Cubs Classics: Alfonso Soriano leads late rally
Marquee Sports Network premieres a new Cubs Classic, presented by Prevagen, this Tuesday at 8 p.m. as Alfonso Soriano steals the show in the Cubs’ victory over the Philadelphia Phillies on Aug. 29, 2008.
As the 2008 Cubs marched toward a National League Central title and the best record in the NL, Alfonso Soriano played a major role. When healthy, he was entrenched in the leadoff spot in a Cubs lineup that paced the league in runs scored.
Soriano finished the 2008 campaign with 29 homers in 109 games. One of his biggest blasts came against Philadelphia on a late-August afternoon in front of 40,844 fans at Wrigley Field.
The Phillies jumped out to a 2-0 lead against Chicago starter Rich Harden before the Cubs got on the board in the bottom of the 5th on a Daryle Ward groundout.
In the bottom of the 6th, Kosuke Fukudome drew a bases loaded walk to plate Ryan Theriot and tie the game.
The Phillies threatened in the top half of the 7th inning but the Cubs escaped the jam on a controversial call to end the frame.
With runners on the corners and 2 outs, Ryan Howard stepped to the plate and hit a ball off the glove of Derrek Lee at first base. Lee was eventually able to corral it and flip to Jeff Samardzija covering the bag to get Howard.
The Phillies did not like the call and Philadelphia third base coach Steve Smith was ultimately ejected for arguing.
The Cubs took immediate advantage. After a Reed Johnson flyout, Soriano stepped to the plate and sent a 2-0 pitch into the left field bleachers for the game-winning homer.
The Phillies attempted another rally in the 8th, but Carlos Marmol relieved Samardzija and notched a pair of strikeouts to end the frame. Marmol pitched a scoreless 9th to earn his 7th save of the season and give the rookie Samardzija his first MLB victory.
It was the Cubs’ 7th straight win and helped lead to the best franchise win percentage in August (.714) since 1932 (.786).
—The Cubs had only 4 hits in the game but walked 7 times.
—Harden was the Cubs’ big acquisition at the trade deadline that summer, acquired in a six-player deal with the Oakland Athletics on July 8. Harden excelled down the stretch, lowering his ERA to 1.99 in this game, and finishing the season 5-1 with a 1.77 ERA and 89 strikeouts in 71 innings with Chicago.
—Mark DeRosa walked twice, laid down a sacrifice bunt and scored the Cubs’ 1st run of the game.
Watch the Cubs’ come-from-behind win over the Phillies this Tuesday, February 15 at 8 p.m. on Marquee Sports Network.