Game Forty-Six – Cubs 11 Mets 1
WP – Ryan Dempster (3-4) LP – Jonathan Niese (3-5) Save – None
The Cubs began their nine-game homestand on a positive note. Ryan Dempster put together a very good outing after a shaky start. Dempster posted his second win at Wrigley in as many games after allowing only one run in seven innings of work.
The Mets defense gave the Cubs extra opportunities in the second that led to a big inning. The Cubs scored five runs in the second and four of them were unearned. The Cubs kept tacking on and plated at least one run in half of their at bats. The Cubs took advantage of three Mets errors, two by Ronny Paulino, that led to five unearned runs on the night.
‘Double Trouble‘ led the way Tuesday night … with an assist from Luis Montanez. Darwin Barney (2-for-5 with a run scored and two RBI) and Starlin Castro (3-for-5 with a triple and two RBI) combined for five of the Cubs’ 13 hits and drove in four of the Cubs’ 11 runs. With two more RBI for Barney and Castro Tuesday night, they now share the team lead in RBI (23) with Alfonso Soriano.
With three more hits on Tuesday night, Starlin Castro has 150 since the All-Star break, tops in the National League and second in baseball behind Ichiro Suzuki (153). Tuesday night marked the 19th time this season that Darwin Barney recorded a multi-hit game. Barney’s 54 hits is tops among all rookies in baseball.
Eleven years after the Cubs took him with the third overall pick in the 2000 draft, Luis Montanez made his Cubs’ debut and drove in first run of the game with a double to right. Montanez was 2-for-4 with a double, a walk, a RBI and two runs scored in his Cubs debut.
Carlos Zambrano got into the action Tuesday night. Z pinch-hit for Dempster with two outs and the bases loaded in the bottom of the seventh. Zambrano drove in a pair with a single to center.
Reed Johnson chipped in with a 1-for-4 performance out of the leadoff spot that included a walk, a run scored and a RBI. Johnson made another highlight reel catch behind Ryan Dempster in the seventh inning.
The Cubs won for the tenth time at Wrigley and improved to 21-25 on the season, four games below .500 … On a day the Cubs received another blow to their rotation, Ryan Dempster pitched through early struggles and put together one of his best starts at Wrigley in two seasons.
Ryan Dempster labored through the first two innings Tuesday night. Dempster struggled in the first and if not for Koyie Hill throwing out Jose Reyes on an attempted steal of second, Dempster might have given up a run … but the bottom line is he did not.
The Mets put the pressure on Dempster in the second. Dempster gave up back-to-back one-out singles to Willie Harris and Ronny Paulino. After Ruben Tejada flied out to right center, Jonathan Niese worked the count to 3-2. Niese fouled off three pitches before Dempster threw what should have been ball four. Niese could not hold up and was called out on strikes. Dempster threw 28 pitches in the second, 18 for strikes and after two complete, Dempster’s pitch count stood at 43, 26 for strikes.
The Cubs took advantage of the extra opportunities the Mets’ defense gave them in the second. Q’s offense scored five runs … four of them were unearned.
Aramis Ramirez reached on a bloop single to shallow right off Ruben Tejada’s glove. After Ramirez reached on the Cubs’ first hit, Carlos Pena tried to lay down a bunt on a 2-2 pitch. Pena tried to pull the bat back but tipped it into Paulino’s glove.
Alfonso Soriano ripped Niese’s first pitch under the glove of Justin Turner into left. With runners on first and second with one out, Luis Montanez finally made his Cubs’ debut.
The former first round pick of the Cubs (third overall in the 2000 draft) sliced a 0-1 pitch into right. Montanez ended up at second with a double as Ramirez scored the game’s first run.
With runners on second and third with one out, Koyie Hill hit a routine grounder to Daniel Murphy at first. Murphy threw home and the ball went off of the top of Paulino’s glove. Soriano slid in safe with the Cubs second run of the game. Montanez ended up at third on the play.
Ryan Dempster sacrificed Hill to second.
Reed Johnson worked a walk to load the bases for ‘Double Trouble‘. Darwin Barney came through again with runners in scoring position. Barney ripped a single into right past a diving Tejada. Montanez and Hill scored … 4-0 Cubs. Reed Johnson ended up at third and scored on a single to left by Starlin Castro. Aramis Ramirez, the 10th batter of the inning, flied out to left to end the inning.
After two the Cubs had a 5-0 lead.
Ryan Dempster settled down and kept the Mets off the board in the third and fourth … but they broke through in the fifth.
The Mets got on the board in the fifth after a leadoff double by Ruben Tejada. Niese sacrificed Tejada to third. Jose Reyes reached on a infield single on a ball ticketed for center. The ball went off of Barney’s glove and into shallow center. Tejada scored the Mets’ first run of the game.
Dempster ran the count to 3-2 on Daniel Murphy. Reyes took off for second and made it safely as Murphy grounded out to second for the second out. Carlos Beltran lined out to center to end the inning.
The Cubs took a 5-1 lead into the bottom of the fifth.
Darwin Barney led off the fifth with a single to center on a 3-1 pitch. Starlin Castro then ripped a hanging breaking ball into right. Carlos Beltran misplayed the ball off the sidewall and Castro ended up at third with a standing triple. Barney scored the Cubs’ sixth run on Castro’s 23rd RBI of the season.
With the infield in, Aramis Ramirez hit the first pitch back up the middle. Ruben Tejada made a diving stop and threw out Castro as he tried to make it back to third. Castro was out and received an earful from his manager.
Carlos Pena flied out to left and Alfonso Soriano struck out swinging to end the inning.
Ryan Dempster retired the Mets in order in the sixth on just seven pitches, five for strikes. Dempster’s pitch count after six innings … 89 total, 54 for strikes.
The Mets defense gave the Cubs another run in the bottom of the sixth. Luis Montanez led off the inning with his second hit of the game, a single to left. Koyie Hill turned on a 2-1 offering from Taylor Buchholtz and dropped a single into right.
Ryan Dempster attempted to sacrifice both runners up ninety feet but bunted the ball to hard back up the box. Daniel Murphy picked the ball and made a strong throw to third to force Montanez for the first out.
With runners on first and second, Reed Johnson struck out swinging on a ball in the dirt on a 1-2 pitch. Paulino tried to throw behind Dempster but the ball ended up in right. Hill scored and Dempster ended up at third. Darwin Barney popped out to center to end the inning.
At the end of six, the Cubs led 7-1.
Dempster retired three of the four batters he faced in the seventh to end his night. Ryan Dempster allowed one run on seven hits with a walk and five strikeouts on 97 pitches, 61 for strikes.
After Starlin Castro grounded out to start the inning, Taylor Buchholtz hit Aramis Ramirez on a 1-2 pitch and opened the floodgates. Terry Collins went to his pen for the southpaw Pat Misch. Misch struck out Carlos Pena for the second out.
Alfonso Soriano then doubled into right. Ramirez held at third with two outs and the Cubs up 7-1. Tony Campana ran for Soriano.
Luis Montanez walked on four pitches to load the bases. Koyie Hill then drove in a run without taking the bat off his shoulder. Misch walked Hill on four pitches to force in Ramirez with the Cubs’ eighth run.
Mike Quade went to his bench and sent up Carlos Zambrano to pinch hit for Ryan Dempster. Z tried to hit a slam but settled for a single to center off the glove of a diving Ruben Tejada. Campana and Montanez scored … 10-1 Cubs.
Reed Johnson followed with a single to left. Hill scored and the Cubs led by 10 at 11-1.
After the ball got past the Mets’ left fielder, Fernando Martinez, allowed Z and Johnson to advance to second and third, Darwin Barney struck out swinging to end the inning.
Jeff Samardzija closed out the game by retiring three of the four batters he faced in the ninth.
Q’s offense performed much-better Tuesday night and finished the game 5-for-15 with RISP and eight left on base.
The Cubs must play better at Wrigley Field … and Tuesday night Q’s squad did just that.
Weather permitting … Casey Coleman will face Dillon Gee under the lights in game two.