The Cubs had their backs up against the wall, and they came out fighting “like cats” to earn a 5-2 must-win victory over the 1st place Cards on Saturday afternoon at Wrigley Field. The Cubs struck 1st with a 3-run 1st inning – courtesy of a Milton Bardley HBP with the bases loaded and a 2-run single by newly acquired infielder Jeff Baker – and Ted Lilly did the rest. Lilly threw 103 efficient pitches in 8 innings of work, giving up just a single run on 4 hits and 1 walk. He struck out 4, picking up his 9th win of the 2009 MLB schedule and his 100th career-win. Lilly will serve as the Cubs’ sole representative in Tuesday’s All-Star Game in St. Louis. Carlos Zambrano earned his 100th career victory earlier this year. Lilly had this to say about the win: “It’s pretty special. I was thinking today about the first one in New York against Oakland (2001). Just getting that one I hadn’t even been thinking about trying to get 99 more… It’s really a cool thing. And then you come into the clubhouse and talk to your buddies in there and they’re telling you, ‘You only got 200 more to go’”.
It got interesting in the 9th inning as Carlos Marmol only recorded 2 outs while giving up 2 hits and a walk. After Marmol threw a wild pitch that allowed 2 base runners to move up to 2nd and 3rd base, Manager Lou Pinella yanked Marmol and brought in Kevin Gregg to close out the game. Gregg struck out Skip Schumacher to end the threat and Gregg picked up his 16th save of the 2009 MLB schedule.
In addition to Ted Lilly, newly acquired Jeff Baker was the Cubs star. baker had 2 hits and 2 RBI’s and turned a nifty double-play with Ryan Theriot to end a Cards threat in the 8th inning.
One bad side note – Derrek Lee left Saturday’s game in the 5th inning with neck spasms. Lee has experienced trouble with neck spasms this year and has missed some time already. Lee was expected to play on Sunday, but he is not in the lineup for the 12:05PM game.
The Cubs and Cards play a day-night double header at Wrigley Field on Sunday. Zambrano will face Kyle Lohse in the 12:05PM opener, while Randy Wells will take on Adam Wainwright in the nightcap. Go Cubs!!!