2 – for -2 – as the Cubs made it 2 dreamatic come-from-behind wins in a row, topping the Indians 8-7 in 10 innings. The Cubs last 3 wins have come as the walk-off variety at Wrigley Field, including the last 2 days against the White Sox in the 9th inning on Thursday and the Indians in the 10th inning on Friday.
It didn’t look like the Cubs were going to build off the momentum of Thursday’s big win over the White Sox in the series finale of the cross-town classic. The Cubs trailed the Indians 7-0 in the 5th inning and Cliff Lee was dominating the Cubs in every way. Rich Harden had a poor outing – 7 ER on 7 hits and 3 walks, including a pair of 3-run home runs to Luis Valbuena and Victor Martinez. But the Cubs didn’t give up. The bullpen kept the Cubs in the game with 5 scoreless innings – David Patten, Aaron Heilman, Jose Ascansio, Carlos Marmol and Kevin Gregg – and the Cubs hitters kept chipping away at the 7-run lead.
Reed Johnson hit a solo home run in the 5th inning and Derrek Lee followed suit with a solo shot of his own in the 6th inning. With the lead 7-2 starting the bottom of the 8th inning, Milton Bradley got a big leadoff single that knocked Lee out of the ball game. The Indians have one of the worst bullpens in the league, so no lead is safe with them. As was the case at Wrigley on Friday afternoon. A Geovany Soto double and a Reed Johnson loaded the bases with 2 outs. Then the fun began. Andres Blanco hit a 2-RBI single to right field and Koyie Hill smoked a hard groundball to 3rd bases that Jhonny Peralta couldn’t handle. It was ruled an error, but in any event, the Cubs had cut the lead to 7-5. Soriano cut the Indians lead to just 1 run with a single to center field. Ah the Drama.
Carlos Marmol worked out of a 9th inning 1st and 2nd, 2-out jam, by striking out Martinez to end the threat. The Indians brought in former Cubs closer Kerry Wood to close out the 1-run win for the Indians, but he promptly served up a 1-out game-tying homer to Derrek Lee that sent the Wrigley faithful into a tizzy.
Kevin Gregg had to escape a rough 10th inning as well – a single, 2 errors and a HBP led to a 2-out bases loaded jam. But Gregg got pinch-hitter Ryan Garko to line out to center field on a great sliding catch by Kosuke Fukodome to preserve the 7-7 tie.
In the 10th, the Cubs used small ball once again to get the job done. With 2 outs, Alfsonso Soriano coaxed a walk and stole 2nd base to get into scoring position. Ryan Theriot hit a hard ground ball towards the right side that took a bad hop to evade the glove of Martinez. Soriano scored easily from 2nd and the Cubs had the 8-7 win. Cubs win! Cubs Win! Cubs Win!
It was not a great day for former Cubs Wood, but Mark DeRosa put in a solid 1 for 3 effort, with 2 walks, 1 RBI and 1 run scored.
Let’s hope the Cubs can get out to an early lead on Saturday behind Ted Lilly. It would be the Cubs first 3-game winning streak in a very long time…