Well, so much for the
experiment. That was fun. Hope you kept the receipt for those No. 15 Cubs jerseys because, trust me, I had one heckuva time trying to return my
jersey at Wrigleyville sports. Not sure what my favorite moment of that era was since there's so much material to review. But I'll have to go with the
Edmonds is out of the lineup today and was last seen filling Zambrano's locker
. He's been replaced in center today by Reed Johnson, who's hitting eighth.
OK, this was expected.
said all along that he'd sit Edmonds against lefties in favor of Johnson. So Hollywood's on the bench against the left-handed Tom Gorzelanny, whom
shelled April 7 for seven runs and six hits in 2 2/3 innings.
toes the ol' slab for the Cubs.
and let's get going on this wonderful May Friday. A perfect day to be stuck in a cubicle. But I suppose that's my job. Damn job.
South Bend jamband Umphrey's McGee sings the Anthem and we're off ... to some last-minute commercials. The first pitch at the traditional 1:22 p.m. start time is a ball to Freddy Sanchez. Sanchez bounces out to
at short for this game's first of what I presume will be many outs. Nate McLouth sends one deep to center that Johnson gloves on the edge of the track. Gallagher grazes Jason Bay's jersey with a pitch and he takes his base and already Bob Brenly is talking about how he hopes Gallagher can pitch out of this. Talk about your short leashes, it's a runner on first with two outs. Make that second: Bay takes second on a ball in the dirt. Adam LaRoche sends it deep the other way to left.
gets a little jittery on the track but catches it just in front of the wall.
Soriano yanks the first pitch he sees just inside of the foul pole in left for a leadoff homer.
"You've either got to be stubborn or stupid to throw him a first pitch strike to start a ball game," quoth the Brenly. Theriot walks. Lee flies out to center. The half-inning-late wind update: out of the northwest at 5 mph, which is blowing out to right. Looks a little more than 5 to me based on the flapping of the flags. With
up, Theriot takes off for second and Ronny Paulino's throw sails into center and Theriot takes third.
Bigtime meatball by Gorzelanny. Right down the middle.
fights off pitch after pitch before flying out to right to end the inning.
Cubs 3, Pirates 0
Xavier Nady draws a leadoff walk. Mientkiewicz (clip and paste), grounds back to Gallagher. His throw to second is a bit wide, so the Cubs only get the one out. Paulino flies out to center. Brian Bixler chops one towards third. Ramirez charges, bare-hands but Bixler beats the throw. Runners on first and second with two outs. Gorzelanny flies out to center stranding those two guys no one thought he was going to knock in in the first place.
DeRosa rips the first pitch to the left-field gap and slides headfirst into second with a double, which I realize is a bit redundant. Johnson singles to left; DeRosa runs to third. Tom Gorzelanny is not fooling anyone today. Gallagher shows bunt all the way. He bunts towards first. The pitcher handles it, looks DeRosa back to third and then flips to first for the out. Johnson takes second on the play, which was the idea.
Don Zimmer's out in the bleachers somewhere and watches as Soriano hits a towering flyball to left that nestles into the basket for a three-run homer.
Zim's dumbfounded. Ahh, kah, kah, kah, kah. Someone get him a beer. Theriot pops out to LaRoche in foul ground. Lee flies out and we move on.
Cubs 6, Pirates 0
If if said it once, I've said it a thousand times, whenever they hold a tote bag promotion for a guy, he's going to hit two homers in his first two at-bats. Sanchez draws a leadoff walk. Lee makes a nimble pick of a McLouth grounder, steps on first, throws down to second, where Theriot chases Sanchez back to first, throws back to Lee, who applies the tag on Sanchez. Whoa, lot going on there in that double play. Bay pops out to Theriot.
Ramirez flies out to right. In the great discussion of former Cubs catchers on the message board, how quickly you forget the immortal Koyie Hill. Or was he mentioned? Soto draws a walk. Cedeno's out on a swinging bunt in front of the plate. DeRosa flies out to center and the Cubs' three-run-per-inning streak is snapped at two.
Cubs 6, Pirates 0
LaRoche flies out to right on the first pitch, which ain't gonna help the .197 batting average. Nady strikes out swinging. Len and Bob are discussing the rate at which maple bats break and mention that MLB is looking into it. Whenever this discussion comes up Brenly always mentions, in somewhat graphic detail, that it's only inevitable that someone is going be seriously impaled one of these days. Hey, what's for lunch? Mientkiewicz flies out to right.
Gorzelanny gets his first strikeout of the game. It's Johnson and he feels shame. Gorzelanny's on a roll. He strikes out the always tough Sean Gallagher. And seriously, there is no higher honor in baseball than having your name and jersey number on a freebie giveaway tote bag. No wonder Soriano's on a tear. Soriano strikes out and, quick, someone gets some of those No. 12
Cubs 6, Pirates 0
Paulino singles to left. Bixler pops up. Cedeno calls off Lee and makes a nice catch near the Pirates' bullpen. Gorzelanny, in an attempt to move his catcher along the basepaths, bunts foul one too many times and he's out. Sanchez sends one deep to right. DeRosa goes back, back some more, the wind takes it deeper and DeRosa stretches out and makes a leaping/falling catch and then tumbles into the wall. Not quite Reed Johnson in D.C., but a pretty nice play.
Theriot gaps one to right, thinks three briefly but wisely pulls up at second. Lee grounds out to third. Ramirez bounces out to short and Theriot's still hanging out on second. Soto lifts one deep to left, but Bay takes it a few steps short of the wall.
Cubs 6, Pirates 0
Meanwhile, Sean Gallagher has allowed just five base runners on two hits, two walks and a plunking. And just like that I jinx him as McLouth doubles to the right-field gap. Bay draws a walk and that gets
up in the Cubs' pen. Gallagher rights himself and strikes out LaRoche.
Nady fights one off and pokes it through the hole on the right side for an RBI single.
McLouth slid home easily way ahead of DeRosa's throw. First and second with one out for Mientkiewicz and he bounces into a 4-6-3, inning-ending double play.
Cubs 6, Pirates 1
Cedeno pops out.
DeRosa goes deep to right for the Cubs' fourth homer today and then goes through a series of complex high-fives with Ronny Cedeno in the dugout.
Johnson flies out to right. And this ought to make Jim Edmonds feel good: Carlos Zambrano pinch hits for Gallagher. Zambrano bounces back to the pitcher to end the sixth.
Cubs 7, Pirates 1
Here's Howry. Theriot robs Paulino of a hit with a sliding catch of a liner that was ticketed for left field. Bixler bounces out to Ramirez. Chris Gomez hits for Gorzelanny. Gomez singles to right. Sanchez pops up in foul ground and Soto dances around various pieces of equipment in the Pirates' ondeck circle and makes the catch for the third out. Here's Bears linebacker and Loyola Ramblers fan
to sing TMOTTBG.
Franquelis (which is my middle name) Osoria is the new pitcher for the Pirates. Briggs is donating $1000 to charity for each Cubs homer today. Now I feel pretty low for taking a cheap shot at him. Soriano saves Briggs any further money by taking a called third strike. Bixler makes a great play going to his left at short to take a hit away from Theriot. Lee bounces out to third to end the seventh.
Cubs 7, Pirates 1
Howry remains in the game. McLouth pops out to Soto.
Bay rips a solo homer to right that nearly takes the hand off a Pirates fan in the bleachers.
The guy didn't even come up with the ball, which was eventually tossed back onto the field. He's still shaking his hand in pain. Soft hands, chief. Brenly said, "He's no
out there." No, no he's not. LaRoche bounces out to the pitcher. Howry walks Nady and that gets Larry Rothschild on the horn.
gets up in the pen.
Mientkiewicz hits a two-run homer that just gets out to right.
Just like that, the Pirates are down three runs. Paulino pops out.
Cubs 7, Pirates 4
Ramirez fights off a few pitches as
readies himself for the ninth for what now is a save situation. Ramirez bounces out to second. Soto singles to left.
will hit for Cedeno. Fukudome grounds into a fielder's choice for the second out. DeRosa flies out to right and we move to the ninth.
Cubs 7, Pirates 4
Wood on in the ninth and he'll start with pinch hitter
hitting for Bixler. Rivas flies out to Fukudome, who took over in right for DeRosa. Jason Michaels hits for the pitcher and he pops out to Ramirez on the first pitch. Sanchez lines out to Ramirez and this one's over.
Final: Cubs 7, Pirates 4
Soriano homers twice, Sean Gallagher earns his first Major League win and Jim Edmonds avoids angering anyone. The Cubs are 10 games over .500. Thanks for reading, everyone. Have a great weekend.