Game Sixty-Two – Cubs 6 White Sox 5
WP – Kevin Gregg (1-1) LP – Matt Thornton (4-2) Save – None
The Cubs appeared well on their way to losing their second game in a row. The offense was horrible for seven innings and managed only one run on four singles off of Gavin Floyd. The Cubs were getting themselves out once again and all signs pointed to the Cubs dropping to two games under .500 on the year.
Ozzie Guillen lifted Gavin Floyd for a pinch hitter in the eighth after the White Sox tacked on two against Carlos Marmol. Floyd had thrown only 90 pitches through seven innings. With the Cubs down 5-1, Guillen turned the game over to his pen … and the Cubs took advantage.
Micah Hoffpauir reached on a error by Chris Getz and advanced to second on the first hit of the series by Alfonso Soriano. Scott Linebrink then retired Ryan Theriot on an infield pop up and struck out Milton Bradley for the second out of the inning. Derrek Lee lifted the first pitch from Linebrink into the basket in right center.
Derrek Lee’s eighth home run of the year might have been the biggest swing of the Cubs first 62 games.
Geovany Soto followed and on a 1-1 pitch from Linebrink, got a fastball in his wheelhouse and tied the game at five. Soto’s fourth home run of the year ended up in the bleachers in left center … and the Cubs bench exploded. The Cubs battled all the way back and while all four runs in the eighth were unearned, they were a long time coming for the Cubs’ struggling offense.
Kevin Gregg retired three of the four batters he faced in the ninth and set up the possibility of another win in their last at bat.
Reed Johnson pinch-hit for Kosuke Fukudome and led off the bottom of the ninth with a single to center off Matt Thornton. Andres Blanco sacrificed Johnson to second but Aaron Miles grounded out to short for the second out of the inning.
Alfonso Soriano, who was 0-for-his-last-17 with runners in scoring position, came through with his second hit of the game … a bloop single to right center that plated Reed Johnson with the winning run.
Kevin Gregg earned his first win as a Cub and Derrek Lee extended his hitting streak to 15 games with his dinger in the eighth … Lee recorded four of the Cubs six RBI on the afternoon.
Lou Piniella’s crew even their season record at 31-31 with exactly 100 games left to play. And there is little doubt this was a big victory for the Chicago Cubs. Could Thursday’s come from behind win be a springboard for better things left to come this season? Carlos Zambrano turned in another quality start and once again pitched good enough to post a victory. Zambrano allowed only three runs on six hits in seven innings with three walks and three strikeouts. The White Sox scored their first run off of Big Z in the sixth and tacked on a pair in the seventh on Alexei Ramirez’s second home run of the series.
All three runs the Sox scored off Zambrano came with two outs and he did everything he could to keep his team in the game … Zambrano’s only mistake was the longball served up to Ramirez.
Jermaine Dye reached on a one-out double to left center in the sixth. After Paul Konerko flied out to right, the Cubs intentionally walked A.J. Pierzynski with two outs. Brian Anderson then delivered a two-out single to right that plated Dye with the game’s first run.
The Cubs tied the game in the bottom of the sixth after a lead off single by Ryan Theriot … on a 0-2 pitch from Gavin Floyd. Milton Bradley followed with a single to right center on a 3-2 pitch. Theriot advanced to third. Derrek Lee then hit a soft grounder to short that plated Theriot with the Cubs’ first run. Bradley was forced at second on the play.
Geovany Soto grounded into a 6-4-3 double play to end the sixth.
With the game tied at one, Carlos Zambrano issued a leadoff walk to Gordon Beckham. Gavin Floyd sacrificed Beckham to second. Scott Podsednik then fouled out to Alfonso Soriano for the second out … Soriano made a fine catch in the Cubs bullpen near the wall and almost ran over Aaron Heilman in the process.
Alexei Ramirez followed with his seventh home run of the year … a two-run shot on a 1-0 pitch. Ramirez appeared to hit the knock out blow at the time.
Carlos Marmol was awful once again and gave up two runs on three hits in the eighth. Marmol managed to record just two outs … and it was the bottom of the Sox offense that did the damage.
Paul Konerko led off with a single to right off of Marmol. After a passed ball advanced Konerko to second, A.J. Pierzynski grounded out to second. The productive out put Konerko at third with only one out. Brian Anderson popped out to Derrek Lee but Chris Getz doubled to right … Konerko scored the Sox fourth run.
Gordon Beckham followed with a single to right … 5-0 White Sox and all five runs were scored with two outs.
Sean Marshall replaced Marmol and walked pinch-hitter Josh Fields. Marshall then retired Scott Podsednik on a come backer to the mound … it was a big out that will go unnoticed.
Game Two went to the Good Guys…
Rich Harden is slated to face Cliff Lee in game one of the Mark DeRosa-Kerry Wood series on Friday afternoon.