Game Seven – Cubs 7 Brewers 4
WP – Carlos Zambrano (1-0) LP – Randy Wolf (0-2) Save – Carlos Marmol (3)
The Cubs nine-game road trip began on a positive note. Q’s squad out slugged the Brewers with Jeff Baker leading the way. The Cubs pounded out 12 hits, four for extra bases, and they climbed above the .500 mark for the second time on the young season
Jeff Baker finished the game 4-for-5 hitting out of the top spot of the lineup. Baker drove in four runs, all with two outs, on a three-run homer and a single in the sixth. Baker also scored the Cubs final run of the night on a double by Marlon Byrd in the ninth … all four of Baker’s hits came with two outs and helped extend innings. Baker’s three-run shot in the fourth broke a 2-2 tie.
Geovany Soto tied the game at two with his first longball of the season. Soto’s rocket to center put the Cubs on the board and appeared to relax his teammates. The Cubs scored five of their seven runs in the fourth … two on Soto’s shot and three on Baker’s dinger.
Marlon Byrd hit two more doubles Friday night and the second drove in the Cubs seventh run of the game.
Carlos Zambrano grinded out a decent start. Z picked up the victory and posted his ninth straight win dating back to last season. Z was not good and Z was not bad … Z was just good enough to post a win. Zambrano gave up four runs on seven hits with three walks and five strikeouts in six innings. Z threw 112 pitches, 67 for strikes.
Zambrano also chipped in a 1-for-3 night at the plate. Z’s single in the fourth extended the inning for Jeff Baker.
Sean Marshall and Kerry Wood were lights out. Marshall and Wood retired all six batters they faced in the seventh and eighth innings on a combined 20 pitches, 17 for strikes.
For the seventh time in seven games, the final score of a Cubs game was decided by three runs or less.
Dating back to the end of last season, the Cubs have won 20 of their last 25 on the road under Mike Quade … Carlos Zambrano’s night began with an impressive three up, three down first inning. Z threw only 13 pitches, eight for strikes. The feel-good first inning was soon forgotten.
Prince Fielder led off the second with a booming homer to left center on a 1-2 pitch. Fielder’s 100th career blast at Miller Park gave the Brewers a 1-0 lead. Zambrano could not find the strike zone against Casey McGehee and it cost him another run.
After McGehee’s four-pitch walk, Yuniesky Betancourt singled to left on a 2-2 pitch. Nyjer Morgan sacrificed both runners up ninety feet. Mike Quade played his infield back and George Kottaras grounded out to second, McGehee scored … 2-0 Brewers.
The Cubs put two more runners on base in the third but Marlon Byrd hit into a 6-4-3 inning ending double play.
Carlos Gomez reached on an out single in the third. With Ryan Braun at the dish, Zambrano threw over not once, not twice but three times … and the third time was the charm. Z picked off Gomez before walking Ryan Braun. Prince Fielder flied out to deep left to end the inning.
The Cubs tied the game in the fourth … with a little help from the Brewers’ defense. Aramis Ramirez reached on an error by Rickie Weeks. The Brewers’ second baseman overran a pop up into shallow right. Geovany Soto then launched a 1-0 pitch over the wall in center. Soto’s first longball of the year tied the game at two.
Carlos Pena struck out for the second time in the game. Alfonso Soriano (2-for-4 two runs scored) ripped a single into left on a 3-1 pitch. After Tyler Colvin struck out swinging on a 2-2 pitch, Carlos Zambrano worked the count to 3-2 before ripping a single into left.
Jeff Baker stepped in and launched a 1-1 offering from Wolf over the wall in left … 5-2 Cubs.
Q’s offense sent eight to the plate in the fourth and really worked the count.
Carlos Zambrano could not keep the momentum in the Cubs’ dugout after the big five-run top of the inning.
Yuniesky Betancourt reached on a single to left. Soriano dove and appeared to catch the sinking liner but when Soriano hit the ground, the ball popped out of his glove. Z fell behind Nyjer Morgan 3-1 before receiving a pitcher’s strike. Morgan ripped Z’s next pitch into center. Betancourt was running on the 3-2 offering and advanced to third on the single.
George Kottaras gave himself up again and hit a sac fly to left on the first pitch of the at bat. Betancourt tagged and scored … 5-3 Cubs.
Randy Wolf flied out to deep center to end the inning.
After four, Z’s pitch count stood at 75, 44 for strikes.
The Brewers cut into the Cubs lead in the fifth after two long at bats by Rickie Weeks and Carlos Gomez. Z threw 16 of his 29 pitches in the fifth to Weeks and Gomez. Weeks led off with a single to center on a 2-2 pitch. Carlos Gomez put together an impressive at bat. Gomez worked the count to 3-2 and fouled off five straight 2-2 offerings from Zambrano. Z ended up striking out Gomez for the first out.
Ryan Braun popped out to Starlin Castro in shallow left on the first pitch of the at bat. Prince Fielder then walked on Zambrano’s 99th pitch of the night. Casey McGehee singled to right on a 1-2 pitch. Weeks scored, 5-4 Cubs. Zambrano retired Betancourt on a ground out to short to end the inning.
Zambrano reached a season-high pitch count of 104 after five innings, 63 for strikes.
Alfonso Soriano led off the sixth with a single to left and advanced to second on a wild pitch. Tyler Colvin grounded out weakly to short, Soriano advanced to third but held on a chopper to short off the bat of Zambrano.
Jeff Baker lined Wolf’s first pitch into center. Soriano scored on another two-out hit by Baker. Starlin Castro hit a weak liner to Weeks to end the inning.
The Cubs scratched out a run in the sixth and took a 6-4 lead into the home half.
Carlos Zambrano put together his second 1-2-3 inning of the night in the sixth. Z retired the bottom of the Brewers lineup on eight pitches.
Z gave Quade a decent six innings. Zambrano allowed four runs, all earned, on seven hits with three walks and five strikeouts on 112 pitches, 67 for strikes.
Sean Marshall and Kerry Wood were perfect in the seventh and eighth inning. Marshall retired the Brewers in order on 11 pitches, nine for strikes and Wood did the same in the eighth. It took Wood only nine pitches, eight for strikes, to record three outs.
Jeff Baker’s night continued in the ninth. Baker led off the inning with a single to right on a 1-0 pitch from Zach Braddock. Starlin Castro popped out but Marlon Byrd ripped a double into the gap in left center. Baker scored all the way from first.
Sergio Mitre replaced Braddock and retired Aramis Ramirez and Geovany Soto to end the inning.
The ninth inning was anything but pretty for Carlos Marmol. Marmol got the job done after giving up a leadoff single to Nyjer Morgan and walking George Kottaras. Marmol struck out pinch hitter Mark Kotsay and retired Rickie Weeks on a fly out to right on a 3-2 pitch. Carlos Gomez struck out swinging on a 2-2 pitch to end the game. Marmol threw 23 pitches, 13 for strikes.
4-3 after seven games sounds so much better than 3-4 …
Matt Garza versus lefty Chris Narveson in game two Saturday night.