Game One Hundred Sixty – Cubs 6 Reds 0
WP – Carlos Zambrano (18-13) LP – Bronson Arroyo (9-15) Save – None
Carlos Zambrano ended the Cubs 3-game losing streak in impressive fashion. Zambrano threw 7 innings of shutout ball and has not allowed a run in his last two outings, 13 innings. Zambrano gave up 6 hits, all singles, with 4 strikeouts and a walk. Zambrano, Bobby Howry and Ryan Dempster combined on the Cubs’ 9th shutout of the year. Alfonso Soriano made the defensive play of the game in the 3rd inning, with the Cubs up 2-0. After two singles with 1 out in the 3rd, Edwin Encarnacion singled to left, Soriano threw a one-hop strike to Jason Kendall to nail Joey Votto at the plate. Soriano’s 19th assist tied the mark set by Billy Williams in 1962.
Alfonso Soriano started the game for the 11th time this year with a home run, and the Cubs never looked back. Soriano tied Ernie Banks’ record set in 1952 with his 13th longball in September. It was his 32nd of the year. Derrek Lee added a 2-run shot in the 5th, his 22nd and Jacque Jones hit a 2-out, 2-run double in the 8th to put the game away.
The Cubs won their 84th game of the year, and with 2 left to play, Lou Piniella’s crew is 8 games over .500. Carlos Zambrano pitched an excellent game, with the emphasis on the word pitched. Zambrano threw 110 pitches in 7 innings, 70 for strikes. The Cubs needed him to step up and end their losing streak and he did. Zambrano had only 1 inning in which he was in trouble and stayed in full control for 7 innings.
The Cubs offense continued hitting the ball very hard on Friday night against Bronson Arroyo. The Cubs have had a lot of problems with Arroyo over the past 2 years, but have started to figure him out of late.
Mark DeRosa led off the 2nd with a single to center. Jacque Jones followed with a single to right. With Ryan Theriot at the plate, Javier Valentin let one get past him….both runners advanced on the passed ball. Theriot then hit a sinking liner to center that was caught by Norris Hopper. DeRosa tagged and scored, 2-0 Cubs.
Alfonso Soriano doubled with 1 out in the 5th and scored on Derrek Lee’s home run to left on the first pitch from Arroyo. The Cubs offense was very quiet in the 6th and 7th innings.
Aramis Ramirez singled with 2 outs in the 8th. DeRosa followed with a bloop single to left. Jacque Jones then hit a double off the wall in left just out of the reach of Buck Coats. Ryan Theriot followed with a single to left but Coats threw out Jones at the plate to end the inning.
The Cubs did their job and what they had to do.
Rich Hill is scheduled to face Aaron Harang in the second game of the series on Saturday afternoon.