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Saturday, June 07, 2008

Hungry Like The Wolf: Dodgers 7, Cubs 3

I feel obliged to start this with a gripe against the Dodgers' misleading seat section names. "Preferred Field Box" is apparently not an actual box; in fact, they're what used to be the frontmost section at field level before the Dodgers mangled the foul ground to turn Dodger Stadium into a slight hitter's park. As it happened, we were seated behind a surprisingly loud and frankly dull man whose only thing to yell during the whole game was, "Cubs suck!"

For most of the game, however, they didn't. Zambrano wasn't especially good, but he was stingy when he had to be up to the end of the fifth. By the middle of the sixth, when the Cubs had scratched out a couple runs, it looked indeed like the Dodgers had put themselves into an insurmountable hole.

But then Jeff Kent reached on an infield single and Russell Martin took Big Z deep, and all of a sudden it was a new ballbame. Having started the rally with nobody out, things suddenly looked awfully good for the Dodgers, what with Loney, Kemp, and DeWitt coming up, but two of the three made outs, and Chin-Lung Hu struck out looking to end the inning fairly meekly.

The Cubs came back with another run in the seventh, with Zambrano himself cashing in Mike Fontenot's one-out double. Was that the end? Not really. Z struck out Delwyn Young to lead off the Dodgers' half of the frame, but got into trouble with a Juan Pierre single to left that quite frankly should have been caught had (a) Soriano been positioned properly and (b) his legs been in better shape (he still seems to have trouble running from an early season calf injury). Pierre then stole second, but really should have been out, except that Ryan Theriot dropped the ball on the tag. Adding fuel to the fire, Z really came unglued when Aramis Ramirez' throw on Andre Ethier's grounder went well up the line at first, allowing Ethier to reach and Pierre to score from second. It briefly looked like Z was back in damage control mode when he got Jeff Kent to pop out to first, but two singles and a Matt Kemp homer later, the Dodgers were up 7-4, and coasted to the finish line behind a couple of routine performances from Jonathan Broxton in the eighth and Takashi Saito in the ninth. Saito especially made it look easy, striking out the side in order to nail down the game, giving starter Derek Lowe a well-deserved win.

It's hard to remember this, especially considering his crummy eight-run outing on September 3, 2007 at Wrigley Field the last time he faced the Blue, but he's pretty much pwned the Dodgers at Dodger Stadium, with a career 2-0, 0.86 ERA record going into this game. It's a bit more sullied after this one. Similarly to that 2007 outing, one in which he emotionally took off his jersey, this time he threw over two Gatorade coolers in the dugout, fortunately with no injuries to his pitching hand.

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