Game Twenty-Five – Cubs 4 Diamondbacks 2
WP – Carlos Zambrano (3-1) LP – Armando Galarraga (3-2) Save – Carlos Marmol (6)
The Cubs snapped their four-game losing streak Friday night in the desert. Carlos Zambrano put together a quality start and made only one mistake. Z served up a two-run homer to Justin Upton in the bottom of the first inning. Z lasted six innings and gave up two runs on four hits with three walks and two strikeouts. Z had a few long innings and ran up his pitch count (108 pitches, 62 for strikes) but the bottom line was he did not allow the D’Backs to add on to their lead.
Alfonso Soriano hit not one but two solo home runs Friday night … numbers eight and nine on the season. Soriano’s second of the game ended up over the wall in right … his third opposite field homer of the season broke a 2-2 tie. Soriano leads the Cubs in longballs by a wide margin, no other player on the roster has more than two home runs. Soriano tied a personal high for homers in April that he set in 2003. Seven of Soriano’s nine home runs this season have been solo shots.
Alfonso Soriano put the Cubs on the board in the fifth and broke a 2-2 tie in the seventh with his second dinger off of Armando Galarraga. Friday night was the 27th multi-homer game of Soriano’s career.
The Cubs hit back-to-back jacks in the fifth. Geovany Soto followed Soriano with his second of the season and tied the game at two. Friday marked the first time since June 9, 2010 that the Cubs hit back-to-back home runs (Derrek Lee and Marlon Byrd). The three home runs hit Friday night equaled the total from the recent eight-game homestand.
Darwin Barney tripled to lead off the eighth and scored the Cubs fourth run on a fielder’s choice ground out off the bat of Aramis Ramirez.
The backend of the Q’s pen did their job in relief of Carlos Zambrano. Kerry Wood, Sean Marshall and Carlos Marmol pitched three shutout innings. The trio allowed three hits but no walks and struck out four. Carlos Marmol was extremely efficient and picked up his sixth save with throwing only nine pitches, eight for strikes.
Q’s squad needed a victory Friday and after a rocky start Carlos Zambrano did his job and put his team in a position to win a ballgame.
With Friday night’s win, the Cubs improved to 11-14 on the season … The Cubs played just well enough to win a game Friday night. The offense has a ton of work to do (0-for-4 with RISP, six left on base) and must change their philosophy at the plate. Each player is walking to the plate swinging and that is a recipe for losing a lot of ballgames. Cubs pitchers threw 148 pitches while Arizona’s tossed 120.
Friday night seemed to pick up where Thursday’s pounding left off. After the Cubs went in order to begin the game on six pitches, Carlos Zambrano walked Chris Young to start the bottom of the first. Z retired Kelly Johnson on a fly out to left but fell behind Justin Upton.
The D’Backs right fielder launched a 2-0 pitch well over the wall in left. Justin Upton’s blast was estimated at 455-feet and ended up in the second deck.
Z kept his composure and retired Stephen Drew and Miguel Montero to end the inning.
The Cubs pretty much went down in order through the first four innings. The Cubs did not square up a ball until Soriano lined his first homer of the night over the wall in left center. The Cubs first two hits of the night did not leave the infield and the Cubs first clean hit (Jeff Baker) did not come until the fourth.
While the Cubs were busy swinging early and often, Carlos Zambrano spent much of the first five innings wiggling out of trouble.
Alfonso Soriano led off the fifth by lining a 1-2 pitch over the wall in left center. Soriano’s eighth home run cut the D’Backs lead in half. Geovany Soto followed with one of his best at bats of the season. Soto was patient and took the first three out of the zone. After Galarraga battled back, Soto launched a 3-2 pitch into the stands in left … game tied at two after the Cubs hit back-to-back homers for the first time this season.
Chris Young led off the fifth with a double to left. Kelly Johnson then dropped a bunt to third. Aramis Ramirez made a fine play and threw out Johnson at first … but Young advanced to third.
With the game tied at two and the go ahead run on third with one out, Zambrano struck out Justin Upton swinging on a 3-2 pitch. The infield moved back with two outs and Z retired Stephen Drew on a pop out to center … inning over with the game still tied.
Z retired the D’Backs in order for the first time in the sixth to end his night.
Alfonso Soriano led off the seventh with his second longball of the night. Soriano launched the first pitch from Galarraga over the wall in right center … near the Chase Field swimming pool. The Cubs took a 3-2 lead after Soriano’s second dinger.
Kerry Wood held the one-run lead after giving up a leadoff single to Gerardo Parra in the seventh. Wood retired pinch-hitter Xavier Nady, Chris Young and struck out Kelly Johnson swinging to end the inning.
The Cubs tacked on an important insurance run in the eighth.
Darwin Barney led off with a triple to left center. Esmerling Vasquez then hit Starlin Castro on the left hand. Castro appeared to be in a lot of pain but remained in the game. With runners on first and third with no outs, Aramis Ramirez got just enough of Vasquez’s first pitch to get the weak grounder past the mound. Barney scored as Castro was forced at second … 4-2 Cubs.
Jeff Baker singled to left, his second hit of the night, but Marlon Byrd hit into a 1-6 fielder’s choice and Alfonso Soriano struck out swinging to end the inning.
A diving catch by Kosuke Fukudome in the eighth to take away a hit from Stephen Drew helped Sean Marshall preserve the two-run lead and turn the game over to Carlos Marmol.
Despite all of the troubles offensively, Friday was a much-needed win for Q’s squad.
Matt Garza against Ian Kennedy in game three Saturday night … a match-up of former AL East starters.