Game Sixty-Three – Cubs 1 White Sox 0
WP – Ted Lilly (2-5) LP – Gavin Floyd (2-7) Save – Carlos Marmol (13)
Ted Lilly dominated the Chicago White Sox and took a no-hitter into the ninth inning. Lilly had allowed only three base runners (a walk and two hit batsman) before the ninth and faced just two over the minimum.
Juan Pierre pinch-hit for Gavin Floyd and ripped Lilly’s second pitch into center. The White Sox first hit of the game. After not allowing a hit through his first 106 pitches, the chance at history was over and the ballgame was on the line. Lilly left the mound to a standing ovation.
Carlos Marmol replaced Lilly and walked Andruw Jones on five pitches. With no outs and the tying run on second base, Marmol appeared to lose his footing on his first pitch to Alexei Ramirez. A balk was called and the Sox had runners on second and third with no outs in a one-run ballgame.
With the game on the line, Marmol struck out Alexei Ramirez swinging on three pitches. Lou Piniella intentionally walked Alex Rios to face Paul Konerko with the bases loaded.
Paul Konerko grounded out to Derrek Lee on a 0-1 offering from Marmol. Lee threw to Koyie Hill for the second out of the inning. Hill could not complete the double play … no one was covering first.
Marmol fell behind Carlos Quentin 2-1 but Quentin popped up Marmol’s next pitch into shallow left center. Marlon Byrd caught it … game over.
Sunday night was a pitcher’s duel but for as good as Ted Lilly and Gavin Floyd were, how much of their success had to do with the offense’s they were facing?
Lilly and Floyd took a double no-hitter into the bottom of the seventh. Alfonso Soriano broke up Floyd’s no-hit bid with a two-out double to left. Chad Tracy followed Soriano and ripped Floyd’s first pitch into center. Alfonso Soriano scored the only run of the game.
The Cubs salvaged the final game of the series against the White Sox … but it was more about Theodore than anything else.
With the win, the Cubs improved to 28-35 on the year, seven games under the mediocre mark … Ted Lilly won for only the second time this season and improved to 2-5 with a 2.90 ERA and a 1.00 WHIP. Lilly’s first win since April 24 was one that will not soon be forgotten. Not only did it come in the Crosstown Series but it was also on National Television for everyone to see. Lilly dominated a mediocre offense for eight innings.
Lilly walked one (Gavin Floyd in the third) and hit two batters … A.J. Pierzynski in the second and Gordon Beckham in the fifth. That was it until Juan Pierre’s single in the ninth.
As for the Cubs’ offense, for lack of a better word, they were shut down once again by a mediocre pitcher. The Cubs struck out nine times against Floyd with only three walks. The offense showed little to no patience and made Floyd throw only 109 pitches.
Derrek Lee (twice) and Marlon Byrd (once) were the only baserunners for the Cubs until two outs in the seventh.
Derrek Lee walked with one out in the seventh. With Alfonso Soriano at the plate, Floyd uncorked a wild pitch. Pierzynski stopped the ball but it bounced in front of him. Lee took out for second and was thrown out.
Alfonso Soriano worked the count to 3-2 then doubled to left … the first hit of the game.
Chad Tracy then ripped a grounder up the middle on Floyd’s first pitch. Soriano scored … 1-0 Cubs.
Starlin Castro notched the Cubs only other hit … a single to right center in the bottom of the eighth. Castro was thrown out at second when Ozzie Guillen called for a pitch out on the first offering to Ryan Theriot.
A win is a win and Ted Lilly did his job once again … and then some. But the Cubs’ offense has a lot of work to do.
Monday is an off day before the Oakland A’s make their way to Wrigley. Carlos Zambrano is scheduled to face Trevor Cahill in the first of three.