The Cubs took game two of the series in decisive fashion, pounding the Cardinals 7-1, insuring a series victory. With a win tomorrow, the Cubs could sweep the Red Birds in St Louis. This week was so important to the Cardinals, especially since they are playing the team ahead of them in the standings (Cubs), and then play the division leading Brewers. The Cardinals thought that this was a critical week, a chance to make up ground, but not against the Cubs. After a lackluster performance the night before, the Cubs bats came to life. The pitching by Ted Lilly was outstanding, and the Cubs played ok defense (error by Lilly and miscommunication between Jones and Soriano). Lilly worked seven innings and gave up a run and six hits with two strikeouts and three walks, winning his eleventh game and sixth in a row. He even had a run scoring single in the eighth. The Cubs destroyed Adam Wainwright, lighting him up forsix runs and nine hits in five innings. He had seven strikeouts, six in the first 10 batters he faced and it looked like it was going to be a long night, especially after he struck out the side in the third, but the Cubs broke through in the fourth. With two outs and runners at first and second, Mike Fontenot hit a single, putting runners at first and third. Cliff Floyd followed him with an RBI single, making it 2-0. The Cards were able to strike back in the bottom of the fourth, when Juan Encarnacion hit an RBI single, but that was all the offense St. Louis would get. The Cubs pounded Wainwright in the fifth, as the Cubs put up four runs in the inning and were a home run short of the cycle. Speaking of cycle, Alfonso Soriano, who was struggling lately, was a home run away from the cycle by himself. Michael Wuertz and Scott Eyre each worked an inning of relief, giving Carlos Marmol, Bob Howry, and Ryan Dempster a little rest.
It was a great day to watch the scoreboard if you’re a Cubs fan. Milwaukee lost to Cincinnati 7-3, so now the Cubs are only two games back. This is the closest the Cubs have been to first since April 16th, when they were 5-7. San Diego also lost, putting them half a game out of the wildcard. Atlanta, also half a game back, is currently losing 2-1 against San Fran. Dave Bush, probably the Brewers worst starter, takes the mound tomorrow against Cincy’s Bobby Livingston. Then the Brewers take on St Louis this weekend, while the Cubs go to the Great American Ballpark to take on the Reds.
In the old Mortal Kombat video game, before you killed an opponent, the game would tell you to Finish Him!. Humiliate them. End them. That’s what the Cubs need to do tomorrow. End the Cardinals season. Jason Marquis (7-5, 3.92) will take on right hander Branden Looper (7-8, 5.09) . Cubs need to finish the Cardinals season and then get ready to take on the Reds. We are only two games back of the division lead, half a game back in the wildcard, and remain one of the hottest teams in baseball. Let’s get the job done and keep on rollin’