Cherry Pie at HoHoKam
Felix Pie went 3-3 with a bunt single, a double, a triple, and a sac bunt, leading the Cubs to a 7-6 victory over the Texas Rangers before a capacity crowd at Dwight Patterson Field at HoHoKam Park this afternoon in sunny Mesa.
The Cubs and Rangers were tied 6-6 entering the bottom of the 9th. Facing Rangers reliever Robinson Tejada, Mark DeRosa struck out swinging and Henry Blanco lined out to short to start the inning, but then Pie smoked a triple into the right-centerfield alley, setting up a chance for Eric Patterson to be the hero. And that he was, as E-Pat lined a game-winning single into center, scoring a hand-clapping Pie from 3rd with the winning run.
Ryan Dempster got the start for the Cubs today, and had a mediocre outing, laboring through 4.2 IP (90 pitches - only 52 strikes, 3/6 GB/FB). Dempster allowed four runs on eight hits and three walks, striking out five, and got his pitch count up to 90 in less than five innings thanks to a couple of high-pitch innings (15-18-24-12-21).
Jon Lieber apparently lost the battle for the #5 slot in the starting rotation, as he worked as a middle reliever out of the bullpen today. Lieber pitched three innings (37 pitches - 26 strikes), allowing only a walk and a two-run homer to Adam Melhuse, while striking out three. After his three innings of work, Lieber went out to the Cubs bullpen and threw another 25-30 pitches.
Meanwhile the Cubs offense followed their six run first inning yesterday with a four-run 1st today. Facing LHP Kason Gabbard, Alfonso Soriano worked a one-out walk, Derrek Lee lined a single to center, and then Aramis Ramirez picked up an RBI on a 5-3 GO. Matt Murton then reached on an infield single to short, before Mark DeRosa clubbed a three-run homer completely out of the stadium to the left of the scoreboard to complete the 1st inning scoring.
With the score tied 4-4, the Cubs added two more runs off Gabbard in the 5th. Felix Pie scorched a double down the RF line, and scored on a line-drive RBI single to center by Ronny Cedeno. Cedeno then stole second, and advanced to third on an overthow, before scoring on a F-8 sac fly to deep center by Alfonso Soriano.
In addition to his perfect day at the plate, Pie also made an outstanding running catch into the right-center alley to end the 7th inning. He definitely seems to be hitting his stride at the plate, on the bases, and in the outfield.