On a gloomy and rainy Saturday afternoon in Chicago, it was Casey Coleman who followed the lead of Ryan Dempster and Carlos Zambrano a few days before to put in one of his best outings as a starter this season. The spot starter was able to spot his pitches all over the zone to do just enough to keep the Reds off balance, as evidenced by his season high six strikeouts.
Coleman needed some help from the pen after he led off the 7th inning with a walk and a single. But lead off walks will almost always find a way to come home to score and veteran Kerry Wood could prevent the inherited runners from scoring to give the Reds a 2-1 lead, despite the Cubs being one of the top teams in not allowing inherited runners to score.
Meanwhile the Cubs offense was able to find ways to collect hits despite the pitcher friendly weather conditions, as evidenced by the 11 hits they totaled for the day. But just like Friday afternoon, it was the clutch running scoring hit that continued to elude the Cubs. Blake DeWitt his his first home run of the season through the teeth of the wind blowing in from right field that gave the Cubs the lead before the above mentioned 7th inning for the Reds.
With Francisco Cordero coming in for Cincinnati to save the game in the 9th, Cubs fans were probably shaking their heads from the missed chances earlier in the game. After getting ahead in the count 2-0 in the steady rain falling on Wrigley, Carlos Pena (video courtesy of MLB.com) launched a rainbow shot a few rows back into the right field bleachers to tie the game. Pena has had a good eye at the plate the last two games and may be showing signs of finally settling in as a Cub. He finished the 3 for 4 with his first home run as a Cub at Wrigley.
And the rally did not end there. With one out, DeWitt continued to make the most of his rare start at second base by hitting a single, finishing the day 2 for 4. Pinch hitter Jeff Baker followed with a two out knock that got the Reds center fielder turning in all kinds of directions, missing the catch as it bounced in the outfield for a double. DeWitt rounded third towards home for the winning run. Cubs win! Cubs win! Cub win!
But wait. The ball hand bounced into the first row of bleachers and by rule was a ground rule double. With DeWitt having been at first base, he was only allowed to advance two bases. So the score was still tied at two with runners on first and third with two outs. After a tough break like that, it would have been easy for the Cubs to end the inning empty handed, but Kosuke Fukudome (video courtesy of MLB.com) lined a comeback single up the middle to complete the comeback win, for real this time. Fukudome must have thought with all the rain that it was still April in Chicago, as he has been known to fade beginning in May. But at least on this afternoon he went 3 for 4 from the lead off spot. April showers bring May showers?
The walk off win was not only a relief for a Cubs team that have been finding ways to lose, but it was also a nice team result considering Coleman’s starting effort was worthy of a win for his box score line. It was also a nice distraction from the horrible, ear deafening commentary by Tim McCarver and Thom Brennaman. The Fox duo kept on making mistakes that were so annoying.