Game Seventy-Two – Cubs 3 Mariners 2 – 13 innings
WP – John Grabow (1-3) LP – Garrett Olsen (0-2) Save – Tom Gorzelanny (1)
It took 13 innings but the Cubs scratched out a win Thursday afternoon in Seattle. Marlon Byrd drove in the winning run in the top of the 13th with the Cubs’ sixth hit of the game … and Tom Gorzelanny notched the first save of his career.
Lou Piniella’s crew did just enough to win a game between two teams with not-very-good offenses. The Cubs managed just six hits in 13 innings, all singles, and took advantage of a hit batsman and a wild pitch to plate their second run.
Mike Fontenot gave the Cubs a 1-0 lead with a sacrifice fly in the second and Chad Tracy drove in the second run with a single to center in the seventh. Thursday was the first time in seven games Mariners’ pitching allowed more than a single run in a ballgame.
Ted Lilly bounced back from his horrible outing against the Angels and pitched another gem. Lilly gave up a run on five hits in six innings. Lilly did not walk a batter and struck out six.
Lilly labored through a 35-pitch fourth inning and committed a balk that led to the Mariners’ first run. After the Mariners’ tied the game at one, they put runners on first and third with no outs. Lilly struck out Franklin Gutierrez and Josh Wilson before inducing a tapper back to the mound off the bat of Rob Johnson to end the inning. Lilly was inline for the win when he turned the game over to the pen.
Andrew Cashner surrendered the first run of his big league career … and picked up his first blown save. Cashner gave up an infield single to Josh Wilson then a ground rule double to left by Jack Wilson. Cashner kept his composure after blowing the save and did not allow the Mariners’ to take the lead.
Sean Marshall and Carlos Marmol sent the game into extra innings with a scoreless ninth. Marmol made it very interesting in the 10th.
The Mariners did not put a ball in play but Marmol struggled with his command. He walked the bases loaded (one intentional) but struck out the side. Six batters came to the plate and not one made contact against Senor Nasty.
John Grabow put together his best outing of the year … and picked up his first win in the process. Grabow pitched two scoreless innings, gave up only one hit and did not walk a batter.
Bobby Howry sat down the first two he faced before allowing a single to Jack Wilson. Lou went to his pen for Tom Gorzelanny and he struck out Michael Saunders swinging on a 3-2 pitch to end the game.
The Cubs improved to 4-2 in extra inning games (2-1 on the road) with the win in their longest game, in terms of innings, this season (an 11-inning game versus the Rockies on May 17). The victory also kept the Cubs from falling 10 games under the mediocre mark for the first time during the Lou Piniella Era.
The Cubs defense was better and for the first time in well over a week, they did not commit an error. Kosuke Fukudome, Xavier Nady and Starlin Castro turned in fine defensive plays late in the game … but six hits in 13 innings by a big league team is unacceptable. Against another team, Thursday would have been another loss for the Cubs.
With Felix Hernandez on the hill, the writing was on the wall it was going to be a low scoring game … especially if Ted Lilly brought his A-game.
The Cubs got on the board first after Derrek Lee led off the second with a single to right. Tyler Colvin singled to left center but Chone Figgins robbed Xavier Nady of a run scoring single to center. Figgins forced Colvin at second but Lee advanced to third.
Mike Fontenot stepped in and hit Hernandez’s first pitch into center. Lee tagged and scored 1-0 Cubs.
Chone Figgins led off the fourth with the Mariners’ second hit of the game. After a balk advanced Figgins to second, Mike Sweeney ripped the seventh pitch of the at bat off the wall in left. Figgins scored, game tied at one.
Jose Lopez followed with a single to right but Sweeney held at third. Lilly went to work at that point and struck out both Franklin Gutierrez and Josh Wilson. With runners still on first and third, Rob Johnson tapped back to Lilly on his 35th pitch of the inning. Lilly escaped but after laboring through the inning it was obvious the game was going to be decided by the pen.
Felix Hernandez made two mistakes in the seventh. First, he hit Xavier Nady on a 0-2 pitch then uncorked a wild pitch with Chad Tracy at the plate. Tracy singled to center on Hernandez’ next offering and gave the Cubs a short-lived 2-1 lead.
Carlos Marmol retired Ichiro Suzuki to end the ninth to send the game into extra innings. Lou left Marmol in for the tenth … and it was a typical outing for Carlos Marmol.
Chone Figgins walked on four pitches to start the 10th. Marmol then walked Mike Sweeney on five pitches. Jose Lopez struck out swinging for the first out. On a 1-0 pitch to Gutierrez, the Mariners’ pulled off a double steal. Hill’s throw appeared to beat Figgins to third. Lou argued but the Mariners had the winning run 90 feet away.
Marmol intentionally walked Gutierrez to load the bases. Josh Wilson struck out swinging and Eliezer Alfonzo missed Marmol’s 1-2 offering to end the inning.
The Cubs put the lead off hitter on in the ninth, tenth and eleventh innings and came away empty each time … they finally broke through in the 13th.
Alfonso Soriano pinch hit for Koyie Hill and walked to start the inning. Cub-for-a-minute Garrett Olsen was lifted in favor of Sean White and he walked Ryan Theriot.
Marlon Byrd hit a single to right on a 1-2 offering from White. Suzuki’s throw was offline and Soriano slid into home with the go ahead, and eventual winning run.
The Cubs face the White Sox for three this weekend on the South Side. Carlos Zambrano against Jake Peavy in game one Friday afternoon.