|Chi. Cubs (22-22) «||1||1||1||0||3||x||6||8||0|
CHICAGO -- Given the high expectations and the mounting losses, it's no surprise that the Chicago Cubs let out a sigh of relief.
They needed this win.
Marshall (3-3) tied a season-high with six strikeouts before the game was called with none out in the top of the sixth following a delay of 1 hour, 2 minutes, and the two-time defending NL Central champions ended their longest slide in three years.
"It's been tough," Marshall said. "Nobody likes to lose at anything. It's only one game. But the guys are having a good time in there right now. It's a little different atmosphere right now."
Actually, it was a familiar atmosphere after a familiar result.
The Cubs didn't wait long to pounce on Ian Snell (1-6) after rain pushed the start back seven minutes, and the result was their first win since May 16.
"When you're in a situation like that, it's no fun," said Micah Hoffpauir, who went 2-for-3 with two RBI.
They scored a run with two out in each of the first three innings -- on Fukudome's solo shot in the first, Marshall's single in the second and Hoffpauir's double in the third -- before breaking it open with three in the fifth.
With the score 3-1, Alfonso Soriano made a diving catch on Snell's liner to left in the top half and sparked the big rally in the bottom half when he singled, stole second and advanced to third on a wild throw. Ryan Theriot then drove him in with a base hit, and Hoffpauir and Mike Fontenot drove in runs with bases-loaded singles that made it 6-1.
That was enough for Marshall, who contained a team that had pounded out 34 hits the previous two games against the White Sox and Cubs. But after those big outbursts, the Pirates looked more like the group that got shut out Friday and Saturday across town at U.S. Cellular Field.
Pittsburgh's Freddy Sanchez had two singles after his six-hit game on Monday -- the Pirates' first in 19 years and the second in the majors this season -- and is now 10-for-14 over his last three games.
But it was another miserable night for Snell, who is 0-4 in his last seven starts. He allowed eight hits, walked four and seemed to target plate umpire Jeff Nelson afterward.
"It's frustrating when you throw a pitch there and it should be a strike and it's a ball," Snell said. "Then you get a little confused on where the strike zone is. Then you have to find out where it is. Then you keep throwing the ball in the same spot and you don't get it. So you just keep pounding the same spot and eventually they get a hit or you walk the guy."
The Cubs were simply on target and finally showed that "Cubbie Swagger" manager Lou Piniella talks about while ending their North Side nosedive.
"How do you eat a whopper?" Piniella asked before the game. "You eat it one bite at a time, you don't swallow it whole."
Fukudome took a big bite early on, knocking his fifth homer out to right, and the Cubs kept digging in against Snell.
"Lot of pitches and inconsistent in the zone," Pirates manager John Russell said. "He left a lot of balls over the plate."
|Chicago fans brush off the bad weather to watch their Cubs finally get back in the win column. (AP)|
|Players of the Game|
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|Nyjer Morgan, LF||3||0||0||0||0||1||0||.282|
|Freddy Sanchez, 2B||3||0||2||0||0||0||0||.326|
|Nate McLouth, CF||2||1||0||0||1||1||2||.265|
|Craig Monroe, RF||2||0||0||0||0||0||2||.250|
|Adam LaRoche, 1B||2||0||0||0||0||1||1||.224|
|Andy LaRoche, 3B||1||0||1||0||1||0||0||.303|
|Robinzon Diaz, C||2||0||1||1||0||1||1||.327|
|Jack Wilson, SS||2||0||0||0||0||1||3||.252|
|Ian Snell, P||2||0||0||0||0||1||0||.158|
|RBI - Robinzon Diaz (6)|
|2-OUT RBI - Robinzon Diaz (4)|
|SB - Nate McLouth (7, 2nd base off Marshall/Hill)|
|Team LOB - 5|
|DP - J. Wilson-F. Sanchez-LaRoche|
|E - Robinzon Diaz (2, Throwing)|
|Ian Snell (L,1-6)||5||8||6||6||4||4||1||5.43|
|WP - Ian Snell (3)|
|Pitches-Strikes - Ian Snell 98-61|
|Ground Balls-Fly Balls - Ian Snell 4-6|
|Batters Faced - Ian Snell 26|
|Alfonso Soriano, LF||3||1||1||0||0||1||2||.254|
|Ryan Theriot, SS||3||1||1||1||0||0||0||.274|
|Kosuke Fukudome, CF||2||2||1||1||1||0||0||.311|
|Milton Bradley, RF||1||1||0||0||2||0||0||.196|
|Micah Hoffpauir, 1B||3||0||2||2||0||0||0||.281|
|Mike Fontenot, 2B||3||1||2||1||0||1||1||.219|
|Koyie Hill, C||2||0||0||0||1||1||3||.286|
|Ryan Freel, 3B||3||0||0||0||0||1||3||.129|
|Sean Marshall, P||2||0||1||1||0||0||0||.250|
|2B - Micah Hoffpauir (6, Snell), Mike Fontenot (6, Snell)|
|HR - Kosuke Fukudome (5, Snell)|
|RBI - Ryan Theriot (21), Kosuke Fukudome (19), Micah Hoffpauir 2 (16), Mike Fontenot (18), Sean Marshall (2)|
|2-OUT RBI - Kosuke Fukudome (10), Micah Hoffpauir (11), Sean Marshall (2)|
|SB - Alfonso Soriano (5, 3rd base off Snell/Diaz)|
|Team LOB - 5|
|Sean Marshall (W,3-3)||5||4||1||1||2||6||0||3.70|
|Pitches-Strikes - Sean Marshall 83-55|
|Ground Balls-Fly Balls - Sean Marshall 3-6|
|Batters Faced - Sean Marshall 21|
|Attendance - 38303|
|Game Time - 1:46|
|Temperature - 60|
|Umpires - Home - Jeff Nelson, First Base - Mark Carlson, Second Base - Tim Tschida, Third Base - Bob Davidson|