Game Seventy-Seven – Cubs 3 Pirates 1
WP – Ted Lilly (3-6) LP – Jeff Karstens (2-3) Save – Carlos Marmol (14)
The Cubs beat the Pirates for the third time this season. Ted Lilly entered Tuesday’s start with the worst run support in the league but received just enough Tuesday night. Lilly was very good once again and made one mistake in seven innings of work. The only run he allowed was on a solo homer by Ryan Doumit leading off the fifth. Lilly walked one, struck out five and gave up just six hits. Lilly worked out of a jam in the seventh to preserve the lead.
Sean Marshall faced the minimum in the eighth and Carlos Marmol was nasty in the ninth … two more strikeouts for Marmol in an inning of work.
For the 25th time in his career, and the second this season, Alfonso Soriano notched a multi-homer game. Soriano hit number 12 in the fourth and number 13 in the sixth. Soriano’s dingers were the difference in the game. Soriano picked up the top of lineup that did absolutely nothing against Jeff Karstens and the Pirates staff. One through five in Lou’s lineup managed three hits, all singles, and a walk in 20 trips to the plate.
Koyie Hill tallied a pair of doubles and scored the first run of the game on a sacrifice fly by Starlin Castro in the second inning.
The Cubs offense managed eight hits and finished the game 0-for-5 with RISP and left six on base.
Tuesday was all about Theodore and Soriano. Both came to play and the Cubs finally won a game against the Mighty Pittsburgh Pirates.
The Cubs won for just the seventh time (7-32, 27-11 when score four or more runs) on the year when they score three runs or less. With the win, Lou Piniella’s crew improved to 34-43 on the season, nine games under the respectable mark … Yes, the Cubs won. Yes, Ted Lilly pitched another excellent game … and yes, Alfonso Soriano hit two home runs. But Tuesday night was anything but a good game for the Chicago Cubs. Lou Piniella’s crew continued to struggle with the Pirates, a team that is 30 games below .500 versus the rest of baseball (26-51 overall, 8-3 against the Cubs).
The top of the Cubs lineup was brutal again. Kosuke Fukudome (1-for-4, an infield hit) and Ryan Theriot (0-for-3 with a walk) were overly aggressive. Theriot did put together his best plate appearance since April with an 11-pitch at bat in the seventh that resulted in a walk.
Derrek Lee (1-for-4), Aramis Ramirez (1-for-4) and Tyler Colvin (0-for-4) had a quiet night as well.
The Cubs first run came in the second after Koyie Hill doubled to left with one out. A passed ball by Ryan Doumit allowed Hill to advance to third. Starlin Castro got the job done with a sacrifice fly to left on a 1-1 pitch. Hill scored and gave the Cubs a 1-0 lead.
Alfonso Soriano launched the first pitch he saw in the fourth inning. With two out and the bases empty, Soriano’s 12th of the season gave the Cubs a 2-0 lead.
Ryan Doumit cut the Cubs lead to 2-1 with his seventh longball in the fifth. Doumit ripped a 3-2 offering from Lilly over the wall in left … Soriano did not move.
The Cubs kept swinging and missing against Jeff Karstens … until two outs in the sixth.
Alfonso Soriano gave the Cubs a 3-1 lead with his second longball of the game. Soriano ripped a 2-1 pitch into the bleachers in left with two outs in the sixth.
Ted Lilly worked his way in and out of a jam in the seventh. Pedro Alvarez reached on an infield single to short … the ball one-hopped Castro and just ate him up. Ryan Doumit doubled with one out and the Pirates had runners on second and third down by two.
Ronny Cedeno swung at Lilly’s first pitch and popped out to Castro. John Russell sent Ryan Church to the plate for Karstens. Lilly struck out Church on a 1-2 pitch to end the threat.
Starlin Castro added a hustle double to start the seventh … but did not advance.
The Cubs lack of patience continued being a problem Tuesday night. After not working a single walk on Monday, the Cubs managed only two free passes on Tuesday. Until the offense starts making pitchers work again, they will continue to struggle scoring runs.
A win is always good … but sometimes that is all it is, a win.
Tom Gorzelanny will face Brad Lincoln in the finale of the three game series Wednesday afternoon.