Game One Hundred Fifty – Cubs 11 Reds 3
The Cubs scored 7 times in the 1st inning, hit 3 home runs and chased Eric Milton from the game with 1 out in the 1st. The Cubs hit the ball hard all day; Carlos Zambrano was incredibly sharp in his 1st start in almost 2 weeks. The Cubs hit 6 home runs on the day, a season high….Jacque Jones, Ronny Cedeno, Matt Murton, Carlos Zambrano and Ryan Theriot hit two. Zambrano’s home run was his 5th of the season; he is now just one short of the club record held by Ferguson Jenkins (6 in 1971) and two short of the National League record.
With the loss on Sunday by the Reds to the Cubs their post-season plans are just about put on hold until next season. The Reds have been a thorn in the side of the Cubs for the past two seasons, effectively ending the Cubs post-season aspirations, this year the Cubs were able to return the favor….unfortunately. The Cubs have given glimpses of the amount of offense they are capable of putting up and Sunday they took out 149 games worth of frustration on the Reds pitching staff. The 1st inning was one that would have been more than welcome back in May but it was still good to see in September. The Cubs scored 7 runs on 8 hits, 3 home runs and sent 11 to the plate all in the 1st inning. Juan Pierre started the inning with a single to center and actually recorded 2 hits in the inning. Ryan Theriot followed Pierre with a single of his own to right center, Aramis Ramirez singled to left to score Pierre without a throw from Adam Dunn. Matt Murton struck out and Jacque Jones followed with a 3-run homer to left, his 26th of the season, 1 shy of his career best and his 6th off of lefties this season. Henry Blanco doubled to left and Ronny Cedeno hit the longest home run of his career….410′ out onto Waveland. Eric Milton exited after just a 1/3 of an inning. With 2 outs Carlos Zambrano went deep to left. Pierre added another hit to center and Theriot grounded out to short to end the inning. The best 1st inning of the year….
Matt Murton added his 12th home run of the season in the 2nd and the Cubs added 2 more in the 4th. Ryan Theriot hit his 2nd home run of the season to lead off the 4th, Jacque Jones tripled (his first of the season) and scored on a single to left by Henry Blanco. Ryan Theriot hit his 2nd of the day and 3rd on the year in the 6th to complete the scoring on the day for the Cubs. The offense pounded out 17 hits on the day and a single walk….Matt Murton in the 8th. Every starter recorded at least 1 hit and every starter scored at least 1 run with the exception of Geovany Soto. The Cubs defense was good on the day against a Reds team that just seems to be out of gas.
Carlos Zambrano did not show any signs of making his first start back from the DL. He looked like the dominant pitcher than has taken the mound all season for the Cubs. He did allow a run in the 7 innings he pitched and gave up just 4 hits….he did walk 4 and struck out 6. The Cubs defense did a fine job behind him and even turned a 3-6-1 double play. Zambrano struck out David Ross to finish his day and left the field after pumping his fist. Roberto Novoa pitched a perfect 8th retiring all 3 Reds on just 8 pitches. Ryan Dempster could not complete the shutout and gave up 3 runs on 4 hits, half of the total hits on the day for the Reds, and looked incredibly uncomfortable on the mound. Dempster has lost what swagger he had last season.
Eric Milton was 3-0 in 7 career games at Wrigley before Sunday. Both Aramis Ramirez (8) and Ronny Cedeno (11) extended their hitting streaks. Cubs pitching did a very good job against the Reds all series. They threw 25 shutout innings and allowed the Reds to score all 7 runs in the series in just 2 innings….the 4th on Friday (4 runs) and the 9th on Sunday (3 runs). The Cubs recorded back-to-back series wins at home and finished the homestand winning 4 out of 6.
The Cubs head to Philadelphia for the start of their last road trip of the year….3 against the Phillies and 4 against the Reds. Sean Marshall is scheduled to take the mound against former Cub Jon Lieber on Monday night.