Game Sixty-Six – Cubs 3 A’s 2
WP – Carlos Marmol (2-1) LP – Jerry Blevins (2-1) Save – None
With the game tied at two in the bottom of the ninth, Geovany Soto worked a lead off walk against former Cub farmhand Jerry Blevins. Starlin Castro sacrificed Soto to second and the A’s decided to intentionally walk pinch-hitter Koyie Hill.
Ryan Theriot, who managed only one hit in the three game series, stepped in and displayed rare patience at the plate. Theriot made Blevins throw strikes and walked on five pitches to load the bases.
With one out and the bases loaded, both the infield and outfield were called in as Kosuke Fukudome made his way to the plate.
Kosuke Fukudome entered the game as a pinch hitter in the eighth, singled and scored the tying run and delivered in the ninth. Fukudome hit a grounder into right past the drawn in infield. Soto scored easily, Cubs win!
Lou Piniella’s crew won for the second day in a row for the first time since May 23 and May 25 … and the Chicago National League Ballclub won a series for the first time since taking two of three from the Dodgers back on May 25 – May 27.
Randy Wells escaped the first inning with a lot of help from Marlon Byrd. Wells put together a solid outing and notched his first quality start since May 22. Wells allowed two runs on seven hits with a walk and six strikeouts in seven innings. Wells threw a season-high 129 pitches and uncorked two wild pitches.
Andrew Cashner kept his scoreless innings streak alive with another solid outing Thursday. Cashner was lifted in the ninth with the go ahead run on third and one out. Piniella brought in Carlos Marmol with the game on the line and Marmol retired two of the three batters he faced. Marmol gave up a walk to Cliff Pennington but retired Gabe Gross on a foul out to Starlin Castro and Rajai Davis on a ground out to Mike Fontenot at thrid.
The Cubs offense muddled through another game … one that should have been over before the ninth inning.
Jeff Baker hit his third longball of the year in the first inning. His first since Opening Day at Wrigley gave the Cubs a 1-0 lead. But the offense loaded the bases with one-out in the first and let Dallas Braden off the hook.
Xavier Nady drove in the tying run with a sacrifice fly in the eighth off of Andrew Bailey.
The Cubs managed nine hits and five walks against Oakland pitching. Lou’s crew finished the game 2-for-7 with RISP and left 10 on base. The opportunities were there once again for the Chicago Cubs.
The Cubs won for the 30th time this season Thursday afternoon and improved to 30-36 on the year … six games below the mediocre mark. The Cubs ended a five-series losing streak Thursday afternoon. The Cubs problems this season were on full display at times but the bottom line is they figured out a way to win. The Cubs played nowhere near as good as they did Wednesday night … but a win is a win.
Randy Wells got out of the first inning without allowing a run. Rajai Davis led off with a double down the left field line off of Jeff Baker’s glove. Conor Jackson flied out to left center and Davis held at second. Wells struck out Daric Barton.
Marlon Byrd made a diving catch in right center to take away extra bases from Kurt Suzuki. At the end of a half inning, the Cubs had not allowed a run.
Jeff Baker gave the Cubs a 1-0 lead with a homer to left center. Baker lined Dallas Braden’s 3-2 pitch into the bleachers.
Marlon Byrd followed Baker with a single to left. Derrek Lee walked then Xavier Nady blooped a single into right. Byrd held at third and the bases were loaded with one out. Alfonso Soriano struck out swinging and Geovany Soto grounded out to short on the first pitch to end the inning.
The Cubs had a chance to add their lead in the second. Starlin Castro led off with a double and advanced to third on a sacrifice bunt by Randy Wells. Ryan Theriot struck out swinging and Baker flied out to left center on the first pitch.
The Cubs let two great opportunities slip away … and it looked like it would cost them once again.
Randy Wells pitched in and out of trouble in the third but the deep counts finally caught up to him in the fifth.
Cliff Pennington singled to right with one out in the fifth. Dallas Braden sacrificed him to second. Rajai Davis then blooped a 3-2 pitch into right. Pennington scored and tied the game at one … Davis advanced to second when Soto failed to catch Nady’s throw. Wells retired Jackson on a fly out to center to end the inning.
The A’s took the lead in the seventh. Mark Ellis led off the inning with a homer to left … on a 3-2 pitch. Wells walked Rajai Davis with two outs. Lou made the slow walk and left in Wells to face Conor Jackson … this time it did not hurt.
After Davis stole second on a pitch out and ended up at third on Soto’s throwing error, Jackson popped out to Jeff Baker to end the inning.
Michael Wuertz took the hill to start the eighth. Theriot grounded out to second. Kosuke Fukudome hit for Jeff Baker and singled to center on a 1-2 pitch. Marlon Byrd reached on an infield single off Kevin Kouzmanoff’s glove. Derrek Lee walked to load the bases with one out.
Wuertz departed and Andrew Bailey took the hill to face Xavier Nady.
Nady worked the count to 2-2 then hit a sacrifice fly to right. Fukudome scored and tied the game at two. With the go ahead run at third in Marlon Byrd, Soriano struck out swinging to end the inning.
Just like 2004, the Cubs took two of three from the Athletics at Wrigley Field.
The Cubs needed to remember what it was like to win back-to-back ballgames …
The Los Angeles Angels make their first trip to Wrigley on Friday. Carlos Silva versus Scott Kazmir in game one.