Game One Hundred Sixty-One – Cubs 2 Diamondbacks 5
WP – Doug Davis (9-14) LP – Ryan Dempster (11-9) Save – Juan Gutierrez (9)
Lou Piniella’s crew finished the season with a loss to the Diamondbacks and completed the 2009 campaign with an 83-78 record in 161 games.
Doug Davis dominated the Cubs’ offense once again. The veteran southpaw’s two best starts of the year came at the Cubs’ expense. The Cubs managed only two runs on Sunday afternoon … both off the bat of Sam Fuld.
After 78 career games, Sam Fuld drove in his first big league run with the first Major League homer of his career. Fuld hit a 2-2 pitch from Davis into the bleachers in right in the fifth and broke up the shutout. Fuld then cut the D’Backs’ lead to 5-2 with a ground out to first in the seventh that plated Reed Johnson.
Reed Johnson, in possibly his final game as a Chicago Cub, finished the day 1-for-4 with a double and a run scored.
Ryan Dempster reached his 200-inning mark for the year with a five-inning performance. Dempster did not have his best stuff, gave up two two-out RBI singles in the third then a three-run homer to Chris Young in the fourth. Dempster surrendered five runs on six hits in five innings with a walk and 10 strikeouts. Dempster joined rare company in the fifth by recording four strikeouts in a single inning.
Derrek Lee received a standing ovation after he flied out in the eighth in his last at bat of the year. Lee was 1-for-3 on the afternoon.
Geovany Soto struck out swinging to finish the game … and put a fitting end to the season.
The Chicago Cubs should have a very busy and interesting off-season. As Lou Piniella said, “We’ve got a winter to re-group and come to Spring Training next year ready to work.” Ryan Dempster retired the first six batters he faced … and looked rather good doing so. It was the Dempster that had taken the mound over the last six weeks. Chad Tracy, who like so many other Arizona Diamondbacks play their best ball against the Cubs, led off the third with a bloop double to left.
So Taguchi attempted to make sliding catch but the ball hit of his body and fell to the ground. Augie Ojeda flied out to center and Doug Davis struck out swinging … and it appeared Dempster would get out of the inning without allowing a run.
Stephen Drew lined Dempster’s first pitch into left. Taguchi came up throwing but his throw was off the mark. Tracy scored and Drew advanced to second on the throw … it was Dempster’s first earned run at Wrigley in his last 30 innings in his home park.
Gerardo Parra blooped a 0-2 pitch from Dempster into right center that plated Drew with the D’Backs second run. Dempster struck out Justin Upton to end the inning.
The Cubs had a chance to cut into Arizona’s lead in the bottom of the inning, but came up empty. Sam Fuld led off the inning with a double down the first baseline. Dempster sacrificed him to third but Ryan Theriot, who became too aggressive at the plate this season, tapped back to the mound on a 2-2 pitch. Fuld broke on contact, was caught in a run down and tagged out (1-5-2). Theriot advanced to second during the run down.
So Taguchi walked and Theriot advanced to third on ball four, a wild pitch. Derrek Lee tapped back to the mound to end the inning.
The Diamondbacks put the game away in the fourth. Miguel Montero led off with a single to center on a 0-2 pitch. Mark Reynolds doubled down the left field line. With runners on second and third with no outs, Chris Young was thrown a ball right down the middle. Young launched his 15th of the year into the bleachers in left … 5-0 Diamondbacks. For some reason the Cubs continue to throw Chris Young strikes … despite the fact he is Arizona’s version of Alfonso Soriano.
Dempster retired the next three batters he faced to end the inning and his season.
Reed Johnson led off the seventh with a double off the wall in left. Geovany Soto hit a fly out to deep center and Johnson advanced to third. Sam Fuld grounded out to first and Johnson scored the Cubs second and final run of the year.
Sean Marshall pitched a scoreless sixth and the same for Justin Berg after giving up a leadoff double to Gerardo Parra. Aaron Heilman and Esmailin Caridad finished out the game by facing the minimum.
Pitchers and catchers report in mid-February and the first game of the 2010 season will be in Atlanta on April 5, 2010.