Game Eighty-One – Cubs 3 Reds 1
WP – Randy Wells (4-6) LP – Jordan Smith (1-1) Save – Carlos Marmol (15)
The Chicago Cubs posted a win Saturday afternoon behind an excellent outing by Randy Wells. Wells took a no-hitter into the seventh and left with two outs in the eighth after allowing a run on five hits. Wells picked up his first win since April 30 with clearly his best outing since April 25 in Milwaukee.
Chris Heisey broke up Wells’ no hit bid with a single to start the seventh.
Randy Wells followed the Ted Lilly formula for posting a win. Don’t allow a hit and hope the offense can score a run or two.
The Cubs put a crooked number on the board in the sixth on a bloop single by Alfonso Soriano and a two-out, two-run ground rule double by Geovany Soto. All three of the Cubs’ runs scored in the sixth, but there should have been a lot more.
Lou’s crew pounded out 10 hits, walked nine times and showed rare patience at the plate. But they came up one short of tying the National League single-game record for runners left on base. The Cubs left a season-high 17 runners on base Saturday afternoon … previous low of 14 set on April 21 in New York. The eighth inning was the only frame the Cubs went down in order. The NL record of 18 LOB was last reached in 1986 by the Atlanta Braves … the Yankees own the Major League mark of 20 set in 1956.
The offensive futility was on full display and took the attention away from the gem that Randy Wells was putting together. The Cubs left at least two on base in the first seven innings and finished the afternoon a miserable 3-for-16 with RISP … and as mentioned, 17 left on base.
The Cubs’ defense put together a solid game … especially Tyler Colvin, Derrek Lee and Starlin Castro. Wells committed the lone error and it that led to the Reds only run. After Laynce Nix led off the eighth with a double, Wells tried to pick off Nix from second. He threw the ball into center, Nix advanced and scored on a ground out to second by Orlando Cabrera.
Randy Wells was the difference Saturday afternoon … and looked like the 2009 version. Wells appeared confident and of his 99 pitches, 71 went for strikes.
With the win, the Cubs improved to 35-46 on the season … 11 games under the mediocre mark. While Randy Wells was busy shutting down the Cincinnati Reds, the Cubs’ offense was busy trying to figure out how to score runs again.
Following the game, Lou Piniella said the three runs looked like 13 on Saturday. Piniella added the team did not take any batting practice and did not do any work in the batting cages prior to Saturday’s game. Piniella indicated the team got loose and just played. Piniella finished with, “Less is more sometimes.”
The Cubs put at least two runners on in each of the first seven innings … and finally broke through in the sixth.
Tyler Colvin reached on a one-out single to right. Colvin stole second with Derrek Lee at the plate. Lee eventually walked and Marlon Byrd was hit on a 2-2 offering. At that point it was the third time in the game the Cubs had loaded the bases.
With the infield back, Jordan Smith quickly got ahead of Alfonso Soriano by a 0-2 count. Soriano looked at ball one then blooped a ‘Texas Leaguer‘ into center. Colvin scored and the Cubs took a 1-0 lead.
Mike Fontenot popped out to Paul Janish on a 1-0 offering from Smith. With two outs and the bases loaded, it looked like it would be more of the same for the Cubs.
Geovany Soto fell behind 1-2 then ripped a one-hop double into the ivy in left. Lee and Byrd scored and Soriano was sent back to third on the ground rule double.
Dusty Baker went to his pen for Nick Masset and he intentionally walked Starlin Castro to re-load the bases. Randy Wells grounded out to third on Masset’s first pitch to end the inning.
The Reds threatened in the seventh after Chris Heisey recorded the first hit off of Wells. Joey Votto blooped a single into center, the 41st game in a row Votto has reached base.
Randy Wells bounced a 0-2 pitch to Scott Rolen that skipped away from Geovany Soto. Heisey broke for third but the Cubs’ catcher threw a strike to Mike Fontenot. Fontenot ran Heisey back to second, tossed to Theriot and Heisey was out (2-5-4) … and it ended up being a big play.
Scott Rolen followed the base running gaffe with a double to left. The Reds had runners on second and third with one out. Jay Bruce struck out swinging then Ramon Hernandez grounded out to third to end the inning … Derrek Lee made an excellent scoop on a low throw by Mike Fontenot.
The Reds lone run came in the eighth. Laynce Nix doubled to right center and advanced to third when Wells tried to pick him off of second. The ball ended up in center and Nix scored on a ground out to second by Orlando Cabrera.
Jonny Gomes flied out to right but Brandon Phillips reached on a two-out single that ended Wells’ day.
Piniella brought in Carlos Marmol on a double switch. Kosuke Fukudome came in, went to right and Colvin moved to left … and the move paid off. Chris Heisey lined out to Colvin in left on a ball hit down the line, a play Alfonso Soriano likely would not have made.
Marmol retired the heart of the Reds lineup in the ninth. Marmol issued a one-out walk to Scott Rolen but got Jay Bruce to pop out to Castro and Ramon Hernandez to ground out to short.
The Cubs offense did just enough Saturday afternoon … and Randy Wells did the rest.
Ted Lilly against Mike Leake in the finale on Independence Day.