A Bittersweet Victory- Cubs 6 Diamondbacks 5

Game Five – Cubs 6 Diamondbacks 5
WP – James Russell (1-0, BS 1) LP – Sam Demel (1-1) Save – Sean Marshall (1)

wflag.jpgThe Chicago Cubs won their second game in a row Tuesday afternoon and for the first time since the end of the 2009 season they climbed a game over .500.

Andrew Cashner made the first start of his big league career and put together an excellent outing. Cashner took a 4-1 lead with him to the mound in the sixth after allowing just one run on two hits over the first five. Cashner had thrown only 63 pitches, 39 for strikes.

Cashner retired Barry Enright on a groundout to second for the first out in the sixth. At that point, Cashner had retired 16 of the 18 batters he faced.

The Cubs young right-hander fell behind Willie Bloomquist before walking him. It was Cashner’s first free pass of the day. Soon after Cashner tossed his 72nd pitch, Mark O’Neal jogged out of the dugout to check on Cashner. After a meeting on the mound that included Mark Riggins and Mike Quade, Cashner left with tightness in his right shoulder.

According to Bruce Levine, preliminary tests at Wrigley Field were positive and everything looked good. The Cubs sent Cashner to see Dr. Stephen Gryzlo at Northwestern for an MRI to make sure nothing is structurally wrong with the shoulder.

The game slowed to a snail’s pace after Cashner left and the game was turned over to the bullpen. After pitching three days in a row, Kerry Wood and Carlos Marmol were unavailable so preserving Tuesday’s lead was up to the likes of Jeff Samardzija, James Russell, Marcos Mateo and Sean Marshall. Unfortunately for Cashner, only one of the four was able to do his job.

Jeff Samardzija came in and struck out both of the batters he faced in the sixth. But walked two of the three batters he faced in the seventh. Marcos Mateo could not find the strike zone and walked the bases loaded. The D’Backs made it a 4-2 game with a bases loaded single off Mateo then tied the game on a two-out, two-run single to center by Willie Bloomquist on a 1-2 pitch from James Russell.

Andrew Cashner received a no decision and it was up to the offense to outscore the D’Backs at that point.

The Cubs offense had a good day and untied the game in the bottom of the seventh on a RBI double by Marlon Byrd and a bases loaded walk by Tyler Colvin.

The D’Backs scored one in the ninth off Sean Marshall before the lefty struck out Willie Bloomquist to end the game.

Q’s offense scored a season-high six runs Tuesday afternoon. Marlon Byrd (3-for-4 with a double, a run scored and a RBI), Starlin Castro (2-for-5 with a double, a run scored and a RBI) and Tyler Colvin (1-for-3 with a home run, a walk and 3 RBI) led the offense. Castro recorded another multi-hit game and drove in a run with a double in the third. Byrd drove in the eventual winning run with a RBI double in the seventh … Byrd’s first RBI of the young season.

Tyler Colvin started at first base Tuesday for the injured Carlos Pena. Colvin played solid defense and hit his first home run of the season, a two-run shot in the third. Colvin added a bases loaded walk in the seventh that ended up being the difference in the game.

The Cubs insured themselves at least a .500 homestand with Tuesday’s win and Q’s squad posted their first series victory of the young season …

For as good as Andrew Cashner was Tuesday one would hate to see the Cubs try to rush him back. From all indications, the Cubs plan to be very cautious with their young right-hander … and that is the right course of action to take.

Andrew Cashner’s afternoon began with a nine-pitch first inning. Cashner retired the D’Backs in order quickly with three groundball outs.

The Cubs offense left a couple on in the first inning after Tyler Colvin chased a 3-2 pitch and struck out swinging to end the inning.

Cashner made quick work of Arizona in the second … 1-2-3 on 16 pitches, 10 for strikes.

The Cubs broke through in the bottom of the second. Darwin Barney reached on a one-out single to center. The Cubs caught a break when Barry Enright walked Koyie Hill. Andrew Cashner then sacrificed Barney and Hill to second and third.

Enright walked Kosuke Fukudome to load the bases with two outs … but for some reason, Miguel Montero tried to pick off Koyie Hill at second on ball four. The ball ended up in center and Barney scored the game’s first run.

Starlin Castro continued his hot start to the year. With runners on first and third with two outs, Castro ripped a 1-1 pitch into left center. Hill scored easily but Kosuke Fukudome was thrown out at the plate after running through Ivan DeJesus’ stop sign.

The D’Backs got one of the runs right back. Ryan Roberts recorded Arizona’s first hit off Cashner … a solo home run to left that made it 2-1.

Cashner did not let the longball phase him, he retired the next three batters he faced to end the inning.

Marlon Byrd led off the third with a single to center. Aramis Ramirez flied out to center. Tyler Colvin launched a 2-0 offering from Enright two rows deep into the bleachers in right center … 4-1 Cubs.

The game remained 4-1 until the seventh.

Jeff Samardzija walked Miguel Montero on the eighth pitch of the at bat to start the inning. Chris Young hit a smash to Ramirez at third, but the Cubs could not turn the double play. Montero was forced at second for the first out of the inning.

Samardzija then issued a four-pitch walk to Juan Miranda. At that point, Quade decided he’d seen enough. Marcos Mateo came in and could not find the strike zone.

Ryan Roberts walked on four pitches to load the bases. Gerardo Parra ripped a 2-1 pitch into right. Young scored and all of the sudden it was a 4-2 ballgame. Quade went to his pen again after Russell Branyan was announced.

James Russell struck out Branyan for the second out … but struggled with another right-handed batter. Willie Bloomquist ripped a 1-2 pitch back up the middle that drove in Miranda and Roberts to tie the game. Russell retired Kelly Johnson on a groundout to first to end the inning.

Russell was tagged with the blown save for not being able to clean up the mess creates by Jeff Samardzija and Marcos Mateo … but James Russell should not be allowed to face a right-handed hitter.

Jeff Baker entered the game in the seventh on a double switch with James Russell. Baker led off the home half of the seventh with a single to center. After Kosuke Fukudome struck out swinging, Starlin Castro worked the count to 3-2 before singling to left. Baker was running and advanced to third on the play.

Marlon Byrd delivered a double to left on a 0-1 pitch. Baker scored easily and broke up the 4-4 tie. Aramis Ramirez was intentionally walked to load the bases … and Kirk Gibson went to his pen for the lefty Joe Paterson.

Tyler Colvin walked on four pitches … and “drove” in Castro with the Cubs’ sixth and final run.

Alfonso Soriano struck out against Juan Gutierrez and Quade let James Russell hit for himself. Russell worked the count to 3-2 before flying out to end the inning.

The D’Backs scored a run in the ninth and had the tying run on base before Sean Marshall struck out Willie Bloomquist to end the game.

Juan Miranda led off the ninth with a bunt single to Ramirez. Melvin Mora hit for Parra and singled to right. With runners on first and third with one out, Xavier Nady hit a grounder back up the middle that hit Marshall. Castro picked up the ball and threw out Nady at first as Miranda scored.

Tuesday was both a good day and a fearful day for the Chicago Cubs …

Box Score from Yahoo Sports

Ryan Dempster will face Armando Galarraga in the series finale Wednesday afternoon.

Quote of the Day

"The more reasons you have for achieving your goal, the more determined you will become." - Brian Tracy

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  • Matt

    Great recap as always Neil, anyways do you know severity of Pena injury, and when he might be back in the lineup

    • http://chicagocubsonline.com/ Neil

      Thanks man …

      Pena said he could have gone today. His thumb was wrapped and the feeling is they will give him Wednesday off as well. Thursday is a day off and with Friday’s night game in Milwaukee, that’s almost three full days.

      That would be the right move in my opinion.

  • cubtex

    Sounds as if the early reports on Cashner are positive. Hopefully, he will just miss one start. You can see how difficult it is to close out a game when Wood and Marmol are both not available. That takes Marshall out of the 7th or 8th and he is your closer and you have to rely on Russell,Shark and Mateo to make it through the 6th,7th and 8th. Was Grabow not available as well? Russell cannot get right handers out consistently. If Mateo struggles with the strikezone again, they have a lot more options to bring up. They need one other consistent righthander besides Wood. I’m sure they have Jeff Stevens, Caridad and others on speed dial. I don’t know if they would bring up Chris Carpenter this early.

    • BosephHeyden

      In Samardzija’s defense, he came along nicely in that 6th inning performance. He had some downright nasty looking stuff. That being said, he needed to be out of the game after those two batters. Keeping him in for two more batters is playing with fire, depleted bullpen or not. I haven’t seen enough of Mateo to form an opinion one way or another, but I hear underwhelming things. And Russell probably should just go back down.

      • cubtex

        If you have read any of my previous posts…..I am a fan of Samardzija’s stuff. I do not want to cut him like some people say. He needs to realize game situations though. You have a 3 run lead in the 7th. Challenge hitters! Make them earn their way on base. Walks will kill you there. Look at Samardzija’s stats from AAA last year. Excellent hits per innings pitched but too many walks. The Cubs invested a lot of money in him and I want him to succeed as much as anyone.

  • http://www.WoodSugars.com/ Wood Sugars

    ‘Back-Fat’ Tom Ricketts learns about Cashner injury so he calls up Carlos Silva http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9OBvdpHeReM

  • ogac

    Over .500 for the first time since the 2009 season. Go Cubs Go

  • Cubs2101

    Report say Cashner and Wells are both going on the DL for atleast 2 weeks. Wonder who will fill in for them

  • Aaron

    I hope Dempster has a good start today. He’s a solid pitcher (that Opening Day start is a nightmare for the Cubs for some odd reason), and an even better human being, so I wish him the best today.

    I’m also very much looking forward to the minor league season starting up tomorrow. The Cubs are in great shape with their system right now, especially up the middle with SS, 2B, and CF, but they really need some guys to come on fast at the IF and OF corners.

    Here’s hoping they find a gem not only in their system, but also in the draft. I’m keeping my fingers crossed that they’ll at least consider Dante Bichette Jr., a big power-hitting prospect.

    Right now, various drafts have the Cubs taking:
    Taylor Jungman-RHP-TEXAS
    Danny Hultzen-LHP-VIRGINIA
    Ricky Orepesa-3B-USC
    Zack MacPhee-2B/SS-ASU
    Matthew Purke-LHP-TCU
    Matt Barnes-RHP-UCONN
    Sonny Gray-RHP-VANDERBILT (yes, the same guy we took in the 20-something round a few years ago)
    Daniel Norris-LHP-HS
    Bubba Starling-RHP/OF-HS (man I hope they get him…but there’s 2 problems: #1-he’s not expected to last that long in most drafts; #2-he has a strong commitment to Nebraska to play both QB in football, and on the baseball team as well…still, he’s reported to throw 97 mph and has prodigious power)