Game One Hundred Fifty-Nine – Cubs 3 Diamondbacks 12
WP – Billy Buckner (4-6) LP – Tom Gorzelanny (7-3) Save – None
Since being officially eliminated on Tuesday night from post-season play, Lou Piniella’s crew has mailed in their remaining games. After being shutout on Wednesday, scoring just two runs in the nightcap (being blanked before the rains came on Thursday) and scoring a grand total of three runs on Friday, the Cubs have managed five runs in three official games.
The Arizona Diamondbacks stuck it to the Chicago Cubs once again … and it appears no matter how bad the D’Backs may be struggling, facing the Cubs always brings out the best in them. The D’Backs beat a southpaw starter for just the 17th time all season (16-30 against lefty starters entering play on Friday) and scored 12 runs against Cubs’ pitching … the Diamondbacks offense averaged four runs per game in September.
Chris Young, Eric Byrnes and Rusty Ryal had huge days. Chris Young was a perfect 4-for-4 with a walk and a home run. Young scored four of Arizona’s twelve runs … before Friday Young was hitting only .206.
Eric Byrnes hit two home runs, drove in five runs and finished the game 4-for-5. Byrnes hit just six longballs all season.
Rusty Ryal drove in four runs, three on a bases clearing double in the fourth inning. Ryal left for the park on Friday morning with five RBI in 29 games this season.
While both teams are playing out the schedule, one showed up on Friday afternoon and one simply did not.
Tom Gorzelanny picked a bad time to have his worst outing as a Cub … never want to end the season on a negative note. Gorzelanny made it through three innings and gave up seven runs on seven hits with a walk and three strikeouts.
Justin Berg and John Grabow, both figure into the Cubs’ plans for next season, put together good outings on Friday but Jeff Stevens, David Patton and Aaron Heilman allowed the Diamondbacks to tack on. Berg and Grabow gave up a combined three hits and two strikeouts in three innings while Stevens, Patton and Heilman surrendered the other five runs on six hits in three innings.
Micah Hoffpauir drove in the Cubs’ first run in the seventh inning. The Cubs scored all three of their runs in the seventh with RBI from Hoffpauir, Aramis Ramirez and Jake Fox.
The Cubs’ offense allowed Billy Buckner to toss six innings of shutout ball.
The Chicago Cubs season has two games remaining … it would be nice to see them finish on a positive, winning note, unlike the way they have played since Wednesday. Ron Santo summed up a few of the Cubs problems this season during Friday’s game.
“It’s amazing how many times we’ve faced a pitcher with an ERA of five or better and we do nothing.”
“How do we bring out the best in these guys?”
The Diamondbacks jumped on Tom Gorzelanny in the first inning. Ryan Roberts led off the game with a triple to left center. Stephen Drew followed with a single to center. Roberts scored the eventual winning run.
Drew advanced to second on a wild pickoff attempt by Gorzelanny. Justin Upton flied out to right, Drew advanced to third and scored on a sacrifice fly to center by Mark Reynolds.
Chris Young hit another home run off Cubs’ pitching … a solo shot that ended up on Waveland. The D’Backs put the game away in the first inning.
Stephen Drew reached on a one-out single to left in the third. Justin Upton then hit a high chopper off the plate and reached on an infield single. Mark Reynolds popped out to Jeff Baker for the second out.
Tom Gorzelanny walked the free-swinging Chris Young to load the bases with two outs.
Rusty Ryal ripped Gorzelanny’s first pitch into left center past Sam Fuld. Drew, Upton and Young scored on the bases clearing double.
Eric Byrnes added insult to injury with a single to right off of Jeff Baker’s glove that plated Ryal with the D’Backs’ seventh run.
Justin Berg, named the Chevrolet Player of the Game, threw two innings of shutout ball and gave his offense a chance to score some runs. But …
Jeff Stevens replaced Berg in the sixth and gave up a home run to Eric Byrnes on a 1-2 pitch. The ball ended up on Waveland as the embarrassing performance continued.
David Patton took over in the seventh. Patton walked the free-swinging Mark Reynolds with one out. Chris Young doubled to left, the ball one-hopped the ivy and Reynolds held at third. Rusty Ryal then hit a sacrifice fly to right that plated Mark Reynolds. Eric Byrnes blooped a single into center, Chris Young scored the D’Backs tenth run.
Going into the bottom of the seventh, the Cubs were down 10-0.
Koyie Hill led off the seventh with the Cubs’ fourth hit of the game off of Billy Buckner. Andres Blanco followed with a single to center. Micah Hoffpauir hit for David Patton and quickly fell behind in the count, 0-2.
Hoffpauir then ripped Buckner’s next pitch down the first base line. D’Backs’ reliever Clay Zavada fielded the ball in Arizona’s pen … Zavada was protecting the bullpen catcher. Zavada dropped the ball like nothing happened once he realized it was ruled a fair ball. The play was scored as a ground rule double and Hill scored the Cubs’ first run of the game.
With runners on second and third, Sam Fuld popped out to second … Fuld is still looking for the first RBI of his big league career. Kosuke Fukudome walked to load the bases and ended Bill Buckner’s day.
Blaine Boyer fell behind Aramis Ramirez 3-1. Ramirez singled to left on Boyer’s next pitch. Blanco scored the Cubs second run. Jake Fox then hit a tailor made double play ball to second. Drew dropped the ball, stepped on second for the force but could not complete the inning ending double play. Hoffpauir scored the Cubs’ third and final run.
After John Grabow retired Arizona in order in the eighth, Aaron Heilman gave up a one-out single to Chris Young. Heilman struck out Rusty Ryal but Eric Byrnes hit Heilman’s 3-2 pitch into the bleachers in left … 12-3 Diamondbacks.
Randy Wells is scheduled to face Daniel Cabrera on Saturday afternoon.