Saturday, September 3, 2011

Lee Stuns Cubs 7-5

The Bucs are going for two in a row, yes baby.

Started off OK, too. Alex Presley doubled with an out and McCutch walked. Derrek Lee, in his first at bat since coming off the DL, singled the King home on the first pitch he saw. A misadventure on the basepaths ended the frame when Walker lined out softly to left and McCutch, almost at third, was doubled up, thinking the ball would get down.

Ohlie struggled in the first, as did his defense. He plunked a pair of batters - maybe A-Ram's brushback was payback for McCutch getting hit yesterday - and gave up a single while the infield failed to turn a couple of DP grounders. But all it cost were some extra pitches; the Cubs failed to score and it remained 1-0.

Chicago tied it in the third. A-Ram singled and went to third on a Carlos Pena double. Alfonso Soriano lifted a sac fly to knot the game. A nice play by Josh Harrison at the hot corner ended the inning and saved the go-ahead run from touching home.

The Bucs came right back. Lee singled, and then was erased on a Walker force out. The Pittsburgh Kid plated when Dewey dropped a double the opposite way that Soriano had trouble handling to put the Pirates on top 2-1.

Ohlie put himself behind the eight ball in the Cub half. Darwin Barney led off with a swinging bunt single to third, and then Ohlendrof threw eight straight balls to walk Ramirez and Pena. He got ahead of Soriano 0-2, but threw 3 of the next four pitches, all sliders, in the dirt, giving Dewey quite the workout. Soriano got a 3-2 heater and ripped it into left to tie the game.

That was it; Chris Leroux came on to inherit the mess. Ohlie went four innings, giving up three runs on seven hits with two walks and two K's. Marlin Byrd chopped one in the hole, and Ronny Cedeno got the out at third, his only play and a heads up one at that, as the go ahead run crossed the plate. Leroux did a nice job of limiting the damage, getting a pop and soft fly to stem the bleeding.

Cedeno started the seventh with a triple off reliever Kerry Wood. Pinch hitter Garrett Jones pounded a curve deep into straight center. The park held it, but RC jogged home to tie the score. The Bucs threatened to take the lead, but with two on and two away, Lee flew out to left center.

D-Mac took the hill, and A-Ram banged a 3-2 heater down the middle into left for a lead off knock. Pena walked on four pitches. A wild pitch moved them up a station, and Soriano smacked a change into left for a double and his third and fourth RBI of the day to put the Cubs up 5-3. D-Mac plunked Byrd on a 1-2 pitch, and Chris Resop took the ball.

Not for long; three pitches into his outing it began to rain, and the tarps came out. Ninety minutes later, they were rolled back, and CR put down the Cubbie uprising. The eighth went quietly.

Carlos Marmol came out looking for the save, and like Jose Veras, he can be very very good...or not. Today was an "or not" afternoon. Xavier Paul led off with a pinch-hit single to right field. Marmol struck out the next two Buccos, then did a 180 and walked Jose Tabata and McCutch.

That brought up old Cubbie Derrek Lee, and he dropped a 1-1 slider barely over the ivy in left for a grand salami and his fifteenth dinger of the year. It was his first at-bat against him since Marmol hit Lee to put him on the DL; payback is a beach, hey? The Pirates were up 7-5, and Hanny put down the Cubs in order for his 34th save and Resop's fifth win.

We'll give the Bucs credit for grinding this game out, and in dramatic fashion. They could have won it with a lot less stress if they would have done some damage against a rotation back-ender with a 7+ ERA and thrown a few strikes, but hey, whatever works. It's not like the Cubs didn't have ample chances themselves. They stranded 12 and were 2-for-15 with RISP. It's nice to steal one for a change.

Charlie Morton takes on Randy Wells tomorrow.

  • Alex Presley had three straight hits before K'ing on a check swing in the seventh to give him six consecutive knocks, tied with McCutch for the longest hit string  this season.
  • In a not very big surprise, 1B Matt Hague was selected as Indy's MVP. The 26 year old has a line of .308/12/74 going into today. He's shown a pretty good eye - his MiL OBP is .370 and never been under .356 - doesn't K much, and is a strong gap hitter, with 30+ doubles for three seasons running. His bat is his tool; Hague isn't considered much of a glove man or runner, but you'd think that he'd be in the mix for a look at 1B next year. Dunno if he'll get a shot in September, although he deserves one, as Derrek Lee looks to eat up most of the at-bats this month.

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