Game One Hundred Fifty-Four – Cubs 6 Giants 2
WP – Tom Gorzelanny (7-2) LP – Barry Zito (10-13) Save – None
As the cliché goes … too little too late. Lou Piniella’s crew waited too long to play the way most expected they would throughout the season. The Cubs have won six of their last seven games, all on the road and Saturday’s win guaranteed them a winning road trip. The Cubs are 6-3 since last Friday in St. Louis with all three losses being one-run defeats.
Tom Gorzelanny put together another solid start. Gorzelanny gave up just one run on five hits with three walks and five strikeouts in five innings. The one run allowed by the southpaw was a gift courtesy of miscommunication by the Cubs defense. So Taguchi and Ryan Theriot let a fly ball of the bat of Juan Uribe in the third to fall in for the Giants’ lone run until the eighth inning.
Esmailin Caridad was excellent once again out of the Cubs’ pen. Caridad gave up one hit and struck out three in two scoreless innings. John Grabow gave up the Giants’ second run … a solo home run to left by Juan Uribe in the eighth.
After the Cubs tacked on in the top of the inning, Carlos Marmol still pitched the ninth in a non-save situation. Marmol retired the Giants in order on eleven pitches, eight for strikes.
The Cubs’ offense did their job against Barry Zito and made the veteran lefty work. Zito was chased after only four innings of work after the Cubs plated four runs on six hits with five walks … two intentional.
Jake Fox drove in the first two runs of the game with a bloop single to right in the third. Fox finished the game 2-for-3 with a pair of RBI … numbers 42 and 43 on the year.
Aramis Ramirez hit his 15th longball of the year in the fourth. Ramirez launched a 1-0 pitch from Barry Zito over the wall in left. In a season full of injuries for the Cubs’ third baseman, Ramirez has driven in 64 runs in 79 games. While RBI are truly a team stat, players must come through with runners on base and in limited time, Ramirez has done his job.
So Taguchi doubled and scored a run in three trips to the plate on Saturday. Taguchi followed Ryan Theriot’s leadoff single in the third with a double down the left field line. Geovany Soto added two RBI. Soto drove in the Cubs’ third run of the game.
Saturday was victory number 81 in a season full of disappointment and drama … the worst the Chicago Cubs can finish the year at this point is as a .500 team. Barry Zito sat the Cubs down in order to start the game rather quickly. Jake Fox led off the second with a single to left. Jeff Baker grounded into a 5-4-3 double play. It looked like it was going to be one of those games the Cubs have played so often this season.
Reed Johnson doubled to center with two outs in the second ahead of back-to-back walks by Geovany Soto and Sam Fuld. Tom Gorzelanny struck out swinging but the patience the Cubs showed in the second inning would set up the third.
Ryan Theriot started the three-run third with a single to center. So Taguchi ripped a double down the left field line on the first pitch from Zito. Aramis Ramirez was intentionally walked to load the bases with no outs for Jake Fox.
Jake Fox put together a good at bat. On a 2-2 pitch, Fox blooped a single into right center. Theriot and Taguchi scored, 2-0 Cubs.
Jeff Baker flied out but Reed Johnson walked to re-load the bases for Geovany Soto.
Soto hit a 0-1 pitch softly up the middle. Zito knocked the ball down with his hand, retired Soto at first but Aramis Ramirez scored … 3-0 Cubs.
Sam Fuld was intentionally walked to re-load the bases and for the second time in as many innings, Gorzelanny made the final out of the inning (a fly out to right) with the bases loaded.
Tom Gorzelanny walked Barry Zito to start the bottom of the third. Eugenio Velez flied out to left center and Andres Torres struck out swinging. Gorzelanny walked Pablo Sandoval with two outs.
Juan Uribe followed with a pop fly into shallow left. Theriot went out and appeared to be called off by So Taguchi. The Cubs left fielder misplayed the ball, Zito scored … 3-1 Cubs. Ryan Garko hit a soft liner to Theriot to end the inning.
Aramis Ramirez got the run back in the fourth. Ramirez ripped a 1-0 pitch with two outs from Zito over the wall in left … 4-1 Cubs.
The Cubs added to their 4-1 lead in the sixth. Sam Fuld reached base for the third straight at bat with a single to center. Aaron Miles sacrificed Fuld to second. After Ryan Theriot struck out, Kosuke Fukudome pinch hit for So Taguchi and singled to right. Fuld scored … 5-1 Cubs.
After Uribe’s 15th longball of the year cut the Cubs’ lead to 5-2 in the bottom of the eighth, the Cubs made it a four-run game once again in the top of the ninth.
Micah Hoffpauir blooped a single into left to start the inning. With Jeff Baker at the plate, Merkin Valdez uncorked a wild pitch that advanced Hoffpauir into scoring position. Baker lined out and Reed Johnson grounded out to short.
Geovany Soto singled to right center on a 1-0 pitch and plated Hoffpauir with the Cubs’ sixth and final run.
Randy Wells will face Matt Cain in the Cubs final road game of the season on Sunday afternoon.