Game One Hundred Thirty-Six – Cubs 4 Pirates 2
WP – Ted Lilly (11-8) LP – Daniel McCutchen (0-1) Save – Carlos Marmol (10)
Derrek Lee drove in three of the Cubs four runs with a pair of home runs, his second two homer game in the last three days … and Ted Lilly took care of the rest. Lilly notched his team leading 11th win of the year with another quality start, the 83rd time this year the Cubs’ starting staff completed at least six inning without allowing more than three earned runs. Lilly surrendered just two hits, a homer in the third by Andy LaRoche and a run scoring double in the fifth by Brandon Moss. Both hits accounted for the Pirates only runs of the game. Lilly walked three and struck out seven in six innings.
Derrek Lee hit the first two pitches he saw from rookie right-hander Daniel McCutchen over the wall in center and left, respectively, and drove in the Cubs first three runs of the game (a solo shot in the first and a two run homer in the third). With homers number 30 and 31 on Monday, Derrek Lee became just the eighth player in the history of the organization to hit 30 home runs in three different seasons in a Cubs’ uniform. Lee joined Sammy Sosa (11), Ernie Banks (7), Billy Williams (5), Ron Santo (4), Hank Sauer (4), Hack Wilson (4) and Aramis Ramirez (3) as the only players to accomplish the feat. Both of Lee’s dingers on Monday came with two outs on the first pitch of the at bat.
Of Lee’s 31 home runs on the year, twenty have come since July 1, which ties him for the most longballs hit over that span. Derrek Lee finished the game 2-for-3 with a walk, two home runs, three RBI and two runs scored. Lee is only four RBI short of 100 for the season.
Milton Bradley drove in the Cubs’ fourth run with a bases loaded infield single in the fifth.
The Cubs bullpen picked up where Ted Lilly left off. John Grabow retired the Pirates in order in the seventh. Same for Angel Guzman in the eighth thanks to a nice catch in left center by Sam Fuld and Carlos Marmol made quick work of the Pirates in the ninth for his tenth save. Marmol struck out two of the three batters he faced on just 13 pitches, 11 for strikes.
In the last seven games, 44 2/3 innings, Lou Piniella’s starting staff has allowed five earned runs.
The Cubs handed the Pirates their 82nd loss of the year and in the process the Pirates set an all-time mark in futility with their 17th consecutive losing season … the longest stretch in all of professional sports, one more than the Philadelphia Phillies from 1933-1948.
The Cubs improved to two games over .500 with their win and avoided hitting the .500 mark once again …
Derrek Lee gave the Cubs a 1-0 lead in the first inning. After Kosuke Fukudome and Ryan Theriot went quickly to start the game, Lee launched McCutchen’s first pitch over the wall in straight away center … 1-0, Cubs.
Ted Lilly faced the minimum in the first after a leadoff walk to Andrew McCutchen and a 4-6-3 double play off the bat of Ronny Cedeno. Lilly struck out the side in the second and Lee gave him a little cushion in the third.
Ryan Theriot reached on a two-out single to right center. Derrek Lee then ripped McCutchen’s first pitch just over the wall in left. Lee’s 31st gave the Cubs a 3-0 lead after two and a half innings.
Andy LaRoche cut the Cubs’ lead to 3-1 with his eighth longball of the year in the bottom of the third. LaRoche lined Lilly’s first pitch over the wall in left center.
Ted Lilly retired the Pirates in order in the fourth. Derrek Lee and Aramis Ramirez turned in nice back-to-back defensive plays to end the inning.
The Cubs had a chance to break the game open in the top of the fifth but once again could not capitalize with the bases loaded and less than two outs. Ted Lilly singled to start the inning. Kosuke Fukudome walked and Ryan Theriot sacrificed both runners into scoring position. The Pirates took the bat out of Derrek Lee’s hand … and intentionally walked him.
The gamble paid off for the Pirates. Aramis Ramirez popped out to shallow left on a 1-0 pitch. Milton Bradley put the ball in play but Delwyn Young was able to keep the ball in the infield … and nearly threw out Lee at second. The ball appeared late to the bag but Ronny Cedeno dropped the ball and removed all doubt. Lilly scored the fourth and final run of the game … 4-1, Cubs.
Jeff Baker grounded out to first on a 1-1 pitch to end the inning.
Delwyn Young walked with one-out in the fifth. Lilly’s second free pass came around to score on a double to center by Brandon Moss. Lilly walked Andy LaRoche but struck out Daniel McCutchen looking for the second out of the inning. Andrew McCutchen flied out to center to end the inning.
The Pirates did not put another runner on base after the LaRoche walk in the fifth inning.
Ryan Dempster is scheduled to face Zach Duke on Tuesday night.