Marmol Zhelled in Z Ninth – Cubs 2 A’s 5

Game Twenty-Four – Cubs 2 A’s (ss) 5
WP – Brad Kilby (1-0) LP – Carlos Marmol (0-1) Save – Fernando Hernandez (1)

Friday was a busy day for the Chicago Cubs. They reduced their spring roster by seven players. Carlos Silva and Tom Gorzelanny were named to the rotation. James Russell appears to be the Cubs’ 12th pitcher to start the season. Ted Lilly pitched in his first game of the spring … and then Lou Piniella’s crew played a game at HoHoKam that featured the returns of Aramis Ramirez and Derrek Lee.

Carlos Zambrano was very sharp in his fifth start of the spring. Zambrano pitched into the seventh inning and allowed two runs, one earned, on three hits with a walk, a hit batsman and six strikeouts. Zambrano faced one batter in the seventh before turning the game over to James Russell. Zambrano got his work in and left with the game tied at two.

Carlos Marmol struggled for his second consecutive outing. Marmol lasted just a third of an inning and gave up three runs on three hits and he hit another batter. Travis Buck broke the 2-2 tie in the ninth with a solo homer to right. Marmol lost focus and was lifted for Justin Berg.

According to Gordon Wittenmyer (on Sports Central Friday night), Lou Piniella was concerned enough about Marmol’s outing that he delayed talking to the media following the game. Wittenmyer said that Lou and his staff watched tape on Marmol and feel they found something mechanically wrong in his delivery.

Marlon Byrd, Alfonso Soriano and Jeff Baker supplied the Cubs’ offense on Friday. Byrd hit his third longball of the spring in the second that tied the game at one … the Cubs first home run in seven games. Soriano followed Byrd with a double to right center and scored on Baker’s double to left.

With the loss, the Cubs record in the Cactus League slipped to 13-9-2 …

Carlos Zambrano continued his relatively quiet spring with a good outing on Friday against the A’s. Zambrano gave up one of his three hits and his only walk in the first inning.

Coco Crisp reached on an infield single to the hole at short and advanced to second after Eric Patterson walked. With runners on first and second with no outs, Eric Chavez grounded into a force out. Derrek Lee threw out Patterson at second but they could not complete the double play … Theriot lost the ball in the exchange.

With runners on first and third with one out, Kevin Kouzmanoff hit a sacrifice fly to right, Coco Crisp scored … 1-0 A’s. Travis Buck grounded out to second to end the inning.

The A’s scored their second run in the fourth … with a little help from the Cubs defense.

Kevin Kouzmanoff reached on an error by Ryan Theriot. The Cubs’ shortstop drifted into shallow left, called off Soriano and dropped the ball. Kouzmanoff ended up at second on the error.

Travis Buck followed with a single to center and Kouzmanoff scored (with a little controversy on a very close call) and tied the game at two.

Carlos Zambrano started the seventh but after he hit Michael Taylor, Lou Piniella went to the pen.

James Russell showed why he will break camp with the Cubs. Russell retired all three batters he faced to end the inning.

Jeff Samardzija pitched the eighth. He issued a two-out, four-pitch walk but kept the A’s off the board.

The game may have been decided in the ninth but it changed in the eighth.

With the game tied at two, Kosuke Fukudome led off the inning with a double to right. Micah Hoffpauir walked. Sam Fuld dropped down the bunt and advanced both runners ninety feet.

With runners on second and third with one out, Kevin Millar pinch-hit for Chad Tracy against the southpaw Brad Kilby. Millar hit a shallow fly ball into left center. Cliff Pennington drifted back and caught the ball. Kosuke Fukudome tried to tag and score from third but was thrown out at the plate to end the inning.

Carlos Marmol took the mound in the ninth … and gave up the lead on his third pitch. Travis Buck homered to right, 3-2 A’s.

Marmol then hit Michael Taylor and gave up a single to Landon Powell. Taylor advanced to third and scored on a 4-6 fielder’s choice … the Cubs could not turn two. Pennington then stole second and scored on a single to left by Shane Peterson.

Justin Berg was summoned from the pen and struck out Corey Brown … Peterson broke for second and was thrown out by Chris Robinson to end the inning.

Box Score from

Carlos Silva will face Clayton Richard and the Padres at HoHoKam on Saturday afternoon.

Quote of the Day

"Every strike brings me closer to the next home run." - Babe Ruth