Offense, Offense and More Offense – Cubs 12 Reds 8

Game One Hundred Forty-Seven – Cubs 12 Reds 8
WP – Rodrigo Lopez (5-6) LP – Dontrelle Willis (0-5) Save – None

wflag.jpgThe Cubs picked up Monday night where they left off Sunday night/Monday morning at Citi Field … and posted their third straight road win. The Cubs exploded for 12 runs on 16 hits, eight for extra bases (three home runs and four doubles) against Reds’ pitching … but it was the patience early on against Dontrelle Willis that gave them an early lead.

The Cubs 12 runs tied a season-high set on June 16 against the Brewers. Ten of the 12 runs came in the first five innings and the Cubs scored in six of the nine frames … all eight of Quade’s starting position players collected at least one hit.

Starlin Castro (3-for-4 with a home run, two doubles, three RBI, a walk and four runs scored) put together his 21st three-hit game of the season … and 53rd multi-hit game, tied for tops in the NL with Troy Tulowitzki. Castro doubled twice, hit his ninth homer of the year and drove in three of the Cubs’ 12 runs. Castro extended his hitting streak to a career-high 13 games and has reached base in 25 straight games. Castro has 190 hits on the season.

Aramis Ramirez (3-for-5 with a home run, a double and two RBI) made history on Monday night. Ramirez hit his 25th longball of the year (also ran his RBI total to 91) and joined Billy Williams as the only two Cubs to hit at least 25 home runs and 30 doubles in six different seasons.

Alfonso Soriano (2-for-5 with a double and three RBI) drove in the Cubs’ second run with a first inning single and doubled in a pair in the fourth. Soriano has 78 RBI this season, one away from his highest RBI total in a Cubs’ uniform (79 in 147 games in 2010).

Reed Johnson (2-for-5 with a RBI and two runs scored) and Darwin Barney (2-for-5 with two runs scored) both reached base twice and scored two runs. Geovany Soto (1-for-5 with a double and two RBI) drove in two runs.

Jeff Baker (2-for-4 with a home run, a walk and two runs scored) broke the 3-3 tie in the fourth with his third longball of the season … an opposite field homer on a 3-2 pitch from Dontrelle Willis.

Rodrigo Lopez picked up the win on a night he could not complete six innings of work and served up four long home runs. Lopez allowed five runs on nine hits with a walk and four strikeouts in 5 1/3 innings. Lopez threw 90 pitches, 55 for strikes.

The four blasts hit off Lopez traveled an estimated 1,698 feet. Juan Francisco hit the second longest homer in the history of Great American Ball Park off Lopez in the second. Francisco’s mammoth shot traveled 502 feet, cleared the bleachers beyond the right field wall and left the park. Brandon Phillips hit two big flies off Lopez and Devin Mesoraco hit his first big league homer off Lopez in the sixth.

Andrew Cashner retired the only two batters he faced to end the sixth. Cashner was impressive and struck out Brandon Phillips looking on a 98 MPH fastball.

John Gaub made his big league debut. Gaub struck out Dave Sappelt to start his night and retired both Joey Votto and Jay Bruce in his first inning of work. Gaub started the eighth and allowed two runs on a hit with a walk in a third of an inning.

The Cubs and Reds scored a combined 20 runs on 27 hits, seven home runs, with six walks. To say the ball was flying out of Great American Ball Park on Monday night would be an understatement.

With Monday’s victory, the Cubs improved to 65-82 on the season, 17 games below .500 …

The Cubs showed a lot of patience against Dontrelle Willis in the first inning … and it led to a three-run opening frame.

Starlin Castro walked on four pitches to start the game, the 25th game in row that Castro has reached base. Willis missed on his first offering to Reed Johnson … five straight balls for Willis to start the game. Johnson singled to center on a 2-2 pitch. Castro held at second with no outs.

Aramis Ramirez stepped in and ripped a 1-0 pitch into the left field corner. Castro scored on Ramirez’s 90th RBI of the season … 1-0 Cubs. With runners on second and third with no outs, Jeff Baker worked a walk to load the bases.

Alfonso Soriano ripped a 0-1 pitch into left. Johnson scored, 2-0 Cubs. With the bases loaded, no outs and a pitcher struggling to throw strikes, Marlon Byrd hit the first pitch to third. Francisco threw Ramirez out at the plate for the first out.

Geovany Soto hit the first pitch to the hole at short. Paul Janish made a good play and threw out Byrd at second. Baker scored the Cubs’ third run on the play. With runners on first and third with two down, Darwin Barney grounded out to third (0-1 pitch) to end the inning.

The Cubs scored three runs on three hits with two walks … and sent eight to the plate in the first against Dontrelle Willis.

Rodrigo Lopez retired Brandon Phillips and Dave Sappelt quickly to start the bottom of the first. Joey Votto singled to center with two outs … and advanced to second on an infield single by Jay Bruce. Lopez struck out Yonder Alonso (2-2 pitch) on a check swing to end the inning.

The Cubs did nothing against Willis in the second.

The Reds tied the game in the bottom of the second on two swings of the bat.

Devin Mesoraco flied out to right to start the inning. Juan Francisco stepped in and hit the second longest homer in Great American Ball Park history. Francisco crushed a 1-0 pitch over the wall in right that cleared the bleachers and left the park. Francisco’s mammoth shot was estimated at 502 feet. Adam Dunn hit the longest home run at the Great American Ball Park on August 10, 2004. Dunn’s shot ended up in the Ohio River and traveled 535 feet.

Paul Janish grounded out to short for the second out but Dontrelle Willis singled to right to keep the inning going for Brandon Phillips. The Reds’ second baseman launched a 1-0 offering from Lopez and the ball ended up in the second deck beyond the left field wall … and just like that the game was tied at three. Sappelt grounded out to second to end the inning.

Aramis Ramirez flied out to center to start the third. Jeff Baker worked the count to 3-2 before giving the Cubs the lead again. Baker went with Willis’ pitch and drove his third homer of the season over the wall in right. Soriano grounded out to short but Marlon Byrd singled to center with two outs.

Geovany Soto launched Willis’ first pitch to deep left center. The ball went off Sappelt’s glove as he crashed into the wall. Byrd scored all the way from first … but Soto was thrown out at third to end the inning.

Rodrigo Lopez issued a one-out walk to Jay Bruce in the fourth … and the free pass was erased when Yonder Alonso swung and missed at a 3-2 pitch and Soto threw out Bruce at second to end the inning.

The Cubs kept pounding the ball in the fourth and knocked Willis out of the game.

Darwin Barney led off the fourth with a single to center. Lopez tried to bunt him to second but Willis would not throw him a strike. Willis walked Lopez to put two on with no outs for Castro.

Starlin Castro extended his hitting streak to 13 games with a double down the right field line … if any other Cub than Rodrigo Lopez was on the bases in front of him, Castro would likely have had a triple. Barney scored and the Cubs took a 6-3 lead. Johnson hit a grounder to short, Lopez paused and was thrown out at the plate. Aramis Ramirez then hit a dribbler up the third baseline that Francisco let roll … the ball never went foul and the bases were loaded for Jeff Baker.

Dusty Baker decided he’d seen enough and made the slow walk. Dontrelle Willis turned the game over to Jared Burton … and the Cubs blew the game wide open.

Jeff Baker struck out swinging on a 2-2 pitch but Alfonso Soriano ripped a 1-2 pitch down the left field line. Castro and Johnson scored … 8-3 Cubs. Marlon Byrd popped out to shallow right (3-2 pitch) to end the inning.

Other than a one out single by Juan Francisco, the Reds did nothing against Lopez in the fourth.

Starlin Castro made it 10-3 in the top of the fifth. After Soto grounded out to third to start the fifth, Barney singled to center on Carlos Fisher’s first pitch. Lopez bunted through a 2-1 pitch as Barney took off for second. Barney slid in safe with his ninth stolen base of the season.

Starlin Castro launched a 2-1 pitch over the wall in left center into the Cubs bullpen. Castro’s ninth longball of the season gave the Cubs a 10-3 lead. Johnson flied out to right to end the inning.

Brandon Phillips hit his second blast of the night leading off the fifth. Phillips crushed Lopez’s first pitch over the wall in left. Lopez settled down and retired Sappelt (ground out to short) and Votto (groundout to second) before giving up a two-out single to Jay Bruce. Yonder Alonso flied out to center (3-1 pitch) to end the inning.

After five, the Cubs had a 10-4 lead.

Aramis Ramirez led off the sixth and launched a 1-0 pitch from Carlos Fisher. The ball ended up in the second deck beyond the left field wall. Ramirez’s 25th longball of the season and first since August 20 gave the Cubs an 11-4 lead.

Jeff Baker singled to center. After Soriano struck out swinging, Byrd hit into a 6-4-3 double play to end the inning.

Devin Mesoraco hit the first homer of his big league career to start the bottom of the sixth … the fourth homer of the night off Rodrigo Lopez. Francisco struck out swinging but Janish reached on a throwing error by Starlin Castro. Castro went across the bag at second, fielded the ball but could not get anything on his throw. Baker tried to tag Janish as he went by but could not. The official scorer gave Castro an error on what should have been an infield single.

Quade went to his pen and brought in Andrew Cashner.

Miguel Cairo hit for Fisher and tried to shoot a 2-2 pitch from Cashner into right. Barney made an excellent diving stop and threw out Cairo at first. Janish ended up at second but was stranded when Phillips struck out looking on three pitches … the third pitch was a 98 MPH fastball.

The Cubs did nothing in the seventh against Jeremy Horst.

John Gaub made his big league debut in the bottom of the seventh and retired the Reds in order on 14 pitches, 10 for strikes. Gaub struck out Dave Sappelt swinging to start the inning, the first strikeout of his Major League career.

The Cubs tacked on a run in the eighth. Starlin Castro led off the inning with a bloop double to left. Reed Johnson then ripped a 1-2 pitch from Horst into center. Castro scored the Cubs’ 12th run of the game. Ramirez grounded out to third, Johnson advanced to second with one out. Baker struck out swinging and Soriano fouled out to Votto to end the inning.

Mike Quade sent John Gaub out to start the eighth … and it cost the Cubs two runs. Gaub had not pitched since being recalled from Iowa and the Cubs’ manager sent him out to start another inning.

Yonder Alonso walked to start the eighth and advanced to third on a double down the left field line by Devin Mesoraco. Juan Francisco grounded out to first. Alonso scored and Mesoraco went to third. Quade made a double-switch and brought in Ramon Ortiz, along with Bryan LaHair, with one out in the eighth.

Paul Janish hit Ortiz’s first pitch to Marlon Byrd … Mesoraco tagged and scored, 12-7 Cubs. Chris Heisey struck out swinging to end the inning.

Nick Masset retired the Cubs in order in the ninth.

Ramon Ortiz walked Brandon Phillips to start the bottom of the ninth. Sappelt looked at strike three for the first out. Quade went to the pen and brought in James Russell to face the trio of lefties.

Joey Votto pulled a 1-1 pitch into the right field corner. Phillips scored and the Cubs lead was down to 12-8. Russell retired Bruce (fly out to left on a 3-2 pitch) and Alonso (groundout to second) to end the game.

Monday’s game at Great American Ball Park was anything but a pitcher’s duel.

Box Score from Yahoo Sports

Ryan Dempster is scheduled to face Mike Leake in game two on Tuesday night.

Quote of the Day

"Learn from yesterday, live for today, hope for tomorrow." - Albert Einstein