He found a way to warm up.
“That’s how you win games,” Ramirez said. “Early in the year, it’s going to be tough to hit. It’s going to be cold.”
But he likes what he’s seeing at the moment.
He feels the Cubs are turning things around. Actually, he feels like the turnaround is complete.
“We’re a good team and we win games,” he said. “That’s what we’re trying to do now—win series.”
Ryan Theriot(notes), coming off a five-hit game against Milwaukee on Sunday, started the winning rally with a leadoff single to right against Brian Bruney(notes) (1-1). Derrek Lee(notes) walked with one out before Byrd blooped a single over second baseman Cristian Guzman(notes) for his third hit. That loaded the bases for Ramirez, who walked on four pitches and became the third player—and second Cub—to walk with the bases loaded in the game.
“I put this one on me,” Bruney said. “Unfortunately, this is not a good feeling to have, with a locker room full of guys that are busting their (butts) and you go out there and walk a guy to win a game. Obviously, I’m not happy with myself.”
Ace-turned-reliever Carlos Zambrano(notes) pitched 1 2-3 scoreless innings in his second appearance out of the bullpen and first at Wrigley Field since his removal from the rotation last week. He came on to loud cheers with one out in the eighth after Dunn lined a single to right off Sean Marshall(notes). Josh Willingham(notes) singled past a diving Ramirez at third to put runners on first and second before Adam Kennedy(notes) popped out and Wil Nieves(notes) struck out with the crowd on its feet.
Zambrano took off his cap and pointed toward the sky as he often does on his way to the dugout.
“It was pretty exciting,” said Zambrano, who believes the move is a temporary one. “I was a little pumped up. I had to calm myself down and I did it.”
Lee and Ramirez both flied out to the warning track in the bottom half off Tyler Walker(notes), as did pinch-hitter Ryan Zimmerman(notes) against Zambrano in the ninth, but on a windy night, the balls weren’t going over the wall.
Bruney came on in the bottom half for Washington and walked Alfonso Soriano(notes) on four pitches leading off before Koyie Hill(notes) forced him with a bunt in front of the mound. But Chicago broke through in the 10th for a dramatic finish to what started out looking like an easy night.
Coming off a weekend sweep at Milwaukee, the Cubs appeared to be in good shape early on.
They took a 2-0 lead in the second off John Lannan(notes) on consecutive doubles by Byrd and Ramirez and a bases-loaded walk to Carlos Silva(notes) and got another run in the third on Jeff Baker’s(notes) triple and Byrd’s infield single.
The way Silva was pitching, that looked like it might be enough. He retired the first nine batters, before the Nationals scored two in the fourth on a bases-loaded walk to Willingham and Kennedy’s sacrifice fly. Washington tied it on in the sixth on Nieves’ run-scoring single.
Silva allowed three runs and seven hits—both season highs—in seven innings for the Cubs.
Lannan allowed three runs and five hits in six innings with a season-high five walks, one coming the bases loaded against Silva in the second after walking the previous two batters.
“Last couple of starts, I’ve had to labor a lot,” he said. “I’m getting sick of it. I wish I can go out there and throw strong start to finish, not having these crappy innings in the middle. It really cost us. Walking the pitcher with the bases loaded, that’s not me.”
NOTES: Nationals C Ivan Rodriguez(notes) was scratched from the lineup because of lower back tightness. … Zimmerman was out of the lineup for the fifth straight game with right hamstring soreness. … Theriot had a bit of an adventure at shortstop in the trying to catch Willingham’s pop fly into the wind in the second, sprinting for a basket catch near second after he initially ran into left field. “I’ve never seen a pop-up do that,” he said.