That looked, and felt good. With the exception of Aaron Miles making his 12th strait start (see Guy’s reaction: *sigh*), there wasn’t a whole lot to complain about.
Micah Hoffpauir got the start at first base, and Reed Johnson in center and the Cubs jumped all over Houston starter Mike Hampton, whom they were facing for the first time since 2004(!).
Soriano singled to lead off the game, and after Theriot flied out, Milton Bradley singled in front of Aramis Ramirez’s fly out. Geovany Soto walked the bases loaded with two down and Reed Johnson hit a scorcher than was juuuuust out of the reach of Astros’ center fielder Michael Bourn. Johnson got him a bases clearing triple and then scored on a passed ball to make it 4-0 Cubbies.
Hampton settled down, and displayed his helluv athleticism in the bottom of the fourth, singling home Houston’s first run. Reed Johnson again scored on a passed ball in the sixth, and Aramis announced his return to the lineup with a solo shot to left in the seventh to make it 6-1 Chicago.
Rich Harden, who had been cruising got into some trouble in the eighth, giving up a leadoff single to Bourn, followed by a two-run bomb by Lance Berkman to make it 6-3. Carlos Lee followed with a single and Harden’s night was done. He finished seven innings, allowing eight hits, three walks and three runs while striking out four on only 99 pitches.
Marmol relieved Harden and according to Bob Brenly, threw a “nifty inning”. Marmol did look as sharp as he has all year, on top of his stuff, commanding the strike zone with good life on his fastball.
Kevin Gregg worked a rare (for him at least) 1-2-3 ninth for his fifth save (fourth in the month of May).