WOW – it’s hard to believe it has been 21 days since the Cubs have won a series. But that’s just what happened today, as the Cubs rallied for a 3-2 win over the A’s at Wrigley Field today. The Cubs took the series win for the 1st time since they took 2 of 3 from the Los Angeles Dodgers at Wrigley Field from May 25th through May 27th. In between those 2 series wins, the Cubs had dropped 2 of 3 games to each of the Cardinals, Pirates, Astros, Brewers and White Sox. Despite their poor play, the Cubs are shockingly only 6.5 games behind the Cincinnati Reds for 1st place in the NL Central. The Cubs still have 10 games left against the Reds (7 at home at the Friendly Confines) and 12 games against the Cards (6 at home at the Friendly Confines), so as bad as they have played, they still have a chance to make things right for Cubs fans across the country.
Today’s unlikely hero was Kosuke Fukudome. Fukudome had been sitting on the bench a lot during his annual June swoon, but he entered the game today as a pinch hitter in the 8th inning and started a 1-out rally with the Cubs trailing 2-1. He moved to 2nd on Marlon Byrd’s single, to 3rd base on Derrek Lee’s walk and then scored the tying run on Xavier Nady’s sacrifice fly to right field. Then in the 9th inning, after Jerry Blevins walked the bases loaded with only 1 out, Fukudome got another chance to be the hero. His seeing-eye base hit through the right side of the drawn-in infield plated Geovany Soto with the winning run.
Key Move of the Game – Manager Lou Pinella brought in Carlos Marmol with a runner on 3rd base and only 1 out with the game tied at 2 in the top of the 9th inning. Although Marmol walked Cliff Pennington, he got Gabe Gross to foul out to Starlin Castro and then got Rajai Davis to ground out to end the threat.
Randy Wells looked much better in today’s game after some recent struggles (5 or more ER allowed in 3 of his last 4 outings). Wells pitched seven great innings, giving up just 2 ER on 7 hits and 1 walk. He also struck out 6 A’s batters and seemed to gain confidence as the game wore on.
In Wednesday night’s win, Ryan Dempster was solid on the mound. Although Dempster gave up 8 hits and 2 walks in 6 2/3 innings, he was in control all game long and always seemed to work out of jams. He struck out 7 batters and evened his record at 5-5 with another quality start. Sean Marshall and Carlos worked the final 2 1/3 innings to preserve the Cubs 6-2 win.
At the plate, Derrek Lee and Xavier Nady each had 2 hits for the Cubs. Starlin Castro and Alfonso Soriano each had a hit and 2 RBI’s, so it was a total team effort.
Let’s hope the Cubs can keep the winning vibe going at Wrigley Field against the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim over the weekend.