Game Twenty-Three – Cubs 5 Diamondbacks 13
WP – Ian Kennedy (1-1) LP – Ted Lilly (1-1) Save – None
Granted it is “only” one game and one loss but when a big league manager says his team needs “to have a little urgency” on April 29 … something may be wrong. Lou Piniella’s crew was hammered at home and fell three games under .500. The Cubs are 4-6 at Wrigley this year and are being outplayed by every team they’ve faced with the exception of the Milwaukee Brewers. The 13-5 final from Thursday does not indicate how lopsided the loss was for the Chicago Cubs.
Ted Lilly started the game extremely well. Other than a pair of hits from Kelly Johnson, and several deep counts, Lilly kept the Diamondbacks off the board in the first three innings.
Ryan Theriot extended his hitting streak to nine games with a two-out RBI single in the third. The Cubs finally got a hit with runners in scoring position and took a one-run lead … but that would be their last run until an eighth inning Grand Slam by Kosuke Fukudome, the first of his Major League career.
The Diamondbacks scored 13 unanswered runs off of Ted Lilly and the beleaguered bullpen in the middle innings.
After the Cubs took a 1-0 lead in the bottom of the third, Ted Lilly issued back-to-back walks to Justin Upton and Mark Reynolds to start the fourth. Adam LaRoche then launched the first of four longballs on the afternoon for the Diamondbacks. LaRoche hit two of the D’Backs four dingers.
Before Lilly could get out of the fourth, Cole Gillespie doubled and scored on a home run by Chris Snyder. With the Cubs’ offense looking worse and worse every game, the 5-1 hole after four innings appeared insurmountable.
Ted Lilly departed after five innings … and another home run. Lilly allowed six runs, all earned, on seven hits with two walks and six strikeouts.
Jeff Gray and James Russell continued throwing batting practice in relief of Lilly. Gray and Russell allowed seven runs, three earned, on seven hits with a walk and three strikeouts in two combined innings.
While the D’Backs were busy scoring nine of their 13 runs on four home runs, the Cubs’ offense was busy swinging and missing … and going down in order. The Cubs did not manage their third hit of the game until the seventh inning.
Thursday loss dropped the Cubs record on the young season to 10-13 and guaranteed them a losing record in the first month of the season … Once Ted Lilly began falling behind in the count, the Diamondbacks started teeing off on him. After the five-spot in the fourth, Adam LaRoche hit his second homer of the day in the fifth … a solo shot that ended up on Sheffield.
Ted Lilly said he felt fine after the game but concerns about his velocity will remain until his next start in four days.
Jeff Gray retired Arizona in order in the sixth but the seventh was a long, ugly inning.
The D’Backs scored seven runs in the seventh, sent 11 to the plate and Kelly Johnson hit his league leading ninth home run that put an exclamation point on the afternoon. Johnson hit his sixth homer in seven games and finished the game 4-for-5 with a run scored and three RBI.
Stephen Drew led off the seventh with a single to right center … Arizona’s ninth hit of the game, at the time. Gray then walked Justin Upton on four pitches. Mark Reynolds struck out swinging and Piniella went to his pen for James Russell.
Adam LaRoche (3-for-4 with two home runs, a double, three runs scored and five RBI) just missed his third homer of the day. On a 3-2 pitch from Russell, LaRoche doubled off the vines in left center. Drew scored … 7-1 Arizona.
Chris Young then reached on an error by Aramis Ramirez. With the bases loaded and one out, Cole Gillespie singled in Justin Upton. Chris Snyder followed with a single to center on a 1-2 pitch, LaRoche scored … 9-1 Arizona.
Ian Kennedy completed the embarrassing day for Cubs’ pitching by driving in a run with a sacrifice fly to right center. After a passed ball put runners on second and third with two outs, Kelly Johnson cleared the bases with a home run to right … 13-1 Arizona.
Justin Berg and Sean Marshall kept the D’Backs off the board over the final two innings.
The Cubs second highlight of the game came in the eighth … with a little help.
Geovany Soto walked to start the inning. Tyler Colvin hit a grounder to Rusty Ryal who for some reason tried to throw out Soto at second up by 12 runs. Ryal threw the ball into left and gave the Cubs an extra out.
Ryan Theriot singled to right to load the bases for Kosuke Fukudome. On the first pitch from Ian Kennedy, Fukudome hit his first Grand Slam of his big league career … an opposite field shot that ended up in the basket.
The Cubs managed five runs on six hits while the Diamondbacks tallied 13 runs on 14 hits. Derrek Lee and Aramis Ramirez are not hitting. Lee is 1-for-17 on the homestand while Ramirez is 4-for-16.
Now the question is, will Lou Piniella do something or sit by and continue to watch his team play less than inspiring baseball?
Randy Wells is slated to face Rodrigo Lopez on Friday afternoon.