An Unhappy Ending for the Cubs in La-La Land – Cubs 7 Dodgers 9

Game Eighty-Seven – Cubs 7 Dodgers 9
WP – Chad Billingsley (7-4) LP – Ted Lilly (3-8) Save – None

The Cubs dropped game two Friday night in the City of Angels after Ted Lilly, Mitch Atkins and Bobby Howry gave up nine runs to the Dodgers in the first six innings. The Cubs made a game of it late and scored four runs off the Dodgers’ pen in the eighth and ninth. The Cubs brought the tying run to the plate in the ninth, but Jonathan Broxton struck out Tyler Colvin to end the game.

Friday night was the Cubs 30th loss in games decided by one or two runs (18-30).

The Dodgers scored at least one run in each inning from the second through the sixth. Los Angeles put together two three-run innings against Ted Lilly and chased Lilly from the game in the fourth.

Ted Lilly’s third bad start in his last five games buried the Cubs early. Lilly lasted just 3 2/3 innings, his shortest start of the year, and gave up seven runs, five earned, on seven hits … and another longball. After serving up four homers in his last outing against the Reds, Lilly gave up a three-run shot to Russell Martin in the second.

Ted Lilly has allowed 16 runs, 14 earned, in his last two games (10 1/3 innings) on 18 hits … and five home runs.

Mitch Atkins made his 2010 debut Friday night and gave up a run in his 1 1/3 innings of work. Reports prior to Friday’s game suggested that Atkins would start Sunday’s finale if Carlos Silva could not go but with Atkins forced into action, the Cubs might have to make a roster move before Sunday.

The Cubs offense scored seven runs on 11 hits Friday night. Marlon Byrd (4-for-5 with a run scored and three RBI) and Aramis Ramirez (3-for-4 with a double, a triple, a walk, two runs scored and a RBI) led the way. Ramirez tripled for the first time this season and got his batting average above the Mendoza Line Friday night. Ramirez is now hitting .204 after the worst first half of his big league career.

Lou Piniella loaded his lineup with lefties against Billingsley and not one delivered a hit … all seven hits Billingsley surrendered were by right-handed hitters.

The Cubs finished the game 3-for-12 with RISP and left eight on base.

The Cubs aggressiveness hurt them once again while the game was still in question. After striking out 13 times Thursday night without working a single free pass, Lou’s offense struck out 13 times again Friday night with four walks.

Ryan Theriot made his first appearance Friday night at shortstop since Starlin Castro’s call-up on May 7. Theriot moved to short in the eighth after Jeff Baker pinch-hit for Mike Fontenot in top of the inning and remained in the game.

With the loss, the Cubs slipped back into a tie for third place with the Milwaukee Brewers. Lou Piniella’s crew dropped to 38-49 on the season … 11 games under .500.

Ted Lilly did not have it for the third time in his last five starts. Lilly struggled with command and left everything up … and for the second straight start his velocity was down.

Lilly lasted just 3 2/3 innings, his shortest start of the year and gave up seven runs, five earned, on seven hits.

The Cubs actually jumped out to an early lead … but it should have been a lot more. Aramis Ramirez led off the second with the Cubs first walk of the series. Marlon Byrd followed with a bloop single to center. Tyler Colvin walked on four pitches to load the bases with no outs.

Mike Fontenot became the key to the inning … and once again, he did not deliver. Fontenot worked the count to 3-1 then hit a weak grounder to first. Aramis Ramirez scored on the fielder’s choice … 1-0 Cubs.

With runners on second and third with one out, Koyie Hill struck out swinging on three pitches. Ted Lilly, who is 0-for-25 on the season, struck out looking to end the inning.

The Dodgers moral victory in the top of the second turned into three runs in the bottom of the frame.

James Loney singled to left center with one out. Lilly issued his first walk of the night to Casey Blake then fell behind Russell Martin 3-1. Martin made Lilly pay with his first homer since May 11 … a three-run shot to left.

The Dodgers first three-run inning was just the beginning of a bad night for Ted Lilly.

The Cubs cut the Dodgers lead to 3-2 in the third. Derrek Lee reached on a two-out single to left. Aramis Ramirez followed with a single to right center, Lee advanced to third and scored on a single to right by Marlon Byrd. Tyler Colvin walked to load the bases for Mike Fontenot.

The baseball player formally known as ‘Little Babe Ruth‘ showed he shares the same baseball mentality of his former LSU teammate. Fontenot swung at three straight from Billingsley to end the inning. The Cubs had Billingsley on the ropes and bailed him out of trouble for the second inning in a row.

The 3-2 deficit would be as close as the Cubs would get on Friday night.

The Dodgers ended the game in the bottom of the third with their second three-run inning.

Rafael Furcal led off the third with a ground rule double to left. Jamey Carroll then attempted to sacrifice him to third. Lilly fielded the bunt but tried to shovel the ball from his glove to Lee at first. Lilly could not make the play and his error led to a big inning … and two more unearned runs for the Chicago Cubs.

Andre Ethier made it 4-2 with a single past a “divingMike Fontenot into left. Furcal scored and Carroll advanced to third. Matt Kemp then doubled off the top of the wall in left … Kemp just missed another home run. Carroll scored on the play … 5-2 Dodgers.

With runners on second and third with no outs, James Loney blooped out to short then Casey Blake hit a sac fly into center. Ethier tagged and scored the Dodgers’ sixth run. After Kemp stole third, Russell Martin flied out to center to end the inning.

The Cubs went down in order, rather quickly, in the fourth and the Dodgers chased Lilly from the game in the bottom of the inning.

Xavier Paul singled to left center. Billingsley bunted him to second but Lilly struck out Furcal for the second out. Jamey Carroll then walked to put runners on first and second.

Andre Ethier singled to right and drove in Paul with the Dodgers’ seventh run … and possibly Ted Lilly’s last pitch in a Cubs’ uniform.

Mitch Atkins made his third big league appearance, first of 2010, and retired Matt Kemp on a fly out to right.

The Cubs’ low-scoring offense made it a 7-3 game in the top of the fifth.

Derrek Lee walked with one out and advanced to third on a double to left by Aramis Ramirez. Marlon Byrd drove in his second run of the game with a ground out to short … Lee scored, 7-3. Ramirez advanced to third on a wild pitch but Tyler Colvin struck out swinging on a 3-2 pitch to end the inning.

Mitch Atkins struggled with his command in the fifth, gave up a run but registered his first big league strikeout. James Loney worked a leadoff walk after falling behind 0-2. Joe Torre called for the hit and run and Casey Blake doubled to right. Loney scored … 8-3 Dodgers.

Mitch Atkins struck out Russell Martin on a 3-2 pitch … the first at the Major League level for the Cubs young right-hander.

Marlon Byrd robbed Xavier Paul of a double with another highlight reel catch in right center. Byrd’s diving catch kept the Dodgers from adding another run. Billingsley flied out to right to end the inning.

The Cubs offense was shutdown following the fifth … until the eighth.

The Dodgers made it 9-3 off Bobby Howry in the home half of the sixth. Jamey Carroll singled with one out and advanced to second on Ethier’s third straight hit. Matt Kemp struck out but James Loney doubled off the wall in right … Carroll scored, 9-3 Dodgers.

With runners on second and third, Casey Blake grounded out to third to end the inning.

The Cubs made the final score look a little better in the eighth … and ninth.

Marlon Byrd singled to right and chased Billingsley from the game. Tyler Colvin ripped George Sherrill’s first pitch into left center … Colvin’s double put runners on second and third with no outs. Joe Torre went to his pen after just one pitch from Sherrill and brought in Justin Miller.

Jeff Baker was announced for Mike Fontenot and struck out. With Koyie Hill at the plate, Miller uncorked a wild pitch on a 0-2 pitch. Byrd scored the Cubs fourth run. Colvin advanced to third on the play and scored on Hill’s sac fly to center.

With the Cubs down 9-5, Kosuke Fukudome led off the ninth with a single to right and ended Justin Miller’s night. Jonathan Broxton made his way from the pen and retired Ryan Theriot on one pitch … the second out Theriot made Friday night on the first pitch of the at bat.

Derrek Lee struck out but Fukudome advanced to second during Lee’s at bat. Aramis Ramirez then tripled to right center past a diving Andre Ethier. Fukudome scored … 9-6 Dodgers.

Marlon Byrd delivered his third RBI of the game with a single to right. With the Cubs down 9-7, Tyler Colvin struck out swinging to end the game.

The Cubs’ offense did not quit Friday night … but the nine runs Ted Lilly and company surrendered was just too big of a hole to climb out of.

Box Score from Yahoo Sports

Tom Gorzelanny is scheduled to face John Ely in game three Saturday afternoon.

Quote of the Day

"There are places I remember. All my life though some have changed. Some forever not for better. Some have gone and some remain. All these places have their moments ... " John Lennon/Paul McCartney