Game Forty-Three – Cubs 8 Pirates 10
WP – Tom Gorzelanny (2-1) LP – Neal Cotts (0-2, BS 1) Save – Sean Burnett (1)
Lou Piniella’s crew lost their eighth game in a row and dropped below .500 for the first time since April 30 (10-11). The eight-game slid is the longest under Lou Piniella and they fell to 2-15 when they commit at least one error. Ryan Dempster took full responsibility following the game and stated he “sucked” when his team finally put some runs on the board.
Freddy Sanchez was a human highlight reel on Monday night. Not only did he finish the game a perfect 6-for-6 at the plate (a double, a home run and three singles), Sanchez scored four runs, drove in two, stole a base and turned in two defensive gems in the field.
Frustration boiled over in the fifth inning in the Cubs’ dugout. Ted Lilly was ejected for arguing balls and strikes with home plate umpire Bob Davidson. Lilly had to reportedly be restrained. Lilly will be fined and could be suspended.
The Cubs’ offense finally woke up from a weeklong slumber but for as good as the pitching was on the trip, it was equally as bad on Monday night. Ryan Dempster was all over the place and had zero command. Dempster gave up a run in the first inning, two in the third on back-to-back bases loaded walks and three more in the fourth inning. Dempster departed after four innings trailing 6-4 and allowed six runs on seven hits with three walks and three strikeouts on 94 pitches, 53 for strikes.
Jose Ascanio replaced Dempster in the fifth and worked out of a bases loaded jam. Ascanio gave up three hits but no runs and was lifted for Neal Cotts to start the sixth.
Neal Cotts was horrible again and surrendered three runs on four hits in an inning of work. The big hit was a two-run shot by Nate McLouth that ended up being the game winner. Three of the four hits off Cotts were for extra bases and two were by left handed hitters. Lou Piniella said during his post-game press conference, “Neal, we’ve given him all of the opportunities in the world. It’s about time…” Piniella did not finish his statement.
Aaron Heilman gave up a run on a pair of hits with a walk in his inning of work. Heilman picked up were Cotts left off and all of the baserunners he allowed came after he retired the first two batters of the inning.
Other than Jose Ascanio, the other bright spot for the pitching staff was David Patton. ‘The Rule 5 Kid‘ made his first appearance since May 9 in Milwaukee and tossed two scoreless innings. Patton gave up a pair of hits and a walk with one strikeout.
Cubs pitching allowed 10 runs on 18 hits…by far their worst collective performance of the season.
The Cubs offense battled back all night and was led by Alfonso Soriano, Ryan Theriot and Milton Bradley. Soriano walked twice in five trips to the plate and scored two of the Cubs eight runs. Ryan Theriot finished 3-for-5 with two runs scored and two RBI. All three of Theriot’s hits were doubles to left.
Milton Bradley hopefully had a breakout game. Bradley was 2-for-4 with a double and a two-run homer, his fifth of the year, which gave the Cubs a brief one-run lead in the fourth. Bradley drove in four runs…nearly half of his RBI total for the season entering play on Monday.
This version of the Chicago Cubs is in need of some confidence…but more importantly, a win.
Alfonso Soriano put together a 12-pitch at bat against Paul Maholm to start the game with his team down 1-0. The lengthy at bat resulted in a walk and he tied the game on Ryan Theriot’s first double of the night. Theriot ran the count to 3-2 and Soriano took of for second on the pitch that Theriot lined down the left field line.
Soriano started the Cubs’ three-run rally in the third with his second walk of the game. Theriot lined a 2-0 pitch from Maholm to left again. With runners on second and third with no outs, Milton Bradley tied the game with a double to left…his third of the year.
Geovany Soto gave the Cubs a 4-3 lead after he lined Maholm’s first pitch into center. Bradley scored and the Cubs scored three runs in a single inning of work.
After Dempster surrendered three more runs in the top of the fourth, the offense got back to work again in the bottom of the inning. Aaron Miles reached on a ball in the dirt that got away from Jason Jaramillo on a swinging strike three. Alfonso Soriano was robbed on a single on a great play by Freddy Sanchez but advanced Aaron Miles to second. Miles scored on another double to left by Ryan Theriot.
With the score 6-5 Pirates, Milton Bradley stepped in and lined a 1-0 pitch from Maholm over the wall in left. Bradley’s third and fourth RBI of the game gave his team a one-run lead at 7-6.
The Cubs final run of the night came in the seventh on a RBI single to center by Ryan Freel that plated Reed Johnson.
Freddy Sanchez started his perfect night with a one-out double in the first inning. Ryan Dempster retired Nate McLouth but Adam LaRoche dropped a single into left that plated Sanchez with the game’s first run. Dempster got out of the first without any further damage and faced the minimum in the second…it looked like it was going to be a good night for Ryan Dempster.
That all changed in the third inning. Dempster issued a one out walk to Nyjer Morgan and a single to right center by Freddy Sanchez. A wild pitch advanced Sanchez into scoring position but Dempster hit Nate McLouth to load the bases.
Dempster’s control problems continued he walked Adam LaRoche and Brandon Moss back-to-back with the bases loaded to force in two runs.
With the Pirates up 3-1, Andy LaRoche swung at ball four and tapped back to Dempster. The Cubs turned a 1-2-3 double play and got out of the inning. Dempster was a pitch away from leaving the game in the third.
The offense gave Dempster a one-run lead in the bottom of the inning.
Jason Jaramillo led off the fourth with a double to left center. After a wild pickoff attempt at second advanced the Pirates’ catcher to third with one-out, Jack Wilson blooped a single into shallow right that went off of Aaron Miles’ glove…Miles has to make that catch. The bloop and misplayed ball tied the game at four.
Paul Maholm sacrificed Wilson to second and Nyjer Morgan flied out to center for the second out. Freddy Sanchez gave the Pirates a two-run lead with a home run to left on a 2-2 pitch.
Dempster struck out Nate McLouth to end the inning and his night.
Neal Cotts continued taking up a roster spot and proving he is not a big league pitcher… Cotts was beyond horrible and quickly turned a 7-6 Cubs lead into a 9-7 deficit in the sixth inning.
Freddy Sanchez reached on a one-out single and scored on Nate McLouth’s long home run to right. Another lefty, Adam LaRoche followed with a one-out double to right center. Moss grounded out to short, LaRoche advanced to third and scored on an infield single by Jason Jaramillo…Theriot got to the ball hit up the middle but did not make an accurate throw.
What else can be said? Changes have to be made soon…
Sean Marshall is slated to face Ian Snell on Tuesday night.