And the Wind Cried…Ball Four! – Cubs 3 Giants 5

Game Thirty – Cubs 3 Giants 5 – 7 innings
WP – Barry Zito (2-1) LP – Carlos Marmol (1-1, BS 1) Save – Luis Perdomo (3)

Due to extremely windy conditions in Scottsdale on Thursday night, the exhibition game between the Cubs and Giants was called in the seventh inning. The Cubs lost for the first time in six games on a night Lou Piniella’s pitching staff issued six walks.

Sean Marshall struggled with his command and the incredibly windy night had to figure into his control problems. Marshall threw mostly fastballs and changeups and rarely dropped in a curve ball for a strike. Marshall had issued just one walk on the spring entering Thursday’s gamehe walked five in four innings and struck out only two. Marshall was inline for the win after the Cubs plated two runs in the top of the fifth.

Carlos Marmol also struggled with his command and gave up two runs on two hits in an inning of work. With his team up 3-2, Marmol hit Fred Lewis on a 0-2 pitch. Lewis scored the tying run on a single to center by Pablo Sandoval. Aaron Rowand drove in Sandoval with a double to right center after a throwing error by Geovany Soto put Sandoval in scoring position.

Milton Bradley gave the Cubs a 1-0 lead in the second inning with his third home run of the spring. Bradley hit Barry Zito’s first pitch over the wall in right…Bradley struck the ball well and it did not appear to receive much help from the wind.

The Cubs scored a pair of runs in the fifth after Geovany Soto and Ryan Theriot started the inning with back-to-back singles. Alfonso Soriano broke the 1-1 tie with a one-out single to center that plated Soto. Derrek Lee then reached on a two-out infield single to third that drove in Theriot and kept the inning alive for Milton Bradley.

Bradley worked a walk with an impressive at bat against Barry Zitoand clapped his hands towards the Cubs’ dugout as he headed to first base. With the bases loaded, Aramis Ramirez hit a grounder to the hole at short and the hustling Bradley made the easy throw from Edgar Renteria a very close play. Bradley thought he was safe and showed a lot of fire and displeasure as he walked back to the dugout.

When Sean Marshall walked the second batter he faced on Thursday night (Edgar Renteria) and appeared to be having difficulties throwing strikes, it was pretty evident it was going to be a long night.

Marshall threw 22 pitches in the first inning, only 10 for strikes and worked around two walks without giving up any runs. In Marshall’s defense, home plate umpire Ted Barrett had a very small strike zone early in the game. Marshall kept the ball down for the most part and when he missed it was low in the zone.

After Bradley’s home run in the top of the second gave Marshall a slim lead, he adjusted and threw the ball a little better in the bottom half. Of the 20 pitches Marshall tossed in the second, 12 were for strikes. He worked around his third walk of the game and a dropped pop fly by Mike Fontenot. Emmanuel Burriss was given a double but it should have gone as a two-base error…the ball fell out of Fontenot’s glove. It would have been a difficult catch, especially in the conditions, but one Fontenot has to make during the regular season.

The Giants broke through in the third despite the fact Marshall threw the ball much better. Fred Lewis led off the inning with a double to right and scored on a single to left by Pablo Sandoval. Alfonso Soriano’s throw was up the first base line and allowed Sandoval to advance to second.

Aaron Rowand walked and Travis Ishikawa singled to center on the first pitch from Marshall…Sandoval scored, 2-1 Giants.

Marshall threw 22 pitches in the third, 15 for strikes.

The fifth inning was the easiest of the night for Sean Marshall. He picked off Randy Winn from first base with Edgar Renteria at the plate. Winn was the fifth and final free pass issued by Marshall on the night. He threw 18 pitches, nine for strikes in his final inning.

Carlos Marmol will probably be the first on the Cubs’ charter when the team leaves for New York next week. Marmol continued to struggle throwing his slider on Thursday in Arizona and hit another batter…which ended up being the tying run.

Marmol threw 22 pitches in his inning of work, 16 for strikes.

Aaron Heilman replaced Marmol in the sixth and struggled with his command as well. A throwing error by Andres Blanco did not help and led to the Giants fifth run. Heilman walked Edgar Renteria and an infield single by Fred Lewis drove in Andres Torres with one-out in the sixth. Heilman struck out both Bengie Molina and Pablo Sandoval swinging to end the inning. Heilman threw 19 pitches, 11 for strikes.

The Cubs only night game of the spring turned out to be just a sloppy night in the desert…thanks in large part to Mother Nature.

Box Score from MLB.com

The Cubs will host the White Sox on Friday afternoon. Carlos Zambrano versus Clayton Richard with Kosuke Fukudome expected in Lou Piniella’s lineup. WGN TV will broadcast the game.

Quote of the Day

"Unless you try to do something beyond what you have already mastered, you will never grow." - Ralph Waldo Emerson
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