Game One Hundred-Eight – Cubs 6 Rockies 5
WP – Ryan Dempster (6-5) LP – Jason Marquis (12-8) Save – Kevin Gregg (22)
Ryan Dempster earned his second road win of the season, and his first career victory at Coors Field, with a very gutsy performance on Saturday night. Dempster allowed five runs, two earned, on nine hits in six-plus innings of work. The most important stat for Dempster … no free passes. The Cubs defense gave the Rockies at least four extra outs in the four-run fourth inning. The offense picked up a rather poor performance by the Cubs’ defense, as it appeared they would give the game away early on. But Ryan Dempster really stepped up on the road and earned the win. Dempster even contributed a RBI with a bases loaded walk in the fourth that forced in the Cubs’ second run.
The Cubs offense pounded out 10 hits and handed their former teammate his eighth loss of the year. The Cubs were very patient against Jason Marquis. They walked five times, four in the fourth inning alone, against Marquis and plated five runs on eight hits in six innings. The five runs allowed by Marquis were the most in a single start since June 24 against the Los Angeles Angels.
Ryan Theriot finished the game 3-for-5 with a big stolen base out of the lead off spot. Theriot drove in the tying run, Aaron Miles, with a single to right in the sixth and scored the game winner on a long single off the wall in right by Milton Bradley. Theriot and Bradley set the table and were a combined 5-for-9 with a run scored, a double, a sacrifice bunt and two RBI.
Lou’s Lineup Tinkering paid dividends on Saturday night. Kosuke Fukudome was dropped to the fifth spot in the lineup and produced a RBI double in the fourth … and his ninth home run in the seventh ended up being the difference in the game. Fukudome reached base three times, finished 2-for-4 with a walk, a double, a home run, two runs scored and two RBI.
Derrek Lee knocked his 23rd longball of the year off Jason Marquis in the fifth that cut the Rockies lead to 4-3. Lee’s twenty-three homers on the season is the most by the Cubs’ first baseman since 2005.
Jake Fox replaced Aramis Ramirez in the bottom of the fifth … and the Cubs injury woes continued. Ramirez reportedly left with a sore left shoulder. No further details have been reported as of this writing.
The Cubs’ bullpen really stepped up against a very dangerous offense … and tossed three shutout innings in relief of Ryan Dempster. Angel Guzman, Carlos Marmol and Kevin Gregg performed the way Lou Piniella drew it up. Guzman gave up a hit but no runs in his inning of work. Marmol threw strikes, did not walk a batter and did not allow the hit he gave up to matter. Marmol struck out the side in the eighth …
Kevin Gregg retired the Rockies in order in the ninth for his 22nd save.
The Cubs improved to 58-50 at the 2/3 mark of the season and evened their record at 4-4 on the 10-game trip with two left before heading back to Chicago … Ryan Dempster provided a calm for his team on a night they needed a big performance from their starter … and in the process, he ended the Cubs two-game losing streak.
Dempster retired the Rockies in order in the first and second innings. The Rockies first hit did not come until one out in the third … a single to left by Omar Quintanilla. Dempter retired Jason Marquis and Seth Smith on groundouts to end the inning. Dempster recorded 10 groundball outs to just five fly ball outs on the night.
The fourth inning for the Cubs’ defense was one to forget. The Cubs scored two runs in the top of the inning and took a 2-0 lead into the bottom of the fourth. Carlos Gonzalez reached on a bloop single to left center. Todd Helton then hit what appeared to be a 6-4-3 double play. The ball went off of Theriot’s glove into center … and the Rockies were in business.
Troy Tulowitzki hit a one-hop liner to Aramis Ramirez. Ramirez could not field the ball cleanly and it ended up in foul ground … loading the bases with no outs. Brad Hawpe ripped Dempster’s first pitch into left that plated Gonzalez with the Rockies’ first run.
With the bases still loaded and no outs, Ian Stewart grounded out to first. Derrek Lee forced Hawpe at second but Helton scored and tied the game at two … Dempster did not break for first right away and Theriot had to put the ball in his back pocket.
With runners on first and third with one out, Dempster uncorked a wild pitch on a 2-0 offering to Chris Iannetta. Stewart broke for second. Geovany Soto’s throw was short and toward the third base side of second. Aaron Miles could not make a play, despite Stewart stopping on the base path before eventually sliding into the bag. With the infield in, Iannetta grounded out to short for the second out.
Omar Quintanilla followed and lined Dempster’s first pitch into left, both Tulowitzki and Stewart scored, 4-2 Rockies. Jason Marquis tapped back to the mound to end the inning. Three of the four runs scored by the Rockies in the fourth were unearned.
The Rockies fifth and final run came in the seventh inning … a solo shot by Clint Barmes to left center that ended Ryan Dempster’s night.
The Cubs’ offense made Jason Marquis throw 35 pitches in the fourth inning … that included four walks. Derrek Lee led off the inning with a walk. Aramis Ramirez struck out but Kosuke Fukudome hit his 24th double of the year down the left field line. Derrek Lee scored all the way from first.
Alfonso Soriano fouled out to Todd Helton down the right field line for the second out of the inning. Kosuke tagged and advanced to third. Geovany Soto and Aaron Miles walked to load the bases for Ryan Dempster.
With the wind howling in at the back of Jason Marquis, he lost all control. Dempster ended up walking and forcing in Fukudome with the Cubs second run. On the second pitch of the at bat, Ryan Theriot flied out to right center for the third out.
After a horrible bottom of the fourth, Derrek Lee hit his 23rd homer of the year over the wall in right center with one out in the fifth… and cut the Rockies lead to 4-3.
The Cubs did not quit and took the lead for good in the sixth. Aaron Miles tripled to center on the first pitch from Jason Marquis. Dempster struck out for the second out. Ryan Theriot blooped Marquis’ first offering into shallow right and plated Miles with the tying run.
With Milton Bradley at the plate, Jim Tracy called for the pitch out. Chris Iannetta threw a strike to Tulowitzki at short and Theriot appeared out. But the Rockies shortstop dropped the ball and Theriot was called safe. Milton Bradley followed with a long single off the wall in right. It appeared the ball was gone and neither Bradley nor Theriot hustled right away. When Bradley realized the ball was staying in the park, he turned it on and tried to stretch it into a double. Bradley was thrown out and Theriot barely touched the plate before the out call was made … the call on the run scoring in time could have gone either way, it was that close.
Jhoulys Chacin replaced Jason Marquis to start the seventh. He ended up striking out the side but Kosuke Fukudome ripped the first pitch he saw from Chacin over the wall in right for his ninth homer of the season.
After a rough fourth inning, the Cubs defense played a big part late in the game. Ryan Theriot and Milton Bradley made game-changing plays in the seventh inning.
The Cubs improved to 55-15 on the year when they score three or more runs …. And kept pace in the Central with the Cardinals, as well as in the NL Wild Card race with Saturday’s victory.
Randy Wells is scheduled to face Jason Hammel on Sunday afternoon.