Game Forty-Four – Cubs 6 Pirates 1 – 6 innings
WP – Sean Marshall (3-3) LP – Ian Snell (1-6) Save – None
The Cubs longest losing streak under Lou Piniella came to an end after five full innings on Tuesday night. Rain briefly delayed the first pitch by a few minutes and the two teams played through the rain for the first five innings. Sean Marshall was ahead of Craig Monroe 1-2 to start the sixth before crew chief Tim Tschida pulled the Cubs off the field. After a one hour and nine minute delay, the game was called and the Cubs were victorious for the first time since May 15.
Sean Marshall turned in an excellent outing both on the mound and at the plate. Marshall held the Pirates to one run on four hits in five innings with six strikeouts, turned in two fine defensive plays and drove in the Cubs’ second run. Marshall found a grove early and had only one bad inning that resulted in the Pirates’ lone run.
Kosuke Fukudome gave the Cubs a 1-0 lead in the bottom of the first with his fifth home run of the year….his first since April 26 in St. Louis. Fukudome launched a 2-1 pitch from Ian Snell halfway up the bleachers in right center.
Sean Marshall singled in Mike Fontenot in the second and Micah Hoffpauir doubled in Milton Bradley in the third…the Cubs first three runs on Tuesday night were scored with two outs.
After the game became official, the Cubs tacked on three in the bottom of the fifth. Alfonso Soriano singled, stole second and advanced to third on a throwing error by Robinzon Diaz. Ryan Theriot singled in Soriano with the Cubs’ fourth run and Theriot scored on Micah Hoffpauir’s bases loaded single to left…his second RBI of the game. Mike Fontenot drove in the Cubs final run with a single to center.
With Lou Piniella playing with a short bench and an even shorter bullpen, the five-inning win is just what this team needed… After Kosuke Fukudome gave the Cubs a 1-0 lead in the first inning, Sean Marshall helped his own cause in the second inning.
Mike Fontenot lined a double down into the corner in right. Koyie Hill followed with a walk but Ryan Freel struck out swinging for the second out of the inning. Sean Marshall came through with a two-out single to center on the second pitch of the at bat. Marshall’s second RBI of the year gave his team a 2-0 lead.
With the rain falling a little harder in the third, the Cubs came out swinging against Ian Snell. Ryan Theriot and Kosuke Fukudome made two outs on the first two pitches of the inning. Milton Bradley followed with a very patient at bat and worked a walk…Bradley paused on ball four before tossing his bat toward the Cubs’ dugout.
Micah Hoffpauir then lined a 1-1 pitch off the wall in right that just missed leaving the park. Bradley scored on Hoffpauir’s sixth double of the year.
After going down in order in the fourth, the Cubs put together a solid fifth inning…and it all started with a manufactured run. Alfonso Soriano led off the three-run inning with a single to right on a 3-2 pitch from Snell. Soriano stole second and advanced to third on throwing error by Robinzon Diaz. With the infield in, Ryan Theriot dropped a single into center on the next pitch from Snell…Soriano scored, 4-1 Cubs.
Kosuke Fukudome put together another good at bat and with Ryan Theriot running on a 3-1 pitch, Kosuke took ball four. Milton Bradley walked on four pitches to load the bases with no outs.
Micah Hoffpauir drove in his second run of the game with an opposite field single. Theriot scored, 5-1 Cubs. Mike Fontenot then lined a single to center, his second hit of the game, on a 0-1 pitch. Fukudome scored but Bradley held at third after he initially broke back to the bag…it was the correct read on the ball by Bradley.
Koyie Hill struck out swinging for the first out of the inning and Ryan Freel grounded into a 6-4-3 double play to end the inning.
Sean Marshall did a good job in the early innings but struggled with his command in the fourth. Marshall walked Nate McLouth to start the inning then retired Craig Monroe on a fly out to left. McLouth stole second with Adam LaRoche at the plate. LaRoche grounded out to first and advanced McLouth to third with the productive out.
Marshall issued his second walk of the inning to Andy LaRoche then gave up a single to center on a 1-1 pitch to Robinzon Diaz. Nate McLouth scored what would be the Pirates only run of the night.
Sean Marshall stepped up on a night his team needed a win…and the offense took care of the rest.
Weather permitting… Carlos Zambrano will face Zach Duke in the finale of the three-game series on Wednesday afternoon.