Cubs ‘swim with Fishes’ after latest blown save
Posted: Monday, August 3, 2009 5:26 pm
By: By TIM REYNOLDS, AP Sports Writer
MIAMI (AP) — Cody Ross’s first home run drew a curtain call, with the Florida Marlins’ faithful pleading with him to emerge from the dugout and tip his cap.
After Ross’ second homer Sunday, all the Marlins took a bow.
Dan Uggla tied the game with a solo home run in the ninth, Ross followed with the game-winner off former Florida closer Kevin Gregg one pitch later and the Marlins beat the Chicago Cubs 3-2 on Sunday, moving within five games of Philadelphia for the NL East lead.
“I just wanted to continue the inning,” Ross said after emerging from the mob of teammates at home plate. “I got just enough of it.”
The back-to-back homers capped a big week for Florida: Not only did the Marlins go 4-2 on their six-game homestand, they tried to make their roster more playoff-ready by acquiring Nick Johnson from the Washington Nationals. Florida visits Washington starting Tuesday, then goes into Philadelphia next weekend.
“We’ve got one thing in mind,” Ross said. “I think everyone knows what that is.”
Gregg (4-3) blew a save for the second straight night for the Cubs, his fifth failure in 26 opportunities this season.
“It wasn’t pretty,” Cubs manager Lou Piniella said. “The thing finished quick.”
Brendan Donnelly (2-0) allowed his first run in 11 innings as a Marlin — a first-pitch shot by Jake Fox leading off the ninth. It was Fox’s eighth homer of the season.
Alas, that was just the start of the late-game heroics.
“It was two pitches,” Gregg said. “Twenty-five guys put together a great effort and two pitches are why we walk out of here losing.”
Both starters were stellar while working with little run support.
The Cubs’ Ryan Dempster, in his second start back from the disabled list, pitched six shutout innings, yielding just three hits. Florida’s Ricky Nolasco, a former West Tenn Diamond Jaxx pitcher, retired the final 14 batters he faced, giving up one run and four hits in seven innings.
Nolasco, who has taken the loss just once in his last 10 starts, lowered his ERA to 5.00, nearly half from what it was May 22 (a season-worst 9.07).
“It all starts with starting pitching,” Marlins manager Fredi Gonzalez said. “Ricky Nolasco was outstanding today. And to go back-to-back there in the ninth inning was something special, against a pretty good closer.”
Astros 2, Cardinals 0
In St. Louis, the Astros’ Bud Norris pitched seven sharp innings in his first major league start.
Norris was working on a no-hitter before pitcher Adam Wainwright led off the sixth with a single to center.
Norris (1-0) gave up just two hits, walked four and struck out five while subbing for Roy Oswalt, who missed his turn with lower back discomfort.
Wainwright (12-7) allowed two runs over seven innings for the Cardinals, who won the first two games of the weekend series.
Dodgers 9, Braves 1
In Atlanta, Matt Kemp homered and matched a career high with five RBI to lead Los Angeles over Atlanta.
Kemp had three hits, including a three-run homer in the fifth and a two-run single in the eighth as the Dodgers outhit the Braves 19-5. Andre Ethier and James Loney also had three hits.
Chad Billingsley (11-6) threw five scoreless innings before leaving with a cramp in his right hamstring, striking out nine and allowing only two hits and a walk.
Jair Jurrjens (9-8) gave up four runs on a season-high 10 hits in five innings for Atlanta.
Brewers 6, Padres 1
In San Diego, Felipe Lopez hit a three-run double that highlighted a five-run seventh inning, lifting the Brewers over the Padres.
Craig Counsell and Frank Catalanotto also drove in runs in the seventh, breaking a 1-all tie against four San Diego pitchers and snapping the Padres’ five-game winning streak. Milwaukee won for just the fourth time in 11 games.
Mitch Stetter (3-1) got the final two outs of the sixth and earned the win, combining with four pitchers to allow just five hits against a San Diego lineup that had at least 10 in five straight games.
Trevor Hoffman, who pitched 16 seasons for the Padres, worked the ninth inning and received a standing ovation from the few remaining fans.
Rockies 6, Reds 4 (11)
In Cincinnati, Dexter Fowler’s two-out RBI triple in the 11th inning helped Colorado beat the Reds and complete a three-game sweep.
Garrett Atkins added a pinch-hit infield single to help Colorado earn its first win in five extra-inning games this season, all on the road.
The Rockies extended their winning streak to four games, their longest since winning four straight from July 6 through July 9, and sent the Reds to their sixth consecutive loss and 12th in their last 13 games.
Chris Iannetta led off the 11th against Nick Masset (4-1) with a single through the hole into left field and reached second on a wild pitch. Two outs later, Fowler lined his triple to deep left-center field.
Nationals 5, Pirates 3
In Pittsburgh, Josh Willingham hit a two-run homer as part of a three-run seventh inning and the Nationals rallied to beat the Pirates.
Ryan Zimmerman had two hits and two runs, Alberto Gonzalez had two RBIs and Mike MacDougal earned his seventh save in eight opportunities for the Nationals, who snapped a four-game losing streak.
Ronny Cedeno and Delwyn Young homered to provide the offense for Pittsburgh, which has lost six of eight. Diamondbacks 5, Mets 2
In New York, Jon Garland pitched his first complete game in more than a year and Chad Tracy hit a two-run double.
Miguel Montero had three hits and Gerardo Parra drove in two runs to back Garland, who is 2-8 in his last 14 outings even though he’s compiled seven straight quality starts.
Making his 300th major league appearance, Garland (6-10) gave up seven hits in his 10th career complete game and first since July 6, 2008, with the Los Angeles Angels against Toronto.
New York starter Mike Pelfrey (8-7) lasted only five innings. He sported a patchy beard — several Mets have vowed not to shave until the team gets back to .500.
Giants 7, Phillies 3
In San Francisco, Freddy Sanchez had two hits and two RBIs in his first game with San Francisco, Barry Zito made his third straight strong start and the Giants beat the Phillies.
Sanchez, acquired from Pittsburgh two days before the trade deadline last week, singled in his first at-bat then added a two-run double in the sixth when San Francisco scored three times to break the game open.
Aaron Rowand and Eugenio Velez added two hits apiece for the Giants, who won three of four against the defending World Series champs.
Jimmy Rollins homered for the Phillies, who still own the second-best record in the National League despite going 6-5 over their last 11 games.