You don't know whether to laugh or cry after one like this.
Tyler Colvin should have, once and for all, put to rest the idea that he can't hit major league lefthanders. He hit a three-run homer off one of the better ones in the AL (John Danks), then spanked an RBI single off lefty reliever Randy Williams in the eighth after Alfonso Soriano took the team lead in homers back from Colvin with his 11th in that inning.
Turns out the Cubs needed all those runs, too, because Carlos Marmol put us through absolute agony in a brutal 34-pitch ninth inning. The Cubs beat the White Sox 8-6, ending their winning streak at 11, but when Marmol ran the count to 2-0 on Alex Rios after issuing three walks and allowing three runs in the ninth inning, I had visions of him walking Rios and seeing Paul Konerko hit a walkoff slam.
It didn't happen, of course, and I do understand why Marmol was in the game in a non-save situation, since he hadn't pitched since Thursday (although a five-run lead in the ninth would have been a perfect situation for Brian Schlitter to make his major league debut). Now, though, after 34 pitches on a hot, sticky day that turned to sunshine after dire forecasts of storms, he probably isn't available tomorrow.
Should we take pride in the fact that the White Sox have won 15 of their last 17 games and the only wins anyone has been able to put up against them in that time were by the Cubs? Or that the eight runs the Cubs scored today are the most the Sox have given up in one game since June 4?
I guess, but it doesn't really make this season any easier to take.
That said, the Cubs looked very, very good today (Marmol excepted). In addition to Colvin and Soriano homering, Geovany Soto smacked out three hits, Derrek Lee had a pair and Starlin Castro had two hits in what seems like the first time since forever. Only Jeff Baker failed to get a hit as the Cubs pounded out 14 in all.
Ryan Dempster put up a fairly high pitch count and frankly, after the first two innings, when Danks set down the Cubs in order and Dempster had slogged through five hits and a walk, I thought the day's result would be depressingly familiar. But the Cubs came through against Danks and the substantial minority (I'd say about one-third) of the crowd that were Cubs fans had something, at last, to cheer about.
The crowd and Sox security were much better today. Sunday afternoons tend to be more sedate on the South Side in general, although there were quite a number of loud Cubs and Sox fans yelling at each other in my section (today, bleacher 163), they were good-natured about it, not nasty (though I can't figure out how anyone can yell that loud and that long and still have a voice left afterwards). There appeared to be a pretty big fight in the upper deck in the left field corner late in the game, but a large number of security people descended quickly (or ascended, as the case may be) and quashed it.
I'm very, very happy to have baseball to write about instead of various sideshows. We still do not know what the final upshot of the Carlos Zambrano situation will be and may not until tomorrow, or later. Meanwhile, enjoy the win, and hope the Cubs can turn the tables on the Pirates the next three days.