, seemingly left for dead a week ago, have reeled off four straight wins to claw back to .500. Mark Prior tossed a gem yesterday and
will try to do the same today. On the mound for the Pirates is Josh Fogg, the former
hurler and owner of a 4-4 record and 4.30 ERA this season.
Real Madrid captains Raul, Roberto Carlos and Guti threw out the first pitch today ahead of their Saturday match against Chivas at
. Much to the dismay of the
Cubbie Honeys, no David Beckham.
Anyway, Roberto Carlos' sick free kick against France in 1997 for my money bests Beckham's similar and more famous bend against Greece. If you don't know what I'm talking about, your loss. Onto baseball.
We're here for you if, like us, you're stuck at work on a lovely Friday afternoon. So sit back, try to look busy and keep your cursor on the refresh button.
Here are today's
. We'll be back with some Friday afternoon baseball.
Another fine rendition of the Anthem by Wayne Messmer and we're off. Fire plug
digs in and lofts an easy bloop to Todd Hollandsworth in left. Freddy Sanches does the same but to Jeromy Burnitz in right. The
broadcast of this game is blacked out. Weak. Jason Bay hits one that eats up
. That's two errors in two days for the Cubs' third baseman. He's looking a bit spent lately at the plate and in the field. Wood strikes out
looking and that brings on some car commercials.
Trivia time, brought to you by reader Mike Nelli's desk calendar: Who is the only Cubs player in the last 30 years to lead the NL in on-base percentage?
We'll have the answer for you next inning, if I remember.
lays a nice bunt down the third-base line but Sanches makes a tremendous bare-handed play to nail Hairston. Man, he was all over that. Hairston slid head-first into the bag, every announcer's pet peeve, Bob Brenly included.
is retired quickly and
sends one deep to right but Lawton make a running catch.
Reader Bob Head takes a stab at the trivia question with "Junkyard Jerome Walton!" Sorry, Bob, incorrect. Hint, the answer still is involved with the team. Aaron A. Gesicki says Bill Madlock. Again, wrong.
leads off the Bucs' second and sends one to the corner in right where Burnitz makes a fancy leaping catch against the 353 sign. Jose Castillo rips one to right-center that lands in the bleachers for a homer. A couple of correct answers have arrived. Ryan Doumit grounds out to
pops out and slams his bat to the ground like he was expecting to actually do something at the plate. Easy, killer.
Pirates 1, Cubs 0
Trivia answer: Gary Mathews in 1984. Readers Mike Espinoza and Howard A. Lapin e-mailed the correct answer and a number of the message board mob nailed it. You guys win the admiration of dozens of Cubicle readers. Hey, that was mildly fun. Thanks are in order to Mike Nelli and his desk calendar. Mike adds, "So that begs the question: Did Matthews suddenly get amnesia and not stress this to the team, or are guys (see Corey) just not listening?" Good point.
Burnitz opens the inning with a double off the wall in left-center. Whether Sarge is a good hitting coach or not, I'll always have fond memories of him knocking off his batting helmet while he ran the bases. How come no one does that anymore? That's a solid move. Ramirez bounces out to third; Burnitz doesn't advance. Hollandsworth lines out to second. Perez lines a single to right and Burnitz scores ahead of Lawton's throw. Tie game.
then lines a single to left. Perez eases into third. Kerry Wood has two strikes on him and Fogg tires that stupid fake to third, fake to first move that only picks off
. Wood then hits one deep off the top of the wall in left where Burnitz's double landed, scoring both runners. That ball nearly got out. Barrett must've tweaked something and limped home. Hairston bounces out to end the inning. But not before the Cubs get three two-outs runs and I have to apologize for outing Howard Lapin. I hope I didn't get you in trouble at work.
Cubs 3, Pirates 1
They just showed Raul's first pitch. Not so good. They don't use their hands much in soccer. Though,
, who had to leap to catch the ball, is a big Real Madrid fan, if memory serves. Wood fans Fogg. Lawton takes a called third stike. Sanchez, who apparently poses absolutely zero pop, flies out to Hairston who was playing him about 10 feet behind second base.
Walker pops out and I should've eaten lunch before this game started. Oh, right, Barrett was still in there last week. "Bored at work" reports Pat Hughes said he has a sore groin. I believe Brenly mentioned it, as well. Lee singles to left. Burnitz pokes one through the hole on the right side and Lee takes third. So much for looking spent, Ramirez hits the first pitch into the left-field bleachers for a three-run homer. The wind is blowing straight in today and it looked like he got that off the end of the bat, but it landed at least five rows deep. Hollandsworth grounds out to second. Neifi lines one but Castillo makes a nice catch to end and inning that was brought to you by Howard Lapin's boss.
Cubs 6, Pirates 1
Wood gets Bay and Craig Wilson in order to start the fourth. I'm not sure how because I entered a trance when Len started some "rant" about something I can't quite grasp. Ward flies out to a running Hairston in center.
Barrett grounds out. Wood grounds out to Sanchez, who makes another nice play poaching in front of Wilson. Hairston flies out to Lawton and I'm getting a little light-headed from hunger.
Castillo starts the fifth with a single to center. Doumit checks one to second for the first out. Castillo was running on the pitch, so no double play. Jack Wilson grounds one to short and Perez goes to third to nail Castillo, who for some reason was running. Tike
hits for Fogg and he strikes out looking.
Brian Meadows comes on to pitch for the Pirates and he'll face Walker. Walker hits it hard but Ward makes a great diving stop behind first and flips to Meadows covering. Lee grounds out to short and
's wife is watching the game from the bleachers, if anyone cares. After the longest at-bat in baseball history Burnitz bloops out to short.
As for Remlinger's wife, she was in a group, so I'm not sure which one she was. Lawton bounces out to Walker on a 2-1 changeup from Wood. He then throws the next pitch over the head of Sanchez. Sanchez bloops one to Walker for the second out. Bay flies out to Burnitz to end quite an economical inning for Wood, possibly his fastest ever.
Ramirez reaches out and lines a single to center. Hollandsworth bloops one the other way and the Cubs have two on with no outs. Perez lines one just over Ward's head and just fair for a run-scoring double. Hollandsworth stops at third. Meadows will walk Barrett to load the bases for Wood. Wood hits a shallow fly ball to center, not deep enough to score Hollandsworth. Better than a double play. Hairston rips the first pitch down the left-field line that doinks off the foul pole for a grand Slam. Walker rips a double to the gap that gets caught in the ivy. Walker keeps running, heads to the dugout. The second-base ump was making some wild, cryptic gesture like Walker was safe. But that's all for naught. Ground-rule double. Lee taps one back to Meadows for the second out. Lloyd McClendon goes and gets Meadows, "YMCA" comes on and Comcast thankfully goes to commerical. Lefty John Grabow is the new pitcher. Burnitz pops it up, the Pirates infield makes an adventure out of it before Castillo has to come across the mound to make the catch and end the inning.
Cubs 11, Pirates 1
Yeah, so much for patience at the plate. The Cubs have knocked in seven runs today on the first pitch, three by Ramirez and four by Hairston. Well, maybe more, but I don't feel like checking.
relieves Wood and pitches to Craig Wilson, who draws a walk. Ward grounds into a double play and Mark Cuban is singing TMOTTBG? Spare me. If ever a guy deserved to get booed, it's this guy. Did I write the Real match was Sunday? Geez and I'm going, too. Thanks for pointing that out, WT. Yeah, it's tomorrow. Castillo hits a double to the left-center gap. Doumit grounds out to Lee and Cuban isn't booed. Cubs fans letting me down.
A special welcome to Lyn Pherigo reading from Pennsylvania, who says she's been a fan for over 70 years. Thanks for reading, Lyn. Michael Restovich takes over in right for the Pirates. Do Len and Bob necessarily have to kiss Cuban's butt? Hollandsworth pops out to Castillo.
bats for Perez and lays a bunt down for a hit. Wait, who the heck is on second? Did Comcast miss an entire batter? There are two runners on with one out for Barrett. According to the game log,
hit for Ramirez. He was just doubled off second on Barrett's line drive, but Comcast didn't even show the at-bat nor did Len and Bob key us in because they were too busy fawning over Mark Cuban. To make matters worse they invited him back for the top of the eighth.
Cuban's a freakin' tool. Owners should be in the background, not rushing out on the floor after a hard foul like he's
. Remlinger comes on to pitch, much to the delight of his wife in the bleachers. Wilson grounds out. That said, wouldn't mind having his money. Rob Mackowiak grounds out and Michael Restovich flies out to Hairston, who ran in initially and then fell over backwards making the catch. Len and Bob had just asked Cuban about owning a baseball team before that happened and they flipped to commercial. So, we'll never know about the Cubs rumors.
OK, it's official--if this already wasn't established--I'm an idiot. Lyn Pherigo is a man. "Sorry, I didn't not that I was a male fan. I get lots of mails addressed to Ms. Lyn Pherigo," he writes. Sorry, Lyn.
pinch hits and lines a single to center.
is pitching and he throws the first pitch to Hairston behind the centerfielder and the prompts a warning to both benches. Grieve took second. I'm not sure how that missed Hairston's butt. Hairston popped out and then said something to Mesa on his way to the dugout. Mesa said something back and he's gone. And now here comes the tired, old, look-at-me Lloyd McClendon show--all arms and scowls. Mesa might have said something first to Hairston. It's unclear on the replay but Hairston turned around after he crossed the third-base line and pointed back at the pitcher. I think the Pirates didn't like Hairston's fist-pumping on his way around the bases after hitting the grand slam that made the game 11-1. A violation of the so-called unwritten rules or something. We go to commercial.
is the next Pirates pitcher. Walker pops out to Sanchez at third. Lee hits one off Vogelsong's glove for an infield hit. Red-headed rookie
hits for Burnitz.
Can we just skip the ninth?
is the next Cubs pitcher to toe the rubber and it's a safe bet he won't be throwing at anyone. Sanchez grounds back to the pitcher and here's Bobby Hill, Mr. I'm-represented-by-Scott-Boras-and-I'm-not-going-to-sign-with-the-Sox. You think the Sox are glad this guy never signed? Rusch gets him. Wait a second, that was Craig Wilson. They just showed Hill with a bat in his hand. Anyway, Ward liekly will be the final batter of the game and we can all start our weekend. OK, Bobby Hill did bat. He reached. I missed it. I was too busy debating whether I should hyphenate that entire sentence. At any rate, Ward pops out to end the game.
Final: Cubs 11, Pirates 1