Final

Playoff Series: Game 1 of 3

Arizona won 3-0

Game 1: Wednesday, October 3
Chi Cubs1Final
Arizona3
Game 2: Thursday, October 4
Chi Cubs4Final
Arizona8
Game 3: Saturday, October 6
Arizona5Final
Chi Cubs1

10:00 PM ET, October 3, 2007

Chase Field, Phoenix, Arizona 

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W: B. Webb (1-0)

L: C. Marmol (0-1)

S: J. Valverde (1)

Webb's seven strong innings give D-backs opening win

A CLOSER LOOK
Brandon Webb
Webb
• Summary: Brandon Webb pitched seven strong innings in his postseason debut to outduel Carlos Zambrano, and the D-backs won Game 1 of the NLDS with the Cubs.

• Turning point: Mark Reynolds homered in the seventh to break a 1-1 tie and Conor Jackson added a sacrifice fly off Chicago reliever Carlos Marmol.

• Hero: Webb allowed only four hits and whiffed nine against Zambrano, who lasted only six innings and 85 pitches.

• Unsung hero: Stephen Drew homered off Zambrano to give the D-backs a 1-0 lead in the fourth.

• Figure this: The Cubs' world title drought stretches to 1908.

• Quotable: "His numbers are video-game numbers with the strikeouts and so forth. Zambrano the same way." -- Diamondbacks manager Bob Melvin

-- ESPN.com news services

Diamondbacks 3, Cubs 1

PHOENIX (AP) -- Brandon Webb baffled the Cubs with his sinker, then staggered them with changeups and curves.

This high-stakes duel in the desert went to the quiet ace from Kentucky.

Four Doesn't Score
MLB
All three losing teams on Wednesday had only four hits. Amazingly, the last time the Cubs had four or fewer hits in a postseason game was Game 5 of the 2003 NLCS (two hits) against Josh Beckett -- who shut down the Angels on Wednesday.
Team
Opp.
Hits
PhilliesRockies4
AngelsRed Sox4
CubsD-backs4

Webb shut down Chicago in a brilliant postseason debut, and the young Arizona Diamondbacks got home runs from two unflappable kids Wednesday night for a 3-1 victory in their NL playoff opener.

"You have your ace on the mound, you always expect to win that game, especially here at home," Arizona manager Bob Melvin said. "It's a game that was probably a little more pressure on us to win than them."

Webb was locked in a tight game with Carlos Zambrano until Chicago manager Lou Piniella made a questionable move. He pulled his ace after only six innings and 85 pitches because he plans to bring the right-hander back on three days' rest in Game 4.

Mark Reynolds promptly hit a tiebreaking homer off reliever Carlos Marmol, and the Diamondbacks held on behind their stingy bullpen.

Did planning for Game 4 cost the Cubs in Game 1? Piniella was terse when a reporter asked if he could be accused of looking ahead.

"I'm not accused of anything, sir," Piniella said. "I've got a good bullpen here, OK? And I trust my bullpen. I'm bringing back a pitcher on three days' rest on Sunday, and I took a shot with my bullpen. It didn't work today. They've done it all year. I've got confidence in them -- period, end of story."

Game 2 is Thursday night, with Ted Lilly on the mound for Chicago against Doug Davis.

D-backs Playoff History
D-backs
The Diamondbacks are trying to make it to their second World Series, which they won in 2001.
WORLD SERIES (Won 1, Lost 0)
2001Beat Yankees, 4-3
LCS (Won 1, Lost 0)
2001Beat Braves, 4-1
LDS (Won 2, Lost 2)
2007Beat Phillies, 3-0
2002Lost to Cardinals, 3-0
2001Beat Cardinals, 3-2
1999Lost to Mets, 3-1

The Cubs, looking for their first World Series title in 99 years, had plenty of fan support -- even on the road. The team holds spring training in nearby Mesa, and the valley is a popular retirement destination for Chicagoans.

In their first playoff appearance since losing Game 7 of the 2003 NL championship series to Florida, the Cubs managed little on offense. Alfonso Soriano, Jacque Jones, Aramis Ramirez and Cliff Floyd combined to go 0-for-16 with five strikeouts. Derrek Lee had a single but struck out three times.

Chicago twice got the leadoff batter to second with no outs early in the game but came away empty.

Webb, the reigning NL Cy Young Award winner, allowed four hits and struck out nine over seven outstanding innings. He walked three and hit a batter.

"I was able to keep them off-balance. I had pretty good stuff tonight, great off-speed," Webb said. "Had some great strikeouts, key situations."

Arizona set-up man Brandon Lyon threw a perfect eighth, and closer Jose Valverde earned the save.

Stephen Drew homered in the fourth off Zambrano, who allowed four hits, struck out eight and walked one. Zambrano said he tried to talk Piniella into letting him go out for the seventh, but the pitcher would not criticize his manager.

"It was our manager's decision," Zambrano said. "We have a good bullpen."

Right after Zambrano was lifted, Reynolds homered on the fourth pitch from Marmol to break a 1-all tie in the seventh. Pinch-hitter Conor Jackson added a sacrifice fly, and the Diamondbacks got two hitless innings from their bullpen.

"I've said all year that all of us young guys were kind of thrown in the middle of this. We really don't know what's going on," said Reynolds, who started the season at Double-A Mobile. "We just go out there and do what we do, that's play ball."

Cubs Playoff History
Chicago Cubs
The Cubs are trying to make it to their first World Series since 1945 and win it for the first time since 1908.
WORLD SERIES (Won 2, Lost 8)
1945Lost to Tigers, 4-3
1938Lost to Yankees, 4-0
1935Lost to Tigers, 4-2
1932Lost to Yankees, 4-0
1929Lost to Athletics, 4-1
1918Lost to Red Sox, 4-2
1910Lost to Athletics, 4-1
1908Beat Tigers, 4-1
1907Beat Tigers, 4-0
1906Lost to White Sox, 4-2
LCS (Won 0, Lost 3)
2003Lost to Marlins, 4-3
1989Lost to Giants, 4-1
1984Lost to Padres, 3-2
LDS (Won 1, Lost 1)
2003Beat Braves, 3-2
1998Lost to Braves, 3-0

The showdown between 18-game winners was as advertised, with Zambrano matching Webb pitch for pitch through six innings with the roof open at Chase Field on a 91-degree night.

With Zambrano gone, the Diamondbacks went ahead in the seventh. Reynolds hit Marmol's 2-1 pitch just over the left-field fence for a 2-1 lead. Chris Snyder walked and went to third on Augie Ojeda's single before Jackson came through while batting for Webb.

Marmol had allowed only two runs in 25 innings after Aug. 10 for a 0.72 ERA.

Valverde, the NL saves leader with 47 in 54 opportunities this year, walked pinch-hitter Daryle Ward with two outs in the ninth to bring up Soriano, who bounced into a game-ending forceout that capped an 0-for-5 night.

The surprising Diamondbacks, the first team since the 1906 Chicago White Sox to have the league's best record and worst batting average, won in a fashion typical of their 90-win regular season. They got timely hits, good defense and terrific pitching.

The youngsters certainly weren't overwhelmed by the circumstances.

"After the anthem and stuff, when we started playing, it started to become fun," Drew said. "It's what we were born to do, I guess you could say."

Chicago's run came on a bases-loaded infield single by Ryan Theriot with two outs in the sixth. Webb then struck out Zambrano, one of the game's best hitting pitchers.

Only three of the Diamondbacks' starters had faced Zambrano, and Drew was not among them. After striking out his first time up, he put Arizona ahead with a 432-foot drive over the pool in right-center.

Sandwiched around the big hit were two defensive gems by Drew at shortstop. He made a backhand stop of Geovany Soto's grounder to end the fourth, then he robbed Zambrano of an RBI with a leaping grab of a line drive in the fifth.

Zambrano doubled to start the third, but Webb fanned the top three hitters in the Cubs' lineup: Soriano, Jones and Lee.

Game notes


Muhammad Ali was in attendance and was introduced to the cheering crowd in the third. ... Jerry Colangelo, who brought major league baseball to Phoenix and was managing general partner before a messy change of ownership three years ago, threw out the ceremonial first pitch to Randy Johnson and received a standing ovation.

Copyright by STATS LLC and The Associated Press

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