Soriano Rescues Zambrano, Cubs With 8th Inning Homer


You don’t expect a game started by Carlos Zambrano to degenerate into a slugfest, but that was exactly what happened Friday afternoon in Wrigley Field.  After blowing through the Cardinals in the first two innings, Zambrano got rocked for four in the 3rd, including a three-run shot by Ryan Ludwick; the Cardinals would add single runs in the 5th, 6th and 7th, tallying a total of 7 runs off the Cubs’ presumptive ace.  That meant the Cubs offense would need to be in high-gear, and thankfully, it was.

Chicago actually led 3-0 before Z’s implosion in the 3rd.  They would tie the game 5-5 with two runs in the bottom of the 5th – one coming courtesy of returning starter Aramis Ramirez via RBI single – only to fall behind again.  The Cardinals held a 7-6 lead going into the bottom of the 8th, creating a dire situation for the home team:  that was when Alfonso Soriano stepped to the plate, looking to atone for striking out three times in his first four at-bats.  He did.  His homer with Aaron Miles on base gave the Cubs an 8-7 advantage.  There was still work to do, however:  Carlos Marmol entered in the top of the 9th – Lou Piniella still doesn’t seem to have made up his mind who his closer is – and after walking Colby Rasmus and plunking Albert Pujols, found himself scrambling to hold onto the game.  Ryan Ludwick, who already had two homers on the day, his second coming with no one on base in the 7th, failed to strike a third time, whiffing on four pitches.  Khalil Greene, who homered in Thursday’s game off Aaron Heilman, then obliged Marmol and the Cubs by grounding into a game-ending double-play.

Series even at 1-1 going into Saturday’s afternoon match-up at Wrigley, Ryan Dempster and former Cub Kyle Lohse the scheduled starters.