Game Seventy-Six – Cubs 8 Rockies 5
WP – Ted Lilly (6-4) LP – Rodrigo Lopez (4-1) Save – Will Ohman (1)
After a day full of distractions and roster moves, Alfonso Soriano paced the offense with two hits and two runs scored, including the first run of the game. Cliff Floyd hit his 4th home run of the season in the 1st inning and every starter, including Ted Lilly, recorded at least one hit. The Cubs scored 7 of their 8 runs with 2 outs and handed Rodrigo Lopez his first loss of the year.
Ted Lilly was effective but not sharp and struggled with his command. Lilly walked a season-high 5 batters and his defense helped bail him out of several jams. Mark DeRosa made a fine defensive play to save a run in the 2nd inning and Alfonso Soriano recorded his 10th outfield assist in the 3rd inning. The Cubs matched a season-high with their 5th win in a row. Ted Lilly gave Lou Piniella what he needed, innings. With the Cubs offense clicking on all cylinders right now, they gave Piniella the option of leaving Lilly in as long as he did. Lilly did retire the Rockies in order in two of the six innings he pitched but he threw from behind in the count most of the night. Michael Wuertz did a good job in his 2 innings of relief but Carlos Marmol had trouble throwing strikes. Marmol brought up visions of the 9th inning on Monday and when Will Ohman came in to face Todd Helton, he represented the tying run. Ohman did his job and picked up his 1st career Major League save. But as long as the Cubs keep hitting the ball and scoring runs, the W’s will continue to mount even with the starting pitcher giving up 4 runs.
Alfonso Soriano singled to left for the first hit of the game. With Mike Fontenot at the plate, he stole 2nd and advanced to 3rd on a groundout to 3rd by Fontenot. Derrek Lee popped out but Aramis Ramirez doubled to right with 2 outs after a quality at bat….the double came on the 9th pitch from Lopez to score Soriano. Cliff Floyd followed with his 4th home run of the season, a 2-run shot half way up in the right field bleachers.
Soriano doubled to lead off the 3rd and scored on Mike Fontenot’s double to center. Lee flied out, Ramirez popped out and with Fontenot on 3rd, the Rockies intentionally walked Cliff Floyd. Mark DeRosa walked to load the bases but Koyie Hill flied out to center to end the inning.
After going down in order in the 4th, Fontenot walked to lead off the 5th and stole 2nd while Lee looked at strike three. Ramirez flied out to the warning track in right and with 2 outs after missing the strike zone on his first two pitches, Lopez intentionally walked Floyd again. Mark DeRosa singled to center, Fontenot scored and Koyie Hill (the Cubs are 7-3 in games Hill is in the starting lineup) doubled to left center….Floyd and DeRosa scored. Felix Pie broke his bat and hit a dribbler toward Tulowitzki at short, he tried to bare hand it, but missed it. The ball rolled into left and Hill scored after he had already stopped at 3rd. Ted Lilly reached on an infield single, Carroll made a nice stop on the ball hit up the middle but could not throw out Pie at 2nd. Soriano grounded out to 3rd to end the inning.
Ted Lilly cruised through the 1st inning. Two of his five strikeouts came in the opening frame but when he took the mound in the 2nd, he lost what he had. Todd Helton walked to lead off the inning, Garrett Atkins singled and Lilly walked Ryan Spilborghs to load the bases. Chris Iannetta hit a grounder to 3rd, Ramirez stepped on the bag and threw to 1st for the 5-3 double play, Helton scored. With Spilborghs on 2nd, Jamey Carroll hit what appeared to be a single to right but Mark DeRosa showed off his range, made a great stop and threw out Carroll at 1st to end the inning (the play was Baseball Tonight’s #1 Web Gem).
With 1-out in the 3rd, Willy Taveras reached on a bunt single. Troy Tulowitzki followed with a sure double to left…. Alfonso Soriano played the ball well off the ivy, fired to 2nd and the throw beat Tulowitzki out “by a mile.” Instead of runners on 2nd and 3rd with 1-out, the Rockies were left with runner on 3rd, 2 outs. Matt Holliday walked and Todd Helton helped out Ted Lilly, he swung at ball 4 on a 3-2 pitch to end the inning.
Garrett Atkins walked to lead off the 4th. Spilborghs followed with a single to right. Iannetta flied out to center, Felix Pie misread the ball and had to back track to record the out….both runners advanced. Carroll doubled to left to cut the Cubs lead to 4-3. Lopez sacrificed him to 3rd and Taveras walked….Lilly’s 5th free pass. But Tulowitzki popped out to right to end the inning.
Lilly retired the Rockies in order in the 5th. Jamey Carroll hit his 8th career home run to left with 2 outs in the 6th and Lilly departed at the end of the inning. Jamey Carroll had a career night off of Lilly and the Cubs. The Rockies second baseman was 3-4 with a double, a home run, 2 runs scored and 3 RBI’s.
Michael Wuertz pitched 2 scoreless innings, gave up a hit and struck out 3. Wuertz looked very sharp. Carlos Marmol took the mound in the 9th and made the final score a little closer than it should have been. Carroll led off the 9th with a double to right center. Pinch-hitter Cory Sullivan singled to center to score Carroll….Cubs still up 8-5, no outs. Willy Tavares reached on his second bunt single on the night to bring the tying run to the plate. Marmol settled down and struck out Tulowitzki and Holliday. Piniella brought in Will Ohman to face Todd Helton. Ohman threw a first pitch strike and then Helton popped up Ohman’s second pitch to short to end the inning.
Carlos Zambrano is scheduled to start the series finale on Wednesday afternoon against Jason Hirsh….