Game Forty – Cubs 6 Rockies 2
WP – Carlos Silva (5-0) LP – Jhoulys Chacin (2-2) Save – None
Where has this been all season? The Cubs won their third game in a row behind another tremendous outing by Carlos Silva … and big nights from Tyler Colvin, Starlin Castro, Ryan Theriot and James Russell.
Carlos Silva kept the Rockies off balance for a majority of the night. Silva gave up a pair of runs on a two-run homer by Todd Helton in the seventh … and that was all. Silva did not allow his sixth hit until the seventh. On Silva’s 85th pitch of the night, Helton made it a 3-2 game on his first longball of the season.
Carlos Silva’s line: two runs on six hits in six-plus innings with a walk and four strikeouts … 85 pitches, 58 for strikes.
It was a big night for the young Cubs. Tyler Colvin and Starlin Castro contributed at the plate and in the field. Tyler Colvin collected three hits in four at bats, scored two runs and drove in the first run of the night. Colvin added his first career stolen base in the eighth that led to the Cubs’ fourth run of the game.
Starlin Castro drove in two runs, his first runs batted in since his debut, in four trips to the plate. Castro recorded only one hit but put the ball in play twice with a runner on third and less than two outs.
Ryan Theriot returned to the starting lineup and drove in the last two runs of the game. Theriot singled in Geovany Soto and Starlin Castro with a two-out single to right in the eighth.
The outing turned in by James Russell will likely go unnoticed. After Carlos Silva gave up the two-run homer to Todd Helton, Lou Piniella went to the pen for Esmailin Caridad. Caridad walked Miguel Olivo on four pitches and put the tying run on with no outs. Russell came in and struck out two of the three batters he faced and preserved the Cubs’ 3-2 lead.
The Cubs scored six runs on nine hits with only one extra base hit … a double by Derrek Lee in the seventh.
Carlos Silva is 5-0 to start a season for only the second time in his career … 2004 with the Minnesota Twins. But more importantly, the Cubs are 7-1 in games started by Silva.
With the win, the Cubs finished the eight-game homestand with a 4-4 record (started 1-4) and improved to 18-22 on the season … While Carlos Silva was busy putting zeros on the board, the Cubs missed an opportunity in the first inning to put runs on the board … but not in the fourth.
Aramis Ramirez walked to start the fourth. On a 2-1 pitch to Marlon Byrd, Piniella called for the hit and run. Byrd singled to right and Ramirez advanced to third … with no outs. Tyler Colvin, who struck out with the bases loaded to end the first, singled to center on a 2-1 pitch from Chacin. Ramirez scored, 1-0 Cubs. Geovany Soto walked to load the bases for Starlin Castro.
Castro put the ball in play and hit a tailor made double play ball to Ian Stewart at third. Stewart bobbled the ball and forced Soto at second. Byrd scored … 2-0 Cubs.
The Cubs tried the suicide squeeze with Silva at the plate, but he fouled the first pitch and eventually struck out. Kosuke Fukudome followed and singled to center on a 2-1 pitch … Colvin scored, 3-0 Cubs.
The game remained 3-0 until the seventh. Carlos Silva issued his first walk of the night to Troy Tulowitzki to start the inning. Silva appeared to lose his rhythm and showed a little discomfort with his shoulder. After a visit from Mark O’Neal, the Cubs’ trainer, Silva stayed in to face Todd Helton.
Helton cranked a 3-2 offering from Silva into the bleachers in right. Helton’s first longball of the year cut the Cubs lead to 3-2. Lou Piniella made the slow walk and brought in Esmailin Caridad to face Miguel Olivo.
Caridad walked Olivo on four pitches and likely punched his ticket to Iowa. Piniella brought in James Russell to face Ian Stewart.
Russell threw strikes and quickly got ahead of Stewart. After a 0-2 pitch missed, Olivo took second on a delayed steal. Olivo slid in headfirst and cut his face. Olivo left the game. Russell struck out Stewart with the tying run on second … then retired Clint Barmes on a fly out to left. Ryan Spilborghs pinch-hit for Randy Flores and struck out swinging to end the inning.
Sean Marshall kept it a 3-2 game in the top of the eighth with a little help from Kosuke Fukudome. Carlos Gonzalez lined Marshall’s first pitch into right center. Fukudome cut off the ball and held Gonzalez to a single. Seth Smith hit a slow tapper back to Marshall. The Cubs could not turn the double play but Marshall retired Brad Hawpe and Troy Tulowitzki to end the inning.
The Cubs tacked on three runs in the bottom of the eighth … and put the game away. Tyler Colvin led off the inning with his third hit of the night. Colvin stole second, his first career stolen base, and took third on a throwing error by Paul Phillips. Colvin ended up a third. Geovany Soto walked for the third time.
With runners on first and third with no outs, Jim Tracy brought his infield in. Starlin Castro put the ball in play and reached on an infield single to third. Stewart threw late to the plate after he made a diving stop … Colvin scored, 4-2 Cubs.
Alfonso Soriano pinch-hit for Marshall and struck out after a wild pitch advanced Soto and Castro to second and third. Kosuke Fukudome popped out to shallow center but Ryan Theriot singled to right and plated the final two runs of the game.
Carlos Zambrano retired the Rockies in order in the ninth to close it out. Zambrano threw the ball well. Big Z struck out two and retired all three batters on 14 pitches.
After beginning the homestand 1-4, to win three in a row with two straight against the Rockies is a positive step forward.
The Cubs open a two-game series in Philadelphia Wednesday night. Tom Gorzelanny against Jamie Moyer.