My god, I have never been so disgusted after a Cubs victory in my life. After seeing my first Cubbie victory on Sunday, I was leaping for joy as the Cubs offense came to life against Pirates starter Tom Gorzelanny. Gorzelanny is a lefty, which the Cubs struggled against last year, but they had no problems with that today. The Cubs busted open the game in the third as Aramis Ramirez and Geovany Soto each drove in two runs and Gorzelanny walked three and committed a run-scoring throwing error during a six-run third. That was it for Gorzelanny, who threw strikes on only 36 of his 70 pitches. In from the bullpen came Phil Dumatrait, who was greeted by a bases clearing double by Ronnie Cedeno. By the time the third inning was over, the Cubs were up 7-0 and it looked like the Cubs were going to win their first blowout game of the season. But no. That would be too easy. That would just be fun and enjoyable. Instead, the whole team fell apart and allowed the Pirates to come back.
Starter Ted Lilly had his second bad outing, getting spotted a seven run lead and getting pulled in the fourth. In the fourth Lilly gave up a single and two walks to load the bases. Lilly almost got out of the jam, but Luis Rivas hit an infield single that Cedeno tried to make a play on, and he threw it into the stands, allowing two runs to score. The next batter, pinch hitter Carlos Gomez, hit an infield single to third, which Ramirez threw away, leading to another two runs to score. Then, with Gomez on third, Lilly gives up a triple to Nate McLouth. That was all for Lilly. Kevin Hart came in and got the third out of the inning.
“I almost felt like that, at that point, I was trying to force the ball in there and going a little too fast,” Lilly said
Hart pitched an easy fifth inning, and Aramis drove in another run to give the Cubs an 8-5 lead. Cubs fans were breathing easy again…..But Wait!!! All of suddent, Cubs relievers could not find the strike zone. Hart came back out in the sixth inning, and walked the first two batters, the seventh and eighth hitters in the Pirates’ lineup, and was pulled from the game. Into the game came lefty and former Crawly’s Cub Kingdom favorite Carmen Pignatiello. Carmen could not hit the side of a barn. He came in and walked pinch hitter Nyjer Morgan, then he walkedthe next batter, McClouth, to force in a run. That was it for Pignatiello. In comes Bob Howry, who had looked awful all season and was recently told he would be moved out of setup duty unitl he sharpened up. Howry inherited the bases loaded and no outs, yet he only gave up one run on a sacrifice fly. Unfortunately, Geo Soto had a passed ball and the Pirates cut the Cubs lead to 8-7. It could have been a lot worse and Howry definately saved the day.
But wait!! There’s more awful baseball. With the Cubs up 8-7, Michael Wuertz comes into the game. He gives up a double, but with two outs, he gets Morgan to ground the ball to second
base, but Mark DeRosa boots the ball, allowing the run to score. Even though the run was unearned, Wuertz was charged with a blown save. That was the thrid error of the day by the infield and it nearly cost the Cubs the game. Now the Cubs decided to blow every opportunity to win the game. Fukudome led off the top of the 9th with a single. After DeRosa strikes out, Fukudome steals second. With Kosuke on second and one out, the Cubs couldn’t drive him home. Then in the tenth, with runners on second and third and one out, the Cubs had Lee and Ramirez coming up. Neither of them could get a hit. In the top of the eleventh, Fukudome led off with a single, but was again stranded. Luckily for the Cubs, Jon Lieber was able to work out of a ninth inning jam and pitched three solid innings for the Cubs.
The Cubs were finally able to win the game when the last man left in the Pirates bullpen, Rule 5 pick Evan Meek walked five Cubs batters, threw two wild pitches, and gave up a sac fly, allowing the Cubs to score two runs. Carlos Marmol picked up the save. In the end, the Cubs couldn’t win the game, they had to wait for Pittsburgh to lose it. By the time the game was over, the Cubs were charged with three errors, Cubs batters walked eight hitters, and Cubs hitters stranded 15 baserunners. Probably one of the worst wins in Cubs history. Yet somehow the Cubs did win, gained some ground in the division, won their first road game, knocked a left handed pitcher around, and picked up their first road win. As manager Lou Pinella put it
“I’d rather win ugly than lose pretty,”
The Cubs get Tuesday off before facing off with the Pirates again on Wednesday. Ryan Dempser will take on another lefty, Zach Duke. Let’s get four in a row, and let’s learn to play some defense.
Box Scores for 4-7
|Hart, K, P||1||0||0||0||0||1||1||.000|
|a-Flied out for Howry in the 7th. b-Reached on error for Johnson in the 10th.
1-Ran for Ward in the 10th.
|Howry (H, 2)||1.0||0||0||0||1||0||0||12.27|
|Wuertz (BS, 1)||2.0||1||1||0||0||1||0||0.00|
|Lieber (W, 1-1)||3.0||2||0||0||2||2||0||0.00|
|Marmol (S, 1)||1.0||1||0||0||0||1||0||1.50|