Casey on the Mound – Cubs 2 Astros 0

Game One Hundred Sixty – Cubs 2 Astros 0
WP – Casey Coleman (4-2) LP – Bud Norris (9-10) Save – Carlos Marmol (38)

wflag.jpgCasey Coleman continued to impress on Friday night. In his last start of the season, Casey Coleman picked up his fourth big league victory and for the seventh start in a row he completed at least six innings of work.

Coleman has shown improvement each time out and will definitely give the Cubs’ brass a lot to think about over the long winter. Coleman pitched seven innings of the Cubs’ second shutout in a row. Coleman gave up six hits with a walk and two strikeouts on a very efficient 99 pitches, 59 for strikes.

Not only was Coleman excellent on the mound, Casey also helped his own cause with the bat. Coleman drove in the Cubs’ second run with a double in the fourth … his first extra case hit of his big league career.

As it turned out, Welington Castillo gave the Cubs staff the only run they would need. Castillo just missed a homer in the second but settled with a double that plated Bobby Scales with the game’s first run.

Bobby Scales quietly had a good night at the plate. Scales reached base all four times to the plate with a single and three walks. Scales scored both of the Cubs runs on the doubles by Castillo and Coleman.

Andrew Cashner and Carlos Marmol picked up where they left off in San Diego. Cashner allowed a leadoff single but no runs in the eighth … and Marmol nailed down his 38th save of the season with a dominating ninth. Marmol added two more strikeouts to his unbelievable total.

In 77 games (77 2/3 innings), Carlos Marmol has notched 138 strikeouts.

Marmol also passed Phil Regan for sixth on the Cubs’ All-Time saves list. Friday night was the 61st save of Marmol’s electric career.

Quade’s pitching staff has not allowed a run in 21 innings and have shutout the opponent three times in the last five games. The Cubs have not allowed more than three runs in 14 straight road games … the longest streak for the franchise in 90 years (1920).

The Cubs offense did not have a good game. Q’s crew worked eight walks but could not come up with a hit with runners in scoring position … 0-for-6 with RISP, 12 left on base.

The Cubs improved to 23-12 under Mike Quade (16-4 on the road) and with two left to play, the Cubs own a 74-86 record …

The Cubs beat the Astros for just the sixth time in 16 chances (6-10) on Friday night behind another quality start, just enough offense and solid defense … namely two double plays behind Casey Coleman.

Q’s crew wasted a big opportunity in the first inning. After Blake DeWitt reached on a two-out single, Alfonso Soriano and Micah Hoffpauir walked to load the bases. Brad Snyder struck out looking to end the inning … Snyder, who drove in the game winner on Thursday, had a rough night in Houston (0-for-4 with three strikeouts).

Casey Coleman worked around an infield single by Hunter Pence … and an error by Bobby Scales in the first inning. Scales made up for his mistake in the top of the next inning.

Scales led off the second with the first of his three walks on the night. Welington Castillo continued to show why he should be playing. Castillo doubled off the wall in left center … and just missed a home run. Scales scored, 1-0 Cubs.

Casey Coleman struggled in his first few outings with sacrifice bunts, but he got the job done again on Friday night. Coleman sacrificed Castillo to third with one out. Fuld and Barney could not push across the second run of the inning.

Coleman faced the minimum in the second and retired the Astros in order in the third.

The Cubs tacked on a run in the fourth. Bobby Scales walked with one out then scored on Coleman’s double to right on a 2-2 pitch from Bud Norris. Sam Fuld walked but Darwin Barney grounded out to short to end the inning. After three and a half, 2-0 Cubs … and that would be it for the night.

Coleman retired the Astros in order again in the fourth but had to pitch his way out of trouble in the fifth.

Geoff Blum reached on a bloop single to left center. Jason Michaels doubled to left, the Astros fourth hit of the game. With the tying runs in scoring position and no outs, Coleman jammed Chris Johnson and he lined out softly to a leaping Micah Hoffpauir. Coleman walked Jason Castro to load the bases.

Bud Norris hit for himself and grounded into a 5-4-3 inning ending double play.

The Astros managed only three hits after the fifth inning.

Just two games remaining, 160 down … and two to go.

Box Score from Yahoo Sports

Carlos Zambrano will face J.A. Happ on Saturday night.

Quote of the Day

"You can’t sit on a lead and kill the clock. You’ve got to give the other man his chance. That’s why baseball is the greatest game." - Earl Weaver