Game Forty-Four – Cubs 5 Rangers 4 – 10 innings
WP – Sean Marshall (4-1) LP – Darren O’Day (1-2) Save – Carlos Marmol (8)
Lou Piniella’s crew improved to 3-1 in extra inning games with Saturday night’s solid win in Texas. Randy Wells pitched a great game. Wells allowed three runs on seven hits in 8 1/3 innings with six strikeouts and one walk. The Rangers hit two solo home runs off Wells in the fourth.
The Cubs first three runs came on home runs by Alfonso Soriano and Starlin Castro. Soriano gave the Cubs a 2-0 lead in the second with his eighth homer of the year … a two-run shot over the wall in left. Starlin Castro hit his second longball in the third, a solo shot over the wall in right. Both of Castro’s big league homers have been to the opposite field.
The Rangers tied the game in the fourth and it remained 3-3 until the 10th … thanks to Sean Marshall.
Tyler Colvin led off the 10th with a double to right in his first at bat of the game. Lou Piniella made the right calls sent up three lefties against the submariner Darren O’Day. Kosuke Fukudome hit for Geovany Soto and blooped a single into right field. Colvin stopped at third with no outs.
Mike Fontenot stepped in for Jeff Baker and delivered. Fontenot singled to right on a 0-2 pitch from Darren O’Day. Colvin scored the go ahead run.
Dustin Nippert replaced O’Day and retired Ryan Theriot on a ground out to second. Ian Kinsler could not get the ball out of his glove, both runners advanced with only one out. Ron Washington then intentionally walked Starlin Castro to load the bases … ahead of Derrek Lee.
Lee drove in the Cubs’ fifth run with a grounder to third. Castro made a hard slide into second and helped break up the double play. Fukudome scored on the fielder’s choice. Marlon Byrd walked to reload the bases for Aramis Ramirez.
Ramirez struck out for the fourth time on the night … inning over. As Pat Hughes said, “He just looks lost at the plate.”
The middle of Lou Piniella’s lineup (Lee, Byrd and Ramirez) finished the game 0-for-14 with a walk, a run scored and a RBI. Derrek Lee and Aramis Ramirez struck out five times and left seven runners on base … both players must be moved down in the lineup.
Carlos Marmol made it interesting in the tenth. After walking David Murphy to start the inning, Starlin Castro turned in another gem in the field. Elvis Andrus hit a weak grounder to Castro that he threw behind his back and forced Murphy at second base.
Andrus took second with two outs on defensive indifference and scored on a single to right by Ian Kinsler. With the tying run on first, Vladimir Guerrero stepped in against Carlos Marmol. Guerrero grounded out to third on a 1-2 pitch … Fontenot forced Kinsler at second. Game over, Cubs win!
The Chicago Cubs are 5-0 when Starlin Castro bats second in Lou’s lineup.
The Cubs ended their mini-two game losing streak and improved to 20-24 on the year with Saturday’s win … Randy Wells had only one bad inning Saturday night … and more than made his case to remain the rotation when Carlos Zambrano returns. Wells retired the Rangers in order in the first on 12 pitches.
Marlon Byrd reached on an error by Justin Smoak to start the second. With Aramis Ramirez at the plate, Derek Holland uncorked a wild pick off throw to first. Byrd ended up at second but Ramirez fouled out to Smoak.
Aramis Ramirez did not hit a ball within the lines in five at bats Saturday night.
Alfonso Soriano ripped a 1-0 pitch from Holland over the wall in left … 2-0 Cubs.
Xavier Nady followed Soriano’s blast with a single but Geovany Soto fouled out to Michael Young and Jeff Baker struck out looking to end the inning.
Vladimir Guerrero led off the home-half of the second with a single to right. Josh Hamilton singled to right … and the Rangers were in business. Nelson Cruz followed with the Rangers’ third straight single. Guerrero scored … 2-1 Cubs.
Wells remained calm and struck out Justin Smoak for the first out. Then induced a 6-4-3 double play off the bat of Max Ramirez to end the inning.
Starlin Castro got the run back in the top of the third. Castro launched Holland’s first pitch over the wall in right center … 3-1 Cubs.
Randy Wells faced the minimum in the third but the Rangers played longball in the fourth. Vladimir Guerrero and Nelson Cruz hit solo home runs and tied the game at three … the first two home runs hit by righties against Wells this season.
Randy Wells settled down after the home runs in the fourth. He put together an excellent outing. At one point he retired 12 batters in a row in his longest outing of the season. Wells threw 105 pitches, 73 for strikes.
After Wells left with one out in the ninth, Josh Hamilton reached on a bloop double to left center. Sean Marshall intentionally walked Nelson Cruz with the winning run on second base. Marshall retired Justin Smoak on a fly out to left center. Matt Treanor looked at three straight from Marshall to end the inning.
Saturday was a good win for a Cubs team struggling to score runs. The Cubs have won five of their last seven games.
Carlos Silva will face C.J. Wilson Sunday afternoon in the rubber game of the series.