Game Sixty-Four – Cubs 3 Dodgers 1
WP – Jason Marquis (4-3) LP – Brad Penny (5-8) Save – Kerry Wood (18)
The Chicago Cubs are once again tops in the majors with a 40-24 record following the best outing of the season by Jason Marquis. Marquis turned in a gem and allowed only 1 unearned run on 3 hits in 6 1/3 innings. The big difference in Marquis’ performance was he threw strikes early in the count with very good command. Marquis walked only 1 batter, the last one he faced, before turning the game over to Carlos Marmol and Kerry Wood.
Carlos Marmol replaced Marquis with two on and 1 out in the 7th with the Cubs up 3-1. Marmol struck out Matt Kemp and Derrek Lee turned in a Gold Glove caliber play to save at least 1 run and end the inning. Lee made a diving stop on a ball hit in the hole by Blake DeWitt and threw a strike to Marmol from his knees for the third out. Marmol worked in and out of trouble in the 8th and retired Jeff Kent on a grounder to 3rd after a 2-out double by Juan Pierre and a 4-pitch walk to Andre Ethier.
Kerry Wood retired the Dodgers in order in the 9th with 2 strikeouts for his 18th save.
Mark DeRosa (3-for-5 with a home run, 2 RBI’s and 2 runs scored) was responsible for all 3 of the Cubs’ runs against Brad Penny. DeRosa hit his 8th home run of the season with 1-out in the 1st inning and drove in Alfonso Soriano with a single to right in the 5th. DeRosa stole a base and scored the Cubs third run on a double by Aramis Ramirez.
Lou Piniella’s crew finished the always-difficult West Coast swing with a 4-3 record, their first winning trip since April 7th – April 13th. With the win the Cubs remain the only team in baseball that has not lost at least three games in a row…. The Cubs offense struggled to plate runs for the third straight game but their patience at the plate returned. They made Brad Penny work and forced him to make pitches. Mark DeRosa’s home run came on a 3-1 pitch, DeRosa’s RBI single came on a 1-0 pitch, Derrek Lee’s groundout came on a 2-0 pitch and the double from Aramis Ramirez came off a 2-1 pitch. The Dodgers’ four pitchers threw 164 pitches in 9 innings (110 from Brad Penny) while Lou Piniella’s staff tossed 136 (89 from Jason Marquis).
Jason Marquis picked a good time to turn in his best outing of the year. His team needed a win and he more than delivered. Marquis was sharp on the mound. He displayed very good command and hit Soto’s glove more times than he missed.
The only run the Dodgers’ scored came in the 1st inning. Juan Pierre singled to center, stole 2nd with Jeff Kent at the plate and advanced to 3rd on a throwing error by Geovany Soto. Kent worked the count to 3-2 before grounding out to short to tie the game at 1. Marquis retired Russell Martin to end the inning.
Marquis did not allow another baserunner until a lead off single by James Loney in the 5th inning. Marquis retired the Dodgers in order in the 2nd, 3rd and 4th innings….12 in a row after the Pierre single. Marquis sat down the Dodgers in order after Loney’s base hit and retired the Dodgers’ in order once again in the 6th….
Marquis retired Jeff Kent to start the 7th before allowing the third hit of the game to Russell Martin….Marquis sat down 19 of the last 23 batters he faced. Sunday night was without a doubt the second best outing for Marquis as a Cub (the complete game shutout last season in Pittsburgh).
After Martin’s single, Lou Piniella made the slow walk and it appeared Marquis’ night was over. Piniella left Marquis in to face James Loney and he walked him on 4 pitches to put the tying run at 1st. Piniella made the walk again and brought in Carlos Marmol to face Matt Kemp.
Kemp struck out swinging for the second out (Geovany Soto thought the inning was over) but Blake DeWitt worked the count to 3-2 before hitting a sharp grounder into the hole between 1st and 2nd. Derrek Lee made a game-changing stop and threw out DeWitt from his knees to end the inning. Carlos Marmol pumped his fist….and the camera showed Carlos Zambrano doing the same.
Kerry Wood was dominant in the 9th inning. He hit 98 MPH on the gun and struck out 2 of the 3 batters he faced….both swinging.
The top of the 5th inning was incredibly fun to watch. The Cubs manufactured 2 runs on 3 hits. Alfonso Soriano started the inning with a double to left off the first offering from Brad Penny. Mark DeRosa followed with a single to right that plated Soriano with the go ahead run. With Derrek Lee at the plate, Penny threw ball one in the dirt that short-hopped Russell Martin. Martin kept the ball in front of him but DeRosa took off for 2nd on a very aggressive play….DeRosa also had a very good secondary lead. Martin’s throw was just a little late and DeRosa put himself into scoring position.
Derrek Lee followed with a ground out to Jeff Kent and DeRosa advanced to 3rd….a productive out. With DeRosa at 3rd and 1 out, Aramis Ramirez delivered with a double down the 3rd base line. DeRosa scored, 3-1 Cubs.
Sunday night was a good victory for a team that needed a winning road trip.
The Cubs get a well-deserved day off in Chicago on Monday after finishing a 17-game stretch with a 12-5 record. The Braves open a 3-game series at Wrigley on Tuesday. Ted Lilly is scheduled to face Tom Glavine.