Cubs Bench Can’t Back Marshall – Cubs 2 Giants 6

Game Twenty-Six – Cubs 2 Giants 6
WP – Tim Lincecum (3-1) LP – Sean Marshall (0-2) Save – None

Lou Piniella ran out a split squad lineup on Tuesday afternoon in Chicago that almost pulled out a win against the reigning NL Cy Young Award winner. Sean Marshall made one mistake in seven-plus innings that put his team in a hole against Tim Lincecum. With only three regulars in Piniella’s starting nine and one out of position, the Cubs offense could not break through against Lincecum on a day in which he did not have his best stuff.

Sean Marshall gave up a bunt single to Edgar Renteria and a single to left to Rich Aurilia to start the game. Bengie Molina then gave his pitcher all the runs he would need. Molina hit the first pitch from Marshall into the bleachers to left. Molina’s fifth home run of the year gave the Giants a 3-0 lead.

After the first inning Marshall settled down and went pitch for pitch with Tim Lincecum. Marshall allowed just four other hits until the eighth and kept his team in the game.

Bobby Scales made his Major League debut and his first big league hit led to the Cubs second run. Scales reached on a two-out single in the fifth and scored on Sean Marshall’s first hit of the season…a single to center. The Cubs makeshift lineup was within one-run of tying the game.

Sean Marshall took the hill in the eighth. He was due to lead off the next inning and had thrown only 89 pitches. The Cubs fifth starter walked his first batter, Edgar Renteria, to start the inning then gave up another single to Rich Aurilia. Piniella went to his pen for Jeff Samardzija with the Cubs down by a score of 3-2.

Samardzija hit Bengie Molina on his second pitch and with the bases loaded and no outs, Aaron Rowand put the game away with a double to left. Before Piniella could get Samardzija out of the game, Randy Winn singled to right on a 1-2 pitch and drove in Molina with the Giants sixth run. Samardzija retired Juan Uribe but walked Emmanuel Burriss to load the bases. Neal Cotts threw one pitch to Pablo Sandoval and turned a 1-2-3 double play to get out of the inning, but the game was well out of reach at that point.

Before the season Lou Piniella stressed the importance of getting rest for his everyday players. With a day game following a night game before a five-game road trip was apparently the right time for Piniella to get his bench some playing time…and his regulars a day off against an excellent pitcher. There were a few of positives on a day many feel Lou Piniella waved the white flag on. Sean Marshall pitched an excellent game. His box score does not do his performance justice. Anytime a team can get from their fifth starter what Marshall gave the Cubs on Tuesday should be more than happy.

Bobby Scales made his big league debut. Recorded his first hit off of one of the best in the game right now. Scales scored a run after a two-out bases empty single and played a solid second base. Scales could end up making contributions to this team as the year progresses.

Derrek Lee drove the ball. His double in the second inning led to a manufactured run.

The Giants improved to 11-0 on the year when they score first…and the Cubs simply did not have enough offense in the lineup to mount a comeback. Following the game Piniella said, “We rested our guys and played our bench. We start a five-game road trip tomorrow.” Piniella looked at Tuesday as being one of the sixty a team loses during a season.

The Cubs open a brief two-game series on Wednesday night in Houston…Rich Harden against Mike Hampton.