Game #63 recap: Cubs 1, White Sox 0, Lilly Almost
Addendum: In cycling through Cub no-hit history, ESPN's Jon Miller mentioned that the Cubs have not been on the short end of a no-hitter since Sandy Koufax tossed a perfect game against the Cubs back in 1965. That was the game that saw Cub loser Bob Hendley allow the Dodgers just one hit. Joe Morgan intoned that he heard the ninth inning of that game on the radio as he and his Houston Astro teammates drove into the city from the L.A. airport; they were scheduled to play the Dodgers the next night. Morgan said he specifically remembered Koufax striking out Ernie Banks in the 9th to preserve the perfect game. Would it surprise you to know that Morgan was wrong? Nope. Didn't surprise me either.
The Cubs held on to beat the White Sox, 1-0, Sunday night at Wrigley Field. The game saw Ted Lilly and Gavin Floyd locked up in a double no-hit duel until Alfonso Soriano collected the game's first hit, a double inside the leftfield line with two out in the Cubs seventh. Chad Tracy then followed with a sharp ground-ball single that plated Soriano with the game's only run.
Lilly maintained his no-hitter into the top of the ninth, at which point Juan Pierre rapped a clean line single to centerfield to break up the no-no and send Lilly to the showers in favor of Carlos Marmol. Marmol's shaky ninth inning included a walk and a balk, which left the Sox with men at second and third and none out. But the Cub closer came back to fan Alexei Ramirez and, following an intentional pass to Alex Rios, he induced Paul Konerko to hit into a force out and retired Carlos Quentin on a fly ball to short centerfield.
All in all, great drama for the third and final game in this Cubs/White Sox series; so great, it was momentarily possible to forget that we were watching two desperately mediocre teams that between them, couldn't put together a first-rate pennant contender.
Sad to see Lilly lose his no-hit bid so late in the game. The ESPN boys pointed out that this would have marked the first no-hit game thrown at Wrigley Field since Milt Pappas's near-perfect game against the Padres in 1972. I guess that means the good news about Lilly missing out on the no-hitter is that we won't have to listen to Milt Pappas remind the Chicago radio audience tomorrow morning how Bruce Froemming jobbed him out of a perfect game.