Game One Hundred One – Cubs 10 Diamondbacks 6
WP – Ted Lilly (10-6) LP – Doug Davis (3-5) Save – None
Lou Piniella’s crew salvaged the final game of the series against the Diamondbacks and finished the regular season series against Arizona with a 4-2 record. Ted Lilly won his 10th of the year in a game his team needed to win. Lilly became the third Cubs’ starter to notch his 10th win of the season, the only team in the majors to have three pitchers with at least 10 victories.
Derrek Lee gave the Cubs a 1-0 lead in the 1st inning with his first home run since June 20th. Alfonso Soriano returned from the DL and made an impact in his first start since June 11th. Soriano finished the night 1-for-5 with a double and a RBI….and hit the ball hard in his last two trips to the plate. Soriano drove in the eventual winning run with a groundout in the 5th after Ted Lilly had tied the game with a single to left. Lilly stole 3rd in the Cubs’ 3-run 5th inning and scored the Cubs fourth run on a RBI ground out by Ryan Theriot. Lilly turned in a quality start and allowed 3 runs on 6 hits in 6 innings with 3 walks and 6 strikeouts.
Reed Johnson had the biggest hit of the night. After doubling and scoring the go ahead run in the 5th, Johnson hit his second career grand slam in the 8th. Johnson’s 4th long ball of the year capped the Cubs 6-run 8th inning. Micah Owings replaced Doug Davis in the 8th with the Cubs leading 4-3. Owings walked Ryan Theriot to start the inning and after a 1-out single by Aramis Ramirez, Geovany Soto recorded his first hit of the series and drove in Theriot with the Cubs’ fifth run. Owings issued back-to-back walks to Kosuke Fukudome and Mark DeRosa to force in a run before being lifted for Leo Rosales. Reed Johnson launched a 1-0 pitch from Rosales over the wall in right center.
Johnson’s grand slam gave the Cubs a 7-run lead but Bobby Howry was hit hard in the bottom of the inning and gave up a 3-run home run to Chris Snyder. Carlos Marmol was effective in the 9th. He struggled with his command but after a 1-out double by Stephen Drew and a 2-out walk by Conor Jackson, Marmol struck out Chad Tracy to end the game. Marmol recorded two strikeouts on 21 pitches.
The Cubs found the patience at the plate that had been missing for the first 5 games of the road trip. Kosuke Fukudome took three of the Cubs five walks in the game. Entering play against the D’Backs on Wednesday, the Cubs had walked 393 times. The 398 walks the 2008 Chicago Cubs have totaled in 101 games surpassed the total of 395 free passes taken over the course of the entire season back in 2006.
Wednesday night was the last game of the 2008 season for the Cubs against teams in the west. With the win the Cubs’ finished the season with a 23-11 mark against the west and improved to 17 games over .500 on the year…. The performance Ted Lilly turned in on Wednesday night will be lost in the return of Alfonso Soriano and the grand slam by Reed Johnson. Lilly grinded out a solid outing and did everything he could to lead his team to victory. Not only did Lilly pitch an excellent game but drove in the tying run for an offense that was struggling to string together hits. Lilly even stole a base for the second time in his career and he put himself in position to score a run.
Lilly kept the Diamondbacks off the board until the 4th inning. He had little room for error. Chris Young led off the inning with a double and scored on a home run to right center by Tony Clark. Lilly settled down and worked around a 1-out single to center by Chris Burke.
The Diamondbacks third run came in the 4th inning after the Cubs took a 4-2 lead in the top of the inning. Lilly walked Augie Ojeda to start the inning and after a wild pitch advanced Ojeda to 2nd….Conor Jackson tripled him home. Lilly struck out Mark Reynolds for the third time in the game for the first out.
Chris Young hit a grounder to 3rd, Aramis Ramirez threw home and the Cubs caught Jackson in a run down. Jackson was eventually tagged out (5-2-5-1) but Young advanced to second during the run down. Lilly then picked off Young when he tried to steal third to end the inning. Tony Clark was at the plate and never saw a pitch with the tying run in scoring position.
Ted Lilly retired the last six batters he faced to end his outing.
The Cubs offensive struggles of late have been well documented but for one night in the desert they appeared to break out of their slump. Derrek Lee’s first home run in over a month (June 20th against the White Sox) came with 2 outs in the 1st inning and the offense made Doug Davis work….in the first two innings. Davis threw 42 pitches in the 1st and 2nd but the Cubs saw a total of 13 pitches in the 3rd and 4th innings. Then came the 5th inning….
Mark DeRosa led off the 5th with a single to left on a 2-2 pitch. Reed Johnson followed with a ground rule double to left center. Bob Melvin brought his infield in and Ted Lilly bounced one over the head of Mark Reynolds at 3rd base. Mark DeRosa scored and tied the game at 2.
With runners on 1st and 3rd and no outs, Alfonso Soriano hit a weak grounder to 3rd, Reed Johnson scored the go ahead run and Lilly advanced to 2nd on the play. Ryan Theriot looked at two straight out of the strike zone from Doug Davis. On the third pitch of the at bat, Lilly stole 3rd base. With the infield in, Theriot grounded out to short and Lilly scored. The Cubs manufactured runs….
With the Cubs up by 1 run at the start of the 8th inning, Ryan Theriot walked. Derrek Lee flied out to the track in right center but Aramis Ramirez ended his 0-for-23 slump with a single to left. Theriot advanced to 3rd and Ramirez took 2nd on a throwing error by Conor Jackson. Geovany Soto recorded his first hit of the series (2-for-23 on the trip), a single to left that plated Theriot with the Cubs fifth run.
Kosuke Fukudome walked on 4 pitches to load the bases with 1 out. Mark DeRosa looked at 4 straight out of the zone to force in Aramis Ramirez….and setup the big fly off the bat of Reed Johnson.
The Cubs looked more like the team that played so well for the majority of the first half on Wednesday night. Granted the Cubs beat the Astros on Sunday afternoon, but the performance from a majority of the roster was a positive step forward….especially on the road in an environment (and pitcher) they have struggled in for the past 10 years.
The Cubs open a 4-game series on Thursday night at Wrigley against the always-difficult Florida Marlins. Carlos Zambrano is scheduled to face Scott Olsen….