Soriano Blasts the Cubs to a Win – Cubs 5, Reds 3

Game One Hundred Ten – Cubs 5, Reds 3
WP – Shawn Camp (3-5) LP – Sean Marshall (4-4) Save – Carlos Marmol (14)

wflag.jpgDale Sveum’s team battled back from a 3-1 deficit in the fourth inning and ended their eight-game losing streak. The middle of the Cubs’ lineup drove in all five runs with the big hit coming off the bat of Alfonso Soriano in the bottom of the eighth inning.

Starlin Castro (1-for-4 with a double and two RBI) tied the game in the sixth with a two run double. The Cubs’ pen kept the Reds off the board and the game remained tied at three until the bottom of the eighth.

Anthony Rizzo (2-for-2 with a double, a RBI, two walks and two runs scored) worked a one-out walk against Sean Marshall. Dusty Baker went to his pen and brought in Logan Ondrusek to face Alfonso Soriano. Soriano fell behind 0-2, worked the count back to even then he launched the sixth pitch of the at bat well over the wall in center. Soriano’s 20th longball of the year put the Cubs up by two.

Alfonso Soriano joined Andre Dawson as the only players in Cubs’ history to hit at least 20 home runs in their first six seasons with the organization. Soriano has hit at least 20 longballs in 11 straight seasons.

The Cubs offense did just enough Thursday night and was actually outhit (8-7) by the Reds.

Chris Volstad survived a rocky first inning and put together a quality start. While Volstad did not pick up the victory (winless in last 22 big league starts), the Cubs won a game started by Volstad for the first time this season (1-10). Volstad served up a homer to Zack Cozart to start the game and gave up two runs in a laborious first inning. Volstad threw 35 of his 99 pitches (62 strikes) in the opening inning. Volstad allowed three runs on six hits (two home runs) with two walks and four strikeouts in six innings … and kept his team in the game.

The Cubs pen did an excellent job Thursday night. Manny Corpas pitched a scoreless seventh and Shawn Camp put together a perfect eighth. Carlos Marmol pitched around a leadoff single and a walk in route to his 14th save of the season.

David DeJesus (1-for-4 with a double and a run scored), Darwin Barney (1-for-4 with a run scored) and Luis Valbuena (1-for-3 with a walk) contribute at the plate and Steve Clevenger was ejected during his at bat in the fifth inning for arguing balls and strikes.

With Thursday’s win, the Cubs improved to 44-66 on the season …

After rain delayed the start of Thursday’s game one hour and twenty minutes, Chris Volstad did not make it through the first batter of the game without putting his team into a hole. Volstad jumped ahead of Zack Cozart 1-2, could not finish him off then left a 3-2 pitch over the middle of the plate. Cozart drove the ball into the bleachers in left and just like that the Reds took a 1-0 lead. Volstad then walked the free-swinging Drew Stubbs. Brandon Phillips blooped a 2-2 pitch into right. Stubbs was running on the play and made it easily to third.

With runners on first and third and no outs, Ryan Ludwick pulled a 1-2 pitch toward third. Luis Valbuena fielded the ball then juggled it as Stubbs raced toward the plate. Valbuena settled for an out at first and the Reds took a 2-0 lead. Volstad struck out Jay Bruce swinging (2-2 pitch) and caught Todd Frazier looking (3-2 pitch) to end the inning. Chris Volstad threw 35 pitches in the first, 20 for strikes.

David DeJesus pulled a 2-2 offering from Mike Leake into the right field corner to start the Cubs’ first inning. Darwin Barney grounded a 1-1 pitch to Phillips for the first out. DeJesus advanced to third on the productive out. Anthony Rizzo bounced Leake’s first pitch back up the middle and off of Leake’s glove. Leake deflected the ball toward short but Cozart could not make a barehanded play. DeJesus scored on Rizzo’s infield single and cut the Reds lead in half at 2-1.

Alfonso Soriano struck out swinging (2-2 pitch) and Starlin Castro drove the first pitch he saw into right center … but Jay Bruce hauled it in for the third out.

Miguel Cairo reached on an error by Starlin Castro to start the second. Castro back-peddled on a routine grounder, bobbled the ball and slipped when he tried to recover. Devin Mesoraco fouled out to Rizzo. Mike Leake stepped in and bunted Volstad’s first pitch right to Rizzo. The Cubs’ first baseman fielded the ball and made a strong throw to second. Castro caught the ball then made a leaping throw toward first. Dusty Baker argued that Castro was not on the bag. In real time it appeared Castro was not on the base before making the throw to first but replays showed it was the right call. Cozart popped out to Barney in shallow right for the third out. Volstad threw 47 pitches in the first two innings, 28 for strikes.

The Cubs did nothing in the second. Leake needed only 28 pitches to get through two innings, 21 for strikes.

Chris Volstad made quick work of Stubbs and Phillips to start the third. Volstad fell behind Ryan Ludwick 2-1. Ludwick ripped Volstad’s next offering into left for a single. Jay Bruce pulled Volstad’s first pitch to Barney to end the inning … 56 pitches for Volstad after three, 35 for strikes.

The Cubs did nothing in the third … 41 pitches for Leake after three, 30 for strikes.

Todd Frazier lined Volstad’s first pitch of the fourth inning into the basket in left center … and the Reds took a 3-1 lead on Frazier’s 14th homer of the season. Volstad retired Cairo (groundout to third), Mesoraco (groundout to short) and Leake (groundout to short) in order to end the fourth. Volstad threw 65 pitches, 41 for strikes, in the first five innings.

Anthony Rizzo led off the Cubs’ fourth with a bloop, hustle double to left. Alfonso Soriano pulled a 0-1 pitch toward short. Cozart fielded the ball and threw to first. Rizzo tried to advance to third and was thrown out by a mile. Miguel Cairo threw a strike back across the diamond to Frazier for the second out. Castro hit a routine grounder to short for the third out. The Cubs allowed Mike Leake to throw only 49 pitches over the first four innings, 36 for strikes.

Volstad retired Cozart on a grounder to third and struck out Stubbs swinging for the second out. Brandon Phillips drove a 0-1 pitch into the gap in right center for a double. Volstad issued a four-pitch walk to Ludwick. Jay Bruce stepped in with runners on first and second and two down … and Volstad struck him out swinging to end the inning. Volstad threw 82 pitches, 50 for strikes, over five innings.

Luis Valbuena led off the fifth with a single to right. Brett Jackson struck out swinging (1-2 pitch). Steve Clevenger did not like the strike-two call and voiced his displeasure to homeplate umpire Jeff Nelson. Leake’s next pitch was pretty much identical to the one before. Nelson called it a ball, Clevenger started arguing again and was ejected from the game. Welington Castillo replaced him and struck out swinging (the strikeout was charged to Clevenger). Volstad stayed in and grounded out to short for the third out. Leake needed only 69 pitches, 49 strikes, to get through five frames.

Todd Frazier doubled to left to start the sixth. Miguel Cairo hit a 1-2 pitch back up the box. Volstad fielded the ball and realized Frazier broke for third. Volstad ran toward third, tossed the ball to Valbuena and Frazier was eventually tagged out (1-5-6-5). With Cairo at first, Mesoraco flied out to Soriano in left center and Leake flied out to Jackson in left center to end the inning … 99 pitches for Volstad after six, 62 for strikes.

David DeJesus fouled out to Mesoraco for begin the sixth. Darwin Barney lined Leake’s first pitch into left. Leake jumped ahead of Rizzo 0-2. Anthony Rizzo showed patience and worked a walk. With runners on first and second with one out, Leake struck out Soriano swinging.

Starlin Castro pulled Leake’s first pitch to deep left center. The ball hit off the top of the wall and barely missed landing in the basket. Barney scored easily and Rizzo was waived home. Rizzo just beat Cozart’s throw to tie the game. Rizzo ran into Mesoraco and was a little slow getting to his feet. Castro advanced to third on the throw. Luis Valbuena walked and the Cubs had runners on first and third with two down for Brett Jackson … Jackson hit a 1-1 pitch toward first. Cairo fielded the ball, fell down and just beat a hustling Jackson to the bag for the third out.

The rain started falling again in the top of the seventh as Manny Corpas took over for Chris Volstad. Corpas gave up a two-out single to Brandon Phillips but that was all.

The Cubs did nothing against Jose Arredondo and Sean Marshall in the seventh.

Shawn Camp set down the side in order in the eighth.

Sean Marshall stayed in and started the eight by striking out Darwin Barney (1-2 pitch). Anthony Rizzo fell behind 1-2 before taking a very close 3-2 pitch from Marshall. Rizzo took first and Dusty Baker went to his pen for Logan Ondrusek. Soriano fell behind 0-2, worked the count back to even then launched Ondrusek’s sixth pitch of the at bat over the wall in center. Soriano’s 20th homer of the season broke the 3-3 tie and put the Cubs up 5-3. Castro popped out to short and Valbuena struck out swinging to end the inning.

The Cubs went to the ninth up 5-3.

Carlos Marmol took the hill for just the second time since August 1 and missed on his first three offerings to pinch-hitter Xavier Paul (Devin Mesoraco). Paul ended up reaching on an infield single to the hole at short. Castro did an excellent job of fielding the ball and making a strong throw to Rizzo … but Paul just beat it out. Wilson Valdez hit Marmol’s first pitch toward Barney. Barney fielded the short-hop smash, threw to Castro and started a 4-6-3 double play. Marmol issued a four-pitch walk to Zack Cozart. Drew Stubbs pulled a 1-2 pitch toward short. Castro fielded the ball and threw a strike to a stretching Barney to end the game … Cubs Win!

Box Score from Yahoo Sports

Justin Germano is scheduled to face Homer Bailey in game two on Friday afternoon.

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Quote of the Day

"There are only two seasons ... winter and baseball." - Bill Veeck

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  • paulcatanese

    Just one word Neil, NICE!!

  • Ripsnorter1

    The Volstad streak is over! Now I fear Team Theo will re-sign him.

    These Reds are not a World Series quality team. That starting staff of Leake, Arroyo, Bailey…they are very, very beatable. Throw in Dusty as the manager, and I say they can be knocked off the top of the heap. They are only 2.5 ahead of Pittsburgh, and only 5 ahead of the Cards. They could blow it all and even fall out of the playoffs. Now wouldn’t that be exciting?

    I still think the Cards can win the division.

    Meanwhile the Cubs can help send Dusty into the dust with a win today. And they can actually pull it off if Soriano plays–face it fans, he’s the straw that stirs the drink. Joe Mather is a poor replacement.

    • Tony_Hall

      Votto is about to come back…they will continue to out hit their opponents. Plus, not many pitchers would have good numbers pitching in that band box.

      • Ripsnorter1

        You points are valid.

        Votto. Bruce–sometimes. And not as much offense elsewhere as one might think. Did you know the Reds are merely 16th in runs scored in MLB?

        You may very well be right. I’d like to see the Cards knock ‘em off, and the Pirates take the Wildcard.

  • Ripsnorter1

    Soriano can get the 30 HRs and 100 RBIs.

    • Tony_Hall

      I really doubt it.

      He has 20 HR’s and 66 RBI’s after 110 games.

      At the same pace…

      29.5 HR’s
      97 RBI’s

      So it is possible…

      But is it likely…

      No, as I would bet that he doesn’t play in the same number of games, due to injuries, fatigue, and playing more younger guys to see about next year.

      Either way, this year will go down as his most productive year since 2007, his first with the Cubs. But in some ways it is better, as this year he has been consistently helping the team, ever since he went to the lighter bat, whereas in 2007, most of his stats came in 3 incredible hot streaks.

      • paulcatanese

        Tony, it could be done a lot easier if, there were people that get on ahead of him and someone to protect him from behind in the lineup.
        So far, all he has had is a slumping LaHair and a slumping Castro.
        The success of Rizzo (aside from Rizzo’s talent) has had a lot to do with Soriono following him.
        Hey, neither rain or sleet, hot or cold, so far, the postman has delivered.:)

        • cubtex

          Cmon Paul. It is “Wonderboy” the lighter bat. It has nothing to do with any skills or talent…or the fact his knee got stronger.

      • John G

        If you’re gonna extrapulate his record, then do it based on the number of games since he changed to a lighter bat. i.e. don’t count from the beginning of the season, start from mid May. In which case maybe he does hit 30/100

        • Tony_Hall

          You are right. I figured the numbers showed he was on pace to be in the neighborhood anyway.

          If he plays the rest of the year, healthy and in the lineup, he will exceed both numbers. I just don’t think he will play enough to do it.

  • Larry Schwimmer

    I hope we can agree that if all other clubs want to give for Soriano is $2 or $3 mil per year – then I say keep him. If Soriano were a free Agent next year he should command a 2 yr Contract at $5-6 mil per year. I say that if a guy who can hit 30 to 35 HRS + 90 to 100 RBIs a year is not worth that then he should remain a CUB! Especially, when you stop to realize there is no CUB outfielder who is anywhere more valuable. So, I applaud THEO for not allowing other teams try to “screw” the CUBS! Do you agree that teams have not been willing to give a fair deal on a Soriano trade? Ask yourself: if you could get someone to hit that many HR + that many RBIs…How much per year would you pay for that type of offense?

  • Tony_Hall

    Absolutely, he has been great, ever since he went to a lighter bat, which has allowed him to produce his best and longest stretch of productive baseball since being with the Cubs.

    The biggest question is what would he get on the open market, and it would be a 1 year deal, as teams would have questions, about his legs,and how long they will allow him to keep playing at this level.

    But at this point, if no team is willing to give up a legitimate prospect, and pay some of his contract, there is no reason to move him. But, you also want to sell high on him at some point in the next 2 and half years. It might not get any higher than right now. That is why selling high is so difficult on a player, when they are at their highest point, everyone wants to keep the player. But then you end up dumping them when they come back down, just like we did with Soto, who we should have traded a few years ago.

  • cubtex

    hahahaha. I love the fact you ALWAYS say that it is the lighter bat each and everytime someone praises Soriano. It is “Wonderboy” with lightning bolts on it carved from a tree that was struck down from lightning! All Soriano has to do is stand there with his bat in hand and the bat swings itself! Wonderboy has struck again. If he hadn’t switched to Wonderboy….he would be hitting .190 with 5 HR’s this year. Thank god for Wonderboy!

  • Tony_Hall

    I add that just for you!