Game One Hundred Twenty-Four – Cubs 5 Braves 4
WP – Tom Gorzelanny (7-7) LP – Tommy Hanson (8-9) Save – Carlos Marmol (22)
The Cubs dominated the game early on but for the third day in a row, the bullpen made the end of the game very interesting. Atlanta scored three in the eighth off of Andrew Cashner and Sean Marshall and turned the Cubs comfortable 5-1 lead into another one-run contest.
Carlos Marmol started the ninth off by walking Derrek Lee on four pitches … the scene was very reminiscent of Friday, Marmol was all over the place. To Marmol’s credit, he settled down and threw strikes. Marmol retired Eric Hinske on a fly out to center and struck out Alex Gonzalez and Brian McCann swinging to end the game.
The Cubs ended their five-game losing streak and won for the first time in eight games at Wrigley (the Brewers on August 4). The Cubs also posted a rare one-run win, just the 15th time this season the Cubs won a one-run contest (15-30).
Aramis Ramirez and Tyler Colvin led the way Saturday afternoon. The Cubs fourth and fifth hitter drove in four of the Cubs’ five runs. Ramirez (3-for-4 with two runs and two RBI) and Colvin (2-for-4 with two RBI) combined for five of the Cubs’ ten hits.
The Cubs’ offense also hit with two outs. Three of the five runs scored on two-out hits by Aramis Ramirez, Tyler Colvin and Blake DeWitt. Lou’s crew finished the game 5-for-13 with RISP and left eight on base.
Tom Gorzelanny put together an excellent outing. Gorzelanny allowed just one run on seven hits in seven innings. Gorzelanny walked two and struck out nine … one off his career high. Gorzelanny was helped out by a Braves offense that could not hit early on with runners in scoring position. Atlanta left 12 on base Saturday and was 2-for-11 with RISP.
Derrek Lee went hitless in his second game in a Braves’ uniform. Lee walked in his last two at bats and started the eighth inning rally with a leadoff walk. But Lee was 0-for-3 early on and left five on base.
The Cubs won for just the second time in 13 home games Saturday. Lou’s crew improved to 51-73 on the year, still 22 games under and on pace to lose close to 100 ballgames … For the most part the Cubs played a good game Saturday. It was good seeing them plate runs with two outs and Carlos Marmol hanging on at the end.
The Cubs got out to an early lead after Kosuke Fukudome doubled to left center on Tommy Hanson’s first pitch of the game. Starlin Castro struck out and Marlon Byrd flied out to left center … but Aramis Ramirez singled to left on a 1-0 pitch.
Fukudome hustled home as Martin Prado cut off Matt Diaz’s throw from left. The ball ended up in center as Prado tried to throw out Ramirez at second. Aramis ended up at third on the error and scored on an infield single by Tyler Colvin. Colvin got just enough of a 0-1 pitch and hit the ball past a diving Derrek Lee. Omar Infante made the play on the ball in the hole at second but could not throw out Colvin … Ramirez scored, 2-0 Cubs.
The Cubs tacked on against Tommy Hanson in the third. Starlin Castro walked on four pitches … and Marlon Byrd followed with a free pass of his own. And both would come around to score, imagine that.
Aramis Ramirez broke his bat and blooped a single into left. Castro scored and the always-hustling Byrd ended up at third. Tyler Colvin drove in his second run of the game with a single to right. Byrd scored … 4-0 Cubs.
With runners on first and second and one out, Xavier Nady lined out to right. Blake DeWitt fell behind 0-2 before ripping a single into right that plated Ramirez with the Cubs’ fifth run. Colvin ended up at third but Koyie Hill flied out to left to end the inning.
The Braves got on the board in the sixth. Matt Diaz ripped a double down the left field to start the inning. Alex Gonzalez followed with a double past Ramirez into the left field corner. Diaz scored … 5-1 Cubs.
Following a tap back to the mound by David Ross, Rick Ankiel struck out swinging. Diory Hernandez hit for Tommy Hanson and struck out looking to end the inning.
Andrew Cashner took over for Gorzelanny to start the eighth … and issued a four-pitch walk to Derrek Lee to start the inning. Cashner struck out Matt Diaz but gave up a single to Alex Gonzalez. Cashner then walked David Ross to load the bases with one out.
Lou Piniella made the slow walk and brought in Sean Marshall, along with Darwin Barney on a double switch, to face Rick Ankiel.
Bobby Cox countered with Melky Cabrera and Marshall struck out Cabrera for the second out.
Brooks Conrad pinch-hit for Kyle Farnsworth. Marshall could not throw strikes and fell behind 3-0 before throwing one in the zone. Conrad ripped Marshall’s next offering over Marlon Byrd’s head in center. Conrad ended up with a bases clearing double after Starlin Castro dropped Byrd’s throw … Three runs scored and the Cubs were up by a slim 5-4 score.
Piniella decided to intentionally walk Omar Infante to bring up Jason Heyward. Marshall threw a first pitch strike to the rookie before hitting him on the next pitch. With the bases loaded, up by one with two out, Martin Prado grounded out to Castro to end the inning.
When Carlos Marmol walked Derrek Lee to start the ninth on four pitches, it looked like the Cubs would lose another game. But Eric Hinske’s aggressiveness helped out the shaky Marmol. After Hinske flied out to center, Marmol appeared to settle down. Back-to-back swinging strikeouts by Alex Gonzalez and Brian McCann was a good way to close out the win.
Saturday was a good day for the Cubs … they won a ballgame.
Randy Wells versus Mike Minor in the finale Sunday afternoon.