From the Cubicle


Live play-by-play of today's game from a guy stuck at his desk.

Yes, this game is absolutely meaningless. But seriously, what else do you have to do on a Friday afternoon? Work?

OK, well it's not totally meaningless. The Houston Astros have a two-game lead over Philadelphia in the wild-card race, so the Cubs, out of it for weeks, could spoil things for a division foe.

Let's get right to it. Glendon Rusch against Wandy Rodriguez. Lineups.

First inning

Rusch strikes out Willy Taveras to start things off. Craig Biggio pops out to Todd Walker. Morgan Ensberg singles to right. We apologize for the late start but we had some trouble with the satellite. Rusch fans Lance Berkman, who is known affectionately by his teammates as "Fat Elvis." Nice teammates.

Neifi Perez grounds out to short. Walker singles to center. Derrek Lee rips one to the alley in right-center. Cut to Walker: He should be sprinting home, but, no, he's hobbling between second and third. Walker drops to a knee at third and obviously doesn't score on the Lee double. We've got the training staff out there and Walker is helped off the field. The immortal Jose Macias takes his spot at third and will play second. Nomar Garciaparra singles, scoring Macias. Len Kasper, chipper as ever, is geeked. Nothing fazes this guy. Lee takes third. Burnitz hits into a fielder's choice and Lee scores. Burnitz takes second on a passed ball. Barrett rips a double to the left-field corner and Burnitz comes home. the Cubs have taken a 3-0 lead and we've got a discussion at the mound. Matt Murton, who hit his first major-league homer off Rodriguez this season, will be intentionally walked with Mr. Winterball, Corey Patterson, due up. Patterson, swinging at anything and everything, high, low, down the middle, strikes out. Kasper called that at-bat a "chess match." More like checkers or Chutes 'n' Ladders.

Walker update: He tweaked his right knee and is on his way to Northwestern Memorial to be checked out.

Cubs 3, Astros 0

Second inning

Jason Lane walks. No Roger Clemens tomorrow. He's got a sore hammy. Bob Brenly just shared this stat: The Astros have been shut out 17 times this year; nine times when Clemens has pitched. Wow. Chris Burke flies out. Okaaaaay, someone on the message board defending checkers. King me. Adam Everett flies out to Patterson. Raul Chavez lines a single to right where Burnitz makes a nice play to cut it off. Lane takes third. Rusch fans Rodriguez and that's that.

Rodriguez returns the favor and strikes out Rusch. Perez chops one off a charging Ensberg's glove and reaches on the error. Macias singles to right. Lee walks, prompting another discussion on the mound. The umpire stalks out there and breaks it up. Nomar pops out to shallow right with the bases loaded and no one can move. And Burnitz fans and the Cubs leave all those guys on base.

Third inning

Taveras grounds to short and Perez makes a good play and throw to get the speedster. Biggio homers to left. Ensberg flies out to Burnitz in right. Fat Elvis lines a center to left. Lane grounds to Macias to end it.

Cubs 3, Astros 1

Hate the Quiznos baby. Turn down the volume. Barrett hits a 3-2 pitch deep to left but Burke catches it on the edge of the track. Murton bounces back to Rodriguez for the second out. Patterson grounds the first pitch to Fat Elvis and that's all she wrote for the third inning.

Fourth inning

Burke leads off the fourth with a single to center. Apparently the gave away Snoopy dolls today and Brenly had a great suggestion: They drop them out of the Metlife blimp all over town today. Everett bounces into a double play. Chavez bloops one to Burnitz to end a quick top half of the fourth. With the risk of jinxing things, this game is moving along nicely.

Rusch dribbles one to second. One out. Perez fans. Two outs. Macias hits one in the hole at short that takes a bad hop off the seam of the grass. It's scored a hit, as well it should be. Lee pokes one down the third-base line, Macias digs all the way around to score and gives Chavez, who's standing on top of the plate, a shot for good measure. The ball gets away and Lee takes third. The immortal Jose Macias always plays hard. Nomar shoots a single to right-center, scoring Lee. Burnitz digs in and, as usual, will end the inning. As predicted Burnitz grounds out.

Cubs 5, Astros 1





Look for this special section in your
Baltimore Sun newspaper on Dec. 29, 2013.
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