After spot starter Rodrigo Lopez tossed a solid game on Sunday to boost the Cubs to a win, Casey Coleman made an admirable effort to do the same. He finished the day with a decent box score line highlighted by five strike outs as he kept the Cubs in the game.
The Cubs offense was able to get out to a 4-2 lead by the top of the sixth inning despite receiving a combined 0 for 15 effort out of the top three spots in the order. The recently returned Marlon Byrd got the Cubs on the board in the second inning when his single cashed in Carlos Pena, who had tripled in front of him. It was a clutch two out single by Alfonso Soriano that drove in two in the top of the fourth, and Geo Soto made a bid to repeat Soriano’s feat in the sixth with a single base hit of his own, but Pena was thrown out at home after Aramis Ramirez had scored ahead of him.
Unfortunately the Cubs bullpen could not hold the lead for Coleman, with the game tying damage coming at the hands of a wild throwing Kerry Wood. The veteran reliever had three walks and a hit batter in his inning of work. Marcos Mateo walked the Nationals’ lead off hitter in the bottom of the tenth before leaving one out later with an injury, and the baseball sin that is the lead off walk came all the way around to score after a sac bunt, a stolen base, and a wild pitch.
Aramis Ramirez had a 2 for 4 day as he continues to keep his season batting average hovering just below .300. Pena and Byrd backed the third baseman up with 3 for 4 and 2 for 3 days respectively, providing a rare occasion for the 2011 Cubs in which the middle of the order was collecting hits in bunches at the same time.