Game Sixty-Nine – Cubs 12 Angels 1
WP – Carlos Zambrano (3-5) LP – Joe Saunders (5-8) Save – None
Lou Piniella’s offense woke up Sunday afternoon behind Carlos Zambrano. While the offense was busy tying a season-high in hits (18) and scoring in double digits for the first time since May 7, Carlos Zambrano put together his best start of the season.
Carlos Zambrano earned his first win of the year at Wrigley and his first home victory since July 12, 2009 … the last day of the first half, game one of the day-night doubleheader versus the Cardinals. Zambrano threw the ball extremely well. He had a lot of movement and very good command in his seven innings of work. Zambrano gave up eight hits, but three were in the seventh, struck out seven and walked one. Zambrano faced the minimum the first time through and did not allow a hit until the third inning.
The Cubs defense was solid behind Zambrano … Jeff Baker committed the only error (the Cubs’ 12th in six games) and that was erased on one of three double plays behind Zambrano. Zambrano even worked around his own mistake in the first. After a walk and a balk advanced Bobby Abreu to second base, Zambrano picked off Abreu to end the inning.
Carlos Zambrano pitched with fire and also contributed at the plate. Z recorded two hits in four at bats, one from each side, and drove in a run in the third.
Sunday marked only the third win at home for Carlos Zambrano since the end of the 2008 season.
The Cubs offense pounded Angels pitching Sunday afternoon … 12 runs on 18 hits with three walks. Every starter got into the act and seven of Piniella’s starting nine, including Carlos Zambrano, recorded at least two hits. Derrek Lee, who drove in four, was the only starter not to score a run.
Derrek Lee (2-for-4 with a sacrifice fly, a double and four RBI) led the way but it was a weak, broken bat grounder by Alfonso Soriano in the first inning that appeared to relax the team. Soriano reached on an infield single with the bases loaded that Howie Kendrick threw away for the Angels’ first error. The Cubs plated a pair in the first and never looked back.
A day after totaling as many errors (2) as hits (2), the Cubs appeared to have fun at the park for once. Eight of the Cubs 12 runs scored with two outs. Soriano, Lee, Theriot and Colvin delivered two out RBI. The Cubs were 7-for-20 with RISP and left 11 on base … the offense scored in five of eight innings Sunday afternoon.
Tyler Colvin got into the act in the eighth. Colvin improved to 7-for-24 against left handed pitching with a two-run single off of Brian Fuentes.
For one day the Cubs showed they can hit the baseball and are 6-6 in Interleague play with six left to play. Lou Piniella’s crew finished the nine-game homestand with a 4-5 record and improved to 31-38 on the year, seven games below the mediocre mark … There were a lot of good things at the old ballpark Sunday afternoon. Derrek Lee hit and drove in runs. Carlos Zambrano looked like Big Z for the first time in nearly two seasons. The defense caught the ball. Ryan Theriot worked counts, recorded three hits and scored three times out of the eighth spot. Not only did Theriot work counts, but he also drove the ball. Two of Theriot’s three hits were pulled into left with authority.
After Carlos Zambrano picked off Bobby Abreu at second base to end the first, the Cubs offense went to work against Joe Saunders.
Jeff Baker (2-for-6 with a double, a run scored and a RBI) reached on a one-out single to left. Derrek Lee fouled out but Xavier Nady (2-for-5 with a double and two runs scored) singled to left. Geovany Soto (1-for-4 with a walk, a home run and a run scored) walked on four pitches to load the bases.
Alfonso Soriano (2-for-5 with a RBI) took a full swing on a 1-2 pitch from Saunders, broke his bat and hit a weak grounder to Howie Kendrick. Soriano hustled out of the box and made Howie Kendrick rush his throw. Kendrick threw the ball to the outfield side of first, Mike Napoli could not make a play. Baker scored and Nady crossed the plate on the error. The play was scored as a hit and a RBI for Soriano … with Nady scoring on Kendrick’s error.
Starlin Castro fouled out to Kendrick to end the first.
Ryan Theriot (3-for-4 with a walk, a double, a RBI and three runs scored) led off the second with an infield single. Carlos Zambrano failed to bunt him to second but advanced Theriot on a ground out to third. Marlon Byrd then hit a grounder to Brandon Wood at short. Theriot broke from second and took advantage of Wood’s high throw to Kevin Frandsen. Theriot slid in safe and Byrd reached on the fielder’s choice.
Jeff Baker doubled down the right field line on Saunders’ first pitch. Theriot scored and Byrd advanced to third.
Derrek Lee hit Saunders’ first pitch into right … Byrd tagged and scored, 4-0 Cubs. Xavier Nady struck out swinging to end the inning.
The Cubs put the game away in the third.
Geovany Soto crushed Saunders’ first pitch of the inning. Soto’s eighth homer of the year ended up in the back of the bleachers in left … 5-0 Cubs.
Starlin Castro singled to right and advanced to second after Theriot walked on a 3-2 pitch. Carlos Zambrano, from the right side, singled to left. Castro scored … 6-0 Cubs.
Marlon Byrd struck out but Baker reached on the Angels’ second error of the game … Brandon Wood simply missed the one-hopper. The bases were loaded with two outs for Derrek Lee.
Lee launched a 0-1 pitch from Saunders to left. The ball one-hopped the wall and plated both Theriot and Zambrano … 8-0 Cubs and Joe Saunders’ day was over.
Sean O’Sullivan retired Nady on a fly out to left to end the inning.
The Angels scored their only run in the top of the fourth. Kevin Frandsen single to left center with one-out. Zambrano struck out Bobby Abreu on a 3-2 pitch. Frandsen broke for second and Soto delivered the ball but it was up the line. Castro could not haul it in and Frandsen was safe at second.
Torii Hunter doubled to left center on a 1-2 pitch, Frandsen scored … 8-1 Cubs.
Marlon Byrd got into the act in the fifth. Byrd reached on a one-out double to left center. After Jeff Baker flied out to right, Lee drove in Byrd with a single to left … the Cubs’ ninth run.
After going quietly in the sixth and seventh, the Cubs lit up Brian Fuentes in the eighth.
Xavier Nady started the three-run eighth with a double down the third base line. Geovany Soto struck out and Soriano flied out to deep center … but Starlin Castro walked with two outs.
Ryan Theriot launched Fuentes’ first pitch off the ivy in left. Theriot just missed a homer and Nady scored on the play … 10-1 Cubs.
Tyler Colvin pinch-hit for Andrew Cashner and singled to right on a 1-1 pitch from Brian Fuentes. Castro and Theriot scored … 12-1 Cubs. Marlon Byrd followed with his second double of the game, Colvin was held at third.
Trevor Bell replaced Fuentes and retired Jeff Baker to end the inning.
Andrew Cashner gave up a hit in his one inning of work. Cashner continued to throw free and easy in the eighth inning. Carlos Marmol struck out two in the ninth and retired Brandon Wood on a fly out to left for the 27th out.
It was a good day for the Chicago Cubs … but it was just one day.
Monday is the Cubs last off day of the first half. Lou Piniella’s crew opens a three-game series Tuesday night in Seattle. Ryan Dempster versus Jason Vargas in game one.