Game Sixty – Cubs 3 Twins 2
WP – Carlos Marmol (2-1) LP – Jesse Crain (2-3) Save – None
For all of his troubles early in the season, Derrek Lee has come on of late and led his team to a much-needed win on Sunday. Derrek Lee recorded two of the Cubs eight hits and scored two of their three runs … and it was Lee’s hustle in the ninth that was the difference in the game.
Derrek Lee reached on a one-out single to left on a 1-0 pitch from Jesse Crain. Geovany Soto, who had a big game at the plate, followed with a single to left on a 0-1 pitch. The Twins were playing no doubles and Lee took advantage of Delmon Young being deep in left field. Lee did not hesitate around second and slid into third with the would-be go winning run. Soto followed Lee’s lead and advanced to second on Young’s throw to third … Lee pumped his fist emphatically as he was called safe.
The Twins intentionally walked Mike Fontenot to load the bases but Ryan Theriot (2-for-3 with a sacrifice fly and two RBI) delivered his second RBI of the game, a single to right that plated Lee with the game winner. The Cubs celebrated near first base as the home crowd sang the victory song.
Derrek Lee (2-for-4 with two runs scored) extended his hitting streak to 13 games in the third inning and scored the Cubs first run on a sacrifice fly to right by Ryan Theriot in the second inning … Lee has reached base safely in 23 straight. Geovany Soto hit two doubles and drove in a run in a 3-for-4 afternoon. For as bad as Lee and Soto started their seasons, both have started producing of late. Lee is 17-for-46 in June with two doubles and two home runs (.370/.463/.548) while Soto is hitting over .280 since mid-May with two home runs and four doubles.
Ted Lilly turned in another excellent outing. Lilly made only two mistakes in his 7 2/3 innings of work, and both were to Carlos Gomez with two outs. The Twins’ centerfielder reached on a two-out double in the second, stole third and scored on a bunt single by Nick Punto. Gomez then tied the game with two outs in the sixth with his first home run of the season.
Ted Lilly left with the game tied and two on with two out in the eighth after surrendering two runs on nine hits, without a walk and six strikeouts on the afternoon.
Carlos Marmol retired Carlos Gomez on a foul out on a 3-2 pitch to end the eighth … and after issuing back-to-back one-out walks in the ninth, retired Joe Mauer and Justin Morneau to end the ninth inning. After struggling with his command earlier in the inning, Marmol appeared to gain confidence after he retired Joe Mauer. Marmol quickly got ahead of Morneau and induced an inning ending ground out to second base.
Milton Bradley (1-for-4 with a double and a run scored) doubled and scored the Cubs’ second run in the fourth inning. Bradley advanced to third on a productive groundout by Derrek Lee and scored on Soto’s second double of the afternoon. Bradley contributed to a Cubs’ win and ended his weekend on a positive note.
On the day the Cubs relieved Gerald Perry of his duties as hitting coach, the Cubs found a way to win a game without a home run. The Cubs strung together three hits in the ninth and hit with runners in scoring position … 2-for-7 with a sacrifice fly on the afternoon.
As Derrek Lee said following the game, Sunday was a big win for the Chicago Cubs … Sunday’s win kept the Cubs from dropping to a season-low two games under .500 and for the 12th time this year they are at the break-even point. After 60 games, the Cubs are 30-30 and have a lot work to do. The Cubs are not scoring and in their last five games have plated only nine runs. Alfonso Soriano is not hitting or driving the ball and finished the series 1-for-12 with a run scored and four strikeouts. While Kosuke Fukudome’s line does not look much better, the wind kept both of the balls Fukudome hit into the outfield on Sunday in the park.
The Twins are a very good team, especially in Interleague action. Entering play on Sunday, they were 46-13 against the NL since 2006. The Twins play the game the right way … and that is because of their manager Ron Gardenhire. The Cubs out executed the Twins on Sunday and that was the difference in the game.
With the Cubs down 1-0, Derrek Lee led off the second with a single to left on a 3-1 pitch from Scott Baker. Geovany Soto doubled off the wall in left center on a 1-1 pitch … Gomez came within inches of making a great catch on a ball the wind held in the yard. Mike Fontenot struck out swinging for the first out but Ryan Theriot hit a sacrifice fly into right that plated Lee with the tying run.
Aaron Miles (his days have to be numbered as a starter) grounded out to Baker on the first pitch to end the inning.
Milton Bradley was very aggressive at the plate all afternoon. He recorded only one hit, but it led to the Cubs second run of the game … in his other three at bats, three pitches and three outs.
Bradley scorched a double down the right field line to start the fourth. Derrek Lee grounded out to Brendan Harris on a ball hit up the middle, but Bradley advanced to third on the productive out. With one out in the inning, Geovany Soto hit his second double of the game into right center … Bradley scored with the Cubs first lead in a game since June 10. Mike Fontenot flied out and Ryan Theriot struck out to end the inning.
It might not have been pretty but the Cubs’ manufactured a win when they needed it the most.
Many of the Cubs will spend Monday’s off day with Ron Santo at his annual golf tournament before kicking off a three-game series at Wrigley on Tuesday against the White Sox. The Cubs open a string of 23 straight on Tuesday, that includes a double header … Carlos Zambrano is slated to face John Danks in the series opener.