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by alex ciepley
Well, there goes that streak. The Cubs were demolished last night, shut out at the plate and beat up on the mound, giving up more runs in a four-inning stretch last night than they had in the previous six games. The only solace: at least the loss was against Randy Johnson, the Cubs' very own K2 mountain, a dangerous, unconquerable peak. The Big Unit is now 12-0 lifetime against the Cubbies in 13 career starts.
I missed almost all of the game, napping through the first half (dude was wiped out), waking up to groggily see a bloop 2-run hit take out Zambrano in the fifth, and flipping over to watch the making of Iron Chef America after Sexson's monster shot. Richie's 503-foot blast was loud enough to take the usually Cubphyllic crowd in Arizona out of the match. Dusty commented after the game, "I'm just glad he's not in Milwaukee anymore." Yeah, no kidding.
I'm sad to see that Big Z had a rough time of it, though as I mentioned I didn't actually get to see much of him pitching. Was his control off? Was he elevating the ball? Or was he just getting a bit unlucky? From looking at the game log, it looks like Zambrano gave up some hard hit balls in the third, and then was subject to an unexpected dose of Big Unit-at-the-plate in the fourth, with an intentional walk backfiring when Johnson singled in a run.
From the brief bit I did see, it looked like newbie Chad Tracy was having a career night, making two fierce plays back-to-back in the field and then driving in a couple with a blooper (I missed his earlier double, but the announcers said it just missed being out of the park). I've been casually following Tracy for a while now, seeing his name regularly in Baseball America's minor league updates -- he made a run at .400 a couple years back, if I remember correctly. It's nice to put a face to a name, and see him do well, but I'd prefer if he'd stop for now and resume his out-stealing, run-driving-in ways once the Cubs leave town.