Lopez Over Halladay – Cubs 6 Phillies 1

Game Ninety-Seven – Cubs 6 Phillies 1
WP – Rodrigo Lopez (2-2) LP – Roy Halladay (11-4) Save – None

wflag.jpgNo one gave the Cubs a chance on Monday night against Roy Halladay and the best team in baseball … but this is why they play the games. Rodrigo Lopez out pitched Roy Halladay and led the way Monday night at the old ballyard.

Rodrigo Lopez just about did it all on Monday night. Not only did Lopez hold the Phillies to one run on five hits in 6 2/3 innings (no walks, HBP and three strikeouts on 86 pitches) but he also started the Cubs’ two-run third inning with a single and scored the second run of the game. Lopez recorded a sac bunt in the sixth that put Darwin Barney on third with one out. Kosuke Fukudome (1-for-4 with a double, a run scored, a walk and a RBI) doubled in Barney with the Cubs’ fifth run.

Lopez retired the first nine batters he faced and did not give up his first hit until the fourth inning. Jimmy Rollins led off the fourth with a home run to right center … one of the few mistakes Lopez made on Monday night. Monday marked the third straight quality start by Rodrigo Lopez.

James Russell finished the seventh and Jeff Samardzija pitched a perfect eighth.

Carlos Marmol made his first appearance since Friday and showed a little bit of improvement. Marmol made quick work of Ryan Howard and Raul Ibanez before issuing back-to-back two out walks. Marmol struck out John Mayberry, Jr. swinging on a 3-2 pitch to end the game. Marmol threw 29 pitches, 15 for strikes.

Roy Halladay left in the fifth inning (in the middle of Aramis Ramirez’s at bat) with heat exhaustion. Halladay appeared gassed in the long 31-pitch third inning and could not complete five innings of work. The Cubs scored three runs on seven hits against Halladay in four-plus innings. Monday night broke Roy Halladay’s string of 63 consecutive road starts of going at least six innings.

Aramis Ramirez (1-for-3 with a home run, a sac fly and two RBI), Carlos Pena (3-for-3 with a home run, a walk, and two RBI), Starlin Castro (2-for-5, SB, CS) and Darwin Barney (2-for-4 with a double, a run scored and a RBI) led the way for the Cubs’ offense.

Aramis Ramirez hit his 19th longball of the season and moved within one home run of tying Gabby Harnett (231) for the sixth most homers in Cubs’ history. Carlos Pena launched his 20th of the year and 250th of his career in the seventh. Pena has hit 20 or more home runs in the last five seasons.

The Cubs played a good game on Monday night despite being charged with their league leading 84th error of the year.

With Monday’s win, the Cubs improved to 39-58 on the season, 19 games below .500 …

Rodrigo Lopez began the game by retiring the Phillies in order on just 13 pitches, eight for strikes … and ended up retiring the first nine batters he faced.

The Cubs came out swinging against Roy Halladay and both Kosuke and Castro grounded out to second.

Aramis Ramirez lined Halladay’s first pitch into the bleachers in left center. Ramirez’s 17th longball of the season (eighth homer of the year on the first pitch of an at bat) gave the Cubs an early lead.

Carlos Pena followed with a single into right center but Byrd popped out to left center to end the inning.

Halladay retired the Cubs in order in the second … but barely made it through the third.

Rodrigo Lopez led off the third with a single to right. Kosuke Fukudome fell behind 0-2 before working a full count. Halladay just missed on the next pitch and walked Fukudome to put two on with no outs.

Starlin Castro lined a 1-2 pitch into left center. Lopez held at third and the bases were loaded with no outs for Aramis Ramirez.

Ramirez put together a good at bat. Ramirez flied out to the track in right on the ninth pitch (3-2 count) and Lopez tagged and scored the Cubs’ second run. Fukudome advanced to third and scored on a single to right off the bat of Carlos Pena … and the Cubs took a surprising 3-0 lead.

At that point Roy Halladay looked gassed. He bent over behind the mound and even Chase Utley took time to tie his cleats.

Halladay retired Byrd on a fly out to left center and Soriano on a fly out to center to end the inning. But it was obvious that something was not right with the Phillies’ ace. Halladay threw 31 pitches in the third inning.

Jimmy Rollins led off the fourth and recorded the Phillies’ first hit with a homer to right center. Lopez retired Michael Martinez on a fly out to center and Chase Utley on a deep fly to the vines in left center. Ryan Howard reached on the Cubs 84th error of the season. Barney fumbled the ball in shallow right center and could not make the long throw in time to first base. Raul Ibanez fouled out to Barney to end the inning.

The Cubs could not add on in the bottom of the fourth and Lopez pitched around a two-out double by John Mayberry, Jr. in the top of the fifth. After five, the Cubs led 3-1 and Lopez had thrown only 59 pitches, 40 for strikes.

Starlin Castro led off the bottom of the fifth with a single to left center. Ramirez stepped in and fouled back Halladay’s first pitch. Halladay missed on his second offering then stepped off the mound.

With a 1-1 count on Aramis Ramirez, Roy Halladay left the game with heat exhaustion.

Drew Carpenter replaced Halladay and retired Ramirez on one pitch … Ramirez flied out to center. Castro swiped second on a 0-1 pitch to Carlos Pena. Pena ended up walking and the Cubs had runners on first and second with one out.

On a 1-0 pitch to Marlon Byrd, Castro took off for third and was thrown out for the second out of the inning. Byrd ended up lining a single to left on the next pitch. With runners on first and second with two out, Soriano grounded out to second to end the inning.

Rodrigo Lopez dodged a bullet in the sixth. The Phillies put two on for the first time in the game after a one-out bloop single by Michael Martinez and Lopez hit Chase Utley on a 1-2 pitch.

With the Cubs up 3-1, Ryan Howard stepped in and Lopez fell behind 2-0. Howard then hit a foul ball down the left field line that Soriano dropped. Howard worked the count to 3-2 before popping out to Marlon Byrd in shallow left center. Raul Ibanez swung at and missed a 0-2 pitch to end the inning.

The Cubs started tacking on in the bottom of the sixth. Koyie Hill walked to start the inning then stole second with Barney at the plate. Barney ripped the next pitch off the vines in left. Hill scored … 4-1 Cubs.

Lopez bunted Barney to third and Barney trotted home when Kosuke ripped a 0-2 pitch down the right field line … 5-1 Cubs. Castro popped out to Rollins and Ramirez struck out swinging to end the inning.

Mike Quade sent Lopez out to start the seventh. Lopez threw 79 pitches, 54 for strikes, in the first six. Carlos Ruiz led off the inning with a single to left on a 2-0 pitch. Domonic Brown grounded into a 4-6-3 double play. Barney and Castro did an excellent job of turning the twin killing. But John Mayberry, Jr. singled to left center and chased Lopez from the game.

Rodrigo Lopez left to a standing ovation after a very good outing against one of his former teams.

James Russell and Darwin Barney (glove to glove) retired pinch-hitter Ben Francisco to end the seventh.

Carlos Pena made it 6-1 in the bottom of the seventh with his 20th homer of the season. Pena hit a monster shot to center, the 250th longball of his career. Marlon Byrd followed with a double off the wall in right but was stranded after Soriano and Hill struck out and Barney flied out to center to end the inning.

Jeff Samardzija retired the Phillies in order in the eighth … and the Cubs went down in order against David Herndon in the bottom of the eighth.

Carlos Marmol made his first appearance since Friday and retired Ryan Howard (strikeout swinging) and Raul Ibanez (groundout to second) to start the inning. But Marmol issued back-to-back two out walks to Ruiz and Brown. Marmol struck out Mayberry, Jr. swinging on a 3-2 pitch to end the game.

Marmol threw 29 pitches, 15 for strikes, to close out the game.

Monday night is the reason why baseball games are not played on paper.

Box Score from Yahoo Sports

Matt Garza against Cliff Lee in game two on Tuesday night.

Quote of the Day

"There are places I remember. All my life though some have changed. Some forever not for better. Some have gone and some remain. All these places have their moments ... " John Lennon/Paul McCartney