Game Seventy-Six – Cubs 9 Brewers 5
WP – Ryan Dempster (5-5) LP – Seth McClung (3-2) Save – None
The Cubs won their fifth game in a row at Wrigley Field behind not one, not two but four home runs. All nine of the Cubs runs came via the longball with Derrek Lee driving in seven of the Cubs’ nine tallies … a new career high. Lee hit a three-run shot in the first and added his second grand slam of the year in the fourth. Seven of Derrek Lee’s fourteen home runs this season has come in the last 15 games.
Ryan Dempster picked up his first win since May 30 with another quality start. Dempster allowed four runs, three earned, on eight hits in 6 2/3 innings. Dempster’s command was much better throughout the night and he walked only two batters. Dempster tied a season-high set on May 9 in Milwaukee with nine strikeouts.
Sam Fuld subbed for Alfonso Soriano once again and set the tone for the night with a nine-pitch at bat in the first inning that led to a walk. Fuld hit his second double in as many nights and reached base in three of his five trips to the plate (2-for-4 with a double and a walk) … Fuld was on board for both of Derrek Lee’s home runs.
Jake Fox hit his first home run at Wrigley, third of the season, with two outs in the first inning. Fox played another solid game defensively and added a walk in his four at bats. Geovany Soto led off the Cubs’ five-run fourth inning with a solo shot down the line in left. Soto’s eighth of the year gave the Cubs a 5-2 lead at the time. After showing little to no power in the first two months of the season, Soto has hit five home runs in his last 14 games.
Sean Marshall picked up the biggest out of the night in the seventh inning. After an error by Mike Fontenot allowed the Brewers to cut the Cubs lead to 9-4, Marshall struck out Prince Fielder with two on to end the inning. Aaron Heilman struggled with his command again and gave up a run on two hits in the eighth.
The nine runs on Thursday night were the most scored by the Cubs in a single game since an 11-run output on April 28 in Arizona.
The Cubs beat the Brewers at their own game on Thursday night and reached the .500 mark on the season once again … With this version of the Chicago Cubs there is really no place like home. Lou Piniella’s crew improved to 22-13 at the Friendly Confines with a convincing victory over the division leading Brewers. The Cubs showed the confidence on the home field that has been missing for the last 10 games.
Derrek Lee was a one man wrecking crew on Thursday. Lee recorded the 20th multi-home run game of his career and the second of the season. Lee’s second grand slam (May 3 against the Marlins) gave the rest of his teammates a little breathing room.
The Cubs scored all nine of their runs in the first four innings. Sam Fuld led off the game with a walk and advanced to second on a single to left by Ryan Theriot. Derrek Lee stepped in and launched the first pitch from Seth McClung into the bleachers in left center.
After Milton Bradley struck out looking, Jake Fox worked the count to 3-2 after starting the at bat in a 0-2 hole. Fox ripped McClung’s next offering into the bleachers in left center. Fox’s third gave the Cubs a four-run lead in the first inning against a very dangerous offensive team.
Sam Fuld added a two-out double in the second but was stranded there when Ryan Theriot grounded out to second to end the inning.
On a 2-0 pitch from Seth McClung, Geovany Soto lined his eighth of the year down the line in left. Soto gave his team a three-run lead (5-2) but they were far from done.
Mike Fontenot singled to center and advanced to second on Ryan Dempter’s third sacrifice bunt of the year. Sam Fuld reached on an infield single … Fuld hit a weak grounder past the mound that Fielder grabbed but did not throw to McClung covering first. It would have been a close play.
Ken Macha went to his pen and brought in Chris Smith to face Ryan Theriot. Smith loaded the bases with a four-pitch walk to the Cubs’ shortstop.
Smith fell behind Derrek Lee 2-0 before grooving a fastball that Lee fouled back. Smith issued ball three. Lee did not miss the 3-1 offering and launched Smith’s next pitch out of Wrigley and onto Waveland Avenue … 9-2 Cubs.
The Brewers’ pen allowed three other hits after Lee’s slam … a double by Kosuke Fukudome in the fifth and singles by Ryan Theriot and Milton Bradley in the sixth.
After a 1-2-3 first inning, Prince Fielder doubled to start the second against Ryan Dempster. Casey McGehee struck out. Mike Cameron followed with his 13th home run of the season, a two-run shot to left center that cut the Cubs lead to 4-2.
After Derrek Lee’s grand slam gave the Cubs a 9-2 lead, the Brewers started chipping away in the sixth inning.
Prince Fielder led off the sixth with his 21st home run of the year, a solo shot to right center. The first 12 runs in the game were scored on longballs. Dempster retired the next three batters to get out of the inning without allowing any more runs.
Ryan Dempster made a ‘kick save‘ on a ball hit up the middle by Jason Kendall to start the seventh … and that play kept the Brewers from having a big inning. Jody Gerut reached on a pinch-hit single to left and Mike Fontenot booted a routine groundball off the bat of Craig Counsell. With runners on first and second, Dempster struck out J.J. Hardy for the third time in the game.
Ryan Braun followed with a broken bat bloop single to center. Gerut scored and chased Dempster from the game. Sean Marshall struck out Prince Fielder to end the inning.
Aaron Heilman made the eighth inning very interesting. After striking out Casey McGehee, Mike Cameron doubled to left center. Heilman then hit Corey Hart on a 0-1 pitch. Jason Kendall followed with a single to left, Cameron scored … 9-5, Cubs.
Frank Catalanotto popped out to third for the second out. Heilman fell behind Craig Counsell, 3-1 before retiring him on a fly out to center to end the inning.
Carlos Zambrano will face Jeff Suppan in game two of the series on Friday afternoon.