Game Sixty-One – Cubs 5 Dodgers 4
WP – Bobby Howry (2-2, BS 1) LP – Takashi Saito (3-2) Save – Kerry Wood (17)
The Cubs jumped out to an early 4-0 lead on Thursday night. Kosuke Fukudome hit his 4th home run of the year and his first on the road for the game’s first run. Aramis Ramirez drove in the second run on a ground out to short and Mark DeRosa hit is 7th home run in the 2-run 4th. Ryan Dempster doubled and scored on a 2-out RBI single by Ryan Theriot.
Dempster was very sharp early on, with a lot of help from his defense. Jim Edmonds turned in two game changing catches but the Dodgers scored a pair in the 5th to cut the Cubs lead to 4-2. Jeff Kent hit the first of two solo home runs in the 6th and tied the game in the 8th off of Bobby Howry.
Ryan Theriot turned in another great performance at the plate, and was the difference in the game. Theriot started the 9th with a double down the right field line and scored on a 1-out single to right by Kosuke Fukudome. With the Cubs up 5-4, Lou Piniella turned the game over to Kerry Wood.
James Loney led off the 8th with a double to left center. Wood struck out Blake DeWitt and retired Chin-lung Hu on a pop out to shallow center….Edmonds made a basket catch running towards the infield for the second out. Wood quickly got ahead of pinch hitter, Terry Tiffee, 1-2 before hitting him on a pitch up and in. Juan Pierre fell behind 0-2 but worked a walk to load the bases. Wood threw two out of the zone to Matt Kemp. Kemp chased ball three and changed the at bat. Wood reached back and struck out Kemp swinging on a 2-2 pitch to end the game for his 17th save of the year….tops in the National League.
Lou Piniella’s crew won another close game on the road and improved to 17 games over .500 on the season….they have won 10 of the last 11 and 3 of the first 4 on the road trip. The Cubs rebounded quite well from Wednesday’s loss with a solid win against a very good pitching staff, especially Chad Billingsley. While the offense did their part, the Cubs defense played a big part in the win. Aramis Ramirez, Jim Edmonds, Mark DeRosa and Alfonso Soriano turned in solid games in the field.
The Cubs went in order in the 1st inning and Billingsley retired Aramis Ramirez to start the 2nd. Kosuke Fukudome recorded the Cubs first hit of the game with a solo home run to right….his first long ball on the road. Jim Edmonds followed with a single to center but DeRosa struck out to end the inning.
Chad Billingsley struck out 5 of the first 9 batters he faced and recorded 8 punch-outs in the 5 innings he worked. The Cubs put up impressive offensive numbers against a pitcher that had only allowed 2 earned runs in his last 3 starts.
Alfonso Soriano singled with 1-out in the 3rd inning. Ryan Theriot (3-for-5 with a run scored and a RBI) followed with a single to right. Billingsley walked Derrek Lee to load the bases. Aramis Ramirez was robbed of a single by a great defensive play by Hu on a grounder into the hole at short. Hu threw out Ramirez but Soriano scored on the play. Joe Torre intentionally walked Kosuke Fukudome and Billingsley struck out Geovany Soto to end the inning.
Mark DeRosa hit his 7th long ball of the season with 1-out in the 4th. Ryan Dempster just missed a home run and ended up with his second double of the season. Soriano struck out for the second out. Ryan Theriot recorded his 25th multi hit game with a 2 out RBI single to center….Dempster scored, 4-0 Cubs. On a side note, Chipper Jones leads the NL with 28 multi-hit games and Theriot is tied for second with Lance Berkman with 25 multi-hit games.
The Cubs had opportunities to add to their lead in the middle innings but were unable to come up with the big hit and add those all-important tack on runs.
After the Dodgers tied the game in the bottom of the 8th, Theriot led off the 9th with a double down the right field line. Derrek Lee struck out but Saito hit Aramis Ramirez to put runners on 1st and 2nd for Kosuke Fukudome.
Fukudome put together another impressive at bat. Fukudome fell behind 0-2 to Saito with two swings and misses. He worked the count to 2-2 and on the 8th pitch of the at bat hit a hard grounder into right….Theriot scored, 5-4 Cubs.
Ryan Dempster pitched a very good game….for 4 innings. He allowed only 2 runners (a hit and a walk) until the 5th. Dempster gave up his second hit to Blake DeWitt, a double off the scoreboard in right. Chin-lung Hu followed with a triple to right that plated DeWitt with the Dodgers first run. Mark Sweeney pinch hit for Billingsley and drove in Hu with a single to right. Juan Pierre appeared to bloop a single into shallow center, but Jim Edmonds raced in a made a sensational catch….that changed the inning and possibly the game. Matt Kemp flied out to left for the third out.
Dempster lost his command in the 6th and fell behind all three of the batters he faced. Jeff Kent deposited a 3-1 pitch from Dempster into the stands in left.
Dempster’s line…. 3 runs on 5 hits with 2 walks and a strikeout in 5 1/3 innings.
Neal Cotts and Carlos Marmol did an excellent job and Bobby Howry looked very good until his mistake to Jeff Kent.
Not every win can be a pretty one. Not every win can be textbook….but a win is a win and they all count the same. The Cubs offense and defense did their job and in the end….so did Kerry Wood.
Sean Gallagher will make his second career road start on Friday night against Hiroki Kuroda.