Game Ninety-One – Cubs 3 Giants 2
WP – Rich Hill (6-6) LP – Kevin Correia (1-5) Save – Bobby Howry (6)
The night at 1060 West Addison started with what appeared to be just a couple of roster moves, Billy Petrick was recalled from Triple-A and Rob Bowen was designated for assignment. Once the actual game started, Rich Hill and Tim Lincecum locked in a pitcher’s duel that saw a combined 2 runs scored on 4 hits through the first 7 innings. In the 6th inning while Lou Piniella was trying to win a ballgame, Jim Hendry announced he had acquired Jason Kendall and cash from the Oakland A’s for Rob Bowen and minor league reliever Jerry Blevins. But the announced deal took a backseat in the 8th inning.
The Giants took the lead in the top of the inning with a pinch-hit RBI single by Guillermo Rodriguez but with 2-outs in the bottom of the inning, Ryan Theriot reached on a seemingly harmless broken bat infield single up the middle. Derrek Lee singled and Aramis Ramirez doubled off the left field wall to give the Cubs their fourth win in a row. Lou Piniella’s crew has won their last five 1-run games and are 5 games over .500 for the first time since April of 2006. For the second game in a row the Cubs put a “W” on the board in come-from-behind-fashion and have now won 16 of their last 20. Over the weekend, Piniella’s crew scored 22 runs against Astros’ pitching but were held in check until the 8th inning by rookie Tim Lincecum. The Cubs offense managed just 1 run on 2 hits, a solo home run in the 3rd by Koyie Hill and a leadoff single by Alfonso Soriano to start the game. Lincecum was lights out and struck out 8 on the night and hit the mid to high 90’s on the gun. Lincecum left with 1-out in the 7th after walking two of the last three batters he faced. With runners on 1st and 2nd, Patrick Misch got Koyie Hill to ground into a 6-4-3 inning ending double play. The Cubs were once again held in check by another pitcher they had not faced before.
In the top of the 8th, Rich Hill walked Pedro Feliz to start the inning. Kevin Frandsen sacrificed him to 2nd and he scored on a single to left by Guillermo Rodriguez. Alfonso Soriano charged the grounder in order to have a play at the plate but the ball skipped past him, Feliz scored and Rodriguez advanced to 2nd on the error. Dave Roberts reached on a bunt single, Rodriguez advanced to 3rd but with Omar Vizquel at the plate, Piniella called for a pitch-out anticipating the squeeze bunt. Piniella guessed right, Vizquel threw his bat at the ball but Koyie Hill threw to 3rd and Theriot eventually tagged out Rodriguez for the out (2-5-2-6, if you are scoring at home). Roberts advanced to 2nd on the play but Rich Hill retired Vizquel on a ground out to short.
Kevin Correia started the 8th for the Giants and retired pinch hitter, Mike Fontenot on a ground out to 1st. Soriano flied out to left for the second out of the inning but Ryan Theriot reached on a broken bat single up the middle that Ray Durham caught with his bare hand but was unable to make a throw. Derrek Lee stepped in, Piniella called for the hit and run on a 1-1 count and Lee delivered with a single to right under the leaping Theriot and through the hole vacated by Durham at 2nd. With runners on 1st and 3rd, Bochy went to his pen for Randy Messenger. Aramis Ramirez got ahead in the count 2-1 and on the next pitch Lee took off for 2nd. Ramirez then lined a double off the left field wall, Theriot scored to tie the game and Lee scored from 1st with the go ahead run….Ramirez ended up a 2nd but he thought he had gotten all of it, he did admire his work for just a bit. Wrigley exploded and Bobby Howry pitched a perfect 9th for the save.
Rich Hill started his first game of the second half and was just about unhittable. Before the 8th, Hill made just one mistake, a home run by Pedro Feliz in the 5th and the only other hit he gave up was a single by Feliz in the 3rd that hit the 3rd base bag, changed direction and ended up in shallow left. Hill threw strikes….95 pitches, 66 for strikes in 8 innings and was very efficient. He did walk 2 while striking out 3 with the last free pass almost costing him the win. Hill deserved the victory, it was well earned and if the Cubs are going to continue to win ballgames….they need Rich Hill to pitch the way he did on Monday.
Sean Marshall is scheduled to throw to the Cubs’ newest acquisition on Tuesday night under the lights against Jason Kendall’s former teammate, Barry Zito.