Game One Hundred Forty-Six – Cubs 2 Cardinals 3
WP – Ryan Franklin (3-3) LP – Aaron Heilman (3-4) Save – None
After jumping out to an early 2-0 lead in the first inning, the Cubs lost the opening game in St. Louis on the fifth pitch of the bottom of the ninth inning. Ryan Theriot reached on a two-out single in the top of the ninth but was picked off first with Kosuke Fukudome at the plate with a 2-0 count to end the inning. Aaron Heilman took the mound to start the bottom of the ninth …
Matt Holliday looked at a low strike from Heilman to start the at bat. Heilman then missed with his next three pitches. On a 3-1 pitch from Aaron Heilman, Matt Holliday cut the Cardinals’ magic number to six games. Holliday lined Heilman’s offering over the wall in right to end the game … Holliday’s 13th home run in 50 games since being traded from Oakland to St. Louis.
The Cardinals mid-season acquisitions were the difference on Friday night. Ted Lilly pitched a gem but it was Mark DeRosa that drove in the Cardinals’ first run and scored the tying run in the fifth inning.
With the Cubs up 2-0, Ryan Ludwick led off the fifth with the Cardinals’ second hit of the game, a single to left. Mark DeRosa followed with a triple down the left field line on a 1-0 pitch. Bobby Scales misplayed the ball that ricocheted off the sidewall. Lilly retired Yadier Molina but Brendan Ryan hit a 1-2 pitch into left that plated DeRosa with the Cardinals’ second run.
Ted Lilly did everything he could to start the Cubs’ 10-game trip out on a positive note. Lilly retired the first nine batters he faced. Julio Lugo led off the fourth with the Cardinals first hit, one of just five allowed by Lilly in 7 2/3 innings. Lilly hit a batter but did not issue a single free pass and struck out six. The Cubs offense simply did not support Lilly once again … a repeating theme of the 2009 season.
The Cubs jumped out to a 2-0 lead in the first inning with three straight doubles off of John Smoltz. Kosuke Fukudome, Derrek Lee and Aramis Ramirez each recorded doubles with Lee knocking in his 103rd run of the year. Lee is just four away from his career high of 107 RBI set in 2005.
Kevin Gregg retired the only batter he faced, Albert Pujols in the eighth on a groundout to short but once again this season it was the Cubs lack of offense that was the biggest reason for the loss. They had chances early on against Smoltz before they started swinging at everything the Cardinals threw near the plate.
The offense managed only one hit and one walk in the final three innings while striking out 10 times on the night.
With the loss the Cubs are four games over .500 for the year with a very tough nine game stretch ahead of them. It is a must for Lou Piniella’s crew to finish the year with a winning record …. The Cubs lost for just the 17th time this season when they score first (51-17). The Cubs came out swinging against John Smoltz but were patiently aggressive.
Ryan Theriot struck out to start the game, the first of three on the night for the Cubs’ leadoff hitter. Kosuke Fukudome hit the first pitch from John Smoltz into the gap in left center. Derrek Lee then ripped a 1-2 pitch from Smoltz past a diving Colby Rasmus in right center. Lee’s 103rd RBI gave the Cubs a 1-0 lead.
Aramis Ramirez followed with a double to left center on a 1-2 pitch. Lee scored on Ramirez’s 59th RBI of the season … 2-0 Cubs. Micah Hoffpauir grounded out to first, Ramirez advanced to third but Geovany Soto popped out to second to end the inning. Still the Cubs had a 2-0 lead and the night looked very promising …
After Ted Lilly sat the Cardinals down in order in the first, Jeff Baker led off the second with a single to left … the Cubs’ fourth hit of the night. Bobby Scales popped out to left. Lilly sacrificed Baker to second but Ryan Theriot struck out swinging to end the inning.
Other than a walk by Kosuke Fukudome to start the third, the Cubs went very quietly (and quickly) until the sixth.
Aramis Ramirez led off the sixth with a walk, the Cubs second of the game. Micah Hoffpauir flied out to center. Geovany Soto stuck out swinging for the second out. Jeff Baker blooped a two-out single into right center.
Bobby Scales stepped in with the game tied at two with two on and two out. Smoltz pitched to Scales at first. He fell behind 2-1 before intentionally walking him to load the bases.
Tony LaRussa forced Lou Piniella’s hand. Piniella left in Ted Lilly to hit with the bases loaded in a tie game … in the sixth inning. Lilly grounded out weakly to first to end the inning.
The Cubs’ offense finished the game 2-for-8 with runners in scoring position and left eight on base. They had their chances …
Ryan Dempster will face Chris Carpenter on Saturday afternoon.