Game Ninety-Seven – Cubs 5 Cardinals 0
WP – Randy Wells (5-7) LP – Jeff Suppan (0-6) Save – None
It is always a great day when the Cubs beat the Cardinals … and Friday was a great day. The Cubs are pretty much relegated to a spoiler’s role for the rest of the season and judging from Tony LaRussa’s reaction, Friday’s loss got under his skin.
Randy Wells’ worst start in the big leagues came the last time he faced the Cardinals. Wells not only bounced back against his childhood team but he tossed a seven-inning gem against the Redbirds. Wells more than earned his first career win against St. Louis.
Wells threw seven innings of shutout ball, allowed five hits and struck out seven with three walks. Wells tossed 111 pitches and even recorded one of the Cubs’ 10 hits. Randy Wells and Sean Marshall combined on the five-hit shutout, the Cardinals second in as many days. In fact, Friday marked the first time in a Major League record 2,370 games St. Louis has been shutout in consecutive games.
Friday was actually the second time this season the Cubs shutout the Cardinals … Carlos Silva beat the Redbirds 5-0 back on May 29.
Tyler Colvin started the game the right way. Colvin hit his first career leadoff homer, the second for the Cubs this season (Kosuke Fukudome on July 7). Colvin’s 14th of the season gave the Cubs a 1-0 lead … the game winner just three pitches into Jeff Suppan’s afternoon.
The Cubs clubbed three homers off Jeff Suppan Friday afternoon that accounted for four of their five runs off Suppan.
Geovany Soto ripped his 14th in the fourth and gave Wells a little breathing room. Alfonso Soriano hit his team-leading 18th dinger, a two-run shot in the fifth.
The Cubs fifth run of the game was actually a thing of beauty. With two outs and Ryan Theriot at second, Starlin Castro popped a ball straight up between homeplate and the mound. Jeff Suppan and Jason LaRue watched the ball hit the ground. But Theriot ran out the play, like he should, and scored all the way from first as Castro reached on an infield single. Tony LaRussa was so pleased with his team’s play that he repeatedly slammed the door to the bullpen phone.
With the win, the Cubs evened their season record with the Cards at two and Lou’s crew improved to 44-53 on the year … nine games below the mediocre mark. While Randy Wells was busy recording outs, the Cubs showed patience at the plate against Jeff Suppan. The final score should have been more than 5-0 … but as mentioned, it is always a great day when the Cubs beat the Cardinals. The Cubs offense finished the game 1-for-4 with RISP and left seven on base … they also hit into two double plays.
After Tyler Colvin put his team up 1-0, Starlin Castro reached on an infield single. Derrek Lee hit into a 5-4-3 double play but Aramis Ramirez and Marlon Byrd walked on eight pitches. It was clear early on the Cubs were going to make Suppan work.
After Suppan’s tenth pitch out of the strike zone, Alfonso Soriano popped out to third to end the inning.
Geovany Soto gave the Cubs a 2-0 lead in the fourth. Soto launched Suppan’s first pitch of the inning into the bleachers in left center. Randy Wells singled with one out but Colvin flied out to deep left and Castro grounded out to short to end the inning.
Aramis Ramirez reached on a one-out single in the fifth. Marlon Byrd hit what should have been a 5-4-3 double play but Skip Schumaker could not complete the double play. Alfonso Soriano stepped in and lined his 18th of the year into the first row of the bleachers in left … 4-0 Cubs.
Randy Wells dodged another bullet in the sixth. Jon Jay led off with a single to left. LaRussa put Jay in motion on a 3-1 pitch to Albert Pujols. Pujols hit a grounder to short that the Cubs could not turn two on.
With Matt Holliday at the plate, Wells tried to pick off Jay from second but Ryan Theriot was late getting to the bag and the ball ended up in center. Jay advanced to third. Holliday worked the count to 3-2 before striking out on a ball in the dirt. The strike three pitch got away from Soto but Holliday did not run to first.
Colby Rasmus flied out to left center to end the inning.
Ryan Theriot led off the bottom of the sixth with a single to left. Wells sacrificed him to second but Colvin flied out to left. Starlin Castro popped up Suppan’s first pitch … and Suppan and LaRue let the ball fall. Theriot scored from second and gave the Cubs a 5-0 lead.
Sean Marshall retired six of the seven batters he faced over the final two innings. Marshall threw 28 pitches, 16 for strikes, and walked two. Aaron Miles looked at strike three to end the game.
The Cubs outplayed the first place Cardinals … too bad their couldn’t have been more days like Friday back in May and June.
Tom Gorzelanny is slated to face Blake Hawksworth in game two Saturday afternoon.