The Correct Response: Cubs 9, Nationals 2

Once again, leave it to Mike to sum up today's 9-2 Cubs win over the Nationals with a pithy phrase, the one you see as the title of this post.

That's exactly the right statement, and the Cubs made one after their worst loss of the year -- came right back and blew out the Nats, in front of a handful of their fans (Jim McArdle found some more of them, including an entire party of them on the rooftop at Murphy's -- the one where you can't see the game, which was probably just as well for them). I spotted at least two of them in the stands, one on the concourse wearing a gray road WASHINGTON jersey, another in the LF corner seats wearing one of their red alternate shirts with the interlocking "DC" logo (one of the better logos in sports and the one they ought to use on their caps instead of that 1960's era script "W").

Digression again. Important things: Aramis Ramirez smacked two three-run homers; the six-RBI day brought his count to 90, the first Cub to reach that plateau this year and bringing him to sixth in the NL, pending tonight's action. The Cubs now have three players (D-Lee, 74, DeRo, 76, and A-Ram) with 74 or more RBI, all of whom have a shot at 90 and maybe even 100 if they have good Septembers.

It didn't start out very well -- the Cubs left two on in the first, with nearly another DP-Lee, though he beat a relay to make it only a fielder's choice; left the bases loaded in the second and again in the third without scoring. Eight men left in the first three innings -- not good. But in the fourth they broke it open with a walk to Alfonso Soriano -- this isn't saying much, but he's now got 28 walks, almost equaling his total of 31 from all of last year -- two singles, and A-Ram's first homer, making it 4-0. Meanwhile, Ryan Dempster was mowing down the Nats easily; only one Nat reached third base in the first six innings and that was only because Kosuke Fukudome overthrew second base on another Willie Harris extra-base hit, a double into the corner, and what has gotten into Harris the last two days? Or this year? He's a journeyman who's suddenly hitting for power -- 12 of his 19 career HR have been hit this year. He's still not a very good outfielder, as shown by letting Ryan Theriot's bloopy little ball drop in for a single in the fourth inning, helping trigger the Cubs' four-run rally that frame.

Dempster ran out of gas in the 7th on a very sticky, humid day, giving up three hits and a run after two were out, and for some reason Lou let him bat in the last of the 7th and come out for the 8th; I'd have taken him out in that weather, considering the pitch count ran up to 111 (74 strikes), more than necessary. When Dempster hit Lastings Milledge, Carlos Marmol had to be summoned to rescue Dempster, which he did with his usual ease, posting his sixteenth scoreless appearance in his 17 outings since the All-Star break (17.2 IP, 3 hits, 1 ER, 9 BB, 22 K, 0.51 ERA in those 17 appearances). Sean Marshall gave Washington a consolation run in the ninth inning, when Aaron Boone doubled to almost the exact spot he did yesterday with a runner on first.

Today was Dave's (mumblemumble) birthday, which was properly commemorated by a scoreboard announcement, some gooey brownies from Weber's Bakery on the Southwest Side brought by his son Brian, and a visit to the bleachers by Dave's first granddaughter, Catelyn, just past her first birthday, who entertained all of us by keeping her hand immersed in a cup of water for an inning or so. We had fun today -- even though a sudden five-minute tropical island type downpour had us scurrying for the umbrellas, just about the time Ramirez' second three-run jack put the game on ice, and more ice would have been really nice today, given the weather, and I wonder how much longer I can run this sentence on.

That was about it, I guess.

The Cubs had fun too. Rich Harden takes the mound tomorrow to try for the series win, and that'd work for all of us. In the meantime, go Pirates and Braves.

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