Game Forty-Four – Cubs 9 Red Sox 3
WP – Sean Marshall (2-0) LP – Matt Albers (0-2, BS 1) Save – None
The Cubs found themselves in a 3-1 hole entering the top of the eighth inning. Carlos Zambrano had been knocked out of the game with two outs in the sixth after allowing three runs on seven hits with three walks, a hit batsman and two strikeouts. Z threw a season-high 122 pitches, the most in a single outing since June of 2008. The Cubs had not advanced a runner past first base since the third and had managed only two hits since the fourth … plus Marlon Byrd had to leave the game in the second inning after being beaned by Alfredo Aceves.
The Cubs put together one of their better innings in a couple of seasons Saturday night at Fenway Park. Q’s squad scored eight runs in the eighth inning on five hits, three walks and three Red Sox’s errors … the most runs scored in a single inning by a Cubs team since they plated 10 in the second against the Pirates on August 14, 2009.
Starlin Castro (2-for-5 with a double, a RBI and a run scored) and Darwin Barney (2-for-4 with a run scored and a walk) were right in the middle of all of the action. Barney started the rally with a single and hit what appeared to be a sacrifice fly later in the inning that ended up scoring two runs on two Red Sox errors. Castro recorded two hits in the eighth, scored a run and drove in another with a two out double.
The eighth inning changed on a pair of walks by Aramis Ramirez and Carlos Pena. Ramirez put together an impressive at bat that resulted in a walk on the tenth pitch from Matt Albers. Carlos Pena followed Ramirez and worked the count to 3-2 before “driving” in Barney with a free pass.
Reed Johnson (1-for-4 with a run scored, a double and two RBI), subbing for Marlon Byrd, ripped a two-run double off the Monster that gave the Cubs a 4-3 lead.
In a very scary moment Saturday night, Marlon Byrd was hit in the head on a 1-2 pitch from Alfredo Aceves in the second inning. Byrd hit the ground and kicked in pain as he held the left side of his face. Byrd left the game immediately on his own power while holding a towel over his face.
Byrd was taken to a local hospital for evaluation. Reportedly Byrd had a deep, diagonal cut under his left eye and a lot of swelling. Byrd never lost consciousness.
Marlon Byrd will be kept overnight in a local hospital for observation.
Saturday was the fifth time Marlon Byrd has been hit by a pitch since May 11. Byrd was plunked twice Friday night.
With Saturday’s come from behind victory, the Cubs improved to 20-24 on the season, four games below the mediocre mark … The Cubs put two runners on in the first inning … and once again, came away empty.
Alfredo Aceves hit Kosuke Fukudome on the leg to start the game. Darwin Barney followed with a sharp single to right past Dustin Pedroia. Starlin Castro continued his struggles on the trip and struck out swinging on a 2-2 pitch. Aramis Ramirez hit into the first of three double plays for the Cubs on the night (5-4-3) to end the inning.
Carlos Zambrano labored through a long 20-pitch first inning after Jacoby Ellsbury reached on catcher’s interference to start the inning. Z retired Pedroia and Gonzalez.
With Kevin Youkilis at the plate, Ellsbury stole second and Youkilis ended up walking on four pitches. David Ortiz popped out to left on a 2-1 pitch to end the inning.
The Cubs scored the first run of the game in the third. Kosuke Fukudome worked a one-out walk and stole second, his first of the year, on a 2-1 offering to Barney. Darwin ended up walking to put runners on first and second with one out.
Starlin Castro grounded out to Pedroia on a ball ticketed for center. Barney was forced but Castro reached to keep the inning alive. Aramis Ramirez then blooped a single to center on a 0-1 pitch. Jacoby Ellsbury tried to make a diving catch but came up short. Castro ended up at third, Ramirez at second and Fukudome scored … 1-0 Cubs. Ramirez’s two-out RBI bloop single marked the first time this season that Ramirez drove in a run with two-out hit.
Carlos Pena grounded out to first on a 2-1 pitch to end the inning.
Carlos Zambrano retired the Sox in order in the third but after three, Z’s pitch count was at 51, 40 for strikes.
The Cubs put another runner on in the fourth (bloop single to right by Soriano) but could not string together any hits against Aceves.
The Red Sox took the lead in the bottom of the fourth … on one swing of the bat.
Kevin Youkilis reached on a single to left on a 3-2 pitch. Aramis Ramirez dove over the top of the ball. David Ortiz stepped in and fell behind 0-2 before working the count back to even at 2-2. Big Papi then launched Big Z’s next offering into the first row of the Monster seats … Ortiz’s 300th homer in a Red Sox uniform gave Boston a 2-1 lead.
David Ortiz became the fifth player to hit 300 home runs in a Red Sox uniform. Ortiz joined some impressive company … Ted Williams, Carl Yastrzemski, Jim Rice and Dwight Evans.
Zambrano retired J.D. Drew after Papi’s blast on a ground out to second. Jed Lowrie walked but Carl Crawford grounded into a 6-4 force that should have been a double play. Barney’s throw was low and the miscue allowed Jason Varitek to hit. Jacoby Ellsbury lined out to short to end the inning.
Z’s pitch count stood at 79, 45 for strikes, after four innings.
The Cubs went quietly in the fifth and Zambrano escaped a jam after hitting Kevin Youkilis on the backside. Both benches were warned following Z hitting Youkilis with a 0-1 pitch. After five innings, Z had thrown 106 pitches, 62 for strikes.
The Red Sox tacked onto their lead in the bottom of the sixth and chased Zambrano from the game.
Carl Crawford reached on a one-out bloop single to center. Z walked Varitek and received a visit from Mike Quade. Q left Z in with runners on first and second with one out.
Jacoby Ellsbury gave the Sox a 3-1 lead with a single to right.
Dustin Pedroia hit a grounder to first that Pena made a fine play on and forced Ellsbury at second but Z was late getting to first. Q made the quick walk and brought in Sean Marshall to face Adrian Gonzalez with two on and two out in the sixth.
Pedroia stole second with Gonzalez at the plate but the former Padre grounded out to short on a 2-2 pitch to end the inning.
The game remained 3-1 after Rich Hill struck out two of the three batters he faced in the seventh and Sean Marshall wiggled out of a mini jam in the bottom of the seventh.
Matt Albers took the hill to start the eighth for the Sox. Boston was in full control and seemed to have more than a 3-1 lead … the Cubs had not advanced a runner past first base since the third inning.
Darwin Barney led off the inning with a single to right on a 2-2 pitch. Starlin Castro ripped a 0-2 pitch into right center. Barney advanced to third on the play.
Aramis Ramirez put together one of his best at bats in couple of seasons. Ramirez worked the count, fouled off difficult pitches and eventually walked on the 10th pitch of the at bat. With the bases loaded and no outs, Carlos Pena looked at a 3-2 pitch well inside and out of the strike zone. Barney trotted home with the Cubs second run of the game.
Reed Johnson delivered again … and this time it ended up being the game winning hit.
Johnson doubled off the Monster in left center. Castro and Ramirez scored, 4-3 Cubs.
With runners on second and third and still no outs, Alfonso Soriano hit a pop up into shallow left center. The ball hit off of Jed Lowrie’s glove and Pena scored on the Sox first error of the inning. 5-3 Cubs and former Rockie, Franklin Morales replaced Matt Albers.
Mike Quade sent up Jeff Baker to hit for Blake DeWitt and Baker ripped Morales’ first pitch off the wall in center. Johnson scored, 6-3 Cubs and Soriano held at third with no outs. Koyie Hill struck out for the first out of the inning.
Kosuke Fukudome worked the count to 3-2 before walking to reload the bases.
Darwin Barney hit a fly into right on a 0-1 pitch. The ball was hit deep enough for Soriano to tag and score from third but for some reason Soriano stopped halfway down the line and tried to get back to third. Baker ended up near the third base bag around the same time and it appeared the Cubs had run themselves out of another inning.
Jason Varitek threw high to Youkilis, who took his eye off the ball. The ball ended up in left. Soriano took off for home and Baker rounded third. Soriano and Baker scored after Carl Crawford’s throw got away from Varitek … 8-3 Cubs.
Starlin Castro tallied his second hit of the inning, a double off the Monster in left center. Fukudome scored the Cubs ninth and final run of the game. Ramirez popped out to first to end the inning.
The Cubs scored eight runs on five hits, three walks and three errors in the eighth.
Kerry Wood retired the Red Sox in order in the bottom of the eighth … and Carlos Marmol faced the minimum in the ninth after Kevin Youkilis grounded into a 6-4-3 double play and David Ortiz flied out to right to end the game.
It was good to see the Cubs bounce back and win a game, especially after the way Saturday began and being down 3-1 going into the eighth inning.
The Cubs announced James Russell the starter for the finale of the three-game series in Boston. Russell will sub for Matt Garza, who was scratched Saturday afternoon with tightness in his right elbow. The Sox will send Tim Wakefield to the mound.