Game Thirty-Three – Cubs 8 Giants 1
Well it’s over….for the first time since May 1st the Cubs Faithful can rejoice….CUBS WIN, CUBS WIN!!! The Cubs ended their 8-game losing streak on Wednesday night by pounding the Giants, 8 to 1. Carlos Zambrano pitched a tremendous game and other than a 1st inning run, he was in total control of himself and of the ball all evening. Zambrano more than earned his first win of the season.
The Cubs’ offense had a breakout evening, one you hope they can build on and carry over for the next week or so. On Wednesday night the 8 runs the Cubs scored equaled the total runs scored in the previous four games. The Cubs were very efficient scoring 8 runs on 8 hits and only left 3 on base. The Giants defense helped with 2 errors, but the Cubs hit the ball hard all night and forced the Giants to make plays. Barry Bonds finished the night 0-3 with a walk and a strikeout in the 5th inning that Zambrano made him look very bad on…caught him looking.
Carlos Zambrano has had two good outings in a row and showed confidence on the mound that he has not displayed the entire season. Zambrano did walk 5 on Wednesday, but the 5th one was an intentional/unintentional walk to Randy Winn that loaded the bases ahead of Omar Vizquel in 4th inning. Zambrano gave up only 1 run on 6 hits and struck out 6, throwing 110 pitches in 8 strong innings. The only run scored off of Zambrano was in the 1st inning. After a leadoff walk to Randy Winn, Vizquel grounded into a fielder’s choice on a good play by John Mabry….Z did not cover first base and the Cubs could not record the double play. Vizquel advanced to 2nd on the walk to Bonds and scored on a single to right by Steve Finley….Bonds advanced to 3rd on the error by Jacque Jones. Pedro Feliz lined out to Aramis Ramirez to end the inning.
John Mabry played an excellent first base on Wednesday and kept the Giants from scoring in the 2nd. Zambrano walked Kevin Frandsen to leadoff the inning and he advanced to 3rd on a double by Mike Matheny. Zambrano struck out Matt Cain and Randy Winn hit a ground ball to Mabry, Frandsen broke from 3rd and Mabry threw a strike to get Frandsen at home….it was a good play on both ends….Mabry and Blanco. Omar Vizquel struck out to end the inning. And Mabry saved another run in the 4th. After a leadoff double to Pedro Feliz, he advanced to 3rd on a ground out by Frandsen, Mike Matheny walked and Matt Cain bunted him to second. Zambrano walked Winn on 4 pitches and Mabry made a great play on a ground ball from Vizquel to end the inning.
John Mabry made at least 5 very good defensive plays on Wednesday night and Carlos Zambrano gave the Cubs what they needed….a win!!
The offense showed up to the park on Wednesday and Dusty shook up the lineup again. Dusty inserted Ronny Cedeno in the leadoff spot and dropped Juan Pierre down to the 2-hole. The three changes that Dusty made on Wednesday put the Cubs in position to win the ball game.
Cedeno led off the game with a single, stole 2nd and advanced to 3rd on a sacrifice bunt by Pierre. Todd Walker stepped to the plate and grounded out to Omar Vizquel at short, Cedeno scored….1-0 Cubs. While Cedeno went 1-5 with a run scored, Juan Pierre went 2 for 4 with a run scored and a sacrifice bunt. Pierre looked better than he has on Wednesday and hit the ball hard on several trips to the plate.
In the 2nd inning after a John Mabry strike out, Matt Murton had an infield single and scored on a 2-run homer by Jacque Jones. Jones finished the night 3 for 3 with 2 runs scored and 4 RBI’s and raised his average to .269. But it was the 6th inning that the Cubs had been longing for.
The Cubs scored 5 runs and sent 9 to the plate in the 6th. Pierre led off the inning with an infield single off the ankle of Matt Cain, Todd Walker took a 4-pitch walk….Cain was paying too much attention to Pierre. Aramis Ramirez doubled to right (a very good sign, went with the pitch, instead of trying to pull it) to score Pierre….Walker to 3rd. John Mabry popped out in foul territory and Murton walked to load the bases. Jacque Jones singled up the middle off of Frandsen’s glove….hustled all the way to 2nd, Walker and Ramirez scored….Felipe Alou went to the pen for Scott Munter and with the infield in, Henry Blanco hit a shot under the glove of Mark Sweeney….Murton and Jones scored. Sweeney was given an error and Blanco was given 1 RBI.
The Cubs came to play on Wednesday and while they might not have recorded as many hits as some would like, they looked confident from the beginning of the game. The offense did their job and scored more than enough runs to win the ballgame.
Let’s see if they can build on this win and salvage the last 2 games of the road trip. Thursday will be the last game of the year in California for the Cubs, unless they make the playoffs, wouldn’t it be nice to get a win for Sean Marshall.