Box score. Cubs win a great game at home today, take this series, and are now 5 up on the Brewers, and 5 1/2 on the Cardinals. The Cardinals take on the Phillies on ESPN this evening. Next up for the Cubs, the Astros at Wrigley, and tomorrow’s game is the ESPN game.
After being down 0-2 early, the Cubs take the lead in the 4th on a flurry of doubles, from Edmonds, Soto, and Zambrano. Aramis added on a solo shot in the 5th. Soriano also racks up another steal, and it’s nice to see him running a bit lately. He has 11 on the year, and has only been caught once.
The Pirates tie it up 5-5 in the 8th. But the Cubs quickly strike back. Pinch-hitter Reed Johnson smacks a two-run home run on an 0-2 count, and Soriano immediately follows up with a solo shot. Johnson has been a great addition. His defense and presence really buoy the Cubs, and his bat has been coming alive lately.
Zambrano was good, not great. He gave up 2 runs on 3 hits and a walk, and struck out 2. He did also have a double and an RBI. He was pulled after warming up to start the 6th, and Samardzija was put in. Big Z had only thrown 82 pitches, and it was not clear exactly why he was pulled. I can tell you one thing, it doesn’t help my fantasy team’s IP per start category. Samardzija was fine, pitching 2 1/3 innings: 1 hit, 1 walk, 1 K, no runs. There was a stretch in this game where 17 straight Pirates were retired.
Gaudin gets the win, despite giving up the lead off a tying two-run home run in the 8th to Andy LaRoche. Ah wins, what a stat.
Kerry Wood threw a simulated game today, and reportedly the Cubs are looking for him to return this week. His return will be a nice boost down the stretch.
Quote of the game, regarding pitcher T.J. “Jim?” Beam:
Bob: It’s a good thing Beam wasn’t pitching in the 4th, when we had back-to-back-to-back doubles.
Len: I know what you were doing last night.
Bob: Set ’em up.
‘The Cubs are an amazing franchise and brand,’ Cuban wrote in an e-mail message. ‘I think the owner of any major sports franchise has two jobs: first, it’s to work hard to win a championship year after year, and second, to be the caretaker of the franchise in the community.’
Also, some input from the Sox:
But John Henry, the principal owner of the Boston Red Sox and a Cuban booster, wrote in an e-mail message, ‘The commissioner’s office abhors owners who speak their minds and fight for the rights of their respective franchises.’ He added that he could think ‘of no one better suited to reverse the fortunes of the Cubs for the long term’ than Cuban.
Box score. Cubbies bounce back from yesterday’s loss to the Bucs, and put a big number on the board at home.
Doubles from Ramirez, Soriano, and Johnson, 9 hits and 3 walks for the team, and 5 runs.
Lilly is all right, going 6 1/3, giving up 6 hits, 3 walks, and 1 run, striking out 5. Gaudin, Howry, and Marmol work solid relief, giving up a collective 2 hits and 1 walk, and no runs.
Day baseball again tomorrow, 1:20pm CT (TV: WGN).
Box score. The Cubs take the fourth and final game of this road series, sweep the second-place Brewers, and cruise to their fifth in a row. The Cubs outscore the Brewers 31-11 in the series. This is the Cubs’ first 4-game road sweep since 2004 in Houston.
Edmonds homers in the 3rd, a solo shot, then follows it up with a grand slam in the 4th. Soriano added on another solo shot in the 8th, his 18th, as does Fukudome, his 8th. Them north side boys is on fire. It’s fantastic to see everybody producing. It seems like every night a different guy steps up and gets things rolling.
More solid pitching for Harden, and finally some run support. He goes 7, strikes out 9, and gives up 6 hits, no walks, and a single run. He threw 105 pitches, and earns his first win with the Cubs. Howry pitched the 8th: 1 BB, 1 K, 0 H, 0 R. Eyre is back in game action after a stint on the DL, and pitches the start of the 9th: 1/3 IP, 3 H, 3 ER. Marshall finishes it: 2/3 IP, 1 H, 1 K.
Brewers’ reliever Eric Gagné gets tossed in the 9th after throwing at Edmonds on a 3-0 count. Gagné missed Edmonds, because Gagné sucks. Edmonds is the bigger man, and takes his base. The umpires issue official warnings to both teams afterward. The very next pitch, from Seth McClung, is very high and tight to Soto, but the umpires take no action. Soto proceeds to double off McClung, and Fontenot doubles right after, driving in Edmonds and Soto.
Prince Fielder also gets tossed, in the bottom of the 9th, for barking at the umpire about an earlier pitch call after popping out, and shattering his bat on the ground.
With this win, the Cubs are now 5 up on the Brewers, and 4.5 up on the Cardinals (until their game with the Braves this evening).
Box score. The Cubs take the third game of this series from the Brewers and their fourth in a row, in dominant fashion (Cubbie swagger son). They’ll look for the sweep tomorrow, a day game at 1:05 CT (TV: WGN).
More strong offense from the blazing Cubs: 14 hits, 8 walks, a double, a triple, and 7 runs. Like yesterday, the Cubs manage to get it done with no home runs. Soriano is 3-4, Theriot 3-3 with 3 RBI and a steal, and Johnson 3-5.
Another day of great starting pitching. Dempster goes 7, giving up 5 hits and a walk, 9 Ks, and 1 ER. Again, the Cubs send their starter back out in the 8th, after having already thrown 111 pitches. However, after Dempster warms up, Lou pulls him and goes to the bullpen to start the inning. Gaudin pitches a perfect 8th with a K. Cotts pitches the 9th: 1 K, 1 H (a HR to Prince Fielder), 1 ER. Dempster is now 3-0 versus the Brewers this season.
NL Central standings:
Chicago 64-44 -- Milwaukee 60-48 4 GB St. Louis 61-49 4 GB
NL wild card standings:
Milwaukee 60-48 -- St. Louis 61-49 -- New York 58-50 2.0 GB Florida 57-51 3.0 GB Los Angeles 54-53 5.5 GB
The Cubs have 54 regular season games remaining: 7 against the Brewers, 9 against the Cardinals, 28 at home, 26 on the road, and their remaining opponents’ winning percentage is .500.
Box score. 45,069 on hand to see the Cubs explode for 5 in the 6th, in one of the most satisfying innings of the season on the road, against the rival Brewers. The Cubs capture their third straight win. In the game, Aramis racks up three doubles and a single, Fukudome doubles and tripes, Theriot triples, and the Brewers’ defense certainly doesn’t hurt the Cubs. Also, Soriano and Theriot each steal a base. Cubbies end up with 15 hits, a walk, and 7 runs.
Big Z was great, striking out 9 in 8 innings, giving up 5 hits, 2 walks, and no runs. He also helps his cause with a single and an RBI. The guy can rake. I’m not quite sure why they sent Zambrano back out in the 8th. He had thrown 103 pitches through 7, and the lead was 6 runs. He ends up throwing 118. It might be nice to give the bullpen some, like, practice, with a big lead. They need it.
Samardzija did come in and pitch the 9th: 1 K, 1 BB, 1 H, 1 ER.
Kerry Wood update: still on the DL, but was eligible to return tonight. Seems like he’ll be back soon.
Len and Bob lost their audio feed for a couple of minutes in this game. All you could hear was the fans and the sounds of the actual game. It was amazing. It’s not that I dislike Len and Bob, I actually like them quite a bit, it was just a huge relief not to hear constant (often inane) talking, and to be able to think about the game for yourself. They should really offer a commentary-free broadcast of every game.
Tomorrow’s game is the ESPN game, Dempster vs. Parra, at 7pm CT.
Cubs 63-44 -- Brewers 60-47 3.0 GB Cardinals 60-49 4.0 GB