Game One Hundred Thirty – Cubs 4 Astros 1
WP – Randy Wells (10-7) LP – Brian Moehler (8-10) Save – Carlos Marmol (7)
With Tom Ricketts in attendance, Randy Wells notched his team leading tenth victory of the year and in the process became the first Cubs’ rookie to notch double digit wins since Kerry Wood in 1998. Randy Wells allowed one unearned run in 6 2/3 innings after battling out of a lot of early trouble on Tuesday night. Wells beat the Astros for the second time this season and in three games against Houston, Wells has allowed just one unearned run in 20 2/3 innings.
Milton Bradley hit his 12th home run of the year, a solo shot to right in the fourth off of Brian Moehler that ended up being the game winner. Bradley hit the ball hard all night and finished the game 2-for-4 with a home run and two runs scored.
Aramis Ramirez, Kosuke Fukudome and Koyie Hill recorded the Cubs’ other three RBI.
The Cubs took advantage of two miscues by the Astros’ defense. Houston’s two errors led to two unearned runs and a little breathing room for Lou Piniella’s crew.
While the offense did just enough against Brian Moehler, Tuesday night was all about Randy Wells and the Cubs bullpen. The Astros’ managed just seven hits, all singles off of Wells with a pair of walks. John Grabow picked up his 20th hold of the year with 2/3 of an inning of scoreless ball. Grabow walked a batter but did not give up any hits.
Kevin Gregg, in his new eighth inning role, picked up his first hold of the season. Gregg replaced Grabow in the eighth and retired Carlos Lee and Geoff Blum with a man on and the Cubs up by only two runs.
Carlos Marmol was impressive in the ninth. Hunter Pence reached on a leadoff single to center but Marmol struck out the side, did not walk a batter, and picked up his seventh save of the year.
The Cubs’ bullpen has not allowed a single run since August 27.
With the win on Tuesday night, the Cubs avoided the .500 mark once again and improved to 66-64 on the year with their tenth win of the season against the Houston Astros … On Bingo Night at Wrigley Field, the Cubs evened their record on the homestand at four wins and four losses … with two left to play. The Cubs targeted this 10-game stretch as a way to get back in the race but the wins have been a lot fewer and far between than the Cubs had hoped for a week ago.
Randy Wells gave up a bunt single to Michael Bourn to start the game … the ball stayed fair and hugged the line. Bourn wasted no time, stole second and advanced to third on a ground out to second by Miguel Tejada. With one out and a runner on third, Wells focused. Wells struck out Lance Berkman and retired Carlos Lee on a pop out to left on a 2-1 pitch.
Wells faced the minimum in the second thanks to a 6-4-3 double play that erased a leadoff single by Geoff Blum.
The Astros put two on with one out in the third but Wells was able to induce a soft liner back to the mound off the bat of Miguel Tejada. Bourn took off for second and was easily doubled off to end the inning.
Geoff Blum reached on a two-out single in the fourth. Wells walked Hunter Pence but struck out Kaz Matsui to end the inning. Tuesday night’s outing for Randy Wells was similar to his previous outings earlier in the season. Wells bent but he never broke.
Randy Wells retired the Astros in order in the sixth. Houston was able to break through in the seventh before chasing Wells from the game. Kaz Matsui singled to left with one out, stole second with Chris Coste at the plate and advanced to third when Jeff Baker could not catch the throw from Koyie Hill. Coste ended up grounding out to third and drove in the Astros’ lone run … Aramis Ramirez bobbled the ball as Matsui broke on contact and he decided to get the sure out instead of throwing home.
Jason Michaels worked a pinch-hit walk and chased Wells from the game.
John Grabow retired Michael Bourn on a fly out to right center to end the inning.
The Cubs managed only one hit before Milton Bradley’s home run in the fourth. After Bradley’s dinger the offense seemed to relax a little.
Alfonso Soriano singled to right center with one out in the fifth. Jeff Baker hit what appeared to be a tailor made double play ball to Miguel Tejada. Tejada threw the ball into right past Kaz Matsui. Soriano advanced to third and scored on a single to center by Koyie Hill.
Randy Wells sacrificed runners to second and third but Ryan Theriot struck out swinging on a 3-2 pitch to end the inning.
Milton Bradley lined the first pitch from Brian Moehler into center to start the sixth. Derrek Lee then hit a ball into right that was originally ruled a double. Hunter Pence caught the ball but could not hang on. Bradley advanced to third on the single and error.
With runners on second and third with no outs, Aramis Ramirez singled to center. Bradley scored and Lee advanced to third. Kosuke Fukudome struck out and Cecil Cooper went to his pen for rookie Samuel Gervacio … he struck out Alfonso Soriano and Jeff Baker swinging to end the inning.
The Cubs fourth run came in the eighth after a hustle-double by Derrek Lee. Milton Bradley lined out to start the inning but Lee hit a liner off of Geoff Blum’s glove. Lee hustled out of the box and stretched the single into a double. A wild pitch advanced Lee to third with Ramirez at the plate. Aramis walked and set the table for Kosuke Fukudome.
Fukudome doubled down the right field line on a 1-1 pitch. Lee scored easily but Ramirez was thrown out the plate on a 9-4-2 put out. Micah Hoffpauir walked ahead of a fly out to right center by Jeff Baker.
Lou Piniella mentioned after the game he shook Tom Ricketts hand after the twenty- seventh out and said hopefully this was the first of many wins for him as the owner of the Cubs. Piniella indicated that was the first time he had spoken with Mr. Ricketts.
Randy Wells has been a positive in a season filled with so many negatives …
Ted Lilly is scheduled to face Felipe Paulino in the last game of the year against the Houston Astros on Wednesday afternoon.