It's been a busy morning for the Cubs. I'm sure you've seen it all, but to recap: They traded shortstop Cesar Izturis and some cash money to Pittsburgh for a player to be named later. To fill the roster spot, they called up outfielder/first baseman Jake Fox from Class AA Tennessee. He's expected to get some time at first while Derrek Lee bides his time in the sin bin. But not today, Daryle Ward is out there manning the cold corner.
Barry Bonds finally will test his swollen ankles and actually participate in the game he's paid handsomely to play. Seriously, I wonder what's he been doing in town with this free time. He's had lots of it. It also puts ESPN's Bonds stalker/high-talker Pedro Gomez on the clock. You mean no Fred Lewis today? I'm outta here.
You want your lineups? Here's your lineups.
Let's get it going. Oh, and today's game is on Comcast. I mistakenly wrote yesterday that the game was on Comcast when it was on WGN. I apologize to all the 'GN folks and anyone else I offended. The Cubicle regrets the error. I guess senility officially has set in when I don't know what channel I'm watching on TV.
Ted Lilly starts Randy Winn off with a ball inside. Winn hits the second pitch right at Floyd in right. For those of you keeping track of the pitch count, that would be two. Rich Aurilia, or as someone on the message board points out former Bears QB Jim Miller's doppelganger, fouls off six pitches. Aurilia finally hits one fair and it's right at Aramis Ramirez, who gobbles it up and throws across the diamond on target for the second out. Ray Durham is offering up a few souvenirs himself before popping up to shallow left. Lilly worked hard for a 1-2-3 inning, throwing 21 pitches.
Soriano grounds one towards Pedro Feliz at third -- Ole! -- he lets it go right by him and into left. Soriano cruises into a second with a double that didn't even make it to the bullpen mound. Theriot bunts and Morris throws it no where near Aurilia at first, Soriano scores from second and we pick up right where we left off yesterday with the Giants' defense. Daryle Ward singles to left where Bonds lumbers over towards the line and throws to third, allowing Ward to take second. It's second and third for Ramirez and Morris has thrown only four pitches. This is a mess. Ramirez singles to right, the throw goes home. It's too late and gets away from Bengie Molina. Molina throws to second to try and get Ramirez and the ball goes into the outfield. Seriously, the Giants are horrible. Two runs score. Ramirez ends up on third and the Giants have three errors in the bottom of the first. Cliff Floyd grounds to Ray Durham and he manages to throw to first on target and in the air for an out -- the first. Mike Fontenot grounds to Omar Vizquel at short and he's about the only sure thing in the field for the Giants. Vizquel makes the play but Bob Brenly points out Ramirez should've broken for home on the play. Hey, Jacque Jones gets involved with a basehit to center that scores Ramirez. Morris beans Jason Kendall on the elbow. Kendall gets hit a lot but to his credit he doesn't wear all that garbage Craig Biggio or Bonds wears at the plate. He doesn't even wear batting gloves. Lilly bounces out to first. The Cubs send nine to the plate and score four runs. The Giants, meanwhile, should be ashamed of themselves.
Cubs 4, Giants 0
Here's Bonds. First pitch lands on Sheffield. Ha, you've gotta laugh. He barely swung at that. So he needs four more today to break the single-game and all-time record. Molina pops up and Kendall catches it this time but still makes a minor adventure of it. The crowd reaction to that homer was silence. I think everyone was stunned. I was. Feliz pops up in front of the plate. Lilly doesn't want it. Kendall's in la-la land with his hands to his side and Ward has to hustle over and misses it as the ball falls on the grass infront of the mound. Ward limps off the field injured. After a brief delay, Mark DeRosa comes on to play first. Frandsen bounces into a 4-6-3 double play to end the top half.
Cubs 4, Bonds 1
Soriano hits one hard in the air to left. The wind knocks it down and Bonds moves his swollen ankles to make the catch. Ryan Theriot grounds out to short. DeRosa grounds to Vizquel, too, and smooth as ever he makes everything look easy.
Cubs 4, Giants 1
They pretty much snubbed the Walgreens Celebrity Bat Kids today. Showed 'em for like two seconds. Harsh. Vizquel drives one to the left-center gap but -- again -- the wind knocks it down right to Jones. Morris strikes out swinging. Winn rips a single to left. After quite a bit of excitement and misadventure early this game has slowed to a glacial pace. Aurilia singles to left, as well. Ward strained his left calf, by the way, and that's not a good loss with Derrek Lee serving his suspension and Ward hitting like he has. Lilly bounces about a 55-footer off Kendall's chest protector, allowing the runners to move up a base. Wild pitch and here's Larry Rothschild. Lilly's behind 3-1 to Durham and I'm going to go out on limb here and say you don't want to load the bases for Bonds. Foul ball makes the count full. Ball four low and inside. Here's Bonds with the bases loaded. They bring out some special baseballs. Bonds dumps the first pitch into left for a two-run single. Soriano throws to third to get Durham but it's late. Billy Petrick is up in the Cubs' pen. Molina flies out to Jones in center but Bonds strikes again.
Cubs 4, Giants 3
Ramirez lines a single to left past a diving Vizquel. Floyd grounds to Durham, who flips to second, and Floyd collides with Morris covering first. And he's not getting up. He's up but not looking good. Another one bites the dust. Wait, he stays in the game. Did he? Not sure. Little help, Comcast. Yes, he's on first. Angel Pagan was on the top step but retreated. Fontenot works the count full before singling to right. Floyd takes a big turn around second but puts on the brakes and nearly falls over. You get the feeling Floyd will not make it through the season. The guy's held together by duct tape. Jones pops a 2-2 pitch to center and he's not happy with himself. Winn had to come on really strong to get to that ball. The wind is really blowing in now. Oh, dear ... Molina is crossed up. Looking for a curve the pitch hits him in the head and bounces towards the Giants' dugout. Floyd hustles around and scores all the way from second. Fontenot ends up on third and they're tending to Molina. Not good since Guillermo Rodriguez left yesterday's game because of the heat. They'll put Kendall on now. Weird, weird game. Morris has shaken off Molina a number of times today before that. Lilly will hit with runners on the corners. This guy looks about as comfortable at the plate as I would. He taps it back to Morris for the third out.
Cubs 5, Giants 3
Angel Pagan takes over in center. Jones moves to right. Floyd's day is done. Feliz flies out to Soriano in left. Scratch that -- Pagan takes over in right for Floyd. Jones is still in center. Frandsen flies out to the aforementioned Pagan in right. Vizquel grounds to DeRosa, who steps on the bag himself.
Soriano singles to left. Let's clarify: Floyd was shaken up in the collision with Morris at first, possibly dinging his injured shoulder. He stayed in the game and scored on the passed ball of Molina's head but was lifted between innings for Pagan. Back to game action: Theriot checks his swing and taps one in front of the plate, in essence bunting Soriano to second. DeRosa bounces out to Durham; Soriano advances to third. Ramirez doubles to the corner in left, scoring Soriano. After Bonds retrieved Ramirez's double, Pagan hits it in the same spot -- go get it again, buddy -- scoring Ramirez. Aurilia robs Fontenot of a hit with a leaping grab.
Cubs 7, Giants 3
Yes, Kevin, Jake Fox is on the bench. Update from reader Los Banos Tim in central California, who reports the Giants announcers Mike Krukow and Duane Kuiper are stirring something up with Floyd, implying that he was acting when he went down on the ground after the collision and that Morris won't forget that. And that he should've been out for interference. I don't get that at all. Talk about your angry, chippy announcers. But thanks for the update. Good stuff. Meanwhile, Lilly retires Morris. Winn singles to right. Aurilia pops out to Theriot. Durham bloops one that Fontenot gloves.
Comcast just broke in with a British Open update. Tiger Woods sinks a 50-foot putt and finishes with a two-under 69, four strokes "behind your leader Sergio Mitre." Ha, nice. Jones singles. That will be the only time ever Sergio Garcia is mistaken for a former Cub. Kendall lines back to Morris, who throws to first to double up Jones. Lilly singles to left and will reach first sometime around dinner. No one's paying attention, so Lilly swipes second. The replay shows he did a little stutter step on the way. Brenly said, it was so wide open it lookec like he panicked. Soriano bloops a double down the right field line and the speedster Lilly coasts home with the Cubs' eighth run. That's it for Morris. He'll have some extra time to go find Cliff Floyd. Righty Kevin Correia comes on to pitch. Theriot files out to right.
Cubs 8, Giants 3
Billy Petrick on to pitch to Mr. Bonds. Bonds takes two pitches for balls before fouling one back. Bonds draws a walk and takes the term quite literally. Hustle up and get to first already. Molina crushes one deep way up in the left-field bleachers for a two-run homer. Feliz hits one to third. Ramirez dives to his left, deflects it to Theriot who throws to first to get the runner for your routine, run-of-the-mill 5-6-3 put-out. Petrick walks Frandsen and here's Larry again. Petrick not looking so "now" out there. Vizquel bounces one to Fontenot who starts the Cajun-connection double play to end the inning.
Cubs 8, Giants 5
It's time for my afternoon feeding and this game is in only the bottom of the sixth? Where's the snack cart? DeRosa hits it hard the other way, deep to right and ... Frandsen makes the catch on the track. Ramirez flies out to Bonds. Pagan bats as Michael Wuertz stirs in the pen. Pagan walks and steals second. Fontenot fights off an inside pitch and knocks it into left to drive home Pagan. That brings Bruce Bochy out of the Giants' dugout and he brings in lefty Steve Kline. Jones gets a rare hit off a lefty, stroking a single to right. Jacque Jones has looked good lately. He looks way more comfortable -- like a ballplayer again. Kendall flies out.
Cubs 9, Giants 5
Comcast breaks in to interview the guy who caught the Bonds homer on Sheffield. Said everyone else was playing him near the knothole, but he positioned himself in left-center. Good work, buddy. What, no work today? Wuertz is the new pitcher. Mark Sweeney hits for Steve Kline. Sweeney pinch walks. Wuertz can't find the plate and goes 3-1 to Winn. Winn grounds a single through the hole on the right side, his third hit of the day. Ryan Klesko will hit for Aurilia. Will Ohman and Carlos Marmol get to work in the pen. They better get warm quickly because Wuertz doesn't have it. Ramirez comes over to discuss dinner plans as Bonds looms in the hole. Wuertz digs down deep and strikes out Klesko, whose seat on the bench is still warm. Wuertz strikes out Durham on three pitches and Lou Piniella will bring in Ohman to pitch to Bonds. Wuertz: "Man, I was just warming up." Ohman, who got a pinch-hitting Bonds on Tuesday night before walking everyone else in sight, throws a slider for a strike. Ohman misses on a couple of close pitches and the count goes to 3-1. Full count. Everyone gets up and Bonds fouls one off. Everyone up again and Bonds drives it deep to center. Jones goes back and runs out of room as the ball lands in the basket for a three-run homer. It just got out but it got out. Second homer of the day and six RBIs. After much discussion and chicanery, the kid who fished the ball out of the basket ducked down under the wall and appeared with another ball and threw that back. See ya, Ohman. Enter Marmol. Molina flies out to Soriano. Radio dude Pat Hughes sings TMOTTBG.
Cubs 9, Giants 8
So the Giants head to Milwauke for three games. Bonds probably plays one, hits a homer and then sits until they get back to the Bay for seven games where he can safely break the record at home. Ugh. Vinnie Chulk is the Giants' new pitcher. Koyie Hill hits in the ninth spot. Meanwhile is it necessary for Hughes to hang out in the TV booth? Hill walks. Soriano tries to check his swing but can't and strikes out. Theriot pokes a single the other way. Hill stops at second. DeRosa strikes out. Brenly points out the only position player available on the bench is Fox. Ramirez grounds to Vizquel, who flips to second and we move to the eighth in a tight ballgame.
Cubs 9, Giants 8
OK, I'm killing you with the play-by-play. Hill hit in the ninth spot, but I guess they doubled-switched when they brought in Marmol because he's still in there pitching. Feliz flies out to right. And, yes, we have a Fred Lewis sighting. Fred hits for Frandsen. Marmol owns Fred. Fred gets jammed. Fred dribbles back to the pitcher. Fred goes back to the bench where Bonds is sitting in his seat. Beat it, Fred. Theriot makes a nice over-the-shoulder catch on a Vizquel bloop into shallow left.
Cubs 9, Giants 8
Bonds can keep Fred's seat because Fred's in the game in left. Jonathan Sanchez (odd combo of names) strikes out Angel Pagan (oddest combo of names ever). Fontenot draws a walk. Once again, killing you. Bonds is still in there. Fred's in right, I guess. It would help if the TV people shared this info with us. Man, I feel like Dr. Z but come on. I know for a fact that Jacque Jones is up to bat. And Mike Fontenot is on first with one out in the eighth inning. Jones singles to right for his fourth hit of the day, so take that Linda Faulk. Fontenot has to stop at second. Dave Righetti wanders out to the mound to discuss some pressing matters as the young guy Jake Fox tries to keep his lunch down during his first major league at-bat. The guy is not afraid to swing. He's down 0-2 and grounds into an inning-ending double play.
Cubs 9, Giants 8
Bob (nee Bobby) Howry will try to save this puppy. Bonds is due up fifth. Dave Roberts pinch hits and leads off the ninth. Roberts works the count full -- or is that Howry misses on a 2-2 pitch? Roberts fouls one back. Roberts takes a pitch on the outside corner, starts to walk to first and is called out by home plate umpire Larry Young. Howry gets ahead of Winn 0-2. Winn swings and misses at a high fastball. Two outs. Klesko grounds to Ramirez and this one is over. Howry sets 'em down in order.
Final: Cubs 9, Giants
So there you have it, the most amazing, sensational, traumatic, heart rending, exciting, thrilling finish in the history of baseball. Well, it was pretty good. The Cubs weather two homers by Bonds and hold on to take three of four. "Let's Go Cubs" rings out at Wrigley. Thanks for reading, posting, e-mailing and all that. Fun game. We'll be back tomorrow for what's sure to be a not-as-exciting series with the Arizona Diamondbacks. But still. Don't let that be a deterrent. See you then.