Game Fifty-Nine – Cubs 9 Brewers 4
WP – Carlos Zambrano (2-4) LP – Randy Wolf (4-6) Save – None
On the night the Chicago Blackhawks won the Stanley Cup in Philadelphia, the Chicago Cubs improved to 6-2 on the season against the Milwaukee Brewers. The Cubs hit five home runs that accounted for their first eight runs of the game. It was the first time Lou’s crew launched five homers in the same game since September 6, 2008 in Cincinnati.
Marlon Byrd hit not one but two of the Cubs’ longballs. Byrd gave the Cubs a 2-0 lead in the top of the first with his eighth of the year. Geovany Soto hit his first of two on Randy Wolf’s first pitch of the second inning. Soto’s dinger gave the Cubs a 3-1 lead.
Randy Wolf tied the game in the fourth with a two-out, two-run double off of Carlos Zambrano … that nearly left the park. But the Cubs’ offense woke up in the top of the fifth and put the game away.
The Cubs hit three homers in the fifth and scored five times. Derrek Lee hit the 300th of this career, a two-run shot that gave the Cubs a 5-3 lead. Marlon Byrd followed with his ninth … the first time the Cubs hit back-to-back jacks since April 30 (Byrd and Soto against the Diamondbacks).
After a two out walk by Alfonso Soriano, Geovany Soto launched his second of the night. Soto’s two-run shot gave the Cubs a commanding 8-3 lead. Marlon Byrd and Geovany Soto became the first Cubs teammates to hit two home runs in the same game since Derrek Lee and Todd Walker on July 18, 2005 versus the Cincinnati Reds.
Jeff Baker added a ground rule double in the ninth that plated Ryan Theriot with the Cubs final run of the game. The Cubs offense pounded out 12 hits … five home runs and a double. Xavier Nady and Alfonso Soriano were the only starters to not record a hit.
Carlos Zambrano labored through five innings Wednesday night. Zambrano gave up only two hits but walked five and hit a batter. Zambrano struggled with himself and his command all night. Zambrano ran up his pitch count once again and recorded only one 1-2-3 inning. Zambrano threw 88 pitches … just 46 for strikes.
Zambrano gave up a run in the first on a ground out by Ryan Braun. But the second hit he allowed to Randy Wolf plated two of the five walks he issued on the night.
James Russell was credited with the Brewers’ fourth run. After a solid sixth inning, just one hit allowed, Russell allowed the first three Brewers to reach in the seventh … singles by Craig Counsell, Rickie Weeks and Prince Fielder.
Andrew Cashner replaced Russell and gave up a deep fly to Ryan Braun that plated Counsell with the Brewers’ fourth run. Cashner then struck out Casey McGehee with runners on first and third and the Cubs up 8-4 at the time. Cashner retired Jim Edmonds on a fly out to center to end the inning. Cashner allowed an inherited run to score but was impressive once again … one hit, one inherited run and two strikeouts in two innings.
While Starlin Castro was only 1-for-4 at the plate Wednesday night, he proved once again he is a Major League shortstop. Castro made several nice plays in the field … one’s previous Cubs’ shortstops would not have made.
With the win, Lou Piniella’s crew improved to 27-32 on the year … five games under .500.
The Cubs came out swinging against Randy Wolf, a pitcher they had zero success against last season.
Jeff Baker (3-for-5 with a double, two runs scored and a RBI) reached on an infield single with one out in the first. After Derrek Lee popped out to second on a 3-2 pitch, Marlon Byrd worked the count to 2-2 then ripped Randy Wolf’s next pitch over the wall in left center … 2-0 Cubs.
Carlos Zambrano gave one of the runs back in the home half of the first. Craig Counsell reached on a single past Derrek Lee. Zambrano hit Rickie Weeks on a 1-0 pitch and it was evident once again that Carlos Zambrano just doesn’t have “it” anymore.
Prince Fielder grounded out to first on a 2-0 pitch. Counsell and Weeks advanced then Counsell scored on a groundout to first by Ryan Braun. Casey McGehee lined out to Xavier Nady to end the inning.
Geovany Soto got the run right back on Randy Wolf’s first pitch of the second inning. Zambrano tossed a perfect second but the Brewers tied the game in the fourth.
Big Z issued back-to-back walks to Jim Edmonds and Corey Hart with one out in the fourth. George Kottaras popped out to short but Zambrano grooved a fastball to Randy Wolf that nearly left the park. Wolf ended up with a game tying double just to the right of straight away center. Marlon Byrd almost made another good catch but could not haul it in.
With the go ahead run on second, Craig Counsell flied out to center to end the inning.
Jeff Baker started the five-run fifth with a one-out single to right. Derrek Lee stepped in and launched a 2-1 pitch from Randy Wolf over the wall in left center … number 300 of his career. Lee became the seventh player to hit his 300th home run in a Cubs’ uniform. Lee joined Ernie Banks, Billy Williams, Ron Santo, Ron Cey, Andre Dawson and Sammy Sosa. The two-run shot gave the Cubs a 5-3 lead but they were not done.
Marlon Byrd ripped a 0-2 offering from Wolf over the wall in left … 6-3 Cubs. After Xavier Nady popped out to Prince Fielder, Alfonso Soriano walked and set the stage for Geovany Soto.
Soto hit his second longball of the night, a two-run shot on a 1-0 pitch. Randy Wolf departed after tying a Brewers’ franchise record for the most home runs allowed in a single game.
Sean Marshall closed out the game with a perfect ninth.
It was good to see the offense come alive for a game … but consistency is the key.
Ryan Dempster is scheduled to face Dave Bush in the rubber game Thursday afternoon at Miller Park.