The Cubs dropped their fourth game in five as Arizona's Dan Haren pitched a complete game, three-hitter to beat Ted Lilly, who just pitched like hell.
Why the Cubs lost: Aside from Alfonso Soriano's leadoff home run, Mike Fontenot's eighth-inning solo shot, and Lilly's third-inning single, the Cubs could do nothing against Haren.
The Cubs drop the opener to the St. Louis Cardinals on a warm night in St. Looey. Before we get to the recap, it's a busy Saturday here at TCR, so be sure to check out the other stories on here today.
The Cubs dropped their first series of the year losing two of three to Dusty and the Reds. The unfortunate details after the jump.
Righthander Johnny Cueto dominated Cub hitters Wednesday night, and a strong outing by Ted Lilly (7 IP, 5 H, 0 BB, just 1 unearned run allowed) was wasted as Cincinnati ended the Cubs' three-game winning streak.
Why the Cubs lost: No O—the offense produced no runs and four hits against Cueto in his seven innings. Overall, the Cub bats delivered six measly singles, two each by Soriano and Lee, and one apiece from Fukudome and Ramirez. In both the first inning and the fourth, they managed to put two runners aboard, but failed to capitalize. In total, Cub hitters only had four opportunities to hit with men in scoring position.
The Cubs won their third in a row and take the opener versus the Cincinnati Reds on a cold and windy night at Wrigley. Rich Harden and Aramis "Two-out RBI" Ramirez did the heavy lifting with some assistance from Micah Hoffpauir and Chris Dickerson's glove.
Why the Cubs Won: From what I was able to watch, Rich Harden rebounded quite nicely from his last start, needing just 92 pitches to get through six innings while fanning eight. If the Cubs weren't already up by five, you have to think he could have easily come out for the 7th inning. The mid 90's velocity still isn't there as he sat in the 89-92 range (topping out at 93 mph), but he dazzled the Reds with his lethal fastball/change combo. There was a bit of a scare in the fifth when Wily Taveras hit a sharp grounder up the middle off Harden's glove that ricocheted to his right. Harden scampered to try and make the play but his cleats failed him and he landed face down in the grass, groin and shoulder still in tact though.
Aramis came through with the big hits tonight, a two-out RBI single in the fifth - an opportunity that was only afforded to him thanks to Chris Dickerson dropping a Derrek Lee flyball two at-bats earlier. Then in the 6th, he picked up Reed Johnson who struck out with the bases loaded to drive in two more - once again with two outs - which pretty much put the game away. Hoffpauir kept up his torrid start with his first home run of the season in the second and then hit a sac fly to center before curiously being pinch-hit for in the sixth.
I encountered a number of Cardinals fans heading for Chicago Union Station during this evening's rush hour. I thought about making a smart remark or two in their direction, but I held back.
It's the middle of April, there are two games left in this series, and they're still in first place.
Besides, those Saint Louis-bound fans were going to be dealing with Amtrak for the next five and a half hours.
A person should only be subjected to so much grief in a single day.
W - Ted Lilly (1-0)
L - Brian Moehler (0-1)
In the spirit of Passover, we begin tonight's recap by asking, why is this night different from all other nights?
Tonight the Cubs sent nine men to the plate in each of the first two innings, building a lead so large, it allowed Ted Lilly to throw his own personal game of Home Run Derby and still win his first game of the season.
Details after the jump.
Update--more on Soto...
From Wittenmyer's game story in the Sun-Times:
Soto, who said he felt ''discomfort'' on an awkward throw to second...is to be re-examined [Wednesday]. Manager Lou Piniella
suggested a possible return during the next series, which opens Friday
in Milwaukee. It wasn't considered serious enough to schedule an MRI.
injury. He said he has had similar discomfort before, as recently as
W - Doug Brocail (1-0)
L - Neil Cotts (0-1)
In the early innings of Tuesday night's game, Pat Hughes and Ron Santo discussed the fact that the Cubs have not started a season 2-0 since Pat and Ron began working together in the WGN radio booth in 1996. Naturally, this had the effect of jinxing the team and thus, the outcome was inevitable.