Game Ninety – Cubs 12 Phillies 6
WP – Ryan Dempster (8-7) LP – Jamie Moyer (9-9) Save – None
Thursday night began like so many for the Cubs in the first half. Before the offense ever stepped to the plate, the Cubs found themselves in a 2-0 hole. Ryan Howard launched the first of his two two-run homers on the night off Ryan Dempster just four minutes into the game. Howard’s homer ended up on Sheffield Avenue and it appeared the Cubs second half was going to start the way the first half ended. But Ryan Dempster settled down and did not allow any more runs in his 6 2/3 innings of work.
Ryan Dempster beat the Phillies for the time in a Cubs’ uniform and notched his 13th quality start of the season … tied for the team lead with Carlos Silva. Dempster allowed two runs on six hits with three walks and tied a season-high with nine strikeouts in 6 2/3 innings.
The Cubs answered Howard’s longball and tied the game at two with a two-out, two run double by Aramis Ramirez … it was only the second time in 20 games the Cubs offense scored in the first inning.
The Cubs scored 12 unanswered runs and were led by Aramis Ramirez, Derrek Lee and Alfonso Soriano. Ramirez, Lee and Soriano drove in nine of the Cubs’ 12 runs.
Aramis Ramirez (2-for-5 with two doubles, four RBI and a run scored) drove in four with a pair of doubles and Derrek Lee (3-for-5 with two runs scored, a home run and two RBI) ripped his 11th longball of the season off Moyer in the third. Lee’s dinger gave the Cubs a 5-2 lead.
Alfonso Soriano (3-for-5 with a home run, two runs scored and three RBI) hit his team leading 16th homer in the third off Jamie Moyer and chased the southpaw from the game.
The Cubs hit for the cycle against Jamie Moyer in the first three innings. The Cubs first four hits … a double by Aramis Ramirez, a triple by Starlin Castro, a single by Tyler Colvin and a home run by Derrek Lee.
Jamie Moyer lost to the Cubs for only the third time in his career. Moyer allowed six runs on five hits with two hit batsmen in three innings. The Cubs knocked Moyer out early and got into the Phillies pen in the first game of a four-game series. Charlie Manuel ended up using six relievers to finish out the game.
Geovany Soto added a two-run homer in the Cubs five-run seventh, his 10th of the year.
The Cubs scored five runs with two outs in the seventh and nine of the 12 runs scored on Thursday night came with two outs. As Lou Piniella and Ron Santo pointed out following the game, the offensive output from the big bats is what the Cubs have been hoping for all season.
Starlin Castro tripled for the fourth time this season with one out in the second. On a 1-1 pitch to Ryan Dempster, Lou Piniella called for the suicide squeeze. Jamie Moyer threw one low and outside, Dempster offered at it and the ball bounced away from Carlos Ruiz. Castro, who was breaking on the play, slid in safe with the Cubs third run of the game. Castro was credited with a steal of home … the Cubs’ first since Brian McRae swiped home in the first inning of a game in San Francisco on April 13, 1996. After the game, Lou Piniella said it was the first time in his managerial career he called for a suicide squeeze in the second inning of a ballgame.
Starlin Castro finished the game 3-for-4 with a single, double, triple and a run scored.
The Cubs scored 12 runs on 16 hits (three doubles, a triple, and three home runs) and finished the game 4-for-11 with RISP, seven left on base.
The Phillies scored four in the ninth, all with two outs against Bobby Howry. Shane Victorino and Raul Ibanez delivered run scoring singles and Ryan Howard launched his second two-run homer of the night. Andrew Cashner replaced Howry and retired Jayson Werth on a pop out to Ryan Theriot.
Lou Piniella’s crew won their 40th game of the year Thursday night (6-4 in their last 10) and improved to 40-50 on the season … 10 games under the mediocre mark. Thursday night was the way the Cubs were supposed to perform offensively. And as good as the Cubs looked, until the ninth inning, it was just one game. Time after time this season, the Cubs have scored a bunch of runs just to come to the park the next day and be shutout. With that said, Thursday night was the first time this season the Cubs received contributions from Derrek Lee, Aramis Ramirez and Alfonso Soriano in the same game.
During his post-game press conference, Ryan Dempster mentioned he went into the dugout and said, “Welcome back, I missed you guys.”
The Phillies took a 2-0 lead four minutes after Ryan Dempster made the game’s first pitch. Dempster retired Jimmy Rollins and Shane Victorino but gave up a two-out single to Raul Ibanez. Ryan Howard then launched Dempster’s first pitch onto Waveland … 2-0 Phillies and with the way the Cubs offense struggles against Jamie Moyer, the game appeared over.
Jamie Moyer struggled with his command from the beginning. Moyer ran the count to 3-1 against the impatient Ryan Theriot. Theriot ended up grounding out for the first out. Moyer then hit Tyler Colvin on a 0-2 pitch but retired Derrek Lee on a pop out to right. Marlon Byrd was hit in the right leg on a 2-1 pitch. With runners on first and second with two outs, Aramis Ramirez delivered the Cubs’ first hit … a double down the left field line. Colvin and the always-hustling Byrd scored and tied the game at two.
The Cubs scored in the first inning for only the second time in 20 games.
Starlin Castro scored the go ahead run in the second following his fourth triple of the year. Castro ripped a 1-0 offering from Moyer into right center and motored to third. Ryan Dempster stepped in with everyone watching expecting the squeeze.
Dempster looked at ball one then fouled off Moyer’s second pitch. Lou Piniella called for the suicide squeeze on Moyer’s next pitch. Castro took off from third, Dempster squared but Moyer’s pitch was well outside and low … basically in the left-handed batter’s box. Dempster offered, missed but the ball bounced in the dirt and slightly behind Dempster. Castro raced home and slid in safe.
The Cubs tacked on three more in the third off Moyer. Tyler Colvin ripped a 0-1 pitch down the first base line. Ryan Howard made a diving stop in foul territory but could not throw out Colvin at first. Derrek Lee ripped Moyer’s first pitch into the bleachers in left center … Moyer hung a curve.
Marlon Byrd grounded out and Ramirez popped out but Alfonso Soriano gave the Cubs a 6-2 lead with one big swing of the bat. Soriano launched a 2-2 offering from Moyer onto Waveland … Soriano’s team-leading 16th home run.
The Phillies threatened in the sixth and seventh innings.
Dempster gave up an infield single to Ryan Howard with one out in the sixth … then walked Jayson Werth. Dempster tied a season-high by striking out Gregg Dobbs for the second out of the inning. Carlos Ruiz grounded out to second to end the inning.
With the score still 6-2, the Phillies put a pair on in the seventh. Wilson Valdez led off with a single to right then Ross Gload grounded into a 5-4 fielder’s choice … Theriot could not get the ball out of his glove.
Jimmy Rollins hit a grounder to Lee in the hole. Lee fielded and forced Gload at second but Castro could not complete the double play. Shane Victorino singled to left and chased Dempster from the game.
Sean Marshall struck out Raul Ibanez looking to end the inning.
The Cubs put the game away in the bottom of the seventh. Lou’s offense batted around and scored all five runs with two outs.
Jose Contreras gave up a leadoff single to Ryan Theriot but Tyler Colvin grounded into a 6-4-3 double play. Rollins made his third spectacular play of the game with a diving stop of a ball ticketed for center … and started the 6-4-3 double play.
Derrek Lee reached on an infield single up the middle … another ball Rollins stopped from reaching the outfield. Contreras hit Marlon Byrd, the second time Byrd was hit Thursday night and the 14th time this season.
Aramis Ramirez delivered his second two-out, two-run double to left of the game. Lee and Byrd scored and gave the Cubs an 8-2 lead. Alfonso Soriano blooped a single into left center. Ramirez scored standing up … 9-2 Cubs.
Geovany Soto put an exclamation point on the game with his 10th longball of the season … a two-run shot into the bleachers in left off of Jose Contreras. The Cubs took an 11-2 lead and chased Contreras from the game.
Starlin Castro greeted Danys Baez with a double to left center but was stranded when Sean Marshall struck out to end the inning.
The Cubs scored their 12th run in the eighth off of Danys Baez. Ryan Theriot singled to right and Lee notched his third hit of the game with a single to center. Marlon Byrd walked to load the bases with one out.
Aramis Ramirez fouled out to Carlos Ruiz for the second out. Alfonso Soriano lined a 3-1 pitch from Baez into right that plated Theriot with the Cubs’ 12th run of the game.
Thursday night was a fun game to watch. The Cubs hit the ball all over the park and ran the bases extremely well. Not only did Starlin Castro show off his wheels, but Marlon Byrd scored twice from first on Ramirez’s doubles to left. For as good as the Cubs played, it was just one game … and a case of too much, too late.
Ted Lilly is slated to face Joe Blanton Friday afternoon.