Game One Hundred-Three – Cubs 2 Marlins 3
WP – Brendan Donnelly (2-0) LP – Kevin Gregg (4-3, BS 5) Save – None
The Cubs took a 2-1 lead into the bottom of the ninth thanks to Jake Fox’s eighth home run of the year, a solo shot in the top of the inning off of Brendan Donnelly. Kevin Gregg retired pinch-hitter Hanley Ramirez on a pop out to Jeff Baker at third for the first out.
Kevin Gregg quickly fell behind Dan Uggla 2-0. Then on a 3-1 pitch Uggla tied the game with a bomb to the upper deck in left field. The Cubs did not even get a chance to catch their breath before Cody Ross hit his second home run of the game, this time over the wall in left. On consecutive pitches Kevin Gregg served up the lead and the game. The Cubs walked off the field as the Marlins celebrated the come from behind win.
Kevin Gregg had not blown a save since June before Saturday night and in consecutive outings was very predictable against his former team. There are no two ways to cut, Sunday afternoon was a tough loss for Lou Piniella’s crew.
Ryan Dempster put together a very good outing. Dempster threw six innings of shutout ball and allowed just three hits but his four walks and four strikeouts ran up his pitch count and Piniella had to go to his pen in the seventh. Dempster allowed only two runners to reach second despite the fact he did not record a single 1-2-3 inning. Dempster bounced back from his from his poor outing against the Astros and left in line for the win.
Aaron Heilman served up Cody Ross’ first home run of the game, a solo shot in the seventh that tied the game at one. A day after picking up his first save of the season, Heilman blew his sixth save of the year.
Angel Guzman recorded the Cubs only three up, three down inning in the eighth. Guzman did his job once again and was the pitcher of record before Kevin Gregg took the mound.
The Cubs’ offense could not take advantage of chances early against Ricky Nolasco. Derrek Lee drove in Sam Fuld in the third for the Cubs’ only run against Nolasco but after the Lee single in the third, Nolasco shut the door.
Ricky Nolasco retired the last 14 batters he faced struck out eight and walked just one in seven excellent innings of work. Matt Lindstrom gave up the first Cubs’ hit since the third, a two-out single by Ryan Theriot … his third hit of the game.
All three of the Marlins’ runs on Sunday came via the longball … two by Cody Ross, numbers 16 and 17 and one by Dan Uggla number 19.
The Cubs finished the season series against the Fish with a 4-3 record after the tough loss on Sunday afternoon. Sunday was one of the games that could have lingering effects on a team. Derrek Lee discussed how big it was on Saturday night for them to come back and win then Kevin Gregg served it up again on Sunday. Lou Piniella must get his bullpen right and soon.
The offense had chances against Ricky Nolasco in the first three innings they could not cash in.
Ryan Theriot tripled off the wall in left center with one-out on a 3-2 pitch. Derrek Lee popped out to John Baker on the first pitch and Jake Fox struck out swinging on three pitches to end the inning.
Mike Fontenot doubled off the base of the wall with two outs in the second but Koyie Hill flied out to deep right to end the inning. Nolasco threw just nine pitches in the second inning.
Sam Fuld worked a one-out walk in the third. Ryan Theriot delivered a single to left, his 36th multi-hit game of the year. With runners on first and third with one-out, Derrek Lee singled to right center. Fuld scored easily and Theriot advanced to third but it was Cody Ross that kept Theriot from scoring. Ross took a perfect route to the ball and held Lee at first … and made Mike Quade hold Theriot.
Cody Ross was the difference in the game not only with his bat … but with his glove.
Jake Fox worked the count to 3-2 against Nolasco before striking out. Micah Hoffpauir grounded out to first to end the inning.
The Cubs did not manage another hit or runner against Ricky Nolasco. While Nolasco was throwing strikes, the Cubs were extremely aggressive at the plate.
Despite the loss, the Cubs are 12-5 since the break and will enter play on Monday night in Cincinnati a half game back of the Cardinals in the division.
Randy Wells will face Aaron Harang in the first of three in the Queen City on Monday night.