Proving you haven't seen everything yet in baseball, the Cubs manager, with only one lefty in his bullpen, Sean Marshall, used a little razzle dazzle to escape a bases loaded, nobody out jam in the top of the ninth.
With a rightly splitting up two left-handed Cardinals in Sunday night's game, Piniella decided to bring in right-handed Aaron Hielman. Here's where it got interesting.
Piniella electrified the Wrigley crowd, sending Marshall to left field, and bringing in Alfonso Soriano. With Marshall manning left field Hielman threw a steady diet of inside pitches to the right-handed Brendan Ryan before striking him out.
"It was kind of funny to watch Heilman pitch because he was throwing so many pitches inside because if he does hit it will it will be right at me and hopefully I can make a play and throw someone out,” said Marshall.
By now, Wrigley was in a near-frenzy, with fans in the bleachers chanting: “We are Marshall.”
Marshall came back in to pitch, with Reed Johnson going to left field. Marshall struck out Jarrett Hoffpauir, then coaxed a fly ball to Colby Rasmus, that Johnson made a stumbling, diving catch to end the rally and igniting the ESPN Sunday Night Baseball crowd.
Still, the Cubs lost 4-2, but it was baseball theatre at its best. Even Cardinals manager Tony LaRussa, who tries to outstrategize everyone he comes into contact with, could appreciate Piniella's creativity.
“I stopped (Cubs first base coach Matt Sinatro) and said you tell Lou that was a classic," LaRussa said. "It was fun to be a part of it no matter how it turns out. It takes creativity and it takes guts. Lou showed both of them. That was fun actually. It was terrific."
Waiver wired: If Pirates OF Garrett Jones is still on your waiver wire, it's time to find room for him on your roster. Jones is hitting third and was a big reason the Pirates felt comfortable trading Nate McLouth and Najer Morgan. A 25-15 prospect, Jones has hit 5 HR and stole 3 bags in 42 ABs.