Cubs Bust Out Z Bats … and Beat Z Bucs – Cubs 14 Pirates 2

Game One Hundred Thirty-Two – Cubs 14 Pirates 2
WP – Carlos Zambrano (6-6) LP – Paul Maholm (7-13) Save – None

wflag.jpgOn Andre Dawson Night in front of the smallest crowd at Wrigley since 2006, the Cubs took out a little early season frustration against the Pirates. The Cubs entered play Monday night 3-9 against the Mighty Pirates and only 2-4 at Wrigley Field … but on the penultimate night in August, Q’s crew beat the Pirates like they should have all season.

Mike Quade won his first game at Wrigley behind an offensive explosion and a decent outing by Carlos Zambrano. But it was a throw by Tyler Colvin in the top of the fourth that changed the game.

The Cubs were up 2-0 and missed a couple of opportunities against Paul Maholm. Garrett Jones lined Carlos Zambrano’s first pitch of the inning off the vines in right. Tyler Colvin played the carom perfectly and threw a one-hop strike to Starlin Castro at second. Jones never had a chance … a fitting play by a Cubs’ right fielder on the night the Hawk was being honored.

Once Zambrano got out of the fourth, the offense turned it on against Paul Maholm and Sean Gallagher.

The Cubs scored seven runs in the fourth inning, the first time a Cubs team had scored seven or more runs in a single inning since September 9, 2009 … against the Pirates.

Jeff Baker had a two-run double. Marlon Byrd added a RBI double on his 33rd birthday and Aramis Ramirez drove in a pair with a single. The Cubs batted around in the fourth, sent 11 to the plate and chased Paul Maholm from the game. The Cubs ended up beating Maholm for only the second time (7-2) in his career.

Carlos Zambrano hit his first homer of the season, a two-run shot that was the highlight of the Cubs’ four-run fifth inning.

The Cubs pounded out 18 hits and scored 14 runs with just one ball leaving the park … the homer by Zambrano in the fifth. Of the Cubs other 17 hits, nine were doubles. Starlin Castro (2), Alfonso Soriano, Jeff Baker, Marlon Byrd, Aramis Ramirez, Xavier Nady, Micah Hoffpauir and Darwin Barney. The first time since July of 2003 the Cubs totaled nine doubles in a single game. … six of the Cubs first 11 hits went for two bases.

The top of the Cubs lineup (Baker, Byrd and Ramirez) drove in eight of the Cubs 14 runs.

Starlin Castro had a big night at the plate … and is now qualified for the NL batting title. Castro came into Monday’s game four plate appearances short of qualifying and he finished the game 3-for-5 with a pair of doubles and three runs scored. The Cubs 20-year old shortstop ran his average up to .313.

Carlos Zambrano picked up his sixth win of the year with a decent outing. Zambrano allowed one unearned run on three hits in 5 1/3 innings. Zambrano struck out seven but walked four on 112 pitches, 63 for strikes.

Thomas Diamond was impressive out of the pen. Diamond struck out three of the five batters he faced on 31 pitches.

The Cubs handed the Pirates their 14th straight road loss. With the win, the Cubs improved to 5-2 under Mike Quade … 56-76 in the lost season, still 20 games under .500.

It was good to see the Cubs remember how to beat the Pittsburgh Pirates. One of the many improvements the Cubs must make in the off-season is how they match up against the other teams in the Central … and Monday was a good start to ending a bad year on a positive note against the Battlin’ Bucs.

Starlin Castro jump-started the Cubs’ offense in the first inning. Castro doubled to right center on a 3-1 pitch from Paul Maholm. Marlon Byrd followed with a single over Ronny Cedeno that ended up in left center. Castro scored easily and gave the Cubs a 1-0 lead.

After Marlon Byrd stole second, Paul Maholm then hit Aramis Ramirez on a 2-2 pitch. With runners on first and second with two out, Alfonso Soriano looked at three straight out of the zone. Soriano ripped a 3-0 offering from Maholm over Jose Tabata’s head in left. Byrd scored and Ramirez ended up at third on Soriano’s double.

Tyler Colvin tapped back to the mound to end the first.

The Cubs added to their lead in a big way in the fourth … and appeared to take out some early season frustrations against the Bucs.

Alfonso Soriano walked on four-pitches to start the inning. Tyler Colvin then singled to right. With runners on first and second with no outs, Koyie Hill singled to left. Soriano lumbered home and scored the Cubs’ third run.

Carlos Zambrano dropped down his second sac bunt of the season and put runners on second and third for Jeff Baker.

Paul Maholm appeared to be pitching around Baker and fell behind 3-1. Maholm then hung a breaking ball and Baker deposited it into left. Colvin and Hill scored … 5-0 Cubs.

Starlin Castro singled to left on a 1-1 pitch. Baker held at third.

Marlon Byrd drove in his second run of the game with a bloop double to right. Lastings Milledge over-ran the ball and Byrd motored to second. Baker scored on the play … 6-0 Cubs.

John Russell went to his pen and brought in former Cub, Sean Gallagher to face Aramis Ramirez. With the infield in, Ramirez punched a single into right on the first pitch. Castro and Byrd scored and Ramirez ended up at second when Milledge threw to the plate.

Xavier Nady then doubled to right, Ramirez scored … 9-0 Cubs.

Alfonso Soriano struck out and Jose Tabata robbed Tyler Colvin of an extra base hit with a diving catch in left center.

Carlos Zambrano got into the act in the fifth. Koyie Hill singled to center to start the inning. Zambrano stepped in and launched a 1-0 offering from Brian Burres over the wall in left. Z’s first homer since August 25, 2009 gave the Cubs an 11-0 lead … Zambrano’s homer was the 21st of his career, and sixth of his career right-handed.

Jeff Baker walked on five pitches and advanced to third on a double off the wall in left by Starlin Castro. With the infield in and no outs, Byrd grounded out to third. Aramis Ramirez followed with his second double of the game. Baker and Castro scored … 13-0 Cubs.

Xavier Nady singled to right but Ramirez had to hold at third. Soriano popped out to right and Tyler Colvin struck out swinging to end the inning.

The Pirates got on the board in the sixth … with a lot of held from the defensively challenged Alfonso Soriano. Neil Walker hit a fly down the left field line that Soriano over-ran into a three-base error.

Walker scored on a one-out double to left center off the bat of Pedro Alvarez … 13-1 Cubs.

Zambrano then walked Ryan Doumit to end his night.

Thomas Diamond came in with runners on first and second with one out. Diamond struck out Lastings Milledge and retired Ronny Cedeno on a tapper back to the mound to end the inning.

Thomas Diamond was impressive in the 1-2-3 seventh inning.

Micah Hoffpauir doubled to right with two outs in the seventh … and scored on a double to left off the bat of Darwin Barney. The first big league RBI of Barney’s career … 14-1, Cubs.

The Pirates made it 14-2 in the eighth against James Russell. Neil Walker doubled to left to start the inning. Darwin Barney tried to make a glove throw on a weak grounder off the bat of Garrett Jones. Jones reached on the infield single and Walker advanced to third. Russell struck out Pedro Alvarez.

Ryan Doumit hit a grounder toward the hole at short. Castro threw to second for the force but Doumit beat out Barney’s throw … Walker scored, 14-2. Lastings Milledge popped out to first to end the inning.

Monday was a good night for the Chicago Cubs.

Box Score from Yahoo Sports

Ryan Dempster against Jeff Karstens under the lights Tuesday night.

Quote of the Day

"Our lives improve only when we take chances and the first and most difficult risk we can take is to be honest with ourselves." - W Anderson.
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