Rockies 17, Cubs 2

By Chris Rewers on Friday, July 30, 2010

Hero: James Russell allowed one hit struck out three, and walked none in two shutout innings of relief.

Goat: It was a rough night for Ryan Dempster (8-8). The veteran right-hander only lasted four-plus innings and was pounded for five runs (all earned) and seven hits. He struck out five and walked five. Dempster was removed in the bottom of the fifth after allowing a leadoff homer to Carlos Gonzalez, a single to Troy Tulowitzki, and walks to Brad Hawpe and Chris Iannetta.

Key Plays: After Seth Smith gave Colorado a 2-0 lead in the third with a two-run double, Dempster appeared on the verge of escaping further damage after a strikeout of Gonzalez but he walked Tulowitzki, Hawpe, and Iannetta to force in Smith with the third run of the inning.

Comment: In a season full of humiliating moments, Friday's bottom of the eighth might be the most embarassing. Sean Marshall, Andrew Cashner, and Brian Schlitter had worse nights than the batting practice pitchers in a half-frame that seemed like it would never end. The Rockies sent 18 men to the plate while pounding out 12 two-out runs and 13 hits. They set a major league record when 11 consecutive batters reached base with hits. Cashner, who had his second straight horrific outing after entering with two outs, allowed all six batters he faced to hit safely. The carnage included two-run homers by Dexter Fowler and Ian Stewart as the rookie right-hander's ERA skyrocketed to 6.26.

How must Bob Howry, who was released before the game to make room on the active roster for Carlos Zambrano, feel? He wasn't good enough to remain on this staff?

Next: The main event will be Saturday's 3 p.m. non-waiver trade deadline. Players who may have played their final game with the Cubs include Ted Lilly, Ryan Theriot, Kosuke Fukudome, Xavier Nady, Mike Fontenot, Jeff Baker, Tom Gorzelanny, Carlos Silva, and Zambrano.

Lou Piniella will miss Saturday's game (WGN, 7:10 p.m.) in order to attend the wake and funeral of his uncle, Joseph Magadan. Piniella will also miss Sunday's series finale and the opener of a three-game series against Milwaukee at Wrigley Field on Monday. Bench coach Alan Trammell will be the interim manager and special assistant Matt Sinatro will take over as bench coach for the three games. It's quite an opportunity for Trammell who is believed to be among the candidates to fill the Cubs' 2011 managerial vacancy.

Gorzelanny (6-5, 3.22 ERA), who is 4-0 with a 2.83 ERA in his last five starts, is Saturday's scheduled starter for the Cubs (46-57). Gorzelanny is 3-2 with a 2.25 ERA in 10 road appearances, including six starts, this season.

Colorado (53-50) will counter with struggling 6-foot-6 right-hander Jason Hammel (7-6, 4.34). Hammel has lost each of his last three starts while allowing 12 earned runs in 19 2/3 innings. He earned a win in his only career start against the Cubs on Aug. 9, 2009.

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