Game Seventeen – Cubs 8 Brewers 1
WP – Ryan Dempster (2-0) LP – Jeff Suppan (0-1) Save – None
The Cubs beat the Brewers for the third time on the young season behind another gem by Ryan Dempster. The Cubs’ top right-handed starter could easily be 4-0 on the year. Dempster held the potent Brewers’ offense to one run on seven hits in 7 2/3 innings with a walk, four strikeouts and he hit two batters.
The Cubs offense jumped on Jeff Suppan in the first inning. Back-to-back doubles by Ryan Theriot and Kosuke Fukudome gave the Cubs a 1-0 lead. One of the Brewers’ three errors on the night led to the Cubs’ second run before Dempster took the mound. But the Cubs defense prolonged the home half of the first and Prince Fielder came within inches of tying the game at two.
A fielding error by Chad Tracy and a dropped exchange on a tailor made double play ball off the bat of Ryan Braun allowed Prince Fielder to hit with a man on and two outs in the first. Fielder hit a ball to center that hit off the top of the wall. When Fielder launched Dempster’s offering it looked like the game would be tied at two.
Marlon Byrd did not assume the ball left the park and fired back to the infield. Byrd’s heads-up play kept Braun from scoring as the Brewers argued the ball left the park. The umpires ruled it was not a home run then took a look at the replay. Replays showed Fielder missed his second homer of the season, and tying the game, by inches.
After the first inning, Dempster went into cruise control and picked up his defense while the offense went to work against Jeff Suppan.
Lou Piniella’s offense pounded out 13 hits with each of the starters recording at least one hit. While Dempster did not contribute to the hit parade, he dropped two sacrifice bunts in four trips to the plate.
The top of the Cubs lineup finished the game 5-for-12 with three walks, three runs scored, two doubles, a triple, a home run and three RBI.
Ryan Theriot jump-started the Cubs offense. He started the game with a double, scored the Cubs’ first run, tripled in another run and hit the ball all night to right field.
The Cubs outfield had a very good night at the plate. Kosuke Fukudome (2-for-4 with a double, a home run, a walk, two runs scored and two RBI) gave the Cubs a 3-0 lead with his second longball of the year in the third. Marlon Byrd finished the game 2-for-5 with two runs scored and Tyler Colvin was 2-for-5 with a home run, two runs scored and two RBI.
Lou Piniella’s crew improved to 7-10 with Friday’s win in Milwaukee …
Derrek Lee reached on an infield single to the hole at short. Chad Tracy, in his first start of the season, flied out to left. Marlon Byrd flied out to right and Fukudome advanced to third.
It looked like the Cubs were going to let Suppan off the hook but the Brewers’ defense gave the Cubs’ struggling offense a little help.
With Tyler Colvin at the plate, the Brewers had Lee picked off of first. Lee broke for second, the ball went to Alcides Escobar and the young shortstop threw home to try and nail Fukudome at the plate. His throw was up the third base line, Fukudome scored and Lee advanced to third … 2-0 Cubs.
The Cubs tacked on in the fourth inning. Koyie Hill reached on an infield single with one out. Ryan Dempster sacrificed Hill to second on a 0-2 pitch. Ryan Theriot then tripled to right center. Hill scored on a ball misplayed by Carlos Gomez. Kosuke Fukudome walked but Lee grounded out to short, a solid play in the hole by Escobar, to end the inning.
Up by a score of 4-0, the Cubs went back to work against Suppan in the fifth. Marlon Byrd blooped a single into center. Tyler Colvin blooped a single into left. Mike Fontenot ripped Suppan’s first offering into right center. Byrd rounded third and made a hard feet-first slide into home. Gomez’s throw was on line but Byrd knocked the ball away from Gregg Zaun and scored the Cubs’ fifth run. Colvin advanced to third on the play.
Claudio Vargas replaced Suppan and gave up a single to Koyie Hill on a 3-2 pitch. Colvin scored and Fontenot advanced to third. Dempster dropped down his second sacrifice bunt of the game. With runners on second and third with two outs, Ryan Theriot looked at strike three to end the inning.
The Brewers cut the Cubs lead to 6-1 in the seventh. Gregg Zaun doubled to left center with one out. After Alcides Escobar grounded out to short and advanced Zaun to third, Craig Counsell pinch hit for Manny Parra. Counsell hit a screamer down the line in right. Zaun scored easily but Counsell tried to turn it into a triple down by five runs. The Cubs worked the relay perfectly and threw out Counsell at third to end the inning (9-4-5 for those scoring at home).
Tyler Colvin broke the game open in the ninth. Marlon Byrd singled to center with two outs and scored on Colvin’s second homer of the year … a long shot to right center.
Carlos Marmol closed it down in the ninth. Lou Piniella said after the game they could not get a pitcher loose quick enough to keep Marmol from throwing in the ninth.
It was a nice game for the Cubs … they must build on the win and post back-to-back wins for the first time since April 12 and 14.
Ted Lilly returns on Saturday and will face an old nemesis in Doug Davis.