Thursday, July 7, 2011
Rapid Reaction: Cubs 10, Nationals 9
By Bruce Levine
WASHINGTON -- Here's a quick look at the Cubs' 10-9 comeback victory over the Washington Nationals on Thursday.
How it happened: In an unbelievable turn of events, the Cubs scored nine straight runs to erase an 8-0 deficit through four innings. Trailing 8-0, the Cubs scored six runs in the sixth inning off Washington starter Livan Hernandez. Pinch-hitter Blake DeWitt's three-run homer ended Hernandez's outing as the Cubs batted around in the inning. A game-tying two-run home run by Carlos Pena in the seventh brought the Cubs even at 8-8. Aramis Ramirez gave the Cubs a 9-8 lead with an RBI single in the eighth inning, but Sean Marshall couldn't hold the lead, allowing an RBI single by Michael Morse to tie the game in the bottom half of the inning. Darwin Barney's two-out double put the Cubs up for good in the ninth inning.
A rough second inning for Matt Garza had eight Nationals hitters reach base. A two-run single by Danny Espinosa started the rally. A two-run double by Wilson Ramos ended Garza's night. It was the second shortest start of Garza's career as he pitched just two innings, giving up eight hits and seven runs (He allowed seven runs in 1 1/3 innings on June 18, 2010 with Tampa Bay).
What it means: Another taxing night for the bullpen which had to pitch seven innings for Garza after having to throw five innings for Randy Wells on Thursday night. The Cubs' three errors give them 75 on the season, the most in baseball.
Outside the box: Ryan Dempster will tell the team on Friday if he is physically strong enough to pitch when his rotation spot comes up Saturday night in Pittsburgh. Dempster successfully threw a side session on Thursday. Carlos Zambrano gets a rehab start in Peoria on Saturday night. If all goes well he could start for the Cubs when he comes off the DL on July 16. Jeff Baker returned to the lineup with a pinch-hit single and was thrown out trying to stretch it into a double in the fifth. He was suffering from back spasms and missed Wednesday's game.
Next: The Cubs open a weekend series in Pittsburgh with Rodrigo Lopez (1-2, 3.91) opposing the Pirates' James McDonald (5-4, 4.40) at 6:05 p.m. CT Friday.