Game One Hundred-Eleven – Cubs 3 Phillies 4 – 12 innings
WP – Scott Eyre (2-1) LP – Kevin Gregg (4-4) Save – Chad Durbin (2)
Five words can sum up Tuesday night’s loss … three runs on ten hits. The Cubs lost for the fifth time in six games on a night they continued to strand runner after runner after runner. The offense pounded out 10 hits but managed only three runs and left a total of 12 runners on base. The Cubs hit the ball seemingly all game long and once again left a win on base.
Kevin Gregg gave up the Phillies third hit of the game in the top of the 12th, a solo home run to Ben Francisco that landed in the basket in left. The Philadelphia Phillies won a game in which they scored four runs on only three hits, but two were home runs. The home run by Francisco was the 11th served up by Gregg this season, most by a National League reliever.
The Phillies third run came in the eighth off of Carlos Marmol. What in the world happened to Carlos Marmol? Marmol hit a batter, his 11th of the year, most in the National League, and walked three batters … including Ryan Howard with the bases loaded that forced in Carlos Ruiz with the go ahead run.
John Grabow struck out Raul Ibanez to get of the jam in his first home game as a Cub … and Angel Guzman was electric in his two innings of relief but neither Grabow nor Guzman was as good as Rich Harden.
Rich Harden was perfection for 5 1/3 innings. He did not allow a single hit or baserunner until one out in the sixth. Carlos Ruiz walked and scored two batters later when Jimmy Rollins collected the Phillies first hit … a two run homer into the bleachers in right that tied the game at two. Harden admitted his missed his spot on the pitch to Rollins following the game. As good as Harden was, he said his performance was not good enough.
Harden left after allowing two runs on two hits with two walks and six strikeouts in seven innings.
Milton Bradley played one of his better games of the year. Bradley drove in the tying run in the bottom of the ninth that sent the game into extra innings. The Cubs right fielder played excellent defense and continued to excel out of the two-hole in Lou Piniella’s lineup. Bradley just missed a game winning home run in the 11th that the wind held in the park. Bradley finished the night 2-for-6 with a double, a run scored, his second stolen base of the season and his 29th RBI of the year.
Jeff Baker put together by far his best offensive game as a Cub. Baker followed up back-to-back multi hit games in Colorado with a four-hit night on Tuesday. Baker knocked four singles in five trips to the plate.
The Cubs did not lose ground in the division or in the wild card race with the loss but with only 51 games remaining on the schedule, they must learn how to score runs in bunches before it is too late … The Cubs jumped on J.A. Happ early on but came away empty until the third inning. The offense put two on in the first after a Derrek Lee walk and a Jake Fox single to left center but Geovany Soto lined out to a third to end the inning.
It was more of the same in the second. Jeff Baker reached on a one-out single to left. Sam Fuld followed with a single to right but Rich Harden could not lay down a sacrifice bunt … and fouled out on the third bunt attempt for the second out. Ryan Theriot lined out to second for the third out.
Milton Bradley led off the third with a double to left center off of Raul Ibanez’s glove. Derrek Lee walked for the second time and Jake Fox lined a single to left on Happ’s first pitch. Bradley was waived home with the Cubs’ first run.
Geovany Soto walked to load the bases. Alfonso Soriano delivered a sacrifice fly to left, Lee scored, 2-0 Cubs. With runners on first and second with one out, Jeff Baker struck out swinging, the only out he made all night. Sam Fuld flied out to left center to end the inning.
The Cubs could not string together any offense again until the ninth.
Down by one and Brad Lidge on the mound, Kosuke Fukudome walked to start the inning. Ryan Theriot sacrificed him to second and Milton Bradley delivered his biggest RBI to this point of the season … a game tying single into right center. Fukudome scored … game tied at three.
Bradley stole second as Derrek Lee swung and missed strike three. Jake Fox flied out to center to end the inning.
Jake Fox reached on a one-out walk in the 12th with the Cubs down 4-3 but Geovany Soto struck out and Soriano flied out to right to end the game.
Lou Piniella has a decision to make in regards to Carlos Marmol. If Piniella wants to play past game 162, he can no longer use Marmol in late inning situations. The Cubs should send him down to Iowa or Tennessee and get him right. Let him work out his problems there. The Cubs are simply running out of games.
Carlos Marmol was not, and is not, the Cubs only issue … but one they may be able to correct with just a little time in the minors.
Marmol hit a batter and walked three in his inning of work … the third was Ryan Howard with the bases loaded that forced in the go ahead run. Marmol managed to record two outs, both of the fly ball variety, but only 12 of his 28 pitches were for strikes.
For the Cubs to get where they want to at the end of the year, they must have an effective Carlos Marmol and remove Kevin Gregg from the backend of the bullpen.
Back to the drawing board ….
Jeff Samardzija will make his first big league start on Wednesday night against Pedro Martinez.