Game Sixty-Three – Cubs 3 Dodgers 7
WP – Derek Lowe (4-5) LP – Carlos Zambrano (8-2) Save – None
Carlos Zambrano and Derek Lowe locked in a pitcher’s duel for most of Saturday afternoon at Chavez Ravine. The Cubs offense did not record their first hit until the 5th inning but took a 1-0 lead on a RBI groundout in the same inning by Reed Johnson. Alfonso Soriano hit his 15th long ball of the season to start the 6th and the Cubs led 2-0.
The Dodgers tied the score at 2 in the bottom of the 6th after another botched call at 1st base and a 2-run shot by Russell Martin.
The Cubs battled back to take the lead in the top of the 7th on a RBI single to right by Carlos Zambrano but the defense let down their ace in the bottom of the 7th. The Dodgers plated 5 runs before Zambrano left the game and took out his frustrations on several coolers in the dugout. The Cubs had chances to get out of the inning but a dropped ball by Ryan Theriot on a stolen base attempt by Juan Pierre and a throwing error by Aramis Ramirez opened the door for the Dodgers.
The throwing error by Ramirez allowed Pierre to score the tying run and Russell Martin drove in the winning run on a bloop single to right that Kosuke Fukudome appeared to catch….the ball popped out of his glove when it hit the ground. Matt Kemp stepped in a batter later and hit a 3-run homer to center that put the game out of reach.
Zambrano allowed a season-high 7 runs and tied a career high with 13 hits allowed in 6 2/3 innings. Zambrano deserved a better outcome and pitched good enough to earn the win….until the end.
The Cubs lost their second game in a row for the first time since dropping the last two in Pittsburgh on the previous road trip. With the loss the Cubs are 3-3 on the current trip with one game left before a day off at home in Chicago. The Cubs played a very good game against the Dodgers until the 7th inning. Lou Piniella’s defense was solid and Carlos Zambrano was throwing strikes. He walked only one batter, it was intentional, and he had very good command for the first 6+ innings. Zambrano must learn how to control himself when his team commits errors behind him. The dropped ball by Theriot started the meltdown and Aramis’ error ended Zambrano’s day….unfortunately Lou Piniella tried to let him work through it and he could not.
The Cubs took the lead in the top of the 7th and with the way Zambrano had pitched the first 6 innings everything was looking good. Zambrano struck out Delwyn Young for the first out but gave up a single to left center by Juan Pierre. With Andre Ethier at the plate, Pierre took off for 2nd. Geovany Soto’s throw beat Pierre to the bag but Ryan Theriot tried to make the tag too quick and dropped the ball. Ethier followed with what appeared to be a ground out to 3rd but Aramis Ramirez threw the ball in the dirt, Derrek Lee could not scoop and Pierre scored the tying run on the error.
The two extra outs gave Russell Martin a chance to hit against Zambrano.
Martin came through again for his team with a bloop single to right that Kosuke Fukudome appeared to make a diving catch running in toward the infield….but the ball came loose when Fukudome hit the ground. On any other day, the ball would have been caught. Ethier scored and James Loney reached on a bloop single to right. Matt Kemp ended the game, and Zambrano’s outing, with a 3-run shot to the left of straight away center.
The Cubs gave another one away on the road and Lou Piniella must find a solution to this problem.
The Cubs’ chances of posting a winning road trip rest on the right arm of Jason Marquis. Marquis is scheduled to face Brad Penny in the series finale on ESPN’s Sunday Night Baseball.