Game Forty-Nine – Cubs 2 Dodgers 8
WP – Eric Milton (2-0) LP – Sean Marshall (3-4) Save – None
A short time after finding out he would be returning to the bullpen after his next start, Sean Marshall barely made it out of the first inning. The first five Dodgers reached against Marshall and before the lefty could record the first out they had scored two runs. Sean Marshall allowed five runs in the first inning while David Patton spent half of the inning loosening in the Cubs’ pen.
The Dodgers plated five runs on six hits in the first inning with only one extra base hit…a two-run double by Mark Loretta. Marshall departed with one out in the fifth after allowing eight runs, seven earned, on eight hits with a walk and two strikeouts. Marshall’s worst outing of the year and one of his worst as a Cub.
The top of the first did in the Cubs and before Alfonso Soriano swung at the first pitch the Cubs were down 5-0. The Cubs’ offense put a runner on in each of the first three innings but was unable to score any runs off of Eric Milton until the sixth inning.
Ryan Theriot and Milton Bradley reached on back-to-back singles with one out in the sixth. Eric Milton hit Derrek Lee to load the bases. Reed Johnson came through with a two-run double to right center.
Reed Johnson was the Cubs’ offense on Sunday night…he finished the night 3-for-4 with a double, a walk and two RBI.
Ryan Theriot (2-for-4 with a run scored), Milton Bradley (1-for-4 with a run scored), Derrek Lee (1-for-3) and Geovany Soto (1-for-4) were the rest of the Cubs offense on Sunday night. The Cubs had chances but once again could not string together any hits. They finished the night 1-for-7 with runners in scoring position and left eight on base.
The Cubs earned a four-game split against the best team in the National League…and finished the month of May with a 15-13 record after winning four of their last six. The Cubs finished the seven game homestand with a 4-3 record, not bad for a team that was coming off seven straight losses before last Monday’s loss to the Pirates. The Cubs played good ball in the two wins against the Dodgers but with that said Alfonso Soriano needs some time off. He is struggling and should have been pulled with his team down 8-0 in the fifth inning. Soriano doubled in the seventh, but limped into second base. The Cubs cannot afford to be without Soriano for any length of time…but right now he is not helping, he is hurting.
Alfonso Soriano was the least of the Cubs’ problems on Sunday night, but he could have helped matters. The Dodgers took the air out of Wrigley in the first inning and like good teams do, they kept tacking on.
Juan Pierre reached on an infield single that began the five-run first inning. Ryan Theriot knocked the ball down but was unable to make a clean pick of the hard hit grounder. Rafael Furcal singled to right three pitches later. With runners on first and third with no outs, Orlando Hudson singled to left on a 2-1 pitch. Pierre scored, 1-0 Dodgers.
Russell Martin followed with a single to left on a 3-1 pitch. Larry Bowa held up Furcal at third. With the bases loaded, James Loney blooped a broken bat single into center that plated Furcal with the Dodgers second run.
Sean Marshall struck out Matt Kemp on three pitches but Mark Loretta lined a double down the left field line on a 1-1 pitch. Hudson and Martin both scored…4-0, Dodgers.
Jamie Hoffman flied out to center on a 2-2 pitch and his sacrifice fly gave the Dodgers an insurmountable 5-0 lead.
Sean Marshall retired the Dodgers in order in the second and sat down the first two hitters in the third. Matt Kemp hit his sixth home run off Sean Marshall with two outs in the third…and added an exclamation point to the Dodgers night against Sean Marshall.
Other than Jose Ascanio allowing an inherited run to score in the fifth, the Cubs bullpen did a good job on Sunday night. Jason Waddell made his big league debut and gave up a single to Rafael Furcal but struck out two of the four batters he faced.
David Patton pitched a scoreless seventh with a walk, a hit and two strikeouts. Carlos Marmol and Kevin Gregg put multiple runners on in while getting their work in. Marmol loaded the bases but struck out James Loney swinging to end the eighth. And Kevin Gregg had trouble throwing strikes, but did not allow any runs in the ninth.
Sunday night got away from the Cubs before they could record an out. They played better during the homestand and the next nine games will tell a lot about the 2009 version of the Chicago Cubs.
After 49 games the Cubs are 25-24…a year ago at the same point, 29-20.
The Cubs are off on Monday and will travel south to Atlanta for a three-game series with the Braves that will begin on Tuesday night. Randy Wells is slated to face Kenshin Kawakami.