The Cubs jumped on familiar foe Roy Oswalt early on Sunday afternoon, thanks to a RBI double by Starlin Castro and a two run home run by Aramis Ramirez in the first inning. The Cubs third baseman has doubled his season homer total just in the last week alone, and hopefully it is a sign that he is heating up after sitting on one home run hit through late May. Unfortunately Oswalt settled down after that inning and kept the Cubs at bay through the 7th inning. In fact the Cubs offense could not muster any more runs on the day.
Fifth starter Doug Davis made the three run support from his offense hold up through five innings of work, only allowing two runs despite issuing five walks and five hits. But it was Sean Marshall who blew the game for the Cubs. The lefty set up man has struggled by his standards of late and he got himself into trouble by hitting the lead off batter and surrendering a double to Chase Utley before Ryan Howard lined up single up the middle through the shift to give the Phillies their first lead of the ballgame. Hopefully Marshall has a short memory and is able to quickly forget his last two outings in Philadelphia.
The offense tried to pick up Marshall with a two out rally in the 9th. Back up catcher Koyie Hill gave Cubs fans some hope when he hit a two out single. That set the stage for pinch hitter Geo Soto with the opportunity to play hero. He had hit the game tying home run off Phillies closer Ryan Madson on Thursday night, the first home run Madson had given up all year. The Cubs catcher almost repeated the feat Sunday afternoon when he jumped on a fastball from Madson, but Soto was a split second too quick with the bat as he just hooked the ball foul in front of the left field foul pole.
The Cubs finished the road trip 2-8 against some of the top teams in the National League and have pretty much sealed their fate as non contenders for the rest of the season. This week does not get much easier as they face their Milwaukee neighbors for a four game set. With the Brewers currently in first place in the NL Central by half a game, this would be the second series in a row that the Cubs are going against a first place team.