Cubs Clinch Home-Field on Marquis' Pitching/Bat
Flushing, New York
Monday's win at New York's Shea Stadium gaurantees the Cubs (95-60) will have home-field advantage for the NLDS and the NLCS if they are lucky enough to make it there. That is great news for a team that finished with 55 home wins to 26 losses.
Chicago got things started in the top half of the 2nd when Mark De Rosa doubled with 2 outs. One batter later, Reed Johnson drove him home on a base hit. With the Cubs leading 1-0, things got shaky in the bottom of the inning when Carlos Delgado was able to score on a wild pitch that Geovany Soto didn't know where it went. One inning later, with the game tied at 1 in the bottom half of the 3rd, New York capitalized off back to back doubles by Jose Reyes and Daniel Murphy that gave the Metropolitans a 2-1 lead.
However, Chicago would come roaring back. Geovany Soto quickly got a 4th inning rally started with a double to left. Soto would advance to third on De Rosa's single, and would later score when Reed Johnson came up and hit a single to center. Ryan Theriot would single to load the bases for Cubs starting pitcher Jason Marquis. Marquis proceeded to hit the first pitch he saw over the right field wall for a grand slam. That would be all for Jonathon Neise as he let 5 guys reach and 5 guys score in the inning while not retiring anyone.
The Cubs would add three more runs to build their lead but the Mets scored twice on a David Wright home run in the bottom half of the 7th. The Mets would actually get the tying run to the plate in the 9th inning as Carlos Beltran hit into a fielders choice that scored David Wright. With two out, Ryan Church drew a walk, but Kerry Wood was called upon and he got Luis Castillo to strike out looking giving the Cubs the win 9-5. Wood picked up his 33rd save in 39 tries.
Player of the Game
Jason Marquis improved to 11-9 after pitching 6 2/3 innings allowing 4 Earned Runs on 8 hits while striking out 4 and walking 4. Yet that is just half of it. In the Cubs' 4th he hit a Grand Slam off Neise, and added another RBI in the 5th on a groundout. Marquis was the first Cubs pitcher since Milt Pappas to drive in five runs. Pappas accomplished the feat back in 1972 against the Mets at Wrigley, the same year that he threw his no-hitter which was the last one until Carlos Zambrano threw his 9 days ago.
Rooting for a Rival
The idle Milwaukee Brewers were happy to see their nemesis win because they were trailing the Mets by 1 1/2 games in the Wild Card standings. Milwaukee is now just a game back as they prepare for a three game set against the Pittsburgh Pirates. Many Brewers fans find themselves having no choice but to pull for Chicago to win, but will then be hoping to beat the Cubs when they head up to "Wrigley North" for a weekend series. Chicago had previously swept a four game series at the end of July up at Miller Park that pushed Milwaukee from 1/2 game back to 4 1/2 games back in the National League Central Standings.
Greatest Show's Blog
Game stats Courtesy of http://www.sportsline.com/mlb/gamec