Back on Track? – Cubs 14 Reds 9

Game One Hundred Forty-Two – Cubs 14 Reds 9
WP – Jason Marquis (10-8) LP – Johnny Cueto (8-13) Save – None

wflag.jpgThe Chicago Cubs ended their 6-game losing streak behind an excellent outing by Jason Marquis and the third 3-homer game of Alfonso Soriano’s career. The Cubs left fielder put on a show Saturday night at the Great American Ball Park. Alfonso Soriano drove in five of the Cubs 14 runs and tied a career high with 4 runs scored. Mark DeRosa hit his 20th home run of the season, a 3-run shot in the 7th that appeared to give the Cubs a comfortable 9-1 lead. The Cubs’ offense kept tacking on and never let up. They scored in every inning from the 3rd through the 9th and put crooked numbers on the board in each of the last 4 innings.

The Big Three‘ had an impact in the game. Derrek Lee finished the night 4-for-6 with 2 doubles and 3 RBI’s on his 33rd birthday. Aramis Ramirez singled in four trips to the plate and scored a pair of runs. But it was Alfonso Soriano that sparked the team with his performance, 4-for-5 with 3 home runs, 4 runs scored and 5 RBI’s.

Jason Marquis pitched a great game and became the fourth starter in Lou Piniella’s rotation to reach double digits in the win column. Marquis added the Cubs’ fifth home run of the night in the 8th, his fourth career longball and first of the season. On the mound, Marquis allowed 2 runs on 5 hits in 7 1/3 innings with 5 walks and 2 strikeouts. Marquis ran out of gas with one out in the 8th and the Reds offense went to work on the Cubs’ bullpen.

Jeff Samardzija gave up 3 runs, 2 earned, on a hit, a walk and a hit batsman without recording an out. Neal Cotts retired both of the batters he faced in the 8th to end the inning. Michael Wuertz loaded the bases with no outs in the 9th and Lou Piniella had to bring in Carlos Marmol with the Cubs up by a score of 14-5.

Jolbert Cabrera hit Marmol’s first pitch into the stands in left for his first career grand slam and cut the Cubs lead to 14-9. Marmol gave up a hit to Corey Patterson but struck out Paul Bako and Javier Valentin to end the game. At the Great American Ball Park no lead is ever safe and teams must not let up and keep tacking on to their lead.

Alfonso Soriano picked up the team and put them on his back Saturday night….and allowed his teammates to relax and just hit the ball. After the bullpen gave up 8 runs in the final two innings it wasn’t exactly pretty….but a win is a win and hopefully Saturday night will put the Cubs back on track for the remaining 20 games of the season.

While Alfonso Soriano loosened up the offense, Jason Marquis set the tone for the night, He got out of two bases loaded jams in the 2nd and 4th inning,,,,and other than a bases loaded walk to Chris Dickerson on a questionable pitch in the 4th, did not make a mistake. Once Alfonso Soriano gave him a lead he retired the Reds in order in the 5th, 6th and 7th innings….10 in a row. Marquis notched his 10th win for the fifth consecutive season.

The Cubs offense showed signs of life after a miserable week. Alfonso Soriano put the Cubs on the board in the 2nd with his 25th home run of the season. Micah Hoffpauir added the second RBI of his career with a ground out to short in the 3rd. Aramis Ramirez scored the Cubs’ second run after he led off the inning with a single and Geovany Soto followed with a double.

Soriano gave the Cubs a 3-1 lead in the 5th with his 26th home run of the season….an upper deck shot to left field.

Mark DeRosa led off the 6th with the first walk of the game for the Cubs….and once again a big inning for the Cubs was started with a free pass. Reed Johnson followed with a single to right and with runners on 1st and 3rd, Jason Marquis struck out for the second out of the inning.

Alfonso Soriano stepped in against Johnny Cueto and launched his third home run of the game on a 0-2 pitch that gave the Cubs a 6-1 lead. Soriano’s team leading 27th dinger of the season and his 5 RBI’s on the night ran his season total to 69. As infuriating as Soriano can be to watch play, he does set the tone for the team and his 27 home runs and 69 RBI’s are excellent production for a player that missed two months of the season.

Derrek Lee led off the 7th with a single to left but was forced at 2nd on a fielder’s choice groundout to 3rd by Aramis Ramirez. Micah Hoffpauir worked a 2-out walk and Mark DeRosa followed with his 20th homer of the year just to the right of straight away center. Both the 20 home runs and 80 RBI’s for DeRosa are career highs.

The Cubs kept tacking on in the 8th. Jason Marquis started the inning with a home run to right. Soriano followed with a single to center and advanced to 2nd on a ground out to short by Ryan Theriot. Derrek Lee followed with his second double of the night that plated Soriano with the Cubs’ 11th run.

In the 9th, Reed Johnson reached on a 1-out single to left. Ronny Cedeno (in his first career game in left field) followed with a single to left. Ryan Theriot walked to load the bases with 2 outs. Derrek Lee came through with a single to left that scored Johnson and Cedeno. Mike Fontenot then singled to center to plate Theriot with the Cubs 14th run of the game. As it turned out….every run was needed.

The offensive explosion was good to see against a pitcher they had beaten this year but not scored a lot of runs against. Johnny Cueto was pitching extremely well before leaving in the 3rd inning of his start back on August 24th. The Cubs scored 5 runs on 8 hits in 5 1/3 innings off of Cueto then went to work on the Reds’ bullpen. The win on Saturday night was the Cubs 8th against the Reds in 14 games this season.

Saturday night will hopefully allow the team to relax and finish the regular season on a winning note.

Sean Marshall will face Aaron Harang in the series and season finale against the Reds on Sunday afternoon….

Quote of the Day

"You try to get that game out of your mind, but it never leaves you." - Cool Papa Bell
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