Game One Hundred Thirty-Five – Cubs 7 Mets 6
WP – James Russell (1-1) LP – R.A. Dickey (9-6) Save – Carlos Marmol (26)
With the wind howling out to right and the ball dancing out of the hand of R.A. Dickey, the Cubs won the first of three against the Metropolitans. The Cubs came from behind then held on late and improved to 7-3 under Mike Quade.
The Cubs hit two three run shots off knuckleballer R.A. Dickey. Alfonso Soriano gave the Cubs a 4-3 lead with his 22nd dinger of the year in the fourth. The Mets tied the game in the sixth but the Cubs took the lead for good in the home half.
Blake DeWitt lifted a 1-0 knuckler into the wind and the ball was carried into the bleachers in right. DeWitt’s fifth of the season, fourth as a Cub, gave Q’s crew a 7-4 lead.
David Wright and Luis Hernandez hit solo shots off Andrew Cashner and Sean Marshall in the seventh and eighth that cut the Cubs lead down to one.
Carlos Marmol issued his mandatory free pass but struck out one and held on to earn his 26th save of the season.
James Russell picked up the first big league win of his career. Russell replaced Randy Wells in the sixth after Wells allowed the Mets to tie the game. Russell retired pinch-hitter Carlos Beltran to end the inning with the go ahead run at second.
Randy Wells struggled again and gave up three runs in the first inning. Wells labored through 5 2/3 innings, allowed four runs on eight hits with four walks and four strikeouts. Wells continues to be more of a question mark than an answer moving forward for the Cubs. Wells threw a Zambrano-esque 103 pitches, 60 for strikes, in less than six complete. The Cubs have plenty of pitchers like Wells that have provided better results. Wells needs to step it up over the final month of the season.
The Cubs offense did a good job against the hard-throwing knuckleballer. Of the eight hits they collected against R.A. Dickey, six went to right, one to center and one to left. Five different Cubs recorded multi-hit games, including Starlin Castro. Castro finished the game 2-for-4 with a run scored and lifted his average to .319.
Xavier Nady’s performance will be lost in the three-run homers by Soriano and DeWitt. Nady drove in the Cubs’ first run and put together a 3-for-4 afternoon with two runs scored and a RBI. Nady also turned in the defensive play of the game in the fourth.
The Cubs improved to 58-77 on the season with Friday’s win … still 19 games below the mediocre mark.
Angel Pagan (3-for-5 with two runs scored) had a huge day out of the leadoff spot … against his former team. Pagan led off the game with a single to right. Wells walked Lucas Duda on four pitches to set it up for David Wright (3-for-5 with a double, a home run and three RBI).
Wright launched a double off the ivy in left … that should have been caught. Granted it would have been a difficult catch, but one a Major League outfielder should make. Wright’s double gave the Mets a 2-0 lead.
Ike Davis singled to right, Wright held at third but scored on a 5-4 fielder’s choice off the bat of Joaquin Arias … 3-0 Mets.
Xavier Nady made a game changing play on a sac bunt attempt by R.A. Dickey. Wells walked Josh Thole to start the fourth. Ruben Tejada followed with a single to left. Dickey dropped down the bunt toward first. Nady charged and threw a strike to third. Thole was forced and Wells was able to get out of the inning without allowing the Mets to tack on to their 3-0 lead.
Starlin Castro led off the fourth with the Cubs’ second hit of the game … a bloop single to right center. Marlon Byrd singled to right but Ramirez popped out to left center on the first pitch of his at bat.
Xavier Nady lined a single to right and drove in Castro … 3-1 Mets. Geovany Soto flied out to right and Byrd tagged and advanced to third.
Alfonso Soriano pulled Dickey’s first pitch into the bleachers in left … 4-3 Cubs.
Randy Wells struggled in the fifth after allowing a walk and another hit but was able to get out of trouble without allowing any runs … that would change in the sixth.
Angel Pagan reached on a single to center with two outs. Lucas Duda then doubled to right. Pagan scored and ended Wells’ afternoon.
James Russell retired Carlos Beltran on a fly out to left to end the inning.
Aramis Ramirez led off the bottom of the sixth with the Cubs only walk of the day. Xavier Nady singled to right and two were on with no outs for Geovany Soto.
Soto struck out swinging and Soriano flied out to left center.
Blake DeWitt gave the Cubs the lead for good with a three-run homer to right … 7-4 Cubs.
David Wright made it 7-5 in the top of the seventh. Wright lined a 3-2 pitch from Andrew Cashner over the wall in left. Cashner got out of the inning after issuing a walk to Ike Davis following the Wright homer.
Sean Marshall served up a 0-2 fastball to Luis Hernandez that ended up in the bleachers in left center … his first longball of the year, 7-6 Cubs.
It’s always a good day when the Cubs beat the Mets … just ask Ron Santo.
Carlos Zambrano is scheduled to face Jenrry Mejia in game two Saturday afternoon.