Game Seven – Cubs 4 Rockies 0
WP – Ted Lilly (2-0) LP – Ubaldo Jimenez (1-1) Save – None
The Cubs 2009 Home Opener belonged to Ted Lilly. With Aramis Ramirez, Milton Bradley and Geovany Soto out of the starting lineup, Lilly led his team to an impressive shutout victory over the Colorado Rockies…after a 72-minute rain delay.
On a cold, wet day in Chicago Ted Lilly took a no-hitter into the seventh. After striking out Todd Helton for the second out of the inning, Garrett Atkins recorded the lone Rockies hit of the afternoon…a single to left between Mike Fontenot and Ryan Theriot. Lilly walked two, struck out eight in 6 2/3 innings to more than earn his second win of the season…Lilly’s second victory of 2008 did not come until May 3 in St. Louis.
After walking 10 times on Sunday night, the Cubs offense worked nine more free passes on Monday…including a bases loaded walk by Koyie Hill in the second that forced in Derrek Lee with the eventual game winner.
Derrek Lee reached base four times in five trips to the plate…a pair of walks, a single and a double. Monday was Lee’s first multi-hit game of the young season. Kosuke Fukudome hit third in Piniella’s lineup and continued his strong start. He drove in Alfonso Soriano with a single in the eighth and walked three times.
Rick Sutcliffe threw out the ceremonial first pitch…and Sutcliffe and Jody Davis led the crowd in singing the Seventh Inning Stretch.
The Cubs beat the Rockies for the ninth straight time at Wrigley dating back to September 2006…and are 5-2 on the young season. After posting a 55-26 record at Wrigley a year ago, Ted Lilly started the home schedule off on more than a positive note. Lilly dominated the Rockies, a team that he’d struggled against in the past. Ron Santo said after the game, “It was a Lilly day.” And the always-honest Santo hit the nail on the proverbial head.
Ted Lilly brought his A-game with the B-Team on the field behind him.
The Cubs tacked on a couple of unearned runs in the fourth.
Koyie Hill led off with a single to right. Ubaldo Jimenez then walked Ted Lilly on a 3-2 pitch. Alfonso Soriano struck out and Ryan Theriot hit a tailor made double play ball to Troy Tulowitzki at short. Lilly was forced but Jeff Baker threw the ball away, Hill scored the Cubs second run on the error.
Jimenez balked Theriot to second then walked Kosuke Fukudome. Derrek Lee followed with a bloop single into right that plated Theriot with the Cubs’ third run…the single should have been Lee’s second RBI of the game but for some reason Mike Quade held Fukudome at third after Lee’s double to left center in the third inning. Quade has thrown up a few very questionable stop signs in the first week of the season.
Angel Guzman replaced Lilly with two outs and two on in the seventh. Guzman uncorked a wild pitch on his first offering that allowed both runners to advance. With the Cubs up 3-0, Guzman settled down and retired Troy Tulowitzki on a fly out to center.
Aaron Heilman pitched the eighth. Heilman issued a one-out walk to Chris Iannetta then started Ian Stewart with two straight out of the zone. Lou Piniella made a visit to the mound, Heilman then did his job and retired the last two batters of the inning.
Kevin Gregg struck out the side in the ninth…his only blemish was a one-out walk to Todd Helton.
On a sad day for baseball, Lou Piniella’s crew played small-ball and posted their third win in a row.
The Cubs are off on Tuesday and will complete the 2-game series with the Rockies on Wednesday afternoon…Rich Harden against Jason Marquis.