[Even Jason Marquis had game face in his win over Atlanta]
When last living Founding Father and current Presidential candidate John McCain said “We are all Georgians,” he was most likely not referring to Wednesday’s lopsided Chicago-Atlanta doubleheader that resulted in a collective 18 Cub runs to 2 from Atlanta. I point this out for confused North Siders, already writing the Cubs mailbag in panic at the sight of a Republican abandoning the Tribune’s team.
In the matinee tilt, Jim Edmonds continued to shame his $238K paycheck with 3 RBIs, scoring thrice himself, including a 2-run HR, and a 2-out RBI double in a 10-2 Jason Marquis win. Edmonds’ success has so shocked Cub leadership that Lou Piniella actually discarded the word “nice” for once and used a new adjective to describe it: “remarkable.” Cubs beat reporter Carrie Muskat reports that Edmonds attributes his success as a post-concussion syndrome La Russa regular to the following: “Not playing in San Diego,” he said with a laugh. “I don’t know what’s changed. There’s a lot of things: going through the stuff with the concussion and my legs, and no Spring Training and trying adapt to a bigger ballpark than St. Louis in San Diego. Coming here and being in more familiar surroundings has allowed me to go out and be myself, and things are better again.”
If last weekend’s series was all about the Edmonds-La Russa soap opera, focus shifted in Atlanta to the Braves’ Hatefest with Alfonso Soriano. In the 8th, Soriano sauntered along, as he sometimes does, after a line drive off of rookie Francisely Bueno, which reignited the
Milagro Soriano Beanfield War. That, or Jason Marquis’ pegging of Atlanta SS Yunel Escobar earlier in the game did it. Last time Soriano was targeted by Atlanta (June 11), ATL’s John Bennett broke his finger, costing Fonzie 6-weeks on the DL and an All-Star game appearance. In the 9th, after Bueno gave up a 2-run HR to Geo Soto, Bueno took out his frustrations celebrated his major legue debut by throwing at Soriano’s head, so blatantly that umpire Ed Rupuano could be heard yelling “watch out!” to Soriano. Rapuano immediately tossed Bueno, sending him off to join Bobby Cox, ejected (from the dugout) for bitching about umpire “Cowboy” Joe West’s decision of when to put on the stadium’s lights.
Game two saw Soriano offer up a double, a triple, and his 57th RBI in the Cubs’ relentless beating of the tom tom club, 8-0 . Backing Rich Harden’s 5 shut-out innings, the evening sequel to this afternoon’s Civil War reenactment of the burning of Atlanta also included single-inning cameos from Chip Gaudin, Kerry Wood, Neal Cotts, and Sean Marshall. Also notable today: Bob Howry managed to fall off the mound and still throw a strike.
The Sun-Times’ Gordon Wittenmeyer detects hints of retaliation from Soriano here:
One inning after Soriano admired a long drive to left field long enough to turn it into a single when it hit off the wall instead of clearing it in the eighth inning of Game 1, the same pitcher — rookie Francisley Bueno — threw a fastball at Soriano’s head.
Soriano ducked out of the way as umpire Ed Rapuano immediately ejected Bueno for the obvious intention, just two months and two days after Braves pitcher Jeff Bennett broke Soriano’s hand with a pitch — and 14 months after a two-day beanball battle in Atlanta that started with a three-homer game by Soriano.
”Yeah, they like to do that,” Soriano said of Atlanta’s penchant for throwing at him. ”It’s part of the game. We can’t do anything about it. But we’ve got some pitchers who can throw at hitters, too. That’s part of the game, too.”
Bueno, who was making his major-league debut, had just recorded his first out of the ninth after giving up three hits, including a two-run homer to Geovany Soto, before his first pitch to Soriano headed for the helmet.
”The umpires handled that situation,” manager Lou Piniella said.
And Piniella handled the eighth-inning situation — a longball-gazing issue that Soriano has had throughout his career, dating to a high-profile incident during a 2001 playoff game with the New York Yankees.
”I talked to Alfonso about it, and I told him he’s one of our leaders here and there’s no need for that,” Piniella said. ”He agrees, and it’s over.”
Said Soriano: ”I apologized to him, and I apologized to my teammates. And I said to them that’s not going to happen again.”