The Tigers defeated the Cubs 5-4 in the bottom of the 9th inning on Ryan Raburn’s pinch-hit, game-winning, walk-off HR off Cubs closer Kevin Gregg.
We should have known the way this game was going to end when the Cubs muffed a bases loaded, no out opportunity in the top fo the 1st inning against Edwin Jackson. Alfonso Soriano and Ryan Theriot started the inning of with singles and Milton Bradley coaxed a walk from Jackson to load the bases with no one out. What a great way to get off to a good start on the road where the Cubs have won only 13 games this season, right? Well cue up the tape from at least 30 other games this year. Derrek Lee grounds into a fielder’s choice which drives in Soriano. 1st and 3rd, one out. Then Micah Hoffpauir strikes out and Geovany Soto grounds out to end the threat without any further damage.
After those 1st 2 hits against Jackson, the Cubs got only 2 hits against the Tigers through the next 23 outs of the game. One of those was a bunt single too. Talk about futility…
With 2 outs in the 8th inning, Derrek Lee singled and Micah Hoffpauir gave the Cubs a short-lived 4-3 lead with a 2-run bomb to right field off of Joel Zumaya (who helped Micah out in a big way by throwing a change-up right down the heart of the plate). Lee extended his career-best hitting streak to 20 games with 2 hits in the loss.
But just when you think the Cubs are going to pull off the come-from-behind road win in Detroit, flash forward to the 9th inning for closer Kevin Gregg. Gregg walked the lead off hitter David Taylor. After getting Brandon Inge to pop out, pinch-hitter Ryan Raburn crushed a Gregg fastball over the left center field fence to give the Tigers the 5-4 win.
How many times do you say – “you can’t walk the lead-off man in an inning 0 it always come back to haunt you.” And so it did last night against Gregg. It also hurt Carlos Zambrano in the 7th inning. With the Cubs leading 2-1, Zambrano walked Taylor and then served up a 2-run HR to Brandon Inge. That’s 2 runs handed to the Tigers by walks last night. It is completely unacceptable.
Except for a shaky 1st inning and the Taylor walk in the 7th, Big Z pitched a solid game – 7 innings, 3 ER, 5 hits and 2 walks. Instead of getting the win, Zambrano suffered a no decision.
The two teams play again tonight in Detroit – Rich Harden against rookie Rick Porcello who is seeking his 9th win of the 2009 MLB schedule.