|Batter||Team (B)||Inning||Pitcher||Team (P)||Situation|
|Derek Jeter (2)||Yankees||1st||Johan Santana (9)||Mets||1 on, 1 out, 0-0|
|Jose Reyes (3)||Mets||7th||Kyle Farnsworth (5)||Yankees||0 on, 0 out, 2-3|
|David Wright (8)||Mets||7th||Kyle Farnsworth (6)||Yankees||1 on, 0 out, 3-3|
|Jason Giambi (8)||Yankees||7th||Johan Santana (10)||Mets||0 on, 0 out, 2-6|
|Bobby Abreu (5)||Yankees||8th||Johan Santana (11)||Mets||0 on, 2 out, 3-6|
|Alfonso Soriano (9)||Cubs||4th||Zach Duke (2)||Pirates||0 on, 2 out, 3-2|
|Alfonso Soriano (10)||Cubs||7th||Tyler Yates (2)||Pirates||0 on, 1 out, 4-5|
|Nate McLouth (12)||Pirates||9th||Carlos Marmol (2)||Cubs||1 on, 1 out, 5-5|
|Ryan Ludwick (9)||Cardinals||4th||Matt Garza (4)||Rays||0 on, 0 out, 2-3|
|Albert Pujols (9)||Cardinals||6th||J.P. Howell (2)||Rays||0 on, 2 out, 7-4|
|Carlos Pena (9)||Rays||7th||Randy Flores (1)||Cardinals||2 on, 0 out, 4-8|
|Ryan Ludwick (10)||Cardinals||10th (GW)||Dan Wheeler (3)||Rays||0 on, 1 out, 8-8|
|Ben Francisco (1)||Indians||8th||David Weathers (2)||Reds||0 on, 1 out, 1-1|
|Adam Dunn (9)||Reds||9th (GW)||Masahide Kobayashi (3)||Indians||2 on, 0 out, 1-2|
|Blake DeWitt (4)||Dodgers||2nd||Ervin Santana (4)||Angels||1 on, 2 out, 0-0|
|David Ortiz (8)||Red Sox||2nd||Jeff Suppan (6)||Brewers||2 on, 2 out, 1-0|
|Mike Cameron (4)||Brewers||7th||Daisuke Matsuzaka (4)||Red Sox||1 on, 2 out, 0-4|
|Ryan Braun (11)||Brewers||9th||Jonathan Papelbon (2)||Red Sox||0 on, 2 out, 2-5|
|Jack Cust (5)||Athletics||1st||Tim Hudson (2)||Braves||0 on, 2 out, 0-0|
|Ryan Sweeney (1)||Athletics||2nd||Tim Hudson (3)||Braves||2 on, 0 out, 1-0|
|Milton Bradley (7)||Rangers||1st||Roy Oswalt (13)||Astros||1 on, 2 out, 0-1|
|Marlon Byrd (1)||Rangers||2nd||Roy Oswalt (14)||Astros||1 on, 1 out, 2-1|
|Lance Berkman (16)||Astros||4th||Vincente Padilla (8)||Rangers||0 on, 0 out, 1-4|
|Rod Barajas (2)||Blue Jays||2nd||Adam Eaton (5)||Phillies||3 on, 0 out, 0-0|
|Rod Barajas (3)||Blue Jays||9th||Tom Gordon (1)||Phillies||0 on, 0 out, 4-3|
|Nick Markakis (8)||Orioles||3rd||Odalis Perez (9)||Nationals||1 on, 0 out, 2-1|
|Ryan Zimmerman (8)||Nationals||4th||Brian Burres (3)||Orioles||0 on, 0 out, 1-4|
|Jay Payton (4)||Orioles||5th||Odalis Perez (10)||Nationals||1 on, 2 out, 4-2|
|Wes Helms (3)||Marlins||7th||Brian Bannister (6)||Royals||2 on, 0 out, 2-3|
|Mike Jacobs (10)||Marlins||7th||Ron Mahay (2)||Royals||1 on, 2 out, 5-3|
|Matthew Joyce (4)||Tigers||7th||Brandon Medders (2)||Diamondbacks||0 on, 1 out, 2-0|
|Mike Lowell (5)||Red Sox||3rd||Dave Bush (8)||Brewers||1 on, 2 out, 2-0|
|Corey Hart (2)||Brewers||6th||Tim Wakefield (7)||Red Sox||0 on, 1 out, 0-5|
|Adrian Gonzalez (10)||Padres||4th||Erik Bedard (7)||Mariners||1 on, 1 out, 0-1|
|Adrian Beltre (8)||Mariners||7th||Cla Meredith (2)||Padres||1 on, 1 out, 2-2|
Two Carloses and a Soriano
The Chicago Cubs were the second best team in baseball (after the Arizona Diamondbacks) as far as winning percentage. After sweeping Arizona and taking 3 of 4 against the San Diego Padres, the Cubbies had to face one more team before taking a flight to Houston to start off a few series away from Wrigley Field: the Pittsburgh Pirates. These next couple of games looked like a few slices of cake for Chicago, as they had already taken game 1 of the three game series, continuing their long winning streak against the Bucs to ten games. The player of that game, as well as the player of the week for the Cubs, is none other than Alfonso Soriano. In the Cubs’ first 20 games of the season, Soriano was batting only .188, but in case you didn’t know, when Soriano is on fire, he cannot be stopped. Since then, he has hit for a .469 average with 5 home runs and 12 RBIs. Could he and Carlos Zambrano extend what was already a humiliating streak against Nate McLouth Zach Duke, and the rest of the Pirates team? Well, Zach Duke has faced the Cubs before and has done very well. Before the contest started, he was 4-3 against the Cubs with a very impressive 2.57 ERA. However, during the season so far (as of May 17th), Carlos Zambrano has dominated the league with 6-1 record, a 2.03 ERA, and 43 strikeouts in 62 innings pitched. Would either of these two tremendous starters come up with the victory? Read on and find out.
Both offences got things started in the second inning. Doug Mientkiewicz scored on a Brian Bixler single after he walked and advanced to second base on a wild pitch. Unfortunately for the Pirates, that was all they could get. On the other hand, the Cubbies had quite a second inning. The second batter of the inning, Geovany Soto, doubled to get things started. Mark DeRosa and Reed Johnson were the next two batters, and they both singled to the outfield to help bring in Soto for the tying run. After Zambrano popped out to Duke for the second out for the Cubs, Alfy was up again. The timing couldn’t have been perfect, as the hot hitting Soriano singled to bring in Mark DeRosa. However, left fielder Jason Bay mishandled the ball, which caused Reed Johnson to score and Soriano to advance to second base.
In the third inning, Mark DeRosa showed that he wasn’t done after just one at-bat, as he doubled to left field with Soto on first. However, this is Geovany Soto we’re talking about, a catcher who has yet to steal a base in his career. He was tagged out at home on a close, yet great play involving Jason Bay, Brian Bixler (the cutoff man), and Ronny Paulino.
"The catcher made a good play, the umpire made a correct call," Piniella said. "I don't think [Soto's] foot ever got to home plate."
The Cubs might not have gotten a run there, but the Pirates did right after the Cubs took the field after their at-bats in the third. After a leadoff double by Adam LaRoche, Doug Mientkiewicz singled up the middle for an RBI single. With Mark DeRosa being the last batter in the inning though, the Pirates knew who they were facing right after they finished batting: Alfonso Soriano. He already helped the Cubs scoring 2 of the 3 runs they already had, but he knew that wasn’t going to be enough. So what did he do? He did what he does best when he’s on a hot streak: hit a long ball. It was his 6th home run in 6 games. I’m sure that calmed Zambrano down, since he broke his bat after striking out right before Soriano was up.
Speaking of Zambrano, he was back on the mound right after the 4th inning of retaliation ended. The score was 4-2, for the Cubs. However, the lead did not long, as Zambrano surrendered 3 runs in the 5th inning, putting 5 consecutive runners on base: 3 via single and 2 via walk.
"Obviously, I was behind in the count too much in the last inning," Zambrano said. "This is the big leagues. And when you're behind in the count and you don't have your best stuff, you're not going to get it done."
By that time, Cubs manager Lou Piniella subbed him in with reliever Michael Wuertz. With the bases loaded and no outs, it seemed pretty hard for Wuertz. However, only one run scored via sacrifice fly, as the Cubs got out two batters after Zambrano was switched, thanks to a tremendous unassisted double play by Derrek Lee that helped show why he’s a former Gold Glove winner.
The Cubs were running out of chances to tie the game up, as there were two more frames on the scoreboard where they didn’t score any runs. Both teams moved on to the 7th inning, where Michael Wuertz was still pitching. He did very well in relief, giving up only 1 hit in 2 2/3 innings. 18 of his 23 pitches were strikes. However, Piniella decided to take him out and replace him with Scott Eyre, who struck out Adam LaRoche to end the inning. In the bottom of the 7th inning, the dangerous (unless you’re on the Cubs) Alfonso Soriano was up, yet again. And what did he do? He hit another homer, which is good for his 10th of the season, and tying him with first basemen Derrek Lee for the team lead. It was also his second consecutive multi-home run game. I think it was a message to Xavier Nady after he made a great diving catch robbing Ronny Cedeno of an extra base hit. He is just doing everything for the Cubs in this game, in every way he can, in every single at-bat.
"It’s fun to watch," Derrek Lee said of Soriano’s hot streak. "I don’t know if I’ve ever seen anyone as hot as he is. He’s carry us right now."
"Oh man, I want to have the most at-bats I can because of the way I feel right now," Soriano said. "I want to have a lot of at-bats."
With a scoreless 8th inning, the game was still knotted at 5. This was when very reliable Carlos Marmol took the mound, attempting to pitch his 14th consecutive scoreless inning. It was going to be hard, as he had to face Freddy Sanchez and Nate McLouth, two players who already knocked 2 hits. After striking out pinch hitter Jason Michaels, he surrendered a single to Sanchez, which put him in a more uncomfortable situation. Next up was McLouth, who led the team in home runs with 11. I guess he thought the fans were bored, so he popped one over for a two-run shot just barely over the ivy for a 7-5 lead. So Zambrano wasn’t the only Carlos Zambrano that didn’t have a bad day. The only difference was that Marmol finished off the inning… and of course, the fact that Marmol didn’t break a bat.
"Against a guy like that, who has as electric as stuff as he does, you don't try and do too much," McLouth said of his approach. "Today, I happened to get a fastball, and I didn't miss it."
"It was one mistake," losing pitcher Carlos Marmol said. "I'm not perfect."
So, the Cubs were trailing by two runs, but did they have the offence to pull through for a win? Well, Matt Capps (a new pitcher) was on the mound for the Bucs, as the Cubs had Alfonso Soriano batting again. With 2 outs, Soriano hit a ground rule double, and scored on a Ryan Theriot single to cut the lead in half. Next up, was Derrek Lee, who had the chance to tie the game (with an extra-base hit) or even win the game (with a home run). With 2 straight outs and a chance to finally end what was a 10 game losing streak against the Cubs, the Cubs put on their rally caps, and collected two straight hits, and needed one guy to just bring in Ryan Theriot from first to tie the game. Derrek Lee, with an 0-for-4 game at the time, had the chance to be the hero and redeem himself. On the very next pitch of the game, Lee drove a ball into deep left field. It went far, but not far enough, as Xavier Nady made a catch about 15 feet in front of the wall for the final out of the game. Matt Capps still stays perfect in save opportunities, as he gets his 10th save in his 10th opportunity. They Pirates (finally) did it: they ended what was a 10 game losing skid to the Chicago Cubs.
"It's great," starter Zach Duke said. "Hopefully we can start a streak of our own here and prove that we can beat them in their place."
"My team is in first place and I have a good record," said Zambrano, who's still 6-1 after being charged with a season-high five runs on seven hits. "What do I have to be frustrated?" I would say "Exactly", except you broke a frickin’ bat with one knee, so it seemed like you were frustrated.
'Til the next recap…
On another note:
- Well, it sure looked like Soriano's streak proved that he was fine, if not more than fine after the quad strain he suffered through in mid-April. He said, “I’m very comfortable with myself. I have a pretty strong heart and mind, so I knew when I was going bad that it's a long season. I knew I wanted to come back strong and help the team." He sure did as soon as he came back. So far in this homestand, he has batted .541 with 7 home runs (all in 6 games), and 15 RBI’s.
- Soriano is only the sixth player since 1960 to go perfect from the plate in at least 5 at-bats, hit 2 home runs, and ‘’still’’ see his team lose. Joe Morgan is the only other leadoff hitter to do it.
- This is McLouth’s second game winning home run this season. His first one was on May 14th against
- McLouth’s home run was the first run Carlos Marmol surrendered since April 18th, which was the first one he gave up this season. Who was the person who hit that homer on April 18th? None other than ‘’Nate McLouth’’…
- Marmol’s ERA boosted up from 1.04 to 1.67.
- There were a season-high 41,686 fans at Wrigley Field to witness this great game.
Homer of the Day (May 16, 2008)
And the Homer of the Day for May 16, 2008 goes to...
Jayson Werth, the player who hit 3 home runs and drove in 8 runs (tying a franchise record) helped the Phillies defeat the Toronto Blue Jays 10-3. Congrats, Jayson Werth, for becoming only the third player to win 2 "Homer of the Day"s.
On Another Matter:
Thanks to everyone who has been voting, especially those who have since the very beginning (you know who you are). Like I said, the more votes we have in these articles, the better. It makes it more interesting, and makes me feel better when I post these articles.
I hope you’re enjoying these articles as much as I like finding more about what has happened over a month ago!