Zver Before Z First Pitch – Cubs 2 Rockies 6

Game One Hundred-Seven – Cubs 2 Rockies 6
WP – Ubaldo Jimenez (9-9) LP – Sean Marshall (3-7) Save – None

The Cubs long weekend got off to a very bad start when Carlos Zambrano was scratched fifteen minutes before game time with a stiff lower back. Zambrano could not complete his warm ups and Sean Marshall was called in to duty. The injury to Zambrano was the same back problem that forced him out of his start after three innings in Florida. Zambrano was throwing long toss in the outfield when he felt the discomfort.

The Cubs scored the first run of the game after a leadoff walk by Kosuke Fukudome and a single by Milton Bradley put runners on first and second with no outs. But Derrek Lee grounded into his sixth double play of the year. While Fukudome scored and gave the Cubs a 1-0 lead, the offense could not give their bullpen any breathing room.

Sean Marshall barely made it through the first inning. He gave up three runs and tossed 41 pitches, the most he’d thrown since his last start on May 31 against the Dodgers. Marshall left after allowing three runs on five hits with a walk and three strikeouts in two innings. Marshall threw a grand total of 62 pitches, 43 for strikes and will probably not be available for the remainder of the series.

Jeff Samardzija put together his longest outing in the big leagues. Samardzija tried to keep his team close but Chris Iannetta hit a two run, opposite field homer in the fourth that put the game away. Samardzija surrendered two runs on five hits in four innings with a walk and a strikeout. Samardzija tossed 73 pitches in his four innings and like Sean Marshall, will likely be unavailable for the next three games.

Aaron Heilman allowed the Rockies sixth run in the seventh inning after a leadoff triple by Carlos Gonzalez and a bloop single by Todd Helton.

The Cubs offense had their chances early on … and Derrek Lee nearly gave the Cubs a 4-3 lead in the third inning. The top of the lineup did their job but the middle of Lou Piniella’s lineup could not drive them in. Kosuke Fukudome and Milton Bradley, in his first game hitting out of the two-hole, were a combined 2-for-4 with four walks and two runs scored … while Derrek Lee, Aramis Ramirez and Geovany Soto went 0-for-11 with a walk and grounded into two of the three double plays on the night.

Alfonso Soriano collected the Cubs’ only RBI of the night with a broken-bat bloop single into shallow left center that plated Milton Bradley in the sixth inning. The offense walked six times but managed only five hits and finished 1-for-11 with runners in scoring position … they stranded seven on base.

The Cubs dropped to seven games over .500 on the year with the loss and a game behind the Cardinals in the central. But more importantly, they could be forced to put Carlos Zambrano on the DL …

Sean Marshall made his ninth start of the year and his first since the end of May against the Dodgers. Marshall began the game on a positive note by striking out Dexter Fowler. Carlos Gonzalez followed with a double down the right field line on a 0-2 pitch. Todd Helton singled to center on 2-1 pitch to tie the game at one.

Troy Tulowitzki doubled to left center ahead of a single to right by Brad Hawpe. The Rockies took a 3-1 lead after one inning … and never looked back.

For one brief moment in the third inning, the Cubs looked like they were going to at least tie the game at three … or take a one run lead. Kosuke Fukudome reached on a two-out single to center. Milton Bradley walked. Carlos Gonzalez robbed Derrek Lee of at least a bases clearing double. Lee launched a 1-1 pitch from Ubaldo Jimenez into left center. When Lee hit the ball it looked like it was going to leave the park but the ball stayed in and Gonzalez made a great catch at the wall to preserve the 3-1 lead.

The Cubs had a chance in the fifth with two on and no outs but a failed bunt attempt by Jeff Samardzija and a 6-4-3 double play off the bat of Fukudome ended the threat.

Milton Bradley walked to start the sixth inning. Derrek Lee then hit a weak grounder to Tulowitzki but Omar Quintanilla could not handle his throw and dropped the ball … with Bradley sliding hard into second. Lee reached on the error but Aramis Ramirez struck out.

After Geovany Soto struck out for the third time against Jimenez, Alfonso Soriano broke his bat and blooped a single into left center. Bradley scored the Cubs second run. Mike Fontenot swung at and missed a 2-2 pitch to end the inning.

The Cubs dropped to 3-4 on the 10-game trip with three left to go … Saturday is a new day that will likely see a roster move or two.

Box Score from Yahoo Sports

Ryan Dempster is slated to face Jason Marquis on Saturday night.

Quote of the Day

"From what we get, we can make a living; what we give, however, makes a life." – Arthur Ashe