Game Seventy-Four – Cubs 4 White Sox 3
WP – Kerry Wood (4-1) LP – Scott Linebrink (2-2) Save – None
Aramis Ramirez stepped to the plate in the bottom of the 9th after tying the game 2 innings earlier with his 11th home run of the year. Ramirez looked at ball one from Scott Linebrink and then….”Ramirez drives one in the air, deep centerfield, it’s gotta chance….CUBS WIN!!! Aramis Ramirez with the game winning home run. Cubs win 4-3.” That was the way Pat Hughes called it as Ron Santo was screaming “yes” and “thank you” while the rest of Wrigley exploded with another dramatic comeback at the old ballpark at 1060 West Addison.
Lou Piniella’s crew won their 12th straight at Wrigley with the 23rd come from behind win at home. After a miserable road trip, Derrek Lee and Aramis Ramirez both stepped up and led the team to victory. The Cubs hit back-to-back home runs for the third time this season to tie the game at 3 in the 7th, the first time since 2005 the Cubs hit back-to-back jacks in the 7th inning. Lee hit Octavio Dotel’s first pitch into the right centerfield bleachers, his 15th of the year cut the Sox lead to 3-2. Ramirez followed and tied the game on a 2-2 pitch from Dotel….the first of the day for Ramirez tied the game at 3.
Bobby Howry turned in a solid outing and kept the White Sox from tacking on runs in the 7th. Howry retired Jermaine Dye with two on and 2 out after Ted Lilly walked Carlos Quentin to end his afternoon. Howry faced the minimum in the 8th and turned the game over to Kerry Wood.
Brian Anderson led off the 9th with a double to center and was stranded there to end the inning when Wood struck out A.J. Pierzynski on a check swing by 3rd base umpire Mike Everitt. Pierzynski did not agree with the call and slammed his helmet as he walked back to the bench.
The Cubs improved to 30-8 at Wrigley after Aramis circled the bases in the 9th. The last walk off home run hit by the Cubs….Aramis Ramirez on June 29, 2007 against Francisco Cordero and the Milwaukee Brewers. Lou Piniella said his team needed the win after being swept by the impressive Tampa Bay Rays. The Cubs offense was held in check for most of the afternoon by John Danks but came up with the big hit when they needed it….after Ozzie Guillen lifted his young southpaw in the 7th inning after throwing only 85 pitches. The White Sox bullpen has been lights out all season and like the Cubs’ pen on Thursday night, they gave up the lead….and eventually the game.
Ted Lilly once again did his job but served up 2 more home runs. Lilly kept his team in the game and lasted 6 2/3 innings. He gave up 3 runs (all runs scored via the long ball) on 7 hits with 3 walks and 8 strikeouts.
Jermaine Dye tied the game in the top of the 2nd with a home run that landed onto Waveland Avenue.
The White Sox took the lead in the 3rd after a 1-out single by Orlando Cabrera. A.J. Pierzynski followed and launched a 0-1 pitch from Ted Lilly into the bleachers in right center. Pierzynski’s 5th long ball of the year appeared to give the Sox a commanding lead….especially with the way John Danks was pitching.
Juan Uribe pinch hit for Danks to start the 7th and reached on a bloop single to right center. Lilly struck out Cabrera and retired Pierzynski but walked Carlos Quentin to put runners on 1st and 2nd with 2 outs….and the Cubs down 3-1. Lou Piniella made the slow walk and replaced Lilly with Bobby Howry.
The former Southsider retired a red hot Jermaine Dye on a line out to Matt Murton in left to end the inning.
Derrek Lee cut the Cubs deficit in half with his 13th long ball of the year at Wrigley and Aramis Ramirez tied the game with a solo home run to left center. It was the first time since June of 2005 (Derrek Lee and Jeromy Burnitz) that the Cubs went back-to-back in the 7th inning.
Kerry Wood took the mound to start the 9th and Brian Anderson just missed giving the Sox the lead. Anderson had to settle for a double to center. Jim Thome pinch hit for Matt Thornton and popped out to Ryan Theriot on the first pitch from Wood. Orlando Cabrera quickly got ahead of Kery Wood 3-1 before flying out to right on a 3-2 pitch. A.J. Pierzynski stepped in and looked at strike one. Wood got ahead of the Sox catcher, 1-2, before throwing ball 2. Pierzynski tried to check his swing on the next pitch….but was rung up to end the inning, replays showed the Cubs might have caught a break.
Wood keeping the Sox off the board set it up for the Ramirez blast in the 9th.
A win is always good for a team in the middle of a 3-game losing streak but the way Ramirez ended the mini-streak was one for the ages…..especially against the Sox.
Jason Marquis will face Jose Contreras in game two just after noon on Saturday on WGN.