Game One Hundred Twenty-Seven – Cubs 5 Nationals 4
WP – Carlos Zambrano (5-6) LP – John Lannan (5-6) Save – Carlos Marmol (23)
Yes, it was only the Washington Nationals but it was only the Chicago Cubs as well … and the Cubs hung on in the ninth for the win. Mike Quade improved to 2-0 as the Cubs’ interim skipper behind an excellent outing by Carlos Zambrano.
Zambrano found a rhythm early, threw strikes and put together his longest outing of the year. Zambrano allowed only one run on five hits in 7 1/3 innings. Zambrano issued one walk and struck out eight on 108 pitches, 68 for strikes.
Z retired 11 in a row at one point and 13 of the last 15 he faced. Tuesday was a step in the right direction for Carlos Zambrano.
Sean Marshall and Carlos Marmol made it interesting again. The Cubs best two relievers had rough outings but it was Marmol that allowed three in the ninth and came very close to blowing another save.
Marshall walked the bases loaded in the eighth and Marmol had to come in and bail him out. Marmol walked the bases loaded in the ninth before giving up two-out bases clearing double to Adam Kennedy. With the Cubs up by one run, Ryan Zimmerman hit a deep fly to right that Kosuke Fukudome took an excellent route on. Fukudome made a running catch to end the game and seal the win.
The Cubs’ seventh and eighth hitters supplied the offense Tuesday night. Alfonso Soriano hit in the seven-hole for the second game in a row and hit a three-run homer in the second that put the Cubs on top. Soriano became one of only five players to hit at least 20 homers in each of the last nine seasons.
Tyler Colvin started in center to give Marlon Byrd a day off and hit in the eighth spot in Mike Quade’s lineup. Colvin ripped his 19th dinger of the year, a two-run shot in the fourth that gave the Cubs a 5-1 lead … Colvin’s second straight homer off a southpaw (Barry Zito). Six of Colvin’s longballs this season have been hit off lefties.
The Cubs clinched the series win with Tuesday’s victory and improved to 16-30 in one run games. Q’s crew improved to 53-74 on the season …
The Cubs got to John Lannan in the second inning. Jeff Baker and Geovany Soto each worked the count and each ended up with singles. Alfonso Soriano stepped in and ripped a 0-1 pitch from Lannan over the wall in left. Soriano admired his 20th longball of the year … and the Cubs took a 3-0 lead.
Tyler Colvin collected the Cubs’ fourth straight hit, a single to center on another three-ball count but Zambrano, DeWitt and Castro could not advance him past first.
The Nationals got on the board in the bottom of the third … with a little help from Zambrano.
Alberto Gonzalez led off with a single to center. John Lannan dropped down a bunt but Z tried to throw out Gonzalez at second. Zambrano’s throw was off the mark, to the first base side of the bag. Gonzalez was safe and the Nationals had runners on first and second with no outs.
Nyjer Morgan flied out to deep left on a 2-0 pitch. Adam Kennedy then flied out to center on a 3-2 pitch. Colvin tried to double off Gonzalez at second but his throw was just a little late. Ryan Zimmerman made it a 3-1 game with a single to center.
Zambrano appeared to work around Adam Dunn up by two with two on. Dunn walked to load the bases then Zambrano retired Roger Bernadina on a fly out to left … Bernadina swung at the first pitch and got Z out of the inning.
After the Zimmerman single in the third, Zambrano went on cruise control.
Zambrano was incredibly sharp and retired 11 in a row before giving up a soft single to Mike Morse in the seventh.
Tyler Colvin got the run right back in the top of the fourth … and did one better.
Alfonso Soriano reached on a throwing error by Alberto Gonzalez. Tyler Colvin launched Lannan’s first pitch into the stands beyond the right field wall … 5-1 Cubs.
The Nationals bullpen shutdown the Cubs after Lannan departed in the fifth … only one hit, a single by Kosuke Fukudome in the ninth.
Carlos Zambrano left with one out in the eighth. Nyjer Morgan punched a single to left over Aramis Ramirez and chased Z from the game.
Sean Marshall replaced Z and retired Adam Kennedy on a grounder to third. Ramirez made an excellent stop and threw Kennedy out from his knees. Marshall then issued back-to-back walks to Ryan Zimmerman and Adam Dunn to load the bases.
Jim Riggleman called Roger Bernadina back and sent up Ian Desmond to face Marshall.
Mike Quade made a double-switch and brought in Carlos Marmol … with Micah Hoffpauir taking over for Xavier Nady at first base. Marmol struck out Desmond on three pitches to end the inning.
Marmol struck out Ivan Rodriguez to start the ninth … then walked Mike Morse and gave up a single to Alberto Gonzalez. With runners on first and third with one out, Willie Harris walked to load the bases.
Nyjer Morgan struck out on three pitches for the second out.
Adam Kennedy stepped in and ripped a 1-0 pitch from Marmol down the right field line. Morse, Gonzalez and Harris scored … 5-4 Cubs.
Ryan Zimmerman flied out to Kosuke Fukudome on a 2-2 pitch to end the game.
Tuesday was a good game, especially for Carlos Zambrano, until the ninth inning … at least they hung on at the end.
Ryan Dempster will face his former teammate, Jason Marquis, in the series and season finale with the Nationals on Wednesday night.