Game Ten – Cubs 7 Astros 2
WP – Carlos Silva (1-0) LP – Felipe Paulino (0-1) Save – None
Carlos Silva made his first start at Wrigley Field since 2003 and did not disappoint in his home debut. Not only did Silva drive in the first run of the game with a double to right center, his second career two base hit and second career RBI, Silva did not allow an earned run in seven stellar innings on Friday afternoon.
The Astros scored two unearned runs off of Carlos Silva in the fourth inning following another defensive miscue. Silva gave himself the lead in the third with a double to right center that plated Koyie Hill. Silva made quick work of Pedro Feliz and Carlos Lee but Marlon Byrd and Kosuke Fukudome did not communicate on a ball hit into right center by Hunter Pence. The outfielders collided. Byrd was given the error and Pence ended up at second.
Kosuke Fukudome then misplayed a low liner into a triple for Chris Johnson. Pence scored and tied the game at one. Tommy Manzella singled in Johnson with the go ahead run. Two of the Astros five hits came off Silva in the fourth.
In his first win as a Chicago Cub, Carlos Silva’s line: two runs, both unearned, on five hits in seven innings with no walks and five strikeouts. Silva threw 90 pitches, 64 for strikes.
The Cubs offense finally woke up in the seventh inning. Down by a score of 2-1, Marlon Byrd led off with a double and scored the tying run on a double to left by Alfonso Soriano. With the bases loaded and one out, Ryan Theriot pushed a bunt up the first base line. The ball looked like it was going foul but for some reason Pedro Feliz tried to pick it up and make a play. Feliz bobbled the ball and Soriano scored the eventual winning run.
Kosuke Fukudome gave the Cubs a little breathing room with a sacrifice fly to center that plated Mike Fontenot … then Derrek Lee put the game out of reach.
Lee launched his third home run of the season into the bleachers in left center. The three-run shot gave the Cubs a comfortable five run lead going into the eighth.
John Grabow gave up a leadoff single in the eighth but ended up facing the minimum. In a non-save situation, Carlos Marmol retired the Astros in order in the ninth. Marmol struck out a pair on Friday afternoon … five of the last six outs Marmol’s recorded has been via the strikeout.
After reporting to camp out of shape prompting questions from the media and the fanbase about Silva’s future with the Chicago Cubs, the former Mariner has shown improvement every time out. Granted Carlos Silva hasn’t faced the elite teams in the National League but he has shown he could be a more than serviceable fifth starter in the Cubs rotation.
The Cubs have led in all 10 games they’ve played this season … the first time the franchise has accomplished that feat since leading in nine straight to begin the 1945 campaign. With the win, the Cubs evened their record on the young season to 5-5 … The Cubs defense was suspect once again on Friday. Alfonso Soriano, Mike Fontenot and Aramis Ramirez turned in solid plays but Marlon Byrd and Kosuke Fukudome gave the Astros’ extra outs. Many have been focused on the Cubs’ bullpen, but the Cubs defense must improve and quit giving the opposition four and five outs an inning.
Bud Selig must have been happy with the pace of the first six innings on Friday. Carlos Silva and Felipe Paulino worked quickly and threw strikes.
Koyie Hill recorded the Cubs’ first hit of the game in the third, a triple to left center … the third of his career. Carlos Silva did a little more than just make contact. On a 0-2 pitch, Silva doubled to the warning track in right center in front of the 368 sign. Silva’s first hit since 2006 gave the Cubs a 1-0 lead.
Ryan Theriot grounded back to Paulino and Fukudome flied out to a sliding Hunter Pence in right to end the inning.
Following the error in the outfield that led to two runs in the top of the fourth, the game stayed at 2-1 until the bottom of the seventh.
Marlon Byrd ripped a 3-2 pitch from Paulino into left center. The ball stuck in the ivy for a ground rule double. After showing bunt on the first pitch, Alfonso Soriano lined a 2-1 pitch over Carlos Lee’s head in left. Byrd scored, game tied at two.
Mike Fontenot walked. Koyie Hill tried to bunt and missed. Soriano was caught in no man’s land between second and third but was able to advance. Hill walked to load the bases.
Chad Tracy was announced for Carlos Silva, which prompted Brad Mills to make a change. Mills brought in the lefty Tim Byrdak for Felipe Paulino.
Lou Piniella countered with Xavier Nady and he popped out to center on the first pitch from Byrdak … the ball was not deep enough for Soriano to score.
Ryan Theriot pushed a bunt up the first base line. The ball looked like it was going foul but Pedro Feliz touched it then bobbled the ball … everyone was safe and Soriano scored the go ahead run. 3-2 Cubs.
Kosuke Fukudome hit a sacrifice fly to center on a 0-1 offering from the lefty. Fontenot scored the Cubs fourth run.
With runners on first and third with two outs, Mills went to his pen again for Jeff Fulchino. Derrek Lee then launched a 3-2 pitch into the bleachers in left center … 7-2 Cubs.
Tom Gorzelanny will face Roy Oswalt on Saturday at noon.