Cubs 8, Cardinals 7: It's Already Heated

Damen JacksonCorrespondent IApril 17, 2009

MILWAUKEE - APRIL 10:  Alfonso Soriano #12 of the Chicago Cubs at bat against the Milwaukee Brewers during the Opening Day game on April 10, 2009 at Miller Park in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. (Photo by: Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images)

Ah, Fonzie. Alfonso Soriano continues his torrid April, smashing an eighth-inning home run to give the Cubs the lead, and ultimately the 8-7 win over the St. Louis Cardinals Friday.

You know, I don't get to say this often...but thank you, MLB. While a (small) part of me is bothered by fewer games against these guys down the stretch, I love that this season has been kick-started by playing so many divisional opponents.

By this time next week, the Cubs will have already seen the Astros, Brewers, Cardinals, and Reds. Big games early, that need to be won coming out of the gate.

Although, between the weather and the tension, it felt like fall. Especially with Carlos Zambrano on the mound, facing that potent Cardinals offense. And he got ROCKED!

No sooner than he gets a handle on Albert Pujols, Ryan Ludwick comes along and hammers him for two home runs today. The first was a three-run shot in the third that tied the game, getting shaky Cardinals starter P.J. Walters off the hook. He'd gotten into his share of trouble in the first, giving up RBI hits to Micah Hoffpauir and Aramis Ramirez. Tony LaRussa would pull him after four innings of work.

Zambrano was worse though. It was a see-saw game all the way, and every time the Cubs made it interesting, the Cardinals would rally back. Or vice-versa, depending on how you look at it. And yes, the second Ludwick home run in the seventh looked to put the game out of reach altogether.

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But Fonzie, man. With pinch-hitter Aaron Miles on and one out, Soriano took a Chris Perez pitch deep into the left field bleachers in the eighth.

Leave it to Carlos Marmol to make it interesting in the ninth, coming in to get the save. Insert your closer debate point , by the way. Without question the most reliable of the Cub relievers, he apparently also caught a bout of the pink backpack disease; you know, when you start pitching like a kid just called up from Daytona. A lot of that contagion going around in the bullpen, you know.

Marmol would walk Colby Rasmus and hit Albert Pujols to put the winning run on, before striking out Ludwick, and forcing Khalil Greene into a double play to end the game.

Great stuff. And here's to a couple of more this weekend just like it.