There's just something about that "5" in the top of the first that can make you feel so much better about how a game might progress. I'm sure Wandy Rodriguez appreciated having a lead out of grand slam distance so early. He showed his appreciation by shutting down the Cubs pretty neatly for six innings.
Yes, he gave up five runs and yes, he only struck out two, but he pitched deep into the game, gave the bullpen somewhat of a rest and threw strikes. What more can you ask in a potential blowout-type game?
As for those runs, everyone seemed to get in on the party. Every starter collected one hit, while Jason Castro, Chris Johnson, Carlos Lee and Angel Sanchez all had multiple hits. In fact, Castro and Johnson each hit a home run in the same game for the first time this season. It's kind of like the epitome of why Callup Sunday was a good thing. Add in doubles from Lee, Sanchez and Wandy plus a triple for Johnson and this was a nice offensive showing from a team that scored six whole runs against the Pirates Saturday and Sunday. They almost equaled that total in the top of the first, they were so happy to get out of Pittsburgh.
The game also featured Gary Majewski's first appearance since being called up from Round Rock. The erstwhile reliever began his big league career again with a scoreless inning of work, allowing one hit and using 13 pitches to get through the frame.
Kudos all around, especially to guys like Keppinger and Berkman who drew five walks between the two of them. That's the kind of patience that this offense needs more often. Speaking of stat nuts, let's gander at the exact opposite of Sunday's horrible WPA graph.