A Wells Pitched Shutout for Q’s Cubs – Cubs 2 Giants 0

Game One Hundred Fifty-One – Cubs 2 Giants 0
WP – Randy Wells (8-13) LP – Jonathan Sanchez (11-9) Save – Carlos Marmol (34)

wflag.jpgWednesday night was another duel between hot pitching staffs at the old ballyard … and unlike Tuesday, the Cubs came out on top. Randy Wells pitched a gem, his second in as many starts. Wells followed his eight-inning performance against the Cardinals with a 7 2/3 inning start against the Giants. Wells allowed only six hits with one walk, and the one free pass came with two outs in the eighth. Wells struck out six and threw only 91 pitches, 64 for strikes.

Wells was shaky early on and allowed three of his six hits in the first two innings. Wells was able to pitch out of the early jams and sat down 13 in a row at one point … and 15 of 16 from the second through the seventh. Wells turned the game over to Carlos Marmol in the eighth up by two with two outs and the tying runs in scoring position.

Carlos Marmol was nasty once again Wednesday night in route to his 34th save of the year. Marmol picked up the four-out save by striking out four of the five batters he faced. Marmol issued his one free pass but the Giants were not able to put the ball in play.

The Cubs defense turned two double plays behind Wells … with Starlin Castro making a terrific stab of a ball hit up the middle by Jose Guillen in the seventh that turned into a 6-4-3 inning ending double play.

With Wednesday’s stellar outing, the Cubs have held opponents to three or fewer runs in 11 straight games … the longest stretch since 14 in a row back in 1984.

The Cubs offense was just a little better than the Giants … thanks to Kosuke Fukudome. Fukudome gave Randy Wells all of the run support he would need with a solo homer in the third off of the lefty Jonathan Sanchez. Fukudome’s 13th of the year, third off a southpaw, was the only earned run the Giants’ staff allowed.

The Cubs other run came after a double, a wild pitch and a throwing error in the fifth. Koyie Hill doubled, advanced to third on a wild pitch and scored after Buster Posey’s throw hit him.

The Cubs improved to 18-8 under Mike Quade with Tuesday’s win and to 69-82 on the season … still 13 under .500 with 11 remaining on the schedule.

The Cubs offense did just enough against Jonathan Sanchez on Wednesday night. Q’s crew was facing one of the hottest pitchers in baseball and struggled once again. The Cubs inability to hit good pitching and manufacture runs against the elite in the league is one of the many improvements the organization must make in the near future.

Randy Wells got into trouble in the first inning and it appeared Wednesday would be another one of those outings for the right-hander.

Freddy Sanchez doubled to right center with one out then Aubrey Huff singled to right. Sanchez held at third as Kosuke got the ball back in.

Wells then struck out Buster Posey (swinging) and Pat Burrell (looking) to end the inning.

The Cubs went quietly and quickly in the first.

Jose Guillen led off the second with a double to right center … and that would be the Giants’ last hit until the sixth. Wells retired Pablo Sandoval (ground out to short), Juan Uribe (fly out to deep left center) and Jonathan Sanchez (fly out to deep center) to end the inning.

The Cubs first hit came in the third courtesy of Kosuke Fukudome. Sanchez fell behind 3-1 before Fukudome lined a solo shot into the bleachers in right … 1-0 Cubs.

Wells kept the Giants off the bases and kept his pitch count very low through five. Wells had thrown only 59 pitches and took advantage of the overly aggressive Giants’ offense.

Koyie Hill led off the fifth with the Cubs’ fourth hit of the game … a double to left center. With Wells at the plate, Sanchez uncorked a wild pitch. Hill advanced to third and scored after Buster Posey’s throw hit him … 2-0 Cubs.

That was it … until the eighth inning.

Travis Ishikawa hit for Chris Ray and worked a two-out walk … the only free pass Wells issued. Cody Ross just missed a homer to left center on a 0-1 pitch. Ross’ double put runners on second and third with two outs and chased Wells from the game.

Carlos Marmol came in and struck out Freddy Sanchez swinging on four pitches to end the inning.

For as bad as Twenty-Ten has been, for the most part the last 26 games have been very enjoyable to watch.

Box Score from Yahoo Sports

Ryan Dempster will face Madison Bumgarner and the Giants, an hour earlier (6:05pm CDT start) in the series finale on Thursday evening.

Quote of the Day

"People who write about Spring Training not being necessary have never tried to throw a baseball." – Sandy Koufax