Burnitz the thief
Cubs 6, Nationals 3
3 in a row!
The Cubs are evidently gaining some confidence (well, not everyone on the staff), because when the game was on the line, it was the Nationals who blinked first.
With the score knotted at 2-2 in the 8th Inning, and the impressive Loaiza out of the game (7 IP, 6 H, 2 ER), Aramis drove a 2-2 pitch into deep center field for a solo HR. Burnitz followed with a 2-0 double to deep left center, and Barrett sacrificed to move him across to third. Jason Dubois fouled off 2 pitches with a full count before being hit by a pitch, leaving runners on the corners, 1 out. Chad Cordero came into the game in relief, a guy who has not exactly been easy to hit this season - 4 ER in 16 IP, striking out 17 while walking 6.
Jerry Hairston Jr, a man with 1 RBI this season, was instructed to lay down the suicide squeeze, but after missing the ball, Burnitz was caught in a run-down between third and home. Or was he? A crucial error by the catcher in handling the ball allowed Burnitz to score safely.
Jerry then walked, leaving runners on 1st and 2nd with 1 out.
Hollandworth came in to pinch-hit, and in true Todd form, with the pressure on, he struck out swinging on 4 pitches. Excellent work, Holls, excellent work.
With 2 out, and Cordero appearing more comfortable, he worked Patterson to a 2-2 count. Corey connected weakly with the next pitch, the ball trickling down the 1st base line, and Cordero covered across to make the play. He scooped the ball cleanly but missed on the transfer, the ball flying over the 1B's hands into right field. Corey was safe, and both Dube and Hairy coming round to score. Perez grounded out, but the damage was done.
4 runs off 3 hits, with 3 runs coming off the 2 costly errors by C Gary Bennett and Cordero.
So the game was done.
Or so we would have liked. Remlinger, the man chosen to relieve Wuertz (threw a perfect 8th Inning, 2 fly-outs, strike-out), induced Nick Johnson to fly out to CF. Working a 1-2 count on Bennett, he served up a fat pitch that was dispatched to deep right for a double. Guzman popped out, leaving a runner on 2nd with 2 outs.
The pinch-hitted Blanco drilled a run-scoring double, and Remlinger walked Wilkerson on 6 pitches and Jamey Carroll after an 11-pitch at-bat. The next man up, Jose Guillen.
Remlinger left the game with the bases loaded, and Wellemeyer came into to finish things off. He sent Guillen to a full-count, before Jose connected, sending the 3-2 pitch deep down the right field line, where Burnitz made the catch in the corner, a few feet from the fence. 6 feet more, a split-second earlier on the hit, and he would have ended the game with a walk-off grand slam.
But it was not to be, and for once the Cubs came out on top of an eventful and nervy performance filled with 3 Washington errors and a 3-run win for Chicago.
Having been on the receiving end of bad luck like this, it is definitely satisfying to see us on the winning side of such events. A 3-game winning streak, and Zambrano vs. Hernandez this evening.