Game Eighty-Nine – Cubs 7 Cardinals 1
WP – Sean Marshall (1-2) LP – Todd Wellemeyer (7-4) Save – None
Was Sunday afternoon the biggest win of the year so far for the Cubs? After blowing the lead in the 9th inning on Saturday, Lou Piniella’s crew bounced back in impressive fashion behind Sean Marshall. Marshall made only one mistake, a solo home run by Ryan Ludwick in the 6th inning, and allowed only 5 other hits, 4 singles and a double, with 4 strikeouts and a walk. Marshall shutdown the Cardinals in the 2nd after the Cubs took a 1-0 lead in the top of the inning and retired Albert Pujols on a fly out to left with two on the 3rd to end the inning. Marshall clearly earned another start when his turn in the rotation comes back around. The win was Marshall’s first of the season and he picked a opportune time to win his first game at the big league level since August 24. 2007.
The Cubs’ offense had a big day on the road in St. Louis….collectively one of their best of the season. Every starter recorded at least one hit and Lou Piniella’s crew totaled 16 on the afternoon. Aramis Ramirez scored the Cubs first run and drove in the second with a 2-out RBI single in the 3rd inning. Ramirez was 2-for-3 with a run scored, 2 sacrifice flies and 3 RBI’s. Derrek Lee recorded 3 hits in 5 trips to the plate and drove in the Cubs’ fourth run with a 2-out double in the 7th that gave the Cubs a 4-1 lead. The Cubs scored 4 of their 7 runs in the last 3 innings.
Geovany Soto hit his 15th home run of the year in the 8th inning on the day he was named the first rookie catcher to start for the National League All-Star team.
Reed Johnson and Ryan Theriot combined on a 5-for-9 afternoon with 3 runs scored and a sacrifice bunt.
Neal Cotts, Carlos Marmol and Bobby Howry allowed only one Cardinal to reach base in the final 3 innings. Marmol tossed a perfect 1-2-3 8th inning and for the second day in a row and retired the heart of the Cardinals’ lineup in order….Albert Pujols, Ryan Ludwick and Troy Glaus on 10 pitches.
The Cubs finished the 10-game road trip with a 4-6 record after winning 4 of the last 7….and completed the difficult 32-game stretch with a 17-15 record. Sean Marshall stepped up and really took a step forward in his development as a Major League pitcher on Sunday afternoon. Marshall has been inconsistent at best throughout his career and has lived in the shadow of Rich Hill for many years. After the tough loss on Saturday, the entire team needed a solid outing from Marshall….and he did just a little bit more.
Aramis Ramirez led off the 2nd inning with the Cubs’ first hit of the day, a double to right center past Rick Ankiel. Geovany Soto hit a deep fly to right that Ramirez was able to advance to 3rd on. Tony LaRussa likes to move his infield up and back when there is a runner on 3rd and he did more of the same on Sunday. Mark DeRosa beat the defense and lined a single into right….Ramirez scored, 1-0 Cubs. DeRosa moved to 2nd on a wild pitch but Matt Murton flied out and Mike Fontenot fouled out to Troy Glaus to end the inning.
Reed Johnson reached on a 1-out bloop single to left in the 3rd. Ryan Theriot singled to right on a 0-2 pitch but Derrek Lee flied out to right for the second out of the inning. Aramis Ramirez fell behind Wellemeyer 0-1 before singling to left and driving in Johnson with the Cubs second run.
Reed Johnson started the scoring again in the 5th with a single to right center. Theriot singled to center on the first pitch from Wellemeyer and Derrek Lee appeared to hit a 3-run homer. The ball hit off the top of the wall and it ended up being just a long single….Johnson and Theriot had to hold, Joe Mather appeared to have a chance to catch the ball hit into left center.
With the bases loaded and no outs, Aramis Ramirez hit a sacrifice fly into center, Johnson scored and Theriot advanced to third ahead of the throw by Rick Ankiel. Geovany Soto grounded into a 6-4-3 double play to end the inning….3-0 Cubs.
The Cubs responded to the Ludwick home run after a pinch hit single to left by Kosuke Fukudome. Johnson sacrificed him to 2nd but Theriot struck out for the second out. Derrek Lee fell behind Chris Perez, 1-2, then hit the next offering into right center, Fukudome scored on the double, 4-1 Cubs.
Geovany Soto led off the 8th and hit a routine ball into right field. Ryan Ludwick had a play, but lost it in the sun and the ball fell into foul ground untouched….the Cubs caught a break. Soto hit the next pitch off Russ Springer into the Cubs’ bullpen behind the left field wall….his 15th of the year. Daryle Ward followed with a double down the right field line and Mike Fontenot singled to center. Mike Quade waived Ward around and Rick Ankiel threw a perfect one-hop strike to Yadier Molina to cut Ward down at the plate.
Mike Fontenot took 2nd on Ankiel’s throw and scored on a throwing error by Springer. Kosuke Fukudome hit a tapper back to the mound but Albert Pujols was late breaking for the bag, Springer threw the ball to the outfield side of 1st and Fontenot scored the Cubs sixth run.
The Cubs’ offense added one for good measure in the 9th. Ryan Theriot singled to right to start the inning. Derrek Lee worked the count to 3-2 and with Theriot running, singled to left. Theriot advanced to 3rd and scored on the second sacrifice fly of the day by Aramis Ramirez into left field.
The Cubs offense struggled on the road over the last 10 games, but for one afternoon they hit and hit and hit….and received a couple of breaks as well.
The Cubs get a well-deserved day off on Monday. Ryan Dempster is scheduled to face Aaron Harang in the first of three against the Reds at Wrigley starting on Tuesday.