Cubs Salvage Finale of Sox Series – Cubs 3 White Sox 1

Game Eighty-Five – Cubs 3 White Sox 1
WP – Rodrigo Lopez (1-2) LP – Gavin Floyd (6-8) Save – Carlos Marmol (17)

wflag.jpgThe Cubs salvaged the final game of the weekend series against the White Sox behind a tremendous outing from Rodrigo Lopez. Lopez put together, by far, his best outing as a Cub against the extremely aggressive Sox offense. Lopez tossed seven innings of shutout ball, allowed only two hits, did not walk a batter and struck out three. The Sox managed only three baserunners off Lopez in seven innings (hit Gordon Beckham in the third). Lopez threw 75 pitches, 53 for strikes.

During his post game press conference, Mike Quade said Rodrigo Lopez’s hamstring tightened up on him and he was lifted for precautionary reasons.

Carlos Marmol picked up his 17th save of the season by retiring all four batters he faced in the eighth and in the ninth. Marmol threw only 14 pitches, struck out two and did not walk a batter.

On the day Starlin Castro became the youngest player in Cubs history to be named to the NL All-Star team, he responded with his 33rd multi-hit game of the season. Castro drove in the Cubs first run on a triple in the fourth and was on board for Aramis Ramirez’s two-run shot. Castro finished the game 2-for-4 with a triple, a run scored and a RBI. Castro has 110 hits in the Cubs first 85 games of the season.

Not only did Castro bring his lumber to the yard Sunday but he brought his glove as well. Starlin Castro has shown improvement in the field during the homestand and made several fine plays on Sunday afternoon.

Aramis Ramirez hit a two-run shot off Gavin Floyd to complete the Cubs’ three-run fourth inning. Ramirez was 1-for-3 with a home run, two RBI and a walk.

The Cubs finished their Interleague schedule with a 5-10 record and 2-4 in the Crosstown Series for 2011. The Sox won four of six and the two teams scored the same amount of runs … 18 for the Cubs and 18 for the Sox. Three of the first five games were decided by one run and two of the six were decided by two runs, the only “blowout” came in the first game the Cubs won 6-3 on June 20.

The Cubs improved to 2-11 on Sundays (4-4 on the eight game homestand) with their 20th victory of the season at Wrigley (20-26). Q’s squad is now 35-50 on the season, 15 games under .500 …

Both teams recorded their first hits of the game … and neither team could push across a run.

Mark Teahen hit a rocket to first on a 1-2 pitch. Carlos Pena made an excellent diving stop and tried to throw to Teahen out from the seat of his pants. Pena’s throw was low and skipped past Lopez. Soto was backing up the play and held Teahen to an infield single.

Lopez then hit Gordon Beckham on a 0-1 pitch. With runners on first and second with no outs, Gavin Floyd could not get the bunt down and struck out on a fouled bunt attempt. Juan Pierre hit a soft liner back up the middle (1-2 pitch) that Lopez snagged and threw to first to complete the inning ending double play … the Cubs second double play of the game.

At the end of three, Lopez had thrown only 38 pitches (27 for strikes).

Geovany Soto notched the Cubs first hit of the game, a one out single to center in the bottom of the third. After Rodrigo Lopez failed to get the bunt down, Fukudome ripped a 0-1 pitch off the wall in right. Soto lumbered around the bases and Ivan DeJesus waved Soto in. Geovany Soto was out by a mile (probably half the baseline) to end the inning.

Rodrigo Lopez retired three of the four batters he faced in the top of the fourth … and retired the Sox on just eight pitches.

Darwin Barney extended his hitting streak to eight games with a single to left to start the fourth. Starlin Castro ripped a 0-1 pitch into left center. Barney scored easily from first base and Castro slid in headfirst at third with his eighth triple of the season … ‘Double Trouble‘ gave the Cubs a 1-0 lead.

Aramis Ramirez then launched a 0-1 pitch through the wind and his 12th homer of the season gave the Cubs a 3-0 lead.

In a four-batter span, the Cubs hit for the cycle against Gavin Floyd (Fukudome double, Barney single, Castro triple and Ramirez homer).

Carlos Pena grounded out to second but Marlon Byrd worked a one out walk. Alfonso Soriano flied out to deep left and Soto struck out swinging to end the fourth.

The Cubs gave Rodrigo Lopez a 3-0 lead and he responded by retiring the Sox in order in the top of the fifth on just nine pitches.

After the Cubs went quickly and quietly in the bottom of the fifth, Lopez sat down the Sox in order in the sixth on just six pitches (61 total, 44 for strikes).

Carlos Pena singled with two outs in the sixth … but that was it and Lopez was sent out to start the top of the seventh.

Rodrigo Lopez retired the Sox in order in the seventh and was lifted in the bottom of the inning for pinch hitter Blake DeWitt. Alfonso Soriano singled to left to start the home half of the seventh. Quade sent Tony Campana out to run for Soriano and he stole second on a ball in the dirt with Soto at the plate. Soto ended up striking out on a 2-2 pitch.

DeWitt popped out to shallow right for the second out of the inning … and Fukudome was called out on a check swing to end the seventh.

The Cubs took a 3-0 lead into the top of the eighth after a tremendous two-hit, seven-inning shutout performance by Rodrigo Lopez.

Kerry Wood retired Alex Rios on a fly out to center to start the eighth. Wood then jammed Teahen on a 1-1 pitch. Teahen broke his bat and blooped a single into right just in front of the diving Kosuke Fukudome. Gordon Beckham blooped a 0-1 pitch into right center. Teahen advanced to third … and the Cubs were in trouble leading by three with one out in the eighth.

Paul Konerko hit for Gavin Floyd and Wood uncorked a wild pitch on a 2-2 offering to Konerko that allowed Teahen to score the Sox first run.

Beckham advanced to second on the wild pitch and held when Wood walked Konerko.

With runners on first and second with one out, Quade went to his pen and brought in Sean Marshall to face Juan Pierre. Pierre fouled out to Aramis on a 1-2 pitch. Quade went back to his pen for Carlos Marmol. Marmol struck out Alexei Ramirez swinging on three pitches to end the eighth.

The Cubs had a chance to tack on the bottom of the eighth but came up empty again. Starlin Castro put together a good at bat against Brian Bruney that resulted in a one out single to right center. Aramis Ramirez walked on four pitches to put runners on first and second with one out.

Ozzie Guillen called on Will Ohman to face Carlos Pena. Pena flied out to deep right center. Castro advanced to third but was stranded when Marlon Byrd struck out swinging to end the inning.

Carlos Marmol retired Adam Dunn, Carlos Quentin and A.J. Pierzynski (struck out swinging) to end the game.

The Cubs held the White Sox to four hits for the second day in a row.

It was nice to see the Cubs avoid a sweep at the hand of the White Sox … and win a game on Sunday.

Box Score from Yahoo Sports

The Cubs begin their final road trip before the break on Monday afternoon with the first of four against the Washington Nationals. Ryan Dempster was scheduled to start the opener but was scratched after Sunday’s game due to back pain. Casey Coleman will be recalled and face Jordan Zimmermann on the 4th of July.

Quote of the Day

"Don’t ever permit the pressure to exceed the pleasure." - Joe Maddon