Gretchen and I went to last night's game with a couple of friends and saw the Cards beat the Cubs 5-4. The game was punctuated by one near brawl when Carlos Zambrano lost it after Jim Edmonds hit a two-run homer off of him -- this after Zambrano had hit Edmonds with a pitch in the first inning. Apparently, he thought that Edmonds had taken too long to leave home plate and circle the bases. Mind you, no vaguely independent observer -- including, it seems, the Cubs broadcast team -- agreed with that assessment; nor does a team that includes Hopping Sammy Sosa have a leg to stand on when showboating is discussed.
The Cubs tied the game up 3-3 with a three-run inning that included the remarkable sight of Sammy Sosa grounding a single through the right side of the infield with runners on first and second and two strikes on him. (That never happens!) There was only one hard-hit ball in the inning (Gonzalez's double), but you can score a lot of runs by hittin' 'em where they ain't.
So in the eighth inning, Zambrano walked Womack leading off. He went to second on a passed ball, but was still sitting there with two outs. At least, he was until Scott Rolen launched a mammoth homer to left, the Cards third of the game, giving them a 5-3 lead.
Dusty didn't have anyone up in the bullpen, but Zambrano apparently decided that it was time for him to come out of the game, because he plunked Edwards again on his next pitch. Warnings having already been given earlier, there wasn't much to do but for the home plate umpire to eject Zambrano, which he did. The good news for the Cubs was that this meant the replacement pitcher could have as much time as he needed to warm up.
The bad news for the Cubs was that it didn't matter, as they could only manage one more run (on Alou's eighth inning homer) and lost 5-4 to fall nine games behind the Cards.
There were many happy Cardinals fans at Wrigley.
In today's game, the Cubs scored eight runs early to take an 8-2 lead, which is the state the game was in when I turned on the radio at work. I turned the volume down, figuring that I could turn it up if I heard shouting, meaning that something interesting was happening.
A great many interesting things happened, the Cubs bullpen melted down, and the Cards won the game 11-8, scoring in the sixth, seventh, eighth, and ninth innings. This also included Cubs closer LaTroy Hawkins being ejected from the game after giving up three runs in the ninth and earning the loss.
I called Gretchen at work and told her I'd take her out to dinner. I owed it to her.