Game One Hundred Thirty-Four – Cubs 6 Phillies 4
WP – Bobby Howry (6-4) LP – Chad Durbin (5-3, BS 5) Save – Kerry Wood (28)
One of the most thrilling games of the year….what a comeback on a night the Cubs appeared to be heading for a loss. This version of the Chicago Cubs never quits and they proved it once again on Thursday night at the old ballpark with a dramatic come from behind victory against the Phillies.
The Cubs trailed 4-1 going into the bottom of the 8th inning and unleashed their frustrations from the first 7 innings on the Phillies bullpen. Little Babe Ruth, Mike Fontenot, led off the 8th with a booming home run to left center off of Ryan Madson, his 9th of the year. Alfonso Soriano followed with a double to right center and Ryan Theriot singled to right. Mike Quade held Soriano at 3rd and Derrek Lee worked a walk. Charlie Manual brought in Chad Durbin to face Aramis Ramirez with the bases loaded and no outs.
Aramis Ramirez looked at ball one then launched Durbin’s second pitch into the bleachers in left center….the Phillies centerfielder, Shane Victorino never moved. It was a blast! Here’s how Pat Hughes and Ron Santo called it:
Hughes: “Deep fly ball. Left centerfield. It’s gotta chance….GRAND SLAM! GRAND SLAM ARAMIS RAMIREZ! Cubs lead 6-4!”….Santo: “YES! YES SIR! YES! OH MY GOSH!”
Ramirez admired before trotting around the bases and then gave the jubilant crowd a curtain call. The Grand Slam was the 8th slam of his career and 24th longball of the season. It was the 11th home run of the year for Ramirez after the 7th inning.
Ryan Dempster was let off the hook with the late inning comeback. Dempster struggled with his command early on and gave up a run in the 1st inning for only the seventh time this season. Dempster settled down but ran out of gas in the 6th. After the Cubs tied the game in the 5th, the Phillies scored 3 off of Dempster and took a commanding 4-1 lead with Cole Hamels on the mound. Dempster departed after allowing 4 runs on 8 hits with 7 strikeouts and 4 walks.
Sean Marshall and Bobby Howry were tremendous in relief of Dempster and kept the Phillies from tacking onto their lead. Marshall retired the side in order with a strikeout in the 7th and Howry did the same in the 8th in arguably his best outing of the season. Howry was sharp and threw only 10 pitches, 9 for strikes.
Kerry Wood gave up a lead off single to Jimmy Rollins in the 9th but retired Chase Utley on a deep fly to center, Pat Burrell on a fly out to shallow center and Ryan Howard on a pop out to Aramis Ramirez at short in the shift.
Lou Piniella’s crew won their 84th game of the season and 50th of the year at Wrigley on their skipper’s 65th birthday…. The Cubs improved to 19-6 in August with a truly unbelievable come from behind win. Aramis Ramirez will receive all of the headlines, and rightfully so, but Thursday night does not happen without big contributions from Kosuke Fukudome, Mark DeRosa, Mike Fontenot, Ryan Theriot, Sean Marshall and Bobby Howry. Lou Piniella continues to pull the right strings. With Jim Edmonds on the bench, he called Mike Fontenot’s name and Little Babe Ruth started the comeback….and according to Ryan Dempster, loosened up the team.
Cole Hamels once again had the Cubs’ number but they made him work and managed to chase him after 7 innings. The Cubs did score an important run in the 5th off of Hamels. Kosuke Fukudome reached on an infield single and scored on Mark DeRosa’s third triple of the season to the corner in right. DeRosa ran his hitting streak to 10 games.
The Phillies run in the 1st inning came after a double to right by Chase Utley. Pat Burrell grounded out to short and Utley advanced to 3rd as Theriot recorded the sure out at first base. Ryan Dempster walked Ryan Howard on 4 pitches then Jayson Werth on 5 pitches to load the bases with 2 outs. Dempster reached back and struck out Pedro Feliz swinging to end the inning.
As mentioned Dempster settled down and gave his skipper innings….until the 6th inning.
With the game tied at 1, Dempster gave up a lead off double to Jayson Werth to start the 6th. Pedro Feliz walked on 4 pitches and Carlos Ruiz singled to left to plate Werth with the go ahead run. Cole Hamels sacrificed both runners to 2nd and 3rd. Jimmy Rollins hit a sacrifice fly to left that plated Feliz and Chase Utley gave the Phillies a 4-1 lead with a single to left.
Thursday night was a good way to start the stretch run….
Rich Harden is scheduled to face his former teammate, Joe Blanton, on Friday afternoon in the second game of the series.