Game Nine – Cubs 11 Pirates 6
Sean Marshall had an impressive start against the Cardinals last Sunday night under the bright lights of Wrigley Field, on Friday the young lefties’ goal was to get his first big league victory. Marshall was given a one run lead before he took the mound at PNC Park at never looked back. Marshall retired the first nine Pirates he faced….a perfect three innings on just 30 pitches and even helped himself with a two out single in the top of the 2nd that scored Matt Murton who had doubled earlier in the inning. Marshall threw 79 pitches over 5 innings and allowed 4 runs on 5 hits. Marshall actually pitched better than the box score will indicate….Wuertz allowed a home run with a runner that Marshall had left on base….Marshall had a rough 4th inning, but retired the Pirates in order in 4 of the 5 full innings he pitched.
In the 4th Nate McClouth led off with a single and stole second base. Jack Wilson singled after an 11 pitch at bat; Craig Wilson walked to load the bases. Jason Bay singled home the first Pirates run. Joe Randa hit into a double play; Jack Wilson scored and Jeromy Burnitz grounded out to Derrek Lee to end the inning.
In the bottom of the 6th, Nate McClouth hit a solo home run off of Marshall; Jack Wilson singled and Dusty went to the bullpen. Michael Wuertz came in and gave up a 2 run homer to Craig Wilson and a solo shot to Jason Bay….Dusty went to the pen again and brought in Scott Williamson. Williamson gave up a single to Joe Randa and then got the next three batters out, including two strikeouts. Williamson did a great job and gave the Cubs the stop they needed. The Pirates hit 3 home runs in the 6th and closed the gap to 8-6.
Scott Williamson pitched 2 shut out innings, Bobby Howry pitched a perfect 8th and Ryan Dempster pitched a scoreless 9th, although he did hit a batter.
The offense was off and running in the first inning. After Pierre started the game with a fly out to left, Todd Walker tripled and scored on a sac fly by Derrek Lee. Aramis Ramirez walked and Michael Barrett flied out to end the inning, but the offense kept going in the 2nd inning.
With one out, Matt Murton doubled to right and Cedeno advanced him to 3rd on a ground out and with 2 outs….Sean Marshall stepped to the plate. Marshall was very patient at the plate and recorded his first Major League hit and RBI with a single to left. Juan Pierre ended the inning with a ground out.
In the top of the 3rd, Walker led off with a single and advanced to 2nd on a long fly out to left field off the bat of Derrek Lee. Walker made a great decision and even though the Cubs did not score in the 3rd, the smart base running was very good to see. Michael Barrett had a very good at bat in the 3rd as well and worked a walk after starting 0-2….it was an 8 pitch at bat. John Mabry had an infield single and during the play he bumped Sean Casey, Casey was injured and left the game. Matt Murton struck out with the bases loaded to end the inning.
In the top of the 5th, Walker singled and advanced to 3rd on a single to left center off the bat of D-Lee. With one out, Michael Barrett singled; Walker scored. John Mabry hit his second infield single of the game to load the bases and Matt Murton tripled to clear the bases….Murton was 6″ away from a Grand Slam.
The Cubs added 2 more runs in the 6th and three in the 9th to seal the victory.
The Cubs pounded out 14 hits and left 7 on base. Todd Walker was 4 for 5, Derrek Lee was 2 for 4 and Matt Murton was 2 for 5 with 3 RBI’s. The offense looked good on Friday. What will the offense be able to put up when Juan Pierre (.237) and Aramis Ramirez (.154) start hitting?
The Cubs have won seven straight and 12 of their last 13 in Pittsburgh dating back to May of 2004.
Sean Marshall got his first career win and joins Greg Maddux as the only two starters to post a win for the Cubs.
On a side note, the Reds beat Chris Carpenter and the Cardinals, 1-0 in St. Louis. Could the Reds be for real?