Game Ninety-Five – Cubs 14 Astros 7
WP – Andrew Cashner (1-3) LP – Brandon Lyon (5-4) Save – None
On the day Lou Piniella announced he will retire at the end of the season and Tom Ricketts said Jim Hendry will return as the Cubs’ GM going into the 2011 season, the Cubs put together a memorable come from behind victory in an otherwise forgettable season.
The Cubs were down 6-0 by the fourth inning. Ryan Dempster and the defense were horrible and the game appeared over when the Astros took a 7-1 lead into the bottom of the fifth. But the Cubs offense, with a little help from Jeff Keppinger, began scoring runs in bunches led by Aramis Ramirez, Geovany Soto, Derrek Lee and Starlin Castro.
The Cubs scored 13 unanswered runs with at least a single run in each of the last five innings. Aramis Ramirez pounded out three home runs and tied a career-high with seven RBI. Ramirez put the Cubs on the board with his first of the night in the fourth. Ramirez then cut the Astros lead to 7-6 with his first three-run shot of the game. Ramirez’s third longball, and second three run homer, came in the eighth and put an exclamation on the night.
Aramis Ramirez has hit nine home runs in his last 12 games. Tuesday night was Ramirez’s fourth career three-homer game, his first since September of 2004 in Cincinnati.
Geovany Soto tied the game in the sixth with his 12th dinger of the year … a solo shot off of Chris Sampson.
Starlin Castro (3-for-5 with a double, two runs scored and a RBI) and Derrek Lee (2-for-4 with a double, three runs scored, a walk and three RBI) put the Cubs on top for good in the seventh. Castro led off with a double and scored on Lee’s double to left center.
Andrew Cashner was lights out in relief of Ryan Dempster in the sixth and seventh innings. Cashner retired all six batters he faced on just 16 pitches and picked up his first big league victory.
Sean Marshall notched his 13th hold of the season with a perfect eighth. With the Cubs up 9-7 at the time, Marshall retired the side on just seven pitches. Cashner and Marshall retired nine Astros on 23 pitches.
Carlos Marmol pitched the ninth and retired the heart of the Astros’ order on just 14 pitches.
The offense bailed out Ryan Dempster, who had a horrible night.
Ryan Dempster did not implode in the first inning like his rotation mate Carlos Silva; he waited until the second inning Tuesday night. Dempster was very sharp in the first but could not find the strike zone in the second … and another error opened the floodgates.
Dempster gave up seven runs, four earned, on eight hits in five innings. Dempster walked four and struck out one on 113 pitches, 69 for strikes.
The Cubs offense scored 14 runs on 14 hits with three walks. They finished the game 6-for-14 with RISP and left five on base. All of Lou’s starting eight recorded at least one hit.
The Cubs and Astros played bad defense Tuesday night, eight of the 21 runs scored by both teams were unearned.
Tuesday night was, by far, the Cubs largest come from behind victory of the season … prior to Tuesday’s game the Cubs largest comeback was three runs. Tuesday was the first time since May 30, 2008 (Rockies) that the Cubs overcame a six-plus run deficit. With the win, the Cubs improved to 43-52 on the year … nine games below the mediocre mark. The Cubs needed a long outing from Ryan Dempster and they received the exact opposite on Tuesday.
Dempster gave up a one-out double to Carlos Lee in the second then issued the first of three walks in the inning to Jeff Keppinger. Chris Johnson singled past a diving Starlin Castro to drive in the first run of the game. Jason Castro hit a routine grounder to Ryan Theriot that the second baseman gathered up and threw to second. But instead of a 4-6-3 inning ending double play … Theriot did not set his feet, rushed his throw and the ball ended up in left field.
Ryan Dempster could not throw strikes after Theriot’s error. Michael Bourn walked to load the bases with two outs. Dempster then plunked Angel Sanchez on a 1-2 pitch that forced in the Astros’ third run. To add insult to another bad outing, Dempster walked Lance Berkman on five pitches and forced in the fourth run of the game.
Houston sent ten to the plate in the second and scored four runs, one earned, on two hits, three walks and a hit batsman. Ryan Dempster threw 32 of his 113 pitches in the second inning.
The Astros tacked on a pair in the fourth and appeared to put the game away.
Angel Sanchez reached on a bloop double to left center that Marlon Byrd lost in the twilight. Dempster issued his fourth walk to Lance Berkman then gave up back-to-back run scoring singles to Hunter Pence and Carlos Lee.
At the end of 3 1/2 innings, the Astros had a commanding 6-0 lead.
Aramis Ramirez put the Cubs on the board in the bottom of the fourth. Ramirez hit his 13th homer of the season into the bleachers in left … 6-1 Astros.
Houston got the run right back in the top of the fifth. Chris Johnson hit his second big league homer … and his second longball in has many days. Johnson ripped Dempster’s 1-2 pitch over the wall in center and gave Houston their six run lead right back.
With the Cubs down 7-1, the offense made it a game in the bottom of the fifth … with a lot of help from Jeff Keppinger.
Geovany Soto led off the bottom of the fifth with a single off of Chris Johnson’s glove. Ryan Theriot then hit what appeared to be a 4-6-3 double play, but Jeff Keppinger pulled a Theriot and threw the ball into left field. Soto scampered to third and Theriot made it to second with no outs.
Xavier Nady hit for Ryan Dempster and struck out swinging. But strike three got away from Jason Castro and allowed Soto to score … 7-2 Astros. Theriot advanced to third on the play but Nady did not run to first.
Wesley Wright hit Tyler Colvin in the back. Starlin Castro grounded out to second, Theriot scored and the Cubs were down 7-3.
Derrek Lee walked with two outs and Aramis Ramirez cleared the bases with his 14th homer of the season. Ramirez pumped his fist as he rounded first. Ramirez’s second multi-homer game since July 6 put the Cubs back in the game … 7-6 Astros.
Marlon Byrd singled to left center and chased Wesley Wright from the game. Wilton Lopez came in and struck out Alfonso Soriano to end the inning.
Geovany Soto tied the game in the sixth with his 12th homer of the season. Soto’s dinger ended up on top of the batter’s eye in center off Chris Sampson … and completed the comeback.
Starlin Castro led off the seventh and ripped a double off the top of the vines in left center. The ball appeared to hit just below the basket. Castro ended up at second and scored on Derrek Lee’s hustle double to left center. Carlos Lee’s throw beat Lee to the bag but Keppinger’s tag was too high.
Lee advanced to third on Marlon Byrd’s fly out to right. Soriano then delivered a two-out single into center and gave the Cubs a two-run lead … 9-7 Cubs.
The Cubs put together their second five-run inning in the eighth off of Gary Majewski. Kosuke Fukudome hit for Sean Marshall and walked with one out. Tyler Colvin singled to left. Castro then loaded the bases with an infield single to third.
Derrek Lee made it 11-7 with a single to left. Lee then scored on Ramirez’s third homer of the game … and the longest of the night. Ramirez launched his 15th of the season deep into the bleachers in left center. 14-7 Cubs.
After an emotional day and a horrible start to the game, the Chicago Cubs put one into the history books Tuesday night at the old ballpark.
Ted Lilly will face Brett Myers in the finale of the three-game set on Wednesday afternoon.