The Cubs rallied for five runs off Matt Guerrier in the bottom of the eighth inning, turning an 8-5 deficit into a 10-8 win, snapping the Dodgers' winning streak at three games. Guerrier was pitching his second inning of the day, after retiring the Cubs in order on seven pitches in the seventh inning. However, 28 pitches later, Guerrier couldn't escape the eighth and gave up his first runs as a Dodger.
Things didn't look so good early. Ted Lilly gave up hits to the first three batters of the game, to three different outfielders, but thanks to a strong throw by Jerry Sands from left field, Starlin Castro was erased at second base. The Cubs still scored one run in the first, but it seemed like it could have been much worse. Lilly saw the flip side of that defense in the third inning, when Sands lost a ball in the sun, which became a double for Castro, who eventually scored. Things got worse for the Dodgers in the bottom of the fourth.
The Cubs scored three runs on three hits, but the inning was nightmarish thanks in part to some defensive miscues. On Reed Johnson's RBI double, Matt Kemp's throw back to the infield was offline, out of the reach of both Aaron Miles and Jamey Carroll, allowing Johnson to reach third base. Then, Lilly picked off two straight runners, only to record no outs. Lilly, whose pace slows to snail-like with runners on, took too long to throw to James Loney to pick off Castro, and Loney hurried and threw wildly to second base. Then, after Darwin Barney drove in Castro with a single, Lilly picked off Barney too, but Miles' reluctance to throw the ball to Loney in the ensuing rundown led to a rare obstruction call on Loney for blocking the baseline, allowing Barney to safely return to first base.
However, down 5-1 in the top of the fifth, the Dodgers' offense got to work. Casey Blake blasted a two-run home run into the bleachers, and was followed by a solo shot to center by Matt Kemp. A Cub fan tried to throw back the ball from Kemp's home run, and this hilarity ensued:
After the Dodgers cut the lead to 5-4, the Cubs threatened for more runs in the bottom of the fifth. After Lilly was pulled, a pair of walks from Mike MacDougal loaded the bases with two outs for Ryan Dempster. This was decision time for Mike Quade, who decided to stick with his starter despite him allowing four runs and eight baserunners through five innings and 92 pitches. MacDougal, who has been embroiled in a career-long battle with the strike zone, ran the count full to Dempster, but got him swinging to end the threat.
One day after watching three members of his bullpen throw 140 pitches, it's understandable that Cubs' manager Mike Quade was hesitant with the hook today. However, that decision backfired. Rod Barajas led off the top of the sixth with a wind-aided pop fly home run to center to tie the score, and one batter later pinch-hitter Tony Gwynn followed with a single to left field that a diving Alfonso Soriano played into a triple. After a walk to Blake, Ethier broke the tie with a two-run double off lefty Sean Marshall, extending Ethier's hititng streak to 20 games.
- Vicente Padilla returned to game action for the first time this season, pitching a scoreless seventh inning, including one strikeout
- Blake had two hits and two walks today, his fourth straight game with at least two hits. Over his last four games, Blake has nine hits in 18 at-bats, with two home runs and three walks
- Barajas has four home runs this season...and six RBI
- The start by Lilly snapped a string of six straight quality starts by Dodgers starting pitchers
- Sands snapped an 0-for-14 slump with a single in the seventh inning. Sands also walked in the ninth inning, the Dodgers' only base runner off Carlos Marmol
- Ethier is hitting .408/.477/.592 during his hitting streak, and has eight extra-base hits (seven doubles, one home run) in his last eight games.
- Castro had four hits in five at-bats today, matching his hit total in his first seven career games against the Dodgers
- Barney and Marlon Byrd executed a perfect double steal off Lilly in the third inning (they could have made it standing up). Those two steals doubled the season total for the Cubs this season.
- Jamey Carroll (yes, I know, he shouldn't be batting eighth with Aaron Miles leading off) has come to the plate 17 times this season from the eighth spot in the batting order and two outs. Carroll has eight hits (two today) and a walk in those instances, a stellar .529 OBP in the classic turnover-the-lineup spot
- The five runs off Guerrier today snapped a string of 15 consecutive unscored upon appearances by the reliever, dating back to last season.
- The Cubs have now been 1-1, 2-2, 3-3, 4-4, 5-5, 6-6, 7-7, 8-8, 9-9, and 10-10 this season, the first team in MLB history to do that.
Hong-Chih Kuo will begin a two-game rehab assignment with Class A Rancho Cucamonga on Monday, writes Tony Jackson of ESPN LA. Kuo will pitch in back-to-back games, something he rarely does. The earliest Kuo can be activated from the DL is Friday
- Hiroki Kuroda and Carlos Zambrano start the rubber game of this series on Easter Sunday
WP - Jeff Samardjiza (2-0): 1 1/3 IP, 3 strikeouts
LP - Matt Guerrier (1-1): 1 2/3 IP, 4 hits, 5 runs, 1 walk, 2 strikeouts
Sv - Carlos Marmol (5): 1 IP, 1 walk, 1 strikeout