Z Pitches, Z Homers … Cubs Take Game One – Cubs 7 Cardinals 3

Game Eighty-Five – Cubs 7 Cardinals 3
WP – Carlos Zambrano (5-4) LP – Kyle Lohse (4-5) Save – None

wflag.jpgCarlos Zambrano posted his first win since June 5 and set the tone for a big day on the North Side of Chicago. Zambrano put together another solid start, despite giving up three runs in the third inning and took matters into his own hands in the fourth. Big Z’s third home run of the year and 19th of his career broke a 3-3 tie and ended up being the game winner. Zambrano left after taking the mound in the seventh and turned the game over to Sean Marshall. He allowed three runs on five hits in six innings with two walks and seven strikeouts … five of the last seven outs recorded by Zambrano were strikeouts.

Sean Marshall was once again impressive out of the pen. With the Cubs up by one, 4-3, Marshall retired the Cardinals in order in the seventh.

The Cubs improved to 28-10 on the season when they score first after a three-run opening frame. Ryan Theriot (2-for-5 with two doubles and a run scored) doubled to left on a 2-2 pitch from Kyle Lohse. Alfonso Soriano followed with arguably the biggest at bat of the game. Lohse got ahead of the free-swinging Soriano 1-2 before he evened the count and eventually worked a walk. The 10-pitch at bat by Soriano ran up Lohse’s pitch count and put runners on first and second for Micah Hoffpauir. Hoffpauir ripped Lohse’s first offering into the bleachers in right and gave his team a three-run lead with his eighth longball of the year.

The Cubs took advantage of two errors by the Cardinals in the seventh and tacked on three big runs. Alfonso Soriano (2-for-3 with a walk and two runs scored) led off with a single to center, the Cubs only hit of the inning. Micah Hoffpauir walked on four pitches and Milton Bradley loaded the bases with his second free pass of the afternoon, another four-pitch walk by Todd Wellemeyer.

With the bases loaded and one out, Sam Fuld pinch-hit for Jeff Baker and grounded a 2-2 offering from P.J. Walters to second base. Skip Shumaker’s throw to the plate was high and Jason LaRue did not touch the plate when he came down. Soriano was ruled safe. Koyie Hill then hit a routine grounder to first that got under Albert Pujols. Hoffpauir and Bradley scored on a play that proved Albert Pujols is human after all. All three runs were of the unearned variety … but they counted on the scoreboard.

The Cubs improved to a game over .500 with their sixth win of the homestand …

Carlos Zambrano was given the choice to pitch game one or wait for the night game, and he made the call leaders are supposed to make. Zambrano put together his best start against the Cardinals since last July 4 in St. Louis … behind a make shift lineup.

Zambrano retired the Cardinals in order in the first and pitched around two bloop singles to center in the second. Zambrano began pitching from behind in the third and it cost him three runs.

Skip Schumaker reached on a one-out single to center on a 3-1 pitch. Zambrano then walked Colby Rasmus and Pujols made him pay. Pujols ripped a 1-0 pitch off the wall in left and cut the Cubs lead to one-run at 3-2.

Chris Duncan worked the second walk of the inning following a groundout to third by Ryan Ludwick. Joe Thurston then drove in Pujols with a two-out single to left. Zambrano calmed himself down and struck out Jason LaRue to end the inning.

Carlos Zambrano retired the last 10 batters he faced following the Thurston single in the third.

The Cubs did what they had to in the first game on Sunday …

Box Score from Yahoo Sports

Randy Wells will face Adam Wainwright in game two of the day-night doubleheader … first pitch slated for 7:05pm C.T.

Quote of the Day

"Build up your weaknesses until they become your strong points." – Knute Rockne