Game One Hundred Twenty-Three – Cubs 5 Astros 6
WP – Aneury Rodriguez (1-4) LP – Carlos Marmol (2-4, BS 8) Save – None
The Cubs took a 5-2 lead into the bottom of the ninth and appeared to be in good shape to win their fourth in a row … but that all changed rather quickly.
Carlos Marmol retired Jimmy Paredes to start the inning before giving up back-to-back singles to J.B. Shuck and Clint Barmes. Marmol obviously did not have it and walked pinch-hitter Matt Downs to load the bases with one out.
Marmol blew two fastballs by Brian Bogusevic before missing badly with a pair of sliders. Bogusevic launched Marmol’s next pitch over the wall in left center for a game winning, walk-off grand slam. Bogusevic hit the third homer off Marmol this season … the first since July 8.
Carlos Marmol is not missing many bats right now and was very hittable once again. Tuesday night was the eighth blown save of the season for the Cubs closer … Marmol blew a combined nine saves in 2009 and 2010.
The Cubs played a good game against the team with the worst record in baseball. Aramis Ramirez (2-for-4 with a home run and two RBI), Tyler Colvin (1-for-4 with a home run and two RBI), Darwin Barney (2-for-5 with a run scored) and Carlos Pena (2-for-2 with two doubles, a run scored and two walks) led the offense and not only put Ryan Dempster in position to win his 11th game of the season but to beat Brett Myers for the first time as a starter since May 5, 2005.
The two home runs hit by the Cubs on Tuesday night were tape measure shots. Tyler Colvin’s blast in the sixth ended up in the second deck beyond the right field wall and Aramis Ramirez’s mammoth shot in the eighth landed on top of the train tracks above the Crawford Boxes in left field.
The Cubs out hit the Astros 9-8 and had chances to put more runs on the board. Q’s offense finished the game 2-for-12 with RISP and left six on base.
Ryan Dempster put together a decent start on a night he struggled with his command. Dempster gave up only two runs on four hits with three walks and seven strikeouts in seven innings. Dempster ran up his pitch count early (32 in the first) and by the fourth he had thrown 87 pitches. Dempster retired six of the last seven batters he faced and threw 117 pitches, 75 for strikes.
Kerry Wood retired three of the four batters he faced in the eighth with a strikeout.
With Tuesday’s walk-off loss, the Cubs slipped back to 15 games under .500 with a 54-69 mark on the season.
Starlin Castro (single to center) and Darwin Barney (single to left center) set the table for the middle of the lineup. Aramis Ramirez drove in Castro with the first run of the game … a single to right center on a 1-2 pitch. With runners on first and third with no outs, Carlos Pena worked a walk to load the bases.
Marlon Byrd (0-for-4, GIDP, six left on base) walked to the plate swinging and hit into a 6-4-3 double play (2-2 pitch). Barney scored and Ramirez ended up at third … but the would be big inning went by the waste side as Alfonso Soriano grounded out to third on a 1-2 pitch to end the inning.
The Cubs took a brief 2-0 lead and made Brett Myers throw 27 pitches (17 for strikes).
The offense staked Ryan Dempster to a lead but he could not throw strikes. Jason Bourgeois worked a walk after being behind 0-2. Dempster uncorked a wild pitch on a 1-1 offering to Jose Altuve. Bourgeois took second and advanced to third when Altuve grounded out to second. Dempster struck out J.D. Martinez for the second out.
Dempster jumped out ahead of Carlos Lee but eventually walked him with two outs.
Jimmy Paredes ripped a 3-2 pitch to the opposite field. The ball hit off the scoreboard and Bourgeois scored easily. Lee tried to score from first but was thrown out at the plate to end the inning (7-6-2). Dempster retired just two batters … and threw 32 pitches, 17 for strikes.
At the end of a very long first inning (59 pitches), the Cubs had a slim 2-1 lead.
Brett Myers settled in after the first. The Cubs did nothing in the top of the second and went quietly on 13 pitches.
Dempster continued to struggle in the home half of the second. Clint Barmes reached on a one out single to left but Dempster did not allow any runs.
After Starlin Castro hit a 400-foot flyout to center and Barney grounded out to short, Aramis Ramirez reached on an error by Clint Barmes with two outs in the third. Carlos Pena worked another walk but Marlon Byrd fouled out to right on a 1-0 pitch to end the inning.
The Astros did nothing against Dempster for the first time in the third … 1-2-3 on 18 pitches, 68 pitches (41 pitches) in three innings.
The Cubs did nothing against Myers in the fourth … just eight pitches thrown.
Carlos Lee struck out looking to start the bottom of the fourth. Jimmy Paredes recorded his second double of the game … this one was pulled into the right field corner and hopped over the wall for a ground rule double. J.B. Shuck grounded out to first, Paredes advanced to third with two outs. Dempster walked Barmes but struck out Humberto Quintero swinging (three pitches) to end the inning … 87 pitches, 53 for strikes, for Dempster after four innings.
Other than a two-out single by Darwin Barney (Cubs first since the first), the Cubs did nothing against Myers in the top of the fifth.
The Astros did nothing against Dempster in the bottom of the fifth … 1-2-3 on 10 pitches.
Carlos Pena led off the sixth with a double to the wall in left center on a 3-1 pitch. Byrd gave himself up and grounded out to second. Pena advanced to third with one out. To no surprise Myers struck out Soriano swinging for the second out.
Tyler Colvin stepped in and hit a tape measure shot on a 0-1 offering from Myers. The ball ended up in the second deck and the Cubs took a 4-1 lead. Hill struck out swinging to end the inning.
Ryan Dempster put together his best inning of the game in the bottom of the sixth. Dempster sat down Houston in order on seven pitches (six strikes).
The Cubs did nothing against Brett Myers in the seventh.
J.B. Shuck led off the bottom of the seventh with a double to right center. Clint Barmes worked the count to 3-2 before hitting a grounder to first. Shuck advanced to third and scored on a fly out to right by Humberto Quintero. Angel Sanchez hit for Myers and grounded out to short on Dempster’s 117th pitch of the night to end the inning.
Wilton Lopez took over for Houston in the eighth and Aramis Ramirez greeted him by launching a 2-2 pitch on top of the train tracks above the Crawford Boxes in left field. Ramirez’s 22nd longball of the season gave the Cubs a 5-2 lead.
Carlos Pena went to the opposite field with his second double of the game. Byrd grounded out to short and Soriano struck out swinging again. Brad Mills went to his pen and brought in the lefty Sergio Escalona to face Tyler Colvin.
Colvin lined out to right on a 0-1 pitch to end the inning.
Kerry Wood took over in the eighth and struck out Jason Bourgeois to start the inning … 11 of last 12 outs recorded by Wood were strikeouts at that point. Jose Altuve singled to center with one out but Martinez and Lee flied out to center to end the inning.
Koyie Hill led off the ninth with a single to left off Sergio Escalona. Tony Campana bunted him to second and Mills went to his pen for right-hander Aneury Rodriguez. Castro struck out swinging on a 3-2 pitch and Barney popped out to second (2-2 pitch) to end the inning.
Carlos Marmol retired Jimmy Paredes on a lineout to left to start the ninth. J.B. Shuck ripped a single into right on a 1-2 pitch. Marmol uncorked a wild pitch (third of year) on a 0-2 pitch to Barmes. Shuck advanced to second then to third when Barmes reached out and pulled a 2-2 pitch into left.
Matt Downs hit for Quintero and worked a walk to load the bases with one out.
Brian Bogusevic hit for Aneury Rodriguez and quickly fell behind 0-2. Bogusevic fouled off Marmol’s third pitch before taking two sliders. Bogusevic launched a 2-2 pitch to the opposite field and over the wall … game over.
Thirty-two pitches in the ninth and just one out …
Casey Coleman will be activated prior to Wednesday’s game and will face Bud Norris in the series and season finale in Houston.