The Other Team from Pennsylvania – Cubs 17 Pirates 2

Game One Hundred-Fourteen – Cubs 17 Pirates 2
WP – Randy Wells (9-5) LP – Charlie Morton (2-6) Save – None

wflag.jpgT.G.I.P. … The Cubs ended their five-game losing streak in a big way on Friday afternoon. Granted it was against the Pirates but a win is a win and Lou Piniella’s crew needed one in the worst way.

The Cubs offense came out swinging in the first inning … and gave Randy Wells more than enough run support. Sam Fuld (2-for-3 with a triple, three runs scored, hit by a pitch and two walks) was a last minute substitute for Milton Bradley and showed why Lou Piniella should play him more than the struggling Alfonso Soriano. Fuld tripled with one out in the first and scored on a single to center by Derrek Lee. Following a walk by Jake Fox, Kosuke Fukudome tied his home run total from a year ago with his tenth of the season, a three-run shot into the bleachers in right that gave the Cubs a 4-0 lead.

Derrek Lee tied a career-high mark, set earlier this season against the Brewers, with seven runs batted in before leaving the game in the fifth inning. Lee was a perfect 3-for-3 at the plate with a walk, two doubles and two runs scored to go along with the seven knocked in.

The Cubs’ offense took out a little frustration from the past week against the Pirates’ pitching staff in the second inning. They sent 15 to the plate and scored 10 runs on eight hits the 10 runs was the largest single inning output since June 10, 2004 against the Cardinals. The first nine batters in the inning all reached and scored.

Derrek Lee capped the scoring with a bases clearing double in the fourth. Following the bottom of the fourth, both managers emptied their bench and there were a lot of first-pitch swings as both teams appeared to just want the game to end.

Lou Piniella had been looking for a way to shorten up one of Randy Wells’ starts … and the offense provided a way on Friday. Wells did his job both on the mound and with the bat. Randy Wells tied Ted Lilly for the team lead in wins with nine after allowing two runs on seven hits in six innings with two walks and three strikeouts. Wells helped his own cause in the second inning and was 2-for-3 with a double, a walk, two runs scored and a RBI.

Esmailin Caridad, John Grabow and Kevin Gregg did not allow any hits in the last three innings, the Pirates managed just one baserunner … a two-out walk by Delwyn Young in the eighth inning off of John Grabow.

Lou Piniella’s crew needed an afternoon like Friday, regardless of which team they were facing. The win improved the Cubs season record to four games over .500 at 59-55 …

The last week has not gone as planned for the Chicago Cubs. The Cubs uninspired play on the field has raised a lot of questions and many feel the Cubs cannot beat the good teams in the league. The record, and recent play, against the Phillies back up that statement. After Friday, the Cubs have 48 games remaining on their schedule … only 12 against teams currently with a winning record. While they try to get their own players producing and back on the field, they must beat the teams they are supposed to down the stretch. Lou Piniella’s crew has a lot of work to do, but goal number one is to win games … especially those that are supposed to be won.

After Randy Wells faced the minimum in the first inning, the Cubs’ offense went to work against Charlie Morton. Morton was coming off a solid outing against the Cardinals in which he allowed only one run in five innings … and with the Cubs struggling offensively, no one knew what to expect on Friday.

Sam Fuld worked the count to 3-2 with one out in the first then lined a triple to right center past a diving Brandon Moss, his first career three-bagger. Derrek Lee singled to center on a 2-1 pitch … Fuld scored, 1-0 Cubs.

Jake Fox walked on five pitches. Kosuke Fukudome then launched a 3-1 pitch from Charlie Morton into the bleachers in right … 4-0, Cubs. Alfonso Soriano struck out on three pitches and Jeff Baker lined out to second to end the inning.

Randy Wells worked around a pair of singles in the top of the second without allowing a run to cross the plate … then the offense put the game out of reach.

The second inning was a rarity, no matter whom they were facing. The Cubs batted around before recording an out and the first nine batters all scored. Talking about keeping the line moving. Ten runs without the benefit of a longball is no small feat.

Koyie Hill led off the inning with a wind-blown triple to left. The ball appeared to be foul off the bat. Hill did not run initially. Randy Wells then walked on four pitches. Ryan Theriot followed with a single to center. Hill scored on Theriot’s 47th RBI of the year … 5-0, Cubs.

Sam Fuld singled to left to load the bases for Derrek Lee. Lee walked on five pitches and forced in Randy Wells with the Cubs sixth run. With the bases loaded, Jake Fox just missed a grand slam on the first offering from Morton. The ball hit off the ivy in left, Wells and Fuld scored … 8-0, Cubs.

John Russell went to his pen at that point. Chris Bootcheck replaced Morton and walked Kosuke Fukudome to reload the bases. Alfonso Soriano followed with a RBI single to right center. Derrek Lee scored … 9-0, Cubs.

With the bases loaded and still no outs, Jeff Baker singled to center on a 2-1 pitch. Fox and Fukudome scored, 11-0 Cubs. Koyie Hill, the tenth to bat in the inning, struck out looking for the first out.

Randy Wells stepped in and delivered a single to left off of Ronny Cedeno’s glove … it was originally ruled an error but changed to a hit. Soriano scored … 12-0, Cubs. Ryan Theriot fouled out … but Sam Fuld was hit by a pitch and reloaded the bases for Derrek Lee.

Lee delivered again with a double to left. Wells and Baker scored … 14-0 Cubs. Jake Fox struck out to end the inning.

Ten runs on eight hits and a standing ovation.

Koyie Hill started the fourth inning with a single to right. Randy Wells popped out. Ryan Theriot singled to right and Sam Fuld walked and loaded the bases once again for Derrek Lee. Lee finished his afternoon by hitting a bases clearing double to left. Hill, Theriot and Fuld scored, 17-2 Cubs.

Derrek Lee’s seven RBI tied a career-high set on July 2, 2009 against the Milwaukee Brewers.

The Pirates scored both of their runs in the fourth inning. Garrett Jones led off with a single to right. Delwyn Young grounded out to second but the ball was not hit hard enough and Jones advanced to second. Lastings Milledge flied out to center for the second out.

Brandon Moss broke up the shutout with a bloop single to right center. Jones scored. Andy LaRoche walked ahead of a double off the wall in left by Jason Jaramillo. Brandon Moss scored. At the time the score was 14-2.

The Cubs took care of business on Friday but it was just one day … and one great inning.

Box Score from Yahoo Sports

Tom Gorzelanny will face his former team and Zach Duke on Saturday afternoon.

Quote of the Day

"Baseball, just a game as simple as a ball and a bat. Yet, as complex as the American spirit it symbolizes." - Ernie Harwell
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