Game Sixty-Three – Cubs 8 Indians 7 – 10 innings
WP – Kevin Gregg (2-1) LP – Luis Vizcaino (1-3) Save – None
After an hour and twenty-six minute rain delay and staring at a 7-0 deficit after four innings, for the second day in a row the Cubs appeared headed for certain defeat. They had managed only one hit, a single by Rich Harden in the third, and the reigning AL Cy Young Award winner was on cruise control. While Cliff Lee was mowing down one Cub hitter after the other, Rich Harden struggled with his command and gave up not one but two three-run homers in the first three innings … the final run for the Indians, a Mark DeRosa RBI single in the fourth.
Cliff Lee retired Ryan Theriot and Milton Bradley on two pitches to start the fourth then the Cubs offense began to wake up.
Derrek Lee recorded the second hit of the afternoon off Lee, a double to left on a 1-2 pitch. Geovany Soto walked and Jake Fox was robbed of a RBI single on a tremendous diving stop by Jamey Carroll on a ball ticketed for centerfield … the Cubs came up empty in the fourth but Derrek Lee’s two-out double appeared to jump start the offense.
Reed Johnson broke up the shutout with his fourth home run of the season in the fifth. Derrek Lee added his ninth round tripper of the year with one-out in the sixth … and the Cubs were down by a score of 7-2.
Cliff Lee worked a scoreless seventh and took the mound in the eighth. Milton Bradley began the comeback with a single to center that chased Cliff Lee from the game. Joe Smith struck out Derrek Lee on three pitches but Geovany Soto lined a double into left center on a 1-0 offering. Jake Fox struck out for the second out in the eighth.
Reed Johnson kept the inning alive and worked a walk to load the bases. Andres Blanco followed with a two-run single to right that cut the Indians lead to 7-4. Mike Fontenot was sent to the plate to hit for Aaron Heilman and Eric Wedge countered with Rafael Perez. Lou Piniella took down Fontenot and sent Koyie Hill up to face the southpaw. Hill responded with a shot off third baseman Jhonny Peralta that plated Johnson with the Cubs fifth run … the error kept the inning going for Alfonso Soriano.
Eric Wedge left Perez into face Soriano and the Cubs’ leadoff hitter came through with a single to left center … his first hit of the game. Blanco scored and the Cubs were down by just one after eight, 7-6 … the Cubs scored all four runs with two outs.
Kerry Wood took the mound at Wrigley Field for the first time not in a Cubs’ uniform. Due to the Indians’ struggles Wood had not recorded a save since May 28. Wood retired Milton Bradley for the first out … then had to face a longtime teammate.
Derrek Lee tied the game with his second home run of the game on a 1-0 fastball from Kerry Wood that landed in the bleachers down the left field line. Lee’s tenth of the year and third in two games completed the unlikely comeback … Wood’s third blown save of the year gave the Cubs a chance for their second walk-off win in a row.
Kevin Gregg survived the tenth after the Cubs committed two errors that led to the Indians loading the bases. Gregg retired Ryan Garko on a lineout to center, thanks to an excellent catch by Kosuke Fukudome, to end the inning and preserve the 7-7 tie.
Another former Cub, Luis Vizcaino took the mound in the bottom of the tenth and retired Andres Blanco and Kosuke Fukudome.
Alfonso Soriano walked with two outs then stole second on a 1-1 pitch with Ryan Theriot at the plate … his seventh stolen base of the year. Theriot worked the count to 3-2 then hit a smash toward Victor Martinez at first. The ball took a bad hop, ended up in right field, Alfonso Soriano crossed the plate and the Cubs celebrated their biggest comeback of the season.
The Cubs somehow found a way to post another remarkable come from behind win for the second day in a row … and the last three Cubs’ wins have come in walk-off fashion. After plating only 10 runs in their previous six games, the Cubs’ offense scored 14 runs in Thursday and Friday’s dramatic victories. The Cubs bullpen was the difference on Friday afternoon. Rich Harden was horrible once again in a day start at Wrigley. Harden gave up seven runs on seven hits with three walks and two strikeouts in five innings. All three walks Harden surrendered scored on the two home runs he served up.
After retiring the Indians in order in the first, Jhonny Peralta reached on a one-out triple to right center. Reed Johnson, who made a great diving catch to start the game, had the ball kick off his glove but it was ruled a triple.
Kelly Shoppach walked after a questionable call on a 3-2 pitch. Luis Valbuena followed with his second home run of the year … a three-run shot to right on the first pitch from Harden.
Up by a 3-0 score, the Indians tacked on in the third. Rich Harden walked Jamey Carroll and Mark DeRosa to start the inning. Victor Martinez stepped in and knocked the 100th home run of his career … a three-run shot to right on a 1-0 pitch. Rich Harden was not fooling anyone on Friday afternoon.
After Harden broke-up Cliff Lee’s no-hit bid in the bottom of third, Ben Francisco led off the fourth with a single to left. Cliff Lee sacrificed him to second and Mark DeRosa drove him in with a two-out single to right center … 7-0 Indians after three and a half.
David Patton took over for Harden in the sixth. Patton had not pitched in a week and other than a one-out walk to Ben Francisco put together a very impressive outing. Patton struck out three in his two innings of work and cooled off the Indians’ offense.
Aaron Heilman retired the Indians in order in the eighth and Carlos Marmol tossed a scoreless ninth. While Marmol did not allow a run, he walked two more batters to go along with two strikeouts.
Kevin Gregg took the mound in the tenth and basically recorded five outs. After Shin-Soo Choo singled to center to start the inning, Andres Blanco robbed Jhonny Peralta of a single and force Choo at second for the first out of the inning. Kelly Shoppach received two gifts from the Cubs’ defense. Derrek Lee dropped a foul ball and Alfonso Soriano dropped a liner that would have been the second out of the inning.
Gregg struck out Luis Valbuena for the second out but hit Ben Francisco on a 2-2 pitch to load the bases. Ryan Garko pinch hit for Kerry Wood and lined out to Fukudome in center to end the inning.
The Cubs bullpen tossed five innings of shutout ball and allowed only one hit and three walks while the Indians pen cost Cliff Lee a win …
For the record, Derrek Lee was 3-for-5 and extended his hitting streak to 16 games with a double, two home runs, two runs scored and two RBI … Lee is hitting .373/.448/.678 in June with five home runs, three doubles and 14 RBI.
Ted Lilly is slated to face Tomo Ohka in game two on Saturday at noon.