Soriano mercifully helped end the 14-inning marathon at Great American Ballpark Sunday, when he hit a solo homer to start the top of the inning, part of a three-run rally that gave the Cubs a 6-3 win.
I saw that debacle last night. Missed routes. Lackadaisical play. Even worse than normal plate discipline.
But as it turned out, today was just another day in what is becoming a recurring theme, for fans at least. Alfonso will drive you crazy to the point of booing, and then do something to remind you that he is actually a special talent.
And man, did the Cubs need something today.
The Cubs picked up a couple of runs in the third inning when Derrek Lee singled in two to give them a 3-1 lead.
Fortunately, the Cubs' pitching staff was equally effective, or the Reds hitters ineffective, depending on how you want to look at it.
The Cubs' bullpen has done a real nice job on this road trip, but that they're pitching against teams with their own offensive troubles right now makes me want to reserve at least some praise.
Atlanta came into the season practically begging for more offense, and that hasn't changed. Is Cincy really Cincy without Edwin Encarnacion and Cub-killer Joey Votto? Probably not.
Nevertheless, everyone out of the 'pen was light-out, save the rapidly regressing Carlos Marmol, who put the first two hitters on in the eighth. Brandon Phillips would later come around to score on a sac fly to tie the game.
Randy Wells had yet another quality start, going 6 2/3 innings. Jose Ascanio was the stuff of legend, going three innings of scoreless work and getting some tough outs to do it.
And for the small but vocal chorus of voices clamoring for Guzman to close, he did just that Sunday, picking up his first save of the season in relief of winning pitcher David Patton. Yes, that David Patton.
The Cubs have an off day before finishing up the trip with a three-game set in Houston. After the last few games, I'd encourage the bullpen to call Chad Fox and find out what adhesive he uses to keep his shoulder attached.
Apply liberally. Smooth on thoroughly. Re-apply.