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