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Baseball Tue Jun 21 2011

Cubs Start Crosstown Series With a Win

Nice win for the Cubs last night at U.S. Cellular Field, as they stiffened after the White Sox scored three in the first inning and rallied for a 6-3 win in the first of six games between the crosstown rivals over the next two weeks.

Thumbnail image for cubs.gifThumbnail image for white sox.gifIf you missed it:

-- Three of the first four Sox hitters scored, but Carlos Zambrano recovered after allowing a two-run homer by Paul Konerko and shut them down the rest of the way, going eight strong innings. Great news for a Chicago media corps that had already pre-written their sidebars and columns looking back at his tirade during last year's series.

-- Big nights for Starlin Castro, who tied the game with a two-run, two-out single in the third and a solo homer to lead off the sixth; and Carlos Pena, who put the Cubs in front with a three-run homer that capped a four-run sixth and chased fading Sox starter Gavin Floyd.

-- Ozzie got himself thrown out screaming and hollering about a call the umpire actually got right. Alexei Ramirez hit a ball nearly straight down, a few inches in front of the plate, and Geovany Soto picked it up before it rolled foul, then tagged Ramirez out. Ozzie took this as a personal affront, bursting from the home dugout in righteous fury, and umpire James Hoye quickly gave him the heave. Ah, the joys of Ozzie's mood swings when he's managing a losing team ...

Here's how our partisan critics saw it:

Brian Livingston on the Cubs:

It was a quality outing from Zambrano. He really settled in nicely after giving up that home run to Konerko. On a night when the bullpen could use a day of rest, Z took care of business and his offense battled and got the job done.

Jenny Zelle on the Sox:

This was their game to lose, and the Sox did. It felt like the offense made an effort, but again, they left too many runners in scoring position, runners that would have made a difference.

That being said, I have to look at Ozzie for this loss. Floyd's self-admitted biggest problem is losing his focus, and he was clearly losing it this time. He had a rough start, which really showed in the fourth, but he managed to fight back and make it through the fifth.

Ozzie's mistake in the game was leaving Floyd in after the home run from Castro to start the sixth. Floyd was nearing 100 pitches at that point and clearly was no longer effective, but Ozzie left him in and minutes later, he gave up a single, then walked a batter before giving up a three-run bomb to Pena.

 
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