Game Twenty-Eight – Cubs 2 Pirates 4
WP – Charlie Morton (1-5) LP – Ted Lilly (1-2) Save – Octavio Dotel (5)
Two runs on five hits, all singles, with no walks against a Pirates pitching staff that was struggling to record outs before the Cubs came to town. Lou Piniella’s crew lost their second game in a row to the Bucs after being dominated by Charlie Morton.
Four of the Cubs five hits came in the fourth inning when they scored both of their runs. Aramis Ramirez drove in the Cubs first run with a sacrifice fly and Mike Fontenot plated Marlon Byrd with a two-out single. The Cubs only other hit … a single in the seventh by Aramis Ramirez.
Ted Lilly struggled early and allowed three run in the first three innings. The Pirates tallied nine hits off of Lilly in six innings … five for extra bases. The Pirates hit Lilly rather hard a majority of the night. Lilly settled down somewhat after the third and allowed just one run, a solo homer by Ryan Church in the sixth.
Carlos Zambrano and Carlos Marmol put together solid outings out the pen. Zambrano allowed an infield single, the Pirates third of the night all on Ryan Theriot, but erased Bobby Crosby on strike ’em out throw ’em out to end the inning. Marmol struck out a pair and hit a batter in the eighth. Marmol threw the ball extremely well. The Cubs have to figure out a way to get him the ball with the lead more often than they have over the first five weeks of the season.
Lou Piniella described his offense before the game as “feast or famine” … it was definitely famine, as well as embarrassing, on Wednesday night.
With the second straight loss in Pittsburgh, the Cubs slipped to two games under .500 again in Twenty-Ten …
To add insult to insult, one of the best at bats of the night against Morton was by Ted Lilly.
The Pirates jumped on Ted Lilly in the first inning. Bobby Crosby doubled to right center on Lilly’s second pitch of the game. Andy LaRoche popped out to Mike Fontenot but Andrew McCutchen singled to center.
With runners on first and third and one out, Garrett Jones singled to right on a 3-2 pitch. Crosby scored … 1-0 Pirates. Ryan Doumit flied out to right and Ryan Church lined out to second to end the inning.
The Pirates tacked on in the third on three straight doubles. Andy LaRoche doubled to left on a 1-1 pitch. Andrew McCutchen plated LaRoche with a double to left center and he scored on a double to right by Garrett Jones … 3-0 Pirates.
The Cubs finally got a hit off of Charlie Morton in the fourth. Ted Lilly was the Cubs lone base runner (hit by pitch in the third) before Derrek Lee singled to left with one out in the fourth. Marlon Byrd followed with a single to right … and the Cubs looked like they were finally figuring out Charlie Morton.
Alfonso Soriano loaded the bases with a soft liner to left. Lee had to hold but scored on a sacrifice fly to right by Aramis Ramirez. Ramirez put together a decent at bat … he drove in the Cubs’ first run on the seventh pitch.
Byrd tagged on the play and scored on a single to left by Mike Fontenot … 3-2 Pirates at the time.
28 games into the season, the Chicago Cubs are playing like a .500 team … the way most figured Lou Piniella’s club would finish the year.
Randy Wells faces Brian Burres in game three of the series on Thursday night … can the Cubs avoid being swept by the Pirates?