Game Thirteen – Cubs 9 Reds 5
WP – Ryan Dempster (2-0) LP – Aaron Harang (1-2) Save – None
Lou Piniella’s crew handed the Reds their fourth loss in a row with a solid come from behind win. The Reds scored in the 2nd inning on a single by Edwin Encarnacion but Mark DeRosa gave the Cubs a brief 2-1 lead with his second home run in as many games in the bottom of the 2nd. Ken Griffey, Jr. hit the 595th home run of his Hall of Fame career in the 3rd to put the Reds back on top, 3-2.
Ryan Dempster settled down and turned in another quality start while Derrek Lee and the Cubs offense put runs on the board in three of the last four innings. Lee gave the Cubs the lead for good with a 3-run homer in the 5th after a Mike Fontenot double and a Ryan Theriot walk. Aramis Ramirez doubled home Lee in the 7th and DeRosa added his third RBI of the night on a deep single to center. Ryan Theriot hit his first home run of the year, a 2-run shot that put the game out of reach in the 8th.
The Cubs handed Aaron Harang his first career loss at Wrigley Field and held Corey Patterson hitless in four trips to the plate. The Cubs offense picked a good time to pound out 9 runs on 14 hits but it was their defense that once again played a big role in the win. The game started with a quick 5-pitch 1st inning by Ryan Dempster but a routine pop up might have turned into a trip to the DL. Alfonso Soriano injured himself after making his signature hop on a pop fly to shallow left off the bat of Ken Griffey, Jr. Soriano left the game and was replaced in the leadoff spot by Mike Fontenot and in left by Mark DeRosa.
What will be lost in the offensive breakout on Tuesday night is another quality start by Ryan Dempster. Despite walking 5 batters (Adam Dunn three times), Dempster was very impressive once again. He threw 6+ innings and allowed 4 runs on 5 hits with 3 strikeouts to go along with the 5 free passes. Dempster settled down after the 3rd inning and did not allow another run while he was in the game (the 4th run charged to Dempster was off a fielder’s choice in the 7th with Carlos Marmol on the mound).
Dempster ran up his pitch count but seemed to have a game plan….Adam Dunn was not going to beat him.
After Dempster left the game with no outs and two on in the 7th, Carlos Marmol made a bad decision on a sacrifice bunt attempt by Corey Patterson. The Reds ended up loading the bases but two great defensive plays kept the Reds from taking the lead.
Jeff Keppinger hit a grounder up the middle and Mike Fontenot made a great diving play and then shuffled the ball to Ryan Theriot for the first out of the inning….Paul Bako scored to cut the Cubs lead to 5-4. Ken Griffey, Jr. then grounded into a 3-6-3 double play to end the inning. Derrek Lee made a great play to get his team out of trouble.
Marmol struck out the side in the 8th….Brandon Phillips looking, Adam Dunn looking and Edwin Encarnacion swinging.
Michael Wuertz started the 9th but gave up a lead off homer to Joey Votto and then issued a 4-pitch walk to Paul Bako. Lou Piniella quickly brought in Kerry Wood. Wood threw 15 pitches and retired the Reds in order to end the game.
Everyone, but Felix Pie, in the starting lineup recorded at least one hit….even Ryan Dempster got into the act with his first since April of 2005. Kosuke Fukudome reached base three times with a 2-for-4 night, a walk and a run scored. Mark DeRosa picked up where he left off against Reds pitching….2-for-4 with a run scored, a home run and 3 RBI’s. But it was the big man, Derrek Lee….3-for-5 with 2 runs scored, a home run and 3 RBI’s. Lee’s blast in the 5th, his fifth of the year, prompted Ron Santo to proclaim, “He’s back!” Derrek Lee did not hit his fifth home run of the season last year until June 1st.
Felix Pie proved why he should be on the field on a daily basis with a tremendous catch in the 4th inning. Pie crashed into the wall and robbed Paul Bako of at least a double….the catch changed the game, and at the time the Cubs were down 3-2.
The Cubs put together an impressive win and arguably their best all-around performance of the young season.
Carlos Zambrano is scheduled to face Josh Fogg in the second game under the lights on Wednesday night.