A ‘W’ for Garza – Cubs 5 Diamondbacks 3

Game Twenty-Six – Cubs 5 Diamondbacks 3
WP – Matt Garza (1-3) LP – J.J. Putz (0-1) Save – Carlos Marmol (7)

wflag.jpgThe Cubs won back-to-back road games for the first time in 2011 behind an excellent outing by Matt Garza and five two-out RBI … two from Alfonso Soriano and one each from Aramis Ramirez, Darwin Barney and Starlin Castro.

On the night Mike Quade was ejected for the first time in the big leagues, Matt Garza earned his first win in a Cubs uniform. Garza gave up three runs on six hits with two walks and 10 strikeouts in eight innings. Garza threw 104 pitches and was lifted in the ninth for pinch-hitter Tyler Colvin with the game tied at three.

After Mike Quade was ejected for arguing a close play at second base in the ninth, Tyler Colvin put together arguably the biggest at bat of the night. Colvin battled J.J. Putz and ended up walking on the 11th pitch of the at bat. Geovany Soto strolled to second with the possible go ahead run.

Kosuke Fukudome, who has gone ice cold in the desert, tapped back to Putz on the first pitch of the at bat. The D’Backs could not turn two and gave Darwin Barney a chance to break the tie.

With runners on first and third with two outs, Darwin Barney delivered again. The Cubs best hitter with RISP singled to center on a 2-2 pitch and plated Soto with the go ahead run. Starlin Castro followed and added a RBI single, the Cubs fifth two-out RBI of the night.

Carlos Marmol retired three of the four batters he faced in the ninth for his seventh save of the season.

Q’s offense came through with five two-out RBI hits Saturday night.

Alfonso Soriano finished his huge month with another home run, his 10th of the year that tied the game at one in the second. Soriano hit a mammoth shot off Ian Kennedy that actually hit the scoreboard in straight away center … only the second player to hit the scoreboard at Chase Field (Richie Sexson, 2004). Soriano broke the 1-1 tie in the fourth with a two-out single to center.

Alfonso Soriano set the club record for home runs in April with 10 … of the 21 homers hit by the Cubs in the first month, Soriano is responsible for nearly half.

Aramis Ramirez (1-for-5 with a double and a RBI) drove in the Cubs third run with a two-out RBI double in the fifth.

Starlin Castro (2-for-5 with a double, a run scored and a RBI) and Darwin Barney (2-for-5 with a run scored and a RBI) came through in the ninth. Barney is second on the team in RBI with 14 and Castro is right behind him with 12.

Jeff Baker left the game in the eighth with left shoulder soreness and was replaced by the struggling Carlos Pena. For all of his struggles at the plate, Pena has continued his fine play in the field and made two game changing scoops in the ninth that helped preserve the win.

With Saturday night’s win, the Cubs took the season series against Arizona (4-2) and finished the first month of 2011 with a 12-14 record …

The D’Backs jumped on Matt Garza in the first inning. After Garza struck out Chris Young and Gerardo Parra, Justin Upton ripped a 2-1 pitch into the left field corner. Upton ended up at second and scored on a single to center by Stephen Drew on a 3-1 pitch.

Garza gave up his third straight hit, a single to left to Ryan Roberts, before retiring Russell Branyan on a flyout to center. Garza escaped further damage but Arizona scored in the first inning for the third game of the series. Garza threw 23 pitches in the first, 13 for strikes.

After Aramis Ramirez and Jeff Baker went quietly and quickly to start the second (five pitches), Alfonso Soriano launched Ian Kennedy’s first pitch well over the wall in center. The ball hit the scoreboard and Soriano’s 10th of the month tied the game at one.

Marlon Byrd followed Soriano’s mammoth shot with a bloop single to right. Byrd has not recorded an extra base hit in 18 games. Geovany Soto broke his bat and blooped out to second to end the inning.

Matt Garza faced the minimum in the home half of the second. Miguel Montero reached on a bunt single to third to start the inning but Melvin Mora hit into a 5-4-3 double play.

The Cubs and D’Backs went in order in the third.

Starlin Castro led off the fourth with a double to left past Melvin Mora. Aramis Ramirez flied out to right, Castro tagged and advanced to third on the play. With the infield back, Jeff Baker tapped back to the mound on the first pitch. But Alfonso Soriano delivered with two outs again and blooped a single into center on a 0-2 pitch. Castro scored and gave the Cubs a 2-1 lead.

Marlon Byrd reached on an error by Mora at third and Kennedy unintentionally – intentionally walked Geovany Soto on four pitches to load the bases. Matt Garza never took the bat off his shoulder and looked at three straight to end the inning.

Garza retired Arizona in order in the bottom of the fourth … at that point Garza had retired eight in a row.

Darwin Barney reached on a one-out single to center in the fifth. Starlin Castro struck out swinging but Aramis Ramirez came through with a double down the left field line on a 2-1 pitch. Barney scored all the way from first and gave the Cubs a 3-1 lead.

Jeff Baker lined out to third to end the inning.

Matt Garza retired Arizona in order in the fifth. After five, Garza’s pitch count was a very manageable 64, 43 for strikes.

The D’Backs tied the game after the Cubs went in order in the top of the sixth.

Garza issued his first walk of the game to Chris Young to start the inning … and ended a string of retiring 11 in a row.

Gerardo Parra ripped a 0-1 pitch into left. Soriano got too close to the wall. The ball bounced past him and Young scored all the way from first. The hit was ruled a double but Parra ended up at third. Garza struck out Justin Upton but could not retire Stephen Drew.

Drew ripped a 1-1 pitch into right center. Parra scored easily to tie the game but Fukudome threw out Drew at second trying to stretch the single into a double. Garza retired Roberts on his 81st pitch of the night (54 for strikes).

Matt Garza departed after eight innings and 104 pitches, 70 for strikes, with the game tied at three.

Marlon Byrd led off the ninth with his second hit of the game … a single to left center off J.J. Putz. Geovany Soto then tried to bunt Byrd to second but bunted the ball back to Putz. The D’Backs’ closer threw to the third base side of second. Drew stretched and kept a toe on the bag. Byrd was called out and Quade argued.

The Cubs’ skipper was ejected for the first time in his Major League managerial career … then showed the second base umpire where Drew’s toe dragged the dirt.

Tyler Colvin hit for Matt Garza and put together an excellent at bat. Colvin fell behind 0-2 before working a walk on the 11th pitch of the at bat. With runners on first and second with one out, Fukudome tapped back to the mound on the first pitch. Colvin was forced at second but Drew double-clutched and could not complete the double play. Soto reached third as Fukudome beat out the throw to first.

Darwin Barney stepped in and delivered the Cubs fourth RBI of the night with two outs. Barney ripped a 2-2 pitch back up the middle that plated Soto with the go ahead run.

Starlin Castro singled to center on a 1-2 pitch. Kosuke scored on the Cubs’ fifth two-out RBI of the game and gave the Cubs a 5-3 lead. With runners on first and second with two outs, Aramis Ramirez grounded out to a diving Melvin Mora at third to end the inning.

Carlos Marmol issued a one out walk to Ryan Roberts in the ninth … but retired Russell Branyan and Miguel Montero to end the game.

The Cubs played a solid game behind Matt Garza Saturday night. From the defense to the clutch hitting it was nice to see the Cubs play a game the right way.

Box Score from Yahoo Sports

The Cubs will try to win on Sunday for the first time in 2011 … Casey Coleman against Daniel Hudson in the series finale Sunday afternoon.

Quote of the Day

"Don’t ever permit the pressure to exceed the pleasure." - Joe Maddon
  • cubtex

    Happy to see Garza get his first win! Hopefully he can put a string of wins together now. As I have been saying since the trade was made…Garza is a very solid starter and the Cubs are lucky to have him for the next 3 years. He currently leads all of MLB with 51 K’s in 38.2 IP. (Carlos Marmol numbers) I do not expect him to lead the league in K’s but I do expect him to have around a 3.50 ERA when it is all said and done.

    • GrantJones7

      No ones saying they dont want garza, were saying we didnt want garza for the price we paid. Hak ju lee will be a star and i think he will be the biggest part of the deal

      • cubtex

        Grant….Not to beat a dead horse but the Cubs gave up prospects for a top of the rotation starter. Did anyone expect the Rays to give him away? Archer has regressed so far this year, Guyer is a 25 year old outfielder who will more than likely not be more than a 4th outfielder, an older catching prospect in Chirinos, a great story in Sam Fuld(who you and I know would have never had the opportunity with the Cubs) and Lee who is in high A ball and could turn out to be the best of the prospects the Cubs dealt. But remember…he is in high A ball and that is a long way away from the majors. I would do this deal all over again if given the opportunity!

      • carmelo

        If and when Lee is ready for the big leagues, and if he were still with the Cubs, who do you bench—Castro or Barney?

    • paulcatanese

      For me a complete team win,Garza pitches well,Castro,Barney,and Soriono have a good night,oh and Aram ht a ball that traveled to the wall,what more could one ask for?

  • John_CC

    Barney is, hands down, the biggest positional upgrade over last season. And they saved money, about 3 million, on him.

    • Baron_S

      Barney over Fontenot/Dewitt is such a breath of fresh air, it ain’t funny!

      A player with limitations, but with smarts, a knack for clutch hits, good defense and a positive attitude……. I see him as a DeRosa with developing power (hopefully) —-

      Dewitt should henceforth be banished to bat-cleaning duties!

      • Ripsnorter1

        I had to re-read your post. For a moment, I thought you said, “DeWitt should henceforth be banished to batting clean up!” LOL

  • Matt Weaver

    All things considered, 12-14 is not a terrible spot to be. My optimism is slowly building. I REALLY want this team to do well…

    My summer needs it.

  • Tony

    Congrats to Matt Garza on his 1st win with the Cubs. Nice outing. He needs to thank those young guys up the middle. Castro and Barney are fun to watch, especially as they run to 1st, after hitting the go ahead run, and then adding the insurance run.

    Nice month of April for Soriano, capping it with an exclamation point last night. Let’s hope that this is the result of working with Rudy J, and not just early season, overdoes of fastballs, and hanging curves.

    12-14 for the month of April, against the lower level teams of the league, is not a good start to the season. They will need to play better than this, to even be a 500 team at the end of the year.

    • cubtex

      12-14 is not great but when you consider they lost their #4 and #5 starters and replaced them with Casey Coleman(fringe #5 at best) and James Russell(not a MLB pitcher in my opinion) and Ryan Dempster doing his best Carlos Silva impersonation…they couldn’t have done much better. This team will only be able to stay competitive if Dempster,Z,Garza are able to consistently give them strong outings.

  • Brp921

    Next months schedule is very very tough and will tell the on the Cubs. If they don’t play any better than they did this month then they may be fifteen games or more under .500 by the end of May. Let’s hope that the breaks can turn a little in the Cubs favor.

  • cubs1967

    comment in today’s tribune by quade: “we have too much invested in pena to become a bench player”. WTF????…………seriously………..

    let me repeat that: WTF???????

    no, the GM who is the defacto mgr has too much invested becuz pena is another 10M bust. we owe pena nothing!!

    soriano or big Z, or even fukunuts too an extent becuz they are on untradeable multi-year deals.

    screw pena; quade’s roll is to play the best players; win games for his job, his owner, and the fans; who have sat through 103 yrs of NO championships.

    NOT to worry about carlos pena. the cubs have too much invested in colvin not to play the kid. that’s who has too much investment.

    even the best pena season would be .235 w/ 30 homers; pleassssssssssse, even kingman hit better than .235!

    quade is a fool; that ricketts is letting hendry be the de facto mgr is an embarrasment. no wonder ryno was not hired; he’d tell hendry where to go and ryno has HOF credentials to back it up.

    10M could of been spent on gorzelanny instead of forefeiting games w/ russell plus vets in the pen w/ money to spare…….

    i’m stunned quade was that honest……….but good for him; now we know what fools the tag team of Queless and Clueless really are!

    • cubtex

      Unfortunately contracts do determine playing time. Look at the Red Sox with Carl Crawford. He is hitting .155 and they have Mike Cameron on the bench. Do you think Crawford will become a 4th outfielder this year based on what the Sox are paying him? This is the harsh realities. Will the Yankess bench Jeter if he hits .220 this year?
      I think Pena has looked awful this year as well but in reality the guy has only 63 AB’s. Repeat 63 AB’s. Platoon him at 1st against right handers and see if he gets his stroke back. He still plays good defense and you need that with Castro and ARam making some erratic throws to first every now and then.

      • cubs1967

        your comparisions are horrid.

        like i said, mulit-year contracts do have an effect; like soriano or big Z or like your examples of jeter or crawford. really, jeter, a HOF player or crawford, who signed a 7 yr contract and is by FAR a much better player than pena.

        please, pena is a 1 yr rental, who is failing. colvin needs to play, he could be around for 10 yrs. pena will not.

        as i said, we owe pena nothing. we do OWE us the fans, a competitive team not to mention a championship, but at the least 1 yr rental disasters get no grace period. hit or grab some pine.

        • cubtex

          OK next question then….Are you really going to base an entire season on 63 AB’s????

          • John_CC

            No, all you have to do is look at his last 550 ABs: .190/.320/.380 with 28HR. Yes, that is a .380 SLG over his last 550 ABs. I do not doubt that Pena can still hit 25-30 HR with regular playing time this season, but I do doubt that he will raise his slash stats much.

            So, the question: can Colvin hit better then .200 with 25 HR if given the chance this season? This begs the next question, if you believe that Pena is a one year rental why not find out what Colvin can do in 500 ABs and maybe he’ll stick around as a backup 1B/4th OF after this year?

  • paulcatanese

    If Quade plays Pena today,and by all indications he will, the biggest insult not only to Cub fans but the players as well,would be to bat him fifth in the order. Everyone in the baseball world knows at this point he is not deserving of that. At best he should be in the number eight spot, and if LaRussa were here Pena would bat ninth. If Pena does not earn it ( and I mean more than one game,and two bunts later) he does not belong higher in the lineup. It’s a chance for Quade to say,”if I must play him,here’ s
    where he will begin,if he hits we will move him up.” If Quade does not do something like this it will tell everyone once and for all JH completely runs the show.

    • paulcatanese

      I stand corrected on the lineup,Pena is playing,but batting seventh in the lineup.
      Not low enough for me,but its a start.
      I wouldn’t say he’s a success or a failure based on one game,but lets see how he does and adjust the lineup accordingly.

  • Cheryl

    Let’s see how Pena does in the next few weeks. The cubs won’t make the wildcard but they may end up being a slightly above 500 club. The most interesting part of what’s taking place is what will happen at the trade deadline. I hope by then the Ricketts will have a better idea about what direction to take with the Cubs. One thig to bear in mind is what Gramps said, Henry does make the decisions on the baseball draft and the minor league selections are bearing fruit. Its what he does after these selections that people question.

  • Cheryl

    Should have been Hendry