Game Three – Cubs 2 Braves 0
WP – Randy Wells (1-0) LP – Tommy Hanson (0-1) Save – Carlos Marmol (1)
The Cubs salvaged the last game of the series and picked up their first win of the year behind Randy Wells. Wells once again dominated the Atlanta Braves … with a little help from Kosuke Fukudome and the defense.
Wells threw six innings of shutout ball, allowed six hits, with a strikeout and two walks. But Wells kept the ball down and recorded 13 groundball outs on 97 pitches … the Cubs defense turned three double plays behind him on Thursday night.
Sean Marshall continued his perfect start to Twenty-Ten. Marshall retired the only two batters he faced in the seventh. Esmailin Caridad surrendered a hit with a strikeout in an inning of work … Caridad threw the ball extremely well.
John Grabow walked the only batter he faced before turning over the game to Carlos Marmol with two outs in the eighth. Marmol picked up the four-out save, but it was not easy. Marmol retired Troy Glaus on a ground out to third to end the eighth. Yunel Escobar singled to right center to start the ninth. Kosuke Fukudome cut the ball off in the gap and held Escobar to a long single.
Marmol struck out Jason Heyward on three pitches but walked Nate McLouth. With the tying runs on base, Bobby Cox went to his bench for Eric Hinske. Hinske flied out to deep center on a 2-0 pitch from Marmol … Hinske just missed giving his new team the win. Marmol struck out Melky Cabrera looking on a nasty slider to end the game.
The Cubs managed only two runs and four hits off of Tommy Hanson. But two of the four hits were longballs off the bat of Tyler Colvin and Marlon Byrd.
Tyler Colvin gave the Cubs a 1-0 lead in the second inning. Colvin hit his first career homer over the wall in right on a 2-1 pitch from Hanson.
Marlon Byrd launched his second home run of the season. Byrd’s came in the fourth on a 1-0 offering from Hanson.
Outside of Marlon Byrd, the main contributors in Thursday night’s win were all homegrown players … Randy Wells, Tyler Colvin, Sean Marshall, Esmailin Caridad and Carlos Marmol. Lou Piniella’s crew escaped Atlanta behind their second straight quality start. In his first start of the season, Randy Wells picked up where he left off last season.
Randy Wells gave up a one-out single to Martin Prado in the first inning but induced a groundball off the bat of Chipper Jones. Prado was forced at second … then Wells struck out Brian McCann swinging to end the inning. Wells lone strikeout of the game.
After Tyler Colvin gave the Cubs a 1-0 lead in the top of the second, Troy Glaus led off the bottom half with a single to right. Yunel Escobar popped out to right and Jason Heyward grounded into a 4-6 fielder’s choice for the second out.
Nate McLouth followed Heyward with a seeing-eye single to center. Tommy Hanson lined out to Kosuke Fukudome on a 2-1 pitch to end the inning.
Martin Prado doubled to left center with one out in the third. Wells walked Chipper Jones on a very close 3-2 pitch. Brian McCann then hit a tailor made double play ball back to Wells. But he rushed the throw to second and one-hopped the ball to Theriot at second. Theriot could not make the scoop and the Braves loaded the bases with one out.
Troy Glaus stepped in and hit a slow roller to Aramis Ramirez on a 1-1 pitch. Ramirez charged the ball, went back and touched third then fired across to Derrek Lee to end the inning.
Randy Wells pumped his fist after Glaus was called out.
Marlon Byrd gave Wells a little breathing room with his second longball in three games in the fourth inning.
Wells responded in the home half of the fourth with his best inning of the night … 1-2-3, a quick shutdown inning.
The Braves put a couple on in the sixth. Omar Infante, in for Chipper Jones who left with a sore side muscle in the fourth, led off with a single to left past a diving Ryan Theriot. Nate McLouth lined out to Tyler Colvin, who made a tremendous throw to first in an attempt to double off Infante.
Troy Glaus followed with a long single to right … that short-hopped the wall. Kosuke Fukudome made another fine play, bare handed the ball and got it back to the infield … and held Glaus to a single while keeping Infante from scoring on the play.
Yunel Escobar grounded into a 6-4-3 double play to end the inning … the Cubs third double play in four innings.
The Cubs begin a three-game weekend series on Friday in Cincinnati. Carlos Silva will face Homer Bailey in the opener.