched the only 1-2-3 inning of the day in the 8th. Neal Cotts gave up the 7th and final home run to Joey Votto in the 9th.

Lou Piniella’s crew lost only their third game in the last 20 at the Friendly Confines and the Reds became only the second team since May 17th to beat the Cubs at home. Even with the loss, the Cubs won the series against a division rival, 2 games to 1.

After holding the Reds to a combined 4 runs in the first two games, Dusty Baker’s team launched home run after home run after home run for the third series finale of the season. In each of the first two series of the year (one in Chicago and one in Cincinnati), the Reds plated 9 runs on only one home run in the last of three back on April 17th and launched seven in the final game in Cincinnati on May 7th….two of the three games Ted Lilly has started.

The Cubs offense could simply not keep up with the rate in which in the Reds were launching balls out of Wrigley.

Ryan Theriot scored the first run of the game after leading off with a single to left in the bottom of the first. Kosuke Fukudome struck out looking but Derrek Lee double to left on a 3-2 pitch from Arroyo. Theriot was running with the pitch and scored easily.

With the game tied at one, Mark DeRosa walked with 1 out in the 2nd inning. Mike Fontenot hit a double to center but Ted Lilly hit a broken bat grounder back to the mound. Ryan Theriot came through with his second hit in as many at bats….a single to center plated DeRosa and Fontenot and gave the Cubs a 3-1 lead.

Jim Edmonds led off the 4th with a double to left center and scored on a 2-run home run to right by Mike Fontenot….the Cubs were down 8-5 at that point and the feeling was the game was far from over. Unfortunately the Cubs would not get any closer.

Mark DeRosa singled to left to start the 6th and Mike Fontenot walked. With runners on 1st and 2nd with no outs, Ronny Cedeno pinch hit for Jon Lieber and hit what appeared to be a routine grounder to Edwin Encarnacion. The Reds’ third baseman threw the ball into right field, DeRosa scored the Cubs 6th run. Ryan Theriot grounded into a 5-4-3 double play, Fontenot scored and the Cubs were down 10-7.

Ted Lilly must start keeping the ball down….and inside the park.

The Cubs open the last series before the break on Friday against the Giants. Jason Marquis is scheduled to face Matt Cain in game one.

Quote of the Day

"Build up your weaknesses until they become your strong points." – Knute Rockne