Game One Hundred Nine – Cubs 5 Pirates 3
WP – Carlos Zambrano (8-6) LP – Paul Maholm (6-11) Save – Carlos Marmol (21)
Q’s squad finally beat Paul Maholm and for one of the few times this season, the Cubs showed patience at the plate and played fundamental baseball. Four different players worked five walks, two of the Cubs runs scored on sacrifice flies and five different players drove in runs in Monday night’s win.
The Cubs changed their approach against Paul Maholm and it paid off. After scoring only one run in the first three times they faced Maholm this season, Q’s offense scored four of their five runs off the Pirates’ southpaw … and worked three of their five walks.
Reed Johnson (1-for-4 with a double, a run scored, a RBI and a HBP) scored the Cubs first run after Maholm hit him with a pitch in the third. Johnson plated Darwin Barney with a two-out double in the ninth.
Starlin Castro had a big night and recorded three of the Cubs seven hits (3-for-5 with a double and a run scored).
Carlos Pena (0-for-1 with a sac fly RBI and two walks), Jeff Baker (1-for-2 with a walk, a run scored, a sac fly RBI) and Geovany Soto (1-for-3 with a double, a RBI, a run scored and a walk) drove in the Cubs other three runs on Monday night.
On a night he did not have his good stuff, Carlos Zambrano did just enough to keep the Pirates off the board and put his team in position to win the game. Zambrano allowed one run on seven hits with three walks and five strikeouts in six innings. One of the biggest plays of the game was Zambrano picking off Pedro Alvarez from second base to end the fourth after the Pirates had tied the game at one.
Carlos Zambrano made one big mistake … and that came to Derrek Lee in the fourth.
Derrek Lee put together a memorable night in his Pirates’ debut. The former Cub drove in all three of the Pirates runs with a pair of homers … a solo shot off Carlos Zambrano in the fourth and a two-run bomb off Kerry Wood in the eighth. Monday night was the 25th multi-homer game of Derrek Lee’s career and his first since he was wearing a Cubs’ uniform. Lee hit two homers off Kyle Lohse in St. Louis on August 15, 2010.
With Monday’s win, the Cubs improved to 44-65 on the season … 21 games below .500. Starlin Castro reached with the game’s first hit with one out in the second … but Jeff Baker swung at a 1-0 pitch and hit into a 6-4-3 double play to end the inning. Paul Maholm threw only six pitches (five for strikes) in the first inning.
Carlos Zambrano struggled with his command in the first. After striking out Andrew McCutchen on a 3-2 pitch, Z walked Garrett Jones after Jones had worked the count full. Neil Walker flied out to deep right center for the second out.
Derrek Lee received a standing ovation as he was announced … and Z struck him out swinging on a 1-2 pitch to end the inning.
The Cubs showed rare patience in the second inning. Geovany Soto started the inning with a free pass. After both Byrd and Soriano struck out swinging. Carlos Pena looked at ball four on a 3-1 pitch. With runners on second and third with two outs, Barney worked the count and Maholm uncorked a wild pitch on a 2-2 offering that allowed both runners to advance ninety feet. Barney popped out to shallow right to end the inning.
The Cubs made Maholm work in the second … the Pirates’ southpaw threw 28 pitches in the second, 15 for strikes.
Ryan Ludwick took his first at bat as a Pirate and walked to start the second inning. Pedro Alvarez ripped a 2-2 pitch to first … Pena-to-Castro-to-Zambrano for a nicely turned double play. Ronny Cedeno struck out looking on three pitches to end the second.
Reed Johnson was hit in the foot on a 1-0 pitch with one out in the third. Starlin Castro then notched his second hit of the game. Castro reached out and pulled a 1-0 offering into the left field corner. Johnson held at third on Castro’s double.
Jeff Baker lined a 1-2 pitch to left. Ludwick caught the liner and threw home. Johnson tagged and slid in safe with the game’s first run. With Castro at second, Soto struck out swinging to end the inning.
Z made quick order of Michael McKenry and Paul Maholm to start the third … then lost his command. Zambrano walked Andrew McCutchen on six pitches and finally retired Garrett Jones with a fly out to left center on the seventh pitch of the at bat.
The Cubs did nothing against Maholm in the top of the fourth.
Neil Walker led off the bottom of the fourth with a swing and a miss on a 3-2 pitch from Z. Derrek Lee fell behind 1-2 before Z grooved a 69 MPH curveball into Lee’s wheelhouse. Lee launched the ball well over the left field wall and tied the game at one … the Pirates first hit of the night.
Z settled down, somewhat, and struck out Ryan Ludwick swinging on a 3-2 pitch. Pedro Alvarez and Ronny Cedeno reached on back-to-back singles to center. With Michael McKenry at the plate, Alvarez fell asleep at second base and Z picked him off to end the inning.
After four, the game was tied at one and Z had thrown 81 pitches, 46 for strikes.
Zambrano recorded the Cubs third hit of the game with one out in the fifth … but Reed Johnson hit into the Cubs second double play of the game (5-4-3) to end the inning.
The untouchable Jeff Baker bobbled a grounder down the third baseline off the bat of Michael McKenry. McKenry reached on the infield single but was forced at second when Paul Maholm bunted back to Carlos Zambrano. Castro tried to turn the double play but Maholm just beat out the throw.
Andrew McCutchen launched a 3-2 pitch to the deepest part of PNC. Marlon Byrd had just enough room in left center to make the catch for the second out of the inning. Garrett Jones hit a smash toward right on a 1-0 pitch. The ball hit Maholm … inning over but Jones was awarded a single (by rule).
Starlin Castro led off the sixth with his third hit … a single to left. Jeff Baker ripped a 1-2 pitch past Ronny Cedeno. Castro held at second with no outs.
Geovany Soto lined a 2-2 pitch into left. Castro scored easily and Baker slid in safe at third on Soto’s 19th double of the season. The Cubs took a 2-1 lead and Maholm intentionally walked Marlon Byrd to load the bases with no outs.
Alfonso Soriano grounded Maholm’s first pitch to short. Cedeno had problems getting the ball out of his glove … and it ended up costing his team two runs. Soriano unexpectedly hustled down the first baseline and beat Walker’s throw. Baker scored … 3-1 Cubs.
With runners at first and third with one out, Carlos Pena hit a high fly down the left field line. Ludwick caught the ball, Soto tagged and scored the Cubs’ fourth run. Barney grounded out to third to end the inning.
Neil Walker extended his hitting streak against the Cubs to 19 with an infield single to the hole at short. Z jammed Lee on a 0-1 pitch and Lee blooped out to Barney in shallow center. Ludwick lined out to left. Pedro Alvarez singled to right on a 0-1 pitch to put two on with two out in the sixth.
Ronny Cedeno worked the count to 3-2 before hitting a weak chopper to short. Castro gunned him out at first as Cedeno tried to reach with his patent headfirst slide.
Zambrano left after six innings and 114 pitches, 66 for strikes.
The Cubs went down in order against Jason Grilli in the top of the seventh.
Jeff Samardzija replaced Z and retired McKenry (fly out to right) and pinch-hitter Xavier Paul (pop out to short center) to start the seventh. Andrew McCutchen reached on a single to left with two outs and Quade went to his pen for Sean Marshall. Clint Hurdle countered and took down Garrett Jones in favor of Steve Pearce. Pearce tried to check his swing on a 1-2 pitch and tapped the ball just fair up the first baseline. Soto threw out Pearce at first to end the inning.
Jeff Baker walked to start the eighth … but Daniel McCutchen retired Soto (fly out to right), Byrd (foul out to third) and Soriano (broken bat pop out to second) to end the inning.
Neil Walker led off the eighth and lined Kerry Wood’s first pitch into left center. Walker ended up at second and trotted home on Derrek Lee’s second homer of the night. Lee launched a 0-1 pitch over the wall in right center and cut the Cubs lead to 4-3.
Wood struck out Ryan Ludwick and retired Pedro Alvarez on a ground out to short. Ronny Cedeno struck out swinging on a 3-2 pitch to end the inning.
At the end of eight, the Cubs led 4-3.
Carlos Pena led off the ninth with the Cubs’ fifth walk of the game. Darwin Barney tried to sacrifice him to second but bunted the ball too hard toward first. Derrek Lee fielded the ball and threw to second to force Pena. Tyler Colvin fouled out to third for the second out.
Reed Johnson tried to bunt McCutchen’s first offering and fouled it off. Johnson looked at strike two before hitting a ball over Ludwick’s head in left. The ball one-hopped the wall and Barney scored all the way from first base … 5-3 Cubs. Starlin Castro struck out swinging to end the inning.
Carlos Marmol sat down the Pirates in order in the ninth … and struck out Andrew McCutchen swinging to end the game.
Two in a row … and two games in which the Cubs looked like a Major League Baseball team.
Randy Wells will face Kevin Correia in game two on Tuesday night.