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Marmol's First Save In 19 Days Nails Down Win For Cubs In Game Of 'First Since'

Today's 3-2 Cubs win over the Cardinals was notable for several "first since" events, but most importantly, this one:

It was the first Cubs one-run win on the road in 2010 since June 24 at Seattle, also a 3-2 victory. And since that game took 13 innings, this makes today -- the 117th game of the season -- the first game of 2010 that the Cubs won by one run, on the road, in nine innings.

That's not good. The Cubs' record in one-run games on the road this year is 2-16.

Other "first since" events, or nearly so, today:

  • Carlos Marmol picked up his first save since July 26 (and 20th of the season).
  • Carlos Zambrano registered his first win since June 20 (one start before... well, you know).
  • Aramis Ramirez homered for the first time since last Sunday, and only the second time since his three-homer game on July 20.
  • Derrek Lee homered for the second consecutive game -- but those are his only home runs this month.

This is the kind of game the Cubs are capable of playing almost every day; a decent-to-good outing from a starting pitcher and solid relief work. Carlos Zambrano wasn't totally sharp today, but he threw better than he did in his last outing in San Francisco on Monday. That's a good sign. He threw 62 strikes in 98 pitches, allowed only two walks and seven hits (six singles and a double), and even collected a hit himself.

Marcos Mateo, who likely doesn't figure into the 2011 team plans, managed to get out of the sixth inning after Z ran out of gas on another extremely hot and sticky St. Louis afternoon, and Sean Marshall and Marmol finished up. Marmol was called upon for a five-out save today and he looked great, even surviving a Ramirez throwing error and a dropped bunt popup in foul territory by Koyie Hill. Hill redeemed himself when Brendan Ryan popped up another bunt, this time in fair ground, and Koyie caught it.

In this misbegotten season, one win doesn't mean a whole lot, but it is always nice to beat your arch-rivals -- and now the Cubs have a chance to win a series, tomorrow, for the first time since they beat the Cardinals in that late-July series at Wrigley Field.

Yes, I know. It makes little sense, but if the Cubs do win tomorrow, they'll head home with a winning record vs. St. Louis for the season so far at 5-4. Enjoy the evening and the Bears' first preseason game.