Soriano, Lilly Lead Cubs Over Astros
In Houston, Ted Lilly straightened himself out after a ragged beginning—four-pitch leadoff walk to Kaz Matsui, gopher ball to Miguel Tejada; Miggy's first home run in 116 at-bats this season—as the Cubs beat the Astros, 8-5, to sweep the two-game series at Minute Maid Park.
The Cubs have now won six of seven and have climbed to four games above .500 for the second time this year, heading into a weekend series in Milwaukee.
Alfonso Soriano paced the offense tonight with a pair of home runs. The second shot, coming in the ninth inning, helped break open a 4-2 game. The Cubs would go on to build an 8-2 lead before Chad Fox, just up from Iowa, allowed the home team to creep back in the game a bit. Kevin Gregg ultimately had to come in to record the final two outs and lock up the victory.
Aside from Lilly, who yielded just two runs and four hits over six innings, and Soriano, who has hit four of his nine home runs this year in Houston, other Cub bright spots on this night included:
— Aaron Heilman and Carlos Marmol, who recorded one scoreless inning apiece as the Cubs tried to hold onto a 4-2 margin. Marmol allowed a leadoff double to Tejada, before fanning Lance Berkman, Carlos Lee, and Hunter Pence in order.
Marmol's last three outings have been stellar: 3 shutout innings, 5 K, no walks, 2 hits allowed and just 39 pitches needed to get through those nine outs.
— Among the position players, Aramis Ramirez (3-for-4), Ryan Theriot (2-for-4), and Micah Hoffpauir (2-for-4, including a clutch, two-out RBI single in the first inning) all had multiple hit games. Hoffpauir was again subbing for the ailing Derrek Lee.
Picked off: Ryan Theriot committed yet another gaffe on the bases, getting picked off third with Aramis Ramirez at bat and just one out in the opening inning. Hoffpauir's run-scoring single removed some of the sting of Theriot's carelessness.
Chad Fox highlight: I would say that the high point of the evening for the veteran, making his first appearance since his recall yesterday from Iowa, was not getting strangled by Lou Piniella when the manager came out to replace him with one out and two runs already in for the Astros in the last of the ninth. Fox, who allowed two hits, a walk, and three earned runs in just one-third of an inning, will go to sleep tonight with an ERA of 81.00, but at least he'll be sleeping on a Major League pillow.
About our man Milton: Bradley did come through with a bases-loaded single to score a run, his first Cub RBI that didn't result from a home run. In the eighth inning, however, he took a third strike with men at second and third and none out. He looked tentative and defensive at the plate; he looked like a .143 hitter which right now, he is.
Eloy Jimenez grand slam tonight. Hoping Soler power returns and gets hot but future looks bright in the outfield regardless.
Have fun - It may be good for Arrieta to be facing a team that doesn't know him as well as the NL teams. A nice shutout would do wonders for his confidence. He is confident in public but baseball is hard and he could use a boost, I'm sure.
Me too. I'll be at the game tomorrow and would love to see Good Arrieta.
Last few games have been the April version of the Cubs that disappeared completely the past two months.
Hope they can sustain it.
Don't sell yourself short, Judge.
I love this team.
Looks like Mother Nature is trying to call this fight.
Hey! I remember this team!
The key for Heyward's offense: get early leads. Heard a stat on Mike & Mike on the way to work that his avg/power much better this year when the Cubs have the lead. And true to form he gets the two run dinger with Cubs winning 3-0 ...
I'm sorry - I was probably not looking at the correct line, or spot, or...who knows!
I could blame it on the weed, but I stopped smoking many years ago.
Fortunately, I can rely on the rest of you sober and astute folks to bring the correct info forth.
Oh yeah! It just felt like one for some reason.
Agreed. I was not including Fowler or Heyward.
I'm just not a fan of 2016 Coghlan.....
@Dusty Contreras if it's a Lester or Arrieta start. TLS is good PH too. You also forgot about Heyward, assume Fowler is CF.
I expect Soler to get optioned as well when activated and Cahill to replace Grimm. It wouldn't surprise me if Coghlan and/or Soler is included in a trade.
Maybe Coghlan is up to see if he can get on track before someone acquires him.
This move could also be to assure that we have as much OF depth as possible to maximize Joe's ability to rest players in September once we've clinched.
Maddon basically said as much...Fowler still kind of sore, they're being proactive, etc.
La Stella at 2B...Baez at 3B, or vice versa. Zobrist in RF, Bryant in LF No one gets bumped.
If Coghlan is leading off, I assume Fowler is getting the day off. Who is supposed to lead off, then? Someone has to get on base for Bryant and Rizzo. Coghlan's OBP is .346 with the Cubs. Jackson's was .304. LaStella can lead off, but then he has to play second or third, and bump Zobrist or Baez.
Unless he gets hot, Coghlan will likely change places with Soler soon.