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Two 300 game winners faced each other for the first time in over 100 NL seasons... yawdy yawdy yawdy...
Maddog pitched against Roger "the Rocket" Clemens, and the Cubs came out on top. Both pitchers turned in solid performances, both teams squandered scoring opportunities, but at the end of the night, the Cubs have hit their high-water mark for the year. +2. Two games over .500 on game #22. Frankly, thats about 18 games later than it should have happened, but I digress...
Anyhow, it was an enjoyable game that was fairly unremarkable. The Cubs scored two in the second against Roger Clemens, but then couldn't score again that inning despite having men on second and third with none out. In the eighth, after Jeromy Burnitz solo shot, Derrek Lee got thrown out at home on a fantastic play by Astros centerfielder Willy Tavares, and in the ninth Todd Hollandsworth reached third with one out, but didn't score. So, in my estimation the Cubs lost three to four runs they should have scored.
This isn't to say the Cubs didn't get their fair share of breaks. The Cubs got two Astros baserunners out between third and home early in the game.
Perhaps the most important personal performance of the night belonged to LaTroy Hawkins who came in with a one run lead in the ninth inning and shut down the Astros. There was no messing around with this save, 1-2-3. So after a successful save conversion, Maddux gets his first win of the year, and #306 on the career.
Today's Dusty Baker Criticism: Nothing that isn't a bit unfair, but... I'm would not have removed Michael Wuertz in the eighth inning. Dusty brought in Will Ohman to face Mike Lamb for the lefty-lefty matchup... but Wuertz was pitching terrifically. Ohman ended up walking Lamb and was then replaced by Roberto Novoa who got out of the inning unscathed.
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