Finally….Z Cubs Win in Florida! – Cubs 6 Marlins 5

Game One Hundred Twenty-Two – Cubs 6 Marlins 5
WP – Chad Gaudin (9-4, 4-1) LP – Kevin Gregg (6-5, BS 7) Save – Kerry Wood (25)

wflag.jpgThe Cubs appeared to be headed for their 10th loss in a row in the Sunshine State and their 7th in a row to the Marlins at Dolphin Stadium. Carlos Zambrano struggled once again in an August start and gave up 5 runs on 4 hits with 5 walks and 6 strikeouts in 6 innings. Zambrano did drive in the Cubs’ first run with a single in the 2nd inning and extended his hitting streak to 6 games….a new career high. But Jorge Cantu’s 3-run homer in the 3rd gave the Marlins and Josh Johnson a comfortable lead.

Mark DeRosa cut the Marlins lead to 5-3 with his 14th home run in the 4th. Chad Gaudin tossed two perfect innings in relief of Zambrano and the score remained 5-3 until the 9th inning….

At the end of the bottom of the 8th, Pat Hughes sent the Faithful to the break with, “Cubs have to rally in the 9th….Marlins 5, Cubs 3.” And did they rally. Once again it was a walk that led to the dramatic comeback.

Kevin Gregg started off Mark DeRosa with a first pitch strike, then threw four straight out of the strike zone. With DeRosa at 1st with his third walk of the game, Wes Helms robbed Mike Fontenot of an extra base hit but Reed Johnson stepped in and singled to left. With Kosuke Fukudome and Aramis Ramirez on the bench, Lou Piniella pulled the right string and brought in the struggling Daryle Ward to face the Marlins’ closer.

Ward looked at strike one….and here’s the way Pat Hughes saw the next pitch.

Swung on, hit deep to right, it’s gotta chance….GONE! Daryle Ward with a 3-run homer! Cubs lead 6-5. A tape measure home run to right field for pinch hitter Daryle Ward and just like that the Cubs have the lead.

Daryle Ward hit just the second home run of the season off of Kevin Gregg and setup the 9th for Kerry Wood to pick up his first save since July 11th.

Wood retired Wes Helms on a grounder to 3rd to start the inning but walked Hanley Ramirez. Wood then struck out Jeremy Hermida on the 10th pitch of the at bat for the second out. Jorge Cantu stepped in and looked at strike one but Wood uncorked a wild pitch that advanced Ramirez into scoring position. Wood hit Cantu on the next offering and with the tying run on 2nd and the go ahead run on 1st, Fredi Gonzalez went to his bench for Alfredo Amezaga.

Wood threw a first pitch strike and Amezaga fouled off the third pitch of the at bat. With two on, two out and a 1-2 count, Wood struck out Amezaga swinging to end the ballgame and the losing streak to the Marlins in Miami. Chad Gaudin became the first Cubs’ pitcher since Greg Maddux more than three years ago to pickup a win in South Florida.

Lou Piniella’s crew won their 5th in a row and posted their 9th consecutive win on the road dating back to July 23rd in Arizona. The Cubs evened their road record at 30-30 and improved to 28 games over .500 on the season….

Friday night was the Cubs 35th come from behind victory on the season and another memorable game in a unforgettable summer. The swagger the Cubs have displayed at Wrigley all season has begun to carry over to the road.

The best part of the win is that the Cubs picked up a victory on the road without a single hit from Alfonso Soriano (0-for-5), Derrek Lee (0-for-4) and Jim Edmonds (0-for-3 with a walk). The Cubs had only 5 hits going into the 9th, one from Carlos Zambrano and their 4 walks was nearly as many hits as they had on the night.

Mark DeRosa, despite committing an error, had a big night. DeRosa set a new career high with his 14th home run. DeRosa scored 3 of the Cubs’ 6 runs and walked 3 times on the night.

Reed Johnson has put himself in the middle of many of the comebacks this season, and Friday night he was right there in the 9th. Johnson singled to left and put himself on 1st with the tying run with only 1 out.

Daryle Ward was 4-for-40 with a home run as a pinch hitter this season and his 9th inning home run guaranteed the Cubs a winning road trip with two left to play.

The Cubs’ win on Friday night was huge for more than one reason….

Sean Marshall is scheduled to face Anibal Sanchez in game two on Saturday night.

Quote of the Day

"Every strike brings me closer to the next home run." - Babe Ruth