In a game that began as a pitching duel, it ended in a blowout. The Chicago Cubs tacked on runs in the eighth inning and beat the New York Mets by a score of 7-1 Monday night.
John Maine made the start for the Mets, his fourth of the year, and lasted six innings. In those innings, he allowed two earned runs on five hits, two walks, while striking out six. Maine needed 109 pitches to get thought those innings. Maine allowed a few runners on in the first three innings, but was helped out by a runner caught stealing and a few nice plays by the defense. In the fourth, Maine allowed a leadoff single to Derrek Lee, which was followed up by an Aramis Ramirez two-run home run to deep center field.
Maine looked very good tonight. He threw a few mistakes, one which was taken very,very deep for the only runs of the game against him. I would argue this was his best start of the season, as his walks were low and his strikeouts were up. He looked good tonight.
Duaner Sanchez came on for the seventh inning, an inning that started with a error by David Wright. Wright atoned for his sins with two spectacular plays in the field to get the first two outs of the inning as Sanchez worked around it to pitch a hitless and scoreless inning. Aaron Heilman began the eighth and got off to a very rocky start. Another fielding error, this time by Jose Reyes, allowing Lee to reach base. Heilman then plunked Ramirez on the hip, putting two men on base. After a lengthy at bat by Kosuke Fukudome, he eventually singled to load the bases with none out. Heilman then get Mark DeRosa to strike out swinging and Geovany Soto to pop out to second base. Heilman looked like he would get out of the inning unscathed, but Ronny Cedeno singled up the middle, driving home two runs and knocking Heilman out of the game.
Sanchez should be moved into the eighth inning role as soon as possible. Heilman looked terrible to start, then turned it around and I thought he was going to get out of the inning without allowing any runs, and then that happened. The man is a roller coaster, there is no better way to put it.
Jorge Sosa came in to relieve Heilman with two on, and promptly allowed a three-run pinch-hit home run to Felix Pie to cap the inning for the Cubs.
Same thing with Sosa. He can be absolutely lights out one day, and a sieve the next. The bullpen needs some consistency.
Carlos Zambrano shut down the Mets for all but one inning. The Mets had five hits, only one for an extra base hit, and their only run came on a double play ball.
The Mets were held off the board until the sixth inning, where Endy Chavez led off with a double to center field. Maine laid down a sacrifice bunt, but an ill advised throw to third by Soto was too late, and everyone was safe. Reyes then grounded to short to start the double play, which allowed Chavez to sprint home for the Mets only run. The Mets went down in order the next three innings to end the game.
Zambrano was absolutely dealing tonight. Unfortunately, once the Mets got around him, their bullpen was just as solid. The Cubs look good, let me tell you.
Numbers - Four: Number of double plays grounded into...Two: Errors...One: Reyes, Castillo, Delgado, Church, Chavez...2 for his last 28: Carlos Delgado...30: Pitches needed by Heilman...
Game Ball: Maine.