Three Big Flies Power Cubs Over Z Reds – Cubs 4 Reds 3

Game Five – Cubs 4 Reds 3
WP – Carlos Zambrano (1-1) LP – Arthur Rhodes (0-1) Save – Carlos Marmol (2)

wflag.jpgAfter going through the motions in the first three innings, the Cubs began playing longball in the fourth inning down by a score of 3-0.

Ryan Theriot led off the fourth with the Cubs first hit. Kosuke Fukudome followed and launched a 2-1 pitch from Aaron Harang over the wall in right. Alfonso Soriano tied the game in the fifth with his first homer of the year, a solo shot to left on a 3-2 pitch.

While the offense was busy chipping away at the Reds lead, Carlos Zambrano settled down and turned in a quality start. Zambrano appeared on the verge of losing it after Brandon Phillips gave the Reds a 3-0 lead in the third. Zambrano remained calm and lowered his 54.00 ERA to 11.88 on Saturday afternoon.

Carlos Zambrano allowed three runs on six hits in seven innings with two walks and nine strikeouts. Big Z was dominant in the seventh, one of his better innings in a long time. Zambrano struck out the side to finish his day … and showed the fire that has been missing from his recent outings.

Jeff Baker pinch hit for Mike Fontenot in the eighth … and gave the Cubs the lead with one swing of the bat. Baker ripped a 1-1 pitch from lefty Arthur Rhodes over the wall in the left center.

Other than a misplayed ball by Alfonso Soriano in the second that led to the Reds first run, the Cubs defense stepped up behind Zambrano, especially Mike Fontenot.

John Grabow pitched the eighth and gave up a single to Joey Votto. Grabow threw strikes but was helped out by a leaping catch by Derrek Lee that kept the tying run from scoring.

Simply put, Carlos Marmol was nasty in the ninth … one of his best innings in two seasons. Marmol struck out the side swinging and picked up his second save of the season in as many chances.

Lou Piniella made all the right moves on Saturday as well. Not only did he insert Jeff Baker for Mike Fontenot but he brought in Tyler Colvin for Soriano and Koyie Hill for Geovany Soto in the ninth.

After leaving 13 on base Friday night, the Cubs did not leave a single runner on base Saturday afternoon. The Cubs improved to 2-3 on the young season with the come from behind win against the Reds …

Carlos Zambrano turned in the Cubs’ fourth straight quality start after not looking very good early on. Chris Dickerson doubled to left with two outs in the second inning. Alfonso Soriano misplayed the ball and gave the Reds a fourth out.

The Cubs decided to pitch to Ryan Hanigan … and the Reds’ catcher made them regret it. Hanigan singled to left and plated Dickerson with Aaron Harang standing in the on-deck circle. Zambrano retired Harang to end the inning.

Drew Stubbs led off the third with an infield single to the hole at short. Theriot could not get enough on the throw to retire the speedy Stubbs at first base. Zambrano struck out Orlando Cabrera looking on three pitches for the first out.

With Joey Votto at the plate, Zambrano made his second error in as many starts. Zambrano tried to pick off Stubbs and threw the ball away. Stubbs took second and advanced to third when Votto grounded out to short.

Zambrano fell behind Brandon Phillips, 2-0. Phillips then gave the Reds, what appeared to be a comfortable, a 3-0 lead with a long two-run homer over the wall in center.

Following the Phillips’ blast, Zambrano retired Jay Bruce to end the inning.

Geovany Soto could not block strike three to start the fourth. Zambrano struck out Juan Francisco swinging on a ball in the dirt but it bounced away from Soto. Francisco reached and advanced to second on a single to right by Chris Dickerson.

Ryan Hanigan flied out to center and Aaron Harang dropped down a bunt to the third base side of the mound … both runners advanced. Zambrano struck out Drew Stubbs on his 64th pitch of the game to end the inning.

With a lot of help from Mike Fontenot and Geovany Soto, Zambrano faced the minimum in the fifth and sixth innings.

The Cubs’ offense managed only five hits but scored four runs … all on three homers. A two-run shot by Kosuke Fukudome, a solo homer by Alfonso Soriano and the game-winner by Jeff Baker in the eighth.

Box Score from Yahoo Sports

Tom Gorzelanny will make his first start of the year in the rubber game of the series on Sunday. Mike Leake, the 21st player in the history of the game to go from college to the major leagues, will make his professional debut for Dusty Baker.

Quote of the Day

"The man says 'play ball' not 'work ball,' you know." - Willie Stargell
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