Game Fourteen – Cubs 12 Reds 3
WP – Carlos Zambrano (2-1) LP – Josh Fogg (1-2) Save – None
Lou Piniella’s crew improved to a season-high four games over .500 with a decisive win on Wednesday night against the Reds. The Cubs offense exploded for 12 runs, another season-high, on 13 hits with only one home run. Kosuke Fukudome hit the first of 5 doubles on the night in the 1st inning that gave the Cubs a 2-run lead they would not relinquish. Mark DeRosa followed Fukudome with a 2-run double of his own and the Cubs scored 10 of their 12 runs in the first three innings. Derrek Lee hit his 6th home run of the year to lead off the 6-run 3rd inning. Lee added another 3-hit night and reached base in four out of five trips to the plate. Kosuke Fukudome was 2-for-3 with a double, 2 RBI’s, 2 runs scored and 2 more walks.
Carlos Zambrano pitched a very good game after he was staked an early lead. Zambrano was efficient and threw only 102 pitches in 7 strong innings. He allowed 2 runs on 8 hits with a walk and 5 strikeouts. Zambrano also tied a career high with three hits….two singles, a double, a run scored and a RBI. Kevin Hart gave up a solo home run to Adam Dunn in the 8th that accounted for the Reds third run.
The Cubs have quietly won 8 of their last 10 games. The Cubs offense picked up where they left off on Tuesday night but not with the long ball….with good situational hitting. On anther night with the wind blowing out, the Cubs proved they can score runs in bunches and still keep the ball in the park. Lou Piniella received contributions from the entire lineup and said after the game, “It was a good team win.”
Ryan Theriot reached on a 1-out double in the 1st inning. Derrek Lee followed with a single to right, Theriot was held at third. Josh Fogg quickly got ahead of Aramis Ramirez, 0-2, before hitting him with the next pitch to load the bases. Kosuke Fukudome followed with a double down the right field line….Theriot and Lee scored. Mark DeRosa followed with a double down the left field line that rolled into the corner, Ramirez and Fukudome scored and the Cubs never looked back.
Fogg retired the Cubs in order in the 2nd but Derrek Lee hit his 6th dinger of the year to lead off the 3rd inning. Lee matched his first half total from a year ago….on April 16th and is tied for the Major League lead in home runs (Lee hit his 7th home run last season on July 15th against the Astros). After Lee’s home run, the game became very entertaining, at least from a Cubs’ standpoint.
Aramis Ramirez walked and Fukudome followed with a single to right. Mark DeRosa then walked to load the bases. Geovany Soto doubled to left center that chased Josh Fogg from the game. Ramirez and Fukudome scored. Reed Johnson hit a sacrifice fly to center that plated Mark DeRosa and Carlos Zambrano singled to left for his first hit of the year….Geovany Soto scored.
Mike Fontenot grounded into a fielder’s choice but Ryan Theriot singled and Derrek Lee walked to reload the bases. With Aramis Ramirez at the plate, Mike Lincoln uncorked a wild pitch and Mike Fontenot scored the Cubs’ 10th run of the game. The Cubs sent 11 to the plate in the 3rd and scored 6 runs on 5 hits.
The Reds’ pitching staff quieted the Cubs offense until Carlos Zambrano doubled to left center with 1-out in the 7th. Kent Mercker threw the Reds’ second wild pitch of the night with Mike Fontenot at the plate, Zambrano advanced to 3rd and scored on a single to left by “Little Fontenot“, as Piniella calls him.
The Cubs scored their 12th run of the game in the 8th after Francisco Cordero walked the bases loaded, Geovany Soto grounded into a force out and Felix Pie scored on the play.
To go along with the 13 hits, the Cubs walked 7 times.
Carlos Zambrano did not let the misplayed ball by Mark DeRosa in the 2nd inning affect his outing. Simply put, Zambrano pitched the way a staff ace is supposed to with a 10-1 lead after 3 innings. He threw strikes. Lou Piniella’s bullpen, with the exception of Kevin Hart, received a well-deserved night off because of Zambrano’s performance.
The Cubs have scored 21 runs in the last 16 innings….
Ted Lilly will try to pick up his first win of the year on Thursday afternoon against young flame-thrower, Edinson Volquez.