Game One Hundred Thirty-Five – Cubs 3 Phillies 2
WP – Jeff Samardzija (1-0) LP – Clay Condrey (3-4) Save – Carlos Marmol (7)
The Chicago Cubs equaled their win total from a season ago with their 39th come from behind victory of the year on Friday afternoon. The Cubs offense was dominated by Joe Blanton early on and did not record their first hit until the 4th inning, a 2-out single by Aramis Ramirez. But the Cubs started taking pitches in the 5th and a lead off walk by Mark DeRosa, an infield single by Henry Blanco and a gift from Jimmy Rollins lead to the Cubs first run.
The Cubs were down 2-1 entering the 6th inning and once again a rally was started with a free pass. Ryan Theriot worked a lead off walk and before Joe Blanton was able to record the third out of the inning, he walked the bases loaded. Charlie Manual lifted his starter in favor of former Cub, Scott Eyre.
Kosuke Fukudome stepped in and looked at strike one before taking three straight out of the zone. Eyre fired a very close pitch that was called ball four and home plate umpire, Bill Welke, had to tell a hesitant Fukudome that the pitch was indeed called a ball. Ryan Theriot was forced in and the Cubs tied the game without the benefit of a single hit.
The Cubs walked seven times on the afternoon and managed only 4 hits.
After catching a break on a controversial call that ended the top of the 7th, Alfonso Soriano dug in with 1-out in the bottom of the inning against Clay Condrey with the game tied at 2. Soriano got ahead in the count 2-0 then gave the Cubs the lead with his 23rd longball of the season….a no doubter to left center, it was Soriano’s first home run since August 14th in Atlanta.
Rich Harden struggled with his command and walked 4 and hit a batter in just 5 innings of work. Harden gave up only 2 runs, 1 earned, on 3 hits with 5 strikeouts on 100 pitches. Harden, like Ryan Dempster, did not have his best stuff but kept his team in the game and put them into position to win. The Cubs pitching held the Phillies to 6 singles and broke their string of hitting at least one extra base hit in 60 straight games dating back to June 18th.
Chad Gaudin tossed a scoreless 6th inning and turned the game over to the backend of the bullpen.
Jeff Samardzija picked up his first big league win with an inning and a third of scoreless relief. Samardzija walked a pair, gave up 2 hits and struggled with his command but kept the Phillies from adding on before turning the game over to Carlos Marmol.
Senor Nasty picked up his 7th save of the season with a rare 5 out save. Marmol struck out 3 of the 5 batters he faced on just 21 pitches. After Friday’s dominating performance, Marmol has 100 strikeouts in 74 2/3 innings.
When asked following the game if the Cubs are a team of destiny, Lou Piniella responded with: “I don’t believe in destiny. I believe in good pitching, good defense and timely hitting. When you do that you create your own destiny.”
The Cubs won their 7th in a row and improved to 20-6 in the month of August with 2 games left to play. The franchise record for wins in August was set in 1984 when they finished with a 20-10 mark….the Cubs are a season high 35 games over .500 with a Major League best 85-50 record. The Cubs appear to find a different way to win a game on a daily basis. One day it is a grand slam and the next it is the fourth walk in an inning but the one common theme is the amount of patience this team is displaying everyday. After Friday, the Cubs have walked 547 times this season, the Red Sox are second in the majors with 522 and they are on pace to walk 653 times this year. The club all-time record for free passes is 650, set in 1975.
The Phillies jumped out to a 1-run lead in the 1st inning after Rich Harden hit Chase Utley with 2 outs. Harden walked Ryan Howard then Pat Burrell singled to left to plate Utley with the game’s first run. Harden settled down, a little, but threw a lot of pitches before leaving after 5 innings.
The Cubs fell behind 2-0 in the 5th inning after Chase Utley reached on a bloop single to center. Ryan Howard followed with a single down the right field line. Kosuke Fukudome made good play on the ball to hold Utley at 3rd but his throw hit Ryan Howard, bounced away from Derrek Lee and Utley scored on Fukudome’s 5th error of the season….it was a tough error.
The Cubs received a gift in the 7th inning. Jeff Samardzija gave up a lead off single to Chris Coste. Jimmy Rollins hit a chopper to Derrek Lee on a 0-2 pitch from the Shark. Lee threw out Coste at 2nd but Rollins beat the return throw that Samardzija dropped. Chase Utley hit what appeared to be an inning ending double play to Mark DeRosa but Ryan Theriot’s throw to Lee was in the dirt. Lee scooped but Utley beat out the throw. Ryan Howard stepped in with runners on 1st and 3rd with 2 outs….and the game tied.
Howard hit a 2-1 pitch from Samardzija into the hole at 2nd. Lee made a great stop on the ball but bobbled it. Lee recovered and made an awkward side arm throw to Samardzija racing for the bag. The ball, the Shark and Howard ended up at the base at the same time to end the inning….replays showed Howard was safe.
The Cubs won another big game in a summer full of memorable wins. It is rare to see a team win a game in which they recorded only 4 hits.
Ted Lilly is scheduled to face Brett Myers in game three of the series on FOX Saturday Baseball.