Game Forty-Seven – Cubs 2 Dodgers 1
WP – Ted Lilly (6-4) LP – Chad Billingsley (6-3) Save – Kevin Gregg (8)
Lou Piniella’s crew finally won a low scoring game on Friday with their 2-1 defeat of the Los Angeles Dodgers. For the first time this season the Cubs won a game in which they scored less than four runs (1-19) and turned a frustrating afternoon into a big come-from-behind victory.
Ted Lilly pitched a gem and made only one mistake in seven innings. ‘The Bulldog‘ gave up only three hits and two walks in the first six innings. Andres Blanco helped keep the Dodgers off the board in the third and Lilly out pitched Chad Billingsley for most of the afternoon.
Casey Blake walked to start the seventh but the Cubs defense turned their second double play of the afternoon. With the bases empty and two outs, Lilly left a 1-0 pitch out over the plate to Matt Kemp and he deposited it into the basket in left center. The Dodgers took a 1-0 lead…
The Cubs wasted two chances against Chad Billingsley before the Kemp home run and it appeared the Cubs were on their way to being shutout once again. The Cubs could not plate any runs in the second inning after putting runners on second and third with no outs. In the sixth, Kosuke Fukudome led off with a double, ended up at third on an error by Andre Ethier but was stranded after three straight groundouts.
Koyie Hill tied the game on the first pitch by Billingsley in the bottom of the seventh. Hill’s second homer of the year ended up a row deep in the bleachers in right center…before Friday, the Dodgers number one pitcher had allowed only one home run.
One out later, Jake Fox (3-for-4 on the season) singled to center on a 0-2 pitch from Billingsley. Alfonso Soriano and Bobby Scales loaded the bases with back-to-back singles. Kosuke Fukudome was very patient once again. On a 3-1 pitch from Chad Billingsley, Fukudome hit a sacrifice fly into center that plated Jake Fox with the go ahead run.
Carlos Marmol walked a tight rope in the eighth and did not allow any runs despite walking two more hitters. The Cubs defense turned their third double play of the game to help get Marmol out of one of his jams. After walking Russell Martin with two outs, Marmol struck out Orlando Hudson to end the inning.
Kevin Gregg picked up his eighth save and worked around an error by Bobby Scales. Gregg retired the first two batters he faced before surrendering a two-out single to Andre Ethier. Matt Kemp reached on Scales’ error but Mark Loretta grounded out to short to end the game.
The Cubs improved to a game over .500 on the season with a win over an excellent pitcher…and have won three of their last four after dropping eight straight. Friday afternoon was anything but a perfectly played game. The Cubs could have given Ted Lilly a little breathing room early on but for whatever reason, at this point of the season, the Cubs cannot hit with runners in scoring position. Chad Billingsley deserves some of the credit for Friday…but not for the last three weeks.
Derrek Lee put together an excellent at bat against Billingsley to start the second. Lee quickly fell behind 0-2 before working a walk. Micah Hoffpauir followed with a double to right on the first pitch. The Cubs first hit put runners on second and third with no outs.
Mike Fontenot lined out to second and Koyie Hill struck out…Andres Blanco popped out to first and the Cubs wasted a perfect opportunity to take an early lead.
Chad Billingsley retired the Cubs in order in the third and sat down the first two batters of the fourth. Micah Hoffpauir (2-for-4) and Mike Fontenot singled with two outs in the fifth. Koyie Hill walked to load the bases but Andres Blanco grounded out to third to end the inning.
Kosuke Fukudome led off the sixth with a double to right. Andre Ethier bobbled the ball and Kosuke ended up at third. Derrek Lee (tap back to the mound), Micah Hoffpauir (ground out to first on the first pitch) and Mike Fontenot (groundout to first) went down in order to end the inning.
The Cubs ended their four-game losing streak to the Dodgers on a day they might have learned how to win low scoring games.
Ryan Dempster will face Eric Stults Saturday afternoon on FOX.