Tryin’ to prove Zambrano wrong

The Brewers played their first game at Wrigley of the ’07 season on Monday evening…and their ol’ bud, Carlos Zambrano, was the starter for the last place Cubs (recall Zambrano dissed the Brewers’ hitters by saying that the Brewers’ hitters don’t always capitalize on mistakes he made…the Brewers’ hitters wanted to prove Zambrano wrong…or at least not to prove him right). Claudio Vargas didn’t help much by giving Zambrano a 2-run cushion in the first, putting the first 3 Cubs’ hitters on base, including a single by Derrek Lee that drove in Alfonso Soriano. The Cubs’ top of the order struck again in the top of the 3rd, with Lee doubling, to again drive in Soriano, followed by an Aramis Ramirez solo shot after Lee got picked off trying to steal third. J.J. Hardy took advantage of a Carlos Zambrano 3-2 pitch to lead off the 4th, depositing his 6th homer of the year into the laps of the Bleacher Bums. Yost opted to pinch hit for Vargas in the 5th, and the move paid off–Tony Gwynn, Jr. singled to plate Gabe Gross to cut the lead to 4-2. Oh, while Zambrano fanned 7, he got yanked after 5.33 IP and 103 pitches. Claudio Vargas had 4 ER in 4 IP. The Crew cut the lead to one in the top of the 8th, after Prince Fielder crushed a Scott Eyre 1-0 pitch over the ivy to start the frame. After Hall struck out, Damian Miller walked, advancing to second on a Geoff Jenkins single. After Eyre got Gabe Gross to fly out to right, Craig Counsell singled to drive in Miller to tie the game at 4-4 (sidenote: the two players that make their year-round homes in Wisconsin were both involved in the play). The bullpens held through 9, sending the game into extra innings…the Crew got 5 of their 8 hits in regulation off of Zambrano, as well as 3 of their 4 walks. Yost went with rookie Carlos Villanueva in the 8th, and, having used Elmer Dessens for a pair of innings earlier, stayed with the rookie through the 9th, 10th, and 11th…Cubs’ rookie Felix Pie doubled with one out in the bottom of the 11th from the 9 spot, sending Alfonso Soriano up to the dish…Yost does not walk Soriano, nor does he go to Turnbow. Villanueva battled, and got Soriano to fly out to right. Lou Pinella then takes the gamble of the night–out of position players, Pinella opts for pitcher Jason Marquis…to pinch hit. Villanueva gets Marquis to strike out…and completes his fourth inning of work. Pinella then sends in Rocky Cherry, a name more fitting for a porn star or flavor-of-the-week at Cold Stone than a relief pitcher…after getting J.J. Hardy to pop out, Prince Fielder took Cherry deep to right for his second homer of the night to give the Crew a 5-4 lead. After Cherry gets two more outs, Yost, concerned with overworking Coco Cordero early in the season, takes a gamble and puts Derrick Turnbow out for the save opportunity…with Derrek Lee leading off…Lee singles the first pitch to short right. Aramis Ramirez then pops out to Counsell at third, sending left-handed hitter Jacque Jones up once again…Jones swings at a pair of breaking balls in the dirt to strikeout. Mark DeRosa comes up…now, bear in mind that yours truly had to start DeRosa this week in my fantasy league, due to the injury to Howie Kendrick…which means DeRosa will make an out. Sure enough, Turnbow catches DeRosa looking at a third strike to give him his first save, Villanueva his first win, and the Brewers with their 2nd extra-innings win this year. Guess Mr. Zambrano’s assessment of the Brewers not capitalizing on mistakes was a bit off.

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