Q’s Squad Out Battles the Bucs – Cubs 6 Pirates 3

Game Ninety-One – Cubs 6 Pirates 3
WP – Ryan Dempster (6-6) LP – Kevin Correia (11-7) Save – Carlos Marmol (19)

wflag.jpgThe Cubs rebounded nicely from Friday night’s loss and beat the Pirates for the third time this season. Q’s offense and bullpen was the difference on Saturday night in the Steel City. The Cubs pounded out 14 hits but more importantly they chased Kevin Correia from the game with two outs in the fourth inning.

The Cubs scored five times in the first four innings with four of the runs coming on two out hits. Kosuke Fukudome (2-for-4, with a double, a walk, two runs scored and a RBI) and Starlin Castro (3-for-5 with a RBI and a run scored) had a big night at the top of the order and Darwin Barney continued producing out of the eighth spot. Barney singled twice in four at bats and scored two of the Cubs six runs. Saturday marked the 30th multi-hit game for Barney this season and the rookie infielder has tallied 88 hits in 91 games.

The middle of the Cubs lineup drove in half of the Cubs six runs and Aramis Ramirez added two more hits in five at bats. Carlos Pena (2-for-4 with a sac fly, a run scored and a RBI) drove in the Cubs’ sixth run with a ninth inning sacrifice fly. Alfonso Soriano drove in a run with a 2-for-4 night.

The biggest RBI of the night for the Cubs came in the first inning. Marlon Byrd picked up Ramirez and Pena with a two-out infield single that drove in Fukudome with the game’s first run. Fukudome walked and advanced to third on a double by Castro … Byrd delivered two outs later.

Ryan Dempster put together a serviceable start and picked up his sixth win of the season. Dempster surrendered five of his seven hits to the first 10 batters and was visibly off in the first inning. Dempster’s velocity was down and everything he threw was flat. The first three hitters in the Pirates order hit Dempster pretty hard in the opening inning and if not for a solid defensive play by Kosuke Fukudome and Koyie Hill, the Pirates would have chipped into the Cubs two-run lead.

Dempster allowed three runs on seven hits with three walks and four strikeouts in five innings. Dempster threw 87 pitches, 50 for strikes, and then blew up at his manager.

Ryan Dempster left the field after wiggling out of another jam in the fifth … and was scheduled to lead off the top of the sixth. Mike Quade told Dempster his night was over and sent Tony Campana to pinch-hit for him. Dempster exploded and had a verbal altercation with his manager before slamming a water cooler and taking off for the clubhouse.

Both Dempster and Quade downplayed the altercation after the game.

The Cubs pen picked up Dempster and was lights out on Saturday night. Quade’s overworked pen threw four innings of shutout ball with only three batters reaching base (hit, walk and error) against Jeff Samardzija, Kerry Wood and Carlos Marmol. With the four innings on Saturday night, the Cubs pen has completed 20 innings of work during the current road trip (six games).

With Saturday’s win, the Cubs improved to 37-54 on the season, 17 games below .500 …

Kevin Correia’s struggles at PNC continued Saturday night and for the second game in a row, the Cubs scored in the first inning.

Kosuke Fukudome led off the game with a walk and advanced to third on a double by Starlin Castro. Correia made a mistake on a 0-2 pitch and Castro ripped the ball off the base of the wall in left.

Aramis Ramirez hit a rocket to third on the first pitch. Harrison knocked the ball down, held the runners and threw out Ramirez at first. Correia struck out Pena swinging on a 2-2 offering.

Marlon Byrd stepped in with runners on second and third with two outs. Byrd showed patience and took two out of the zone to start the at bat. Byrd hit a 3-2 pitch to the hole at short past a diving Josh Harrison. Chase d’Arnaud kept the ball on the infield but Fukudome scored … 1-0 Cubs. Castro ended up at third.

Alfonso Soriano followed and Correia fell behind 2-0 before getting one over. Correia’s next pitch was high and outside. The ball went off Michael McKenry’s glove and Castro scored the Cubs second run on a wild pitch. Soriano popped out to right to end the inning.

Ryan Dempster really struggled in the first inning. Dempster’s velocity was down for a majority of the first inning and everything he threw was flat and very hittable. Dempster gave up three hard hits to start the inning … a fine defensive play by Fukudome and Hill kept the Pirates from cutting into the Cubs two-run lead.

Alex Presley led off the bottom of the first with a double off the top of the wall in right … he just missed a home run. Chase d’Arnaud ripped a 1-0 pitch into right. Kosuke charged the hard hit ball and threw a strike to the plate. Koyie Hill blocked Presley off the plate and tagged him out for the first out of the inning.

Neil Walker followed with a single to right … the Pirates third straight hit. With runners on first and second, Hurdle called for a hit and run on a 1-1 pitch to McCutchen. McCutchen popped out to short center and Dempster struck out Overbay swinging on a 2-2 pitch to end the inning.

Darwin Barney reached on a one-out single to center in the second. Dempster sacrificed him to second. Kosuke Fukudome ripped a 3-1 pitch into left center. Barney scampered home with the Cubs’ third run. Castro struck out swinging to end the inning.

Dempster worked around a two-out single by Michael McKenry in the second without allowing a run.

The Cubs scored for the third inning in a row after Aramis Ramirez and Carlos Pena reached on back-to-back singles. Marlon Byrd chopped Correia’s first pitch to third. Harrison stepped on the bag and forced Ramirez with the first out. Alfonso Soriano singled to left center on a 0-1 pitch. Pena scored … 4-0 Cubs.

With runners on first and second with one out, Koyie Hill killed another rally and grounded into a 3-6-3 double play to end the inning.

The Pirates finally broke through in the bottom of the third. Alex Presley ripped a triple into right center to start the inning … the fifth hit allowed by Dempster to the first 10 hitters. Dempster struck out Chase d’Arnaud but Neil Walker grounded out to second and plated Presley with the Pirates first run.

Dempster walked Andrew McCutchen with two outs before Lyle Overbay popped out to short to end the inning. At the end of three, Dempster had thrown 46 pitches, 30 for strikes.

The Cubs got the run right back in the top of the fourth.

Darwin Barney led off the fourth with a looper into center … Barney’s 30th multi-hit game of the season. Dempster sacrificed Barney to second and he advanced to third when Fukudome grounded out to first.

Starlin Castro chopped a 3-2 pitch down the third baseline. Harrison fielded the ball behind the bag and tried to throw across the diamond. But his throw was low, Overbay could not scoop and Castro was safe. Barney scored … 5-1 Cubs and Clint Hurdle went to his pen. Chris Leroux replaced Correia and Matt Diaz went to right on a double switch … with Jones moving to first base.

Ryan Dempster made it easy on the Pirates to start chipping away in the bottom of the fourth. Dempster walked Garrett Jones on four pitches to start the inning. Harrison flied out to deep right center. McKenry stayed hot (this kid is not looking forward to the Cubs leaving town) and ripped a 0-1 pitch into the left field corner.

With runners on second and third with one out, Matt Diaz hit a ground rule double down the right field line. The ball jumped over the sidewall but Jones and McKenry scored … 5-3 Pirates.

Alex Presley flied out to Soriano going away in left and d’Arnaud lined out to Ramirez to end the inning. Dempster escaped with the lead … but all three outs were hit extremely hard.

The Cubs put two more runners on base in the fifth but for the first time Saturday, they did not score. Pena singled to center to start the inning and advanced to second when Ramirez hit a liner over a leaping d’Arnaud into left center. Hill struck out swinging … and Barney struck out swinging to end the top of the fifth.

Dempster walked Neil Walker to start the bottom of the fifth after being ahead 1-2 in the count. Andrew McCutchen worked the count to 3-2, Walker took off for second but McCutchen grounded out to short. Xavier Paul hit for Leroux and struck out swinging. Garrett Jones flied out to left on the first pitch to end the inning.

Ryan Dempster and Mike Quade got into a heated argument in the dugout after the bottom of the fifth. Quade told Dempster that his night was done after five innings and 87 pitches (50 for strikes) and Dempster was visibly upset about his manager’s decision.

Daniel McCutchen retired the Cubs in order in the top of the sixth.

Jeff Samardzija replaced Dempster and worked around a two-out double by Matt Diaz in the bottom of the sixth.

The Cubs could not push across a run in the top of the seventh after Ramirez led off the inning with a single to left. Pena struck out, Byrd grounded out to third, Ramirez advanced on the play but Soriano grounded out to second to end the inning.

Starlin Castro made a fine play to field a hard hit ball in the hole at short off the bat of Andrew McCutchen. Castro rushed his throw and McCutchen reached with two outs in the seventh on Castro’s 17th error of the season. Brandon Wood hit for Daniel McCutchen and grounded out to short on the first pitch to end the inning.

The Cubs went down in order against Daniel Moskos in the top of the eighth. The Cubs made the lefty throw only seven pitches, five for strikes.

Kerry Wood retired the Pirates in order in the eighth … the first (and only) time Cubs pitching retired the Bucs in order on Saturday night.

The Cubs tacked on a run in the top of the ninth. Kosuke Fukudome led off with a double to right center on a 2-0 pitch from lefty Daniel Moskos. Starlin Castro lined a single into left. Fukudome broke back before advancing to third with no outs.

Clint Hurdle went to his pen and exchanged lefties. Tony Watson came in and struck out Aramis Ramirez swinging for the first out.

Carlos Pena just missed a homer to left and settled with a sac fly. Fukudome tagged and scored … 6-3 Pirates. Marlon Byrd flied out to deep left center to end the inning.

Carlos Marmol retired Matt Diaz on a ground out to short to start the ninth. Alex Presley walked after it was ruled he checked his swing on a 1-2 slider. Chase d’Arnaud then tapped a 2-1 pitch back to Marmol … 1-6-3 and the game was over.

The Cubs played a good game Saturday night … but the daily drama continued when Ryan Dempster exploded about being lifted after the fifth inning. There’s always something with the Chicago Cubs. Can’t they just play and win a ballgame?

Box Score from Yahoo Sports

The final game before the break is Sunday afternoon … Ramon Ortiz versus Paul Maholm.

Quote of the Day

"From what we get, we can make a living; what we give, however, makes a life." – Arthur Ashe