Two in the Ninth … Cubs Win! – Cubs 3 Reds 2

Game Thirty-Two – Cubs 3 Reds 2
WP – Marcos Mateo (1-1) LP – Francisco Cordero (2-1, BS 2) Save – None

wflag.jpgThe Cubs entered the ninth inning Saturday down 2-1 after more struggles with runners in scoring position (0-for-5 with RISP and six left on base in first eight innings, 2-for-17 with RISP in series with 14 left on base prior to the ninth) but Carlos Pena’s third hit of the game was a big one.

Carlos Pena (3-for-4, first three-hit game since July 29, 2010) launched a 1-0 pitch through the wind into the bleachers in right. Pena’s first homer at Wrigley tied the game at two … and his third longball of the week seemed to relax the team as they went back to work against Francisco Cordero.

Blake DeWitt (2-for-4 with a home run and two runs scored) singled to center with one out on a 2-0 pitch. After Tyler Colvin struck out swinging, Jeff Baker hit for Marcos Mateo and appeared to end the game. Baker ripped a 2-1 pitch over Drew Stubbs’ head in center. Stubbs misplayed the ball and DeWitt rounded third and headed for home. But the ball hit on the warning track and hopped over the 11 1/2 foot wall in center. DeWitt went back to third.

With two on and two out, Kosuke Fukudome (3-for-4 with a double, a walk and a RBI) came through with the Cubs first hit of the day with RISP. Fukudome lined a 2-2 pitch from Cordero into centerfield … Cubs Win!

Casey Coleman put together his best start of the season and shutout the Reds for six innings. Coleman was very sharp in the process. He walked only two batters and surrendered just three hits on 91 pitches, 53 for strikes.

Coleman took the mound to start the seventh and issued his third walk of the day. After a bloop single on a hit and run, Coleman was lifted and turned the game over to the pen. Kerry Wood could not clean up Coleman’s mess and allowed two inherited runners to score. The Reds plated two in the seventh and it appeared it would be enough.

Casey Coleman put together his longest outing of the season, a quality start, and struck out six … a new career high. Coleman’s line: two runs on four hits with three walks and six strikeouts in six-plus innings on 98 pitches, 55 for strikes.

Bronson Arroyo once again dominated the Cubs offense and became the first Reds pitcher to throw beyond seven innings this season. Arroyo keeps the Cubs free swinging and undisciplined lineup off balance every time he faces them

Blake DeWitt was the Cubs’ offense Saturday until the ninth. DeWitt gave the Cubs a 1-0 lead with a solo homer off Arroyo in the fourth. It was DeWitt’s first longball since September 3 of last season.

Marcos Mateo picked up the first win of his big league career Saturday. Mateo pitched 1 1/3 perfect innings. Mateo struck out one on 14 pitches, eight for strikes. The Cubs pen did another good job in relief of Casey Coleman. Other than Kerry Wood’s mistake to Drew Stubbs (second blown save of the year), the Cubs’ pen of Wood, James Russell and Mateo did not allow a hit over the last three innings of the game.

With Saturday’s win the Cubs snapped a five-game home losing streak to the Reds and improved to 15-17 on the season …

There were three big positives along with Kosuke Fukudome to come out of Saturday’s victory.

Casey Coleman pitched a very good game and looked more like the pitcher that finished the 2010 season in the big leagues than the one that has been pitching this year.

Carlos Pena hit the big fly when his team needed one. Pena’s other two hits (bunt single, infield single) did not reach the outfield Saturday but his blast in the ninth cut through the wind and tied the game.

The Cubs pen continued doing its job. The two inherited runs Kerry Wood allowed aside, Coleman and the pen held the Reds’ offense to two runs on five hits.

With the Reds’ dynamic offense, it was very apparent that one run (DeWitt’s homer in the fourth) would not hold up. And Dusty Baker’s bunch tied and took the lead in the seventh.

Casey Coleman walked the Reds’ seventh place hitter, Chris Heisey, to start the inning. Coleman’s third walk of the day … and third to start an inning. Coleman then gave up a bloop single to right to Ryan Hanigan. Baker called for the hit and run and Heisey ended up at third.

Coleman was lifted with runners on first and third with no outs … and the Cubs up 1-0.

Kerry Wood could not get out of the jam. Fred Lewis pinch-hit for Chris Valaika and hit a weak grounder to Darwin Barney at short that allowed Heisey to score the tying run. Bronson Arroyo then sacrificed Lewis to second. With two outs and the go ahead run on second, Drew Stubbs singled to center on a 1-2 pitch. Lewis scored and gave the Reds the lead.

Wood struck out Edgar Renteria to end the inning. With the Cubs’ struggles with RISP, the wind blowing in and the Reds’ bullpen a 2-1 final was a strong possibility.

The Cubs went down in order in the seventh. Darwin Barney reached on a one-out single in the eighth and chased Bronson Arroyo from the game. Logan Ondrusek struck out Marlon Byrd and Aramis Ramirez to end the eighth.

Carlos Pena stepped in and tied the game at two in the ninth. Pena ripped a 1-0 pitch from Francisco Cordero through the wind and into the bleachers in right. Pena’s third home run in the last week was exactly what the team needed.

Geovany Soto grounded out to second but Blake DeWitt singled to center on a 2-0 pitch. Following a Tyler Colvin strikeout, Jeff Baker hit for Marcos Mateo and just about ended the game.

Baker hit a deep fly to center that turned Stubbs in several different directions. The ball ended up landing on the warning track and bouncing over the centerfield wall. DeWitt had to return to third.

With runners on second and third with two outs, Kosuke Fukudome ripped a 2-2 pitch into center. DeWitt scored the winning run.

The Cubs improved to 11-0 this season in games they are leading when entering the sixth inning.

Saturday was a great finish to a game the Cubs needed to win. With that said, this group of players must figure out how to get the job done with runners in scoring position. In the first two games of the series, the Cubs are 3-for-18 with RISP and have left 16 on base.

Box Score from Yahoo Sports

The Cubs have another shot at winning a series … the Cubs are 0-for-Sunday this season (0-5) and will give Ryan Dempster the ball. Johnny Cueto is scheduled to be activated from the DL and make his first start of the season.

Quote of the Day

"There are places I remember. All my life though some have changed. Some forever not for better. Some have gone and some remain. All these places have their moments ... " John Lennon/Paul McCartney
  • Agustinrexach

    As the Cubs entered the bottom
    of the ninth inning trailing 2 to 1 to the Cincinatti Reds and in need of a unlikely miracle with three outs to work with; My wife Nylka stepped up to the plate and delivered the newest member of the Chicago Cubs fandome! A clutch homerun by Carlos Peña tied it, and hits by Dewitt, Baker and Fukudome completed the memorable comeback the day Frank TinTin Rexach was born! It’s always good to start your life with a Cub Win!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    Welcome to life little friend, here’s hoping you get ti see what many others have not! Ty Cubs.

    • Neil


    • Gary J


  • Gary J

    For all the comments about how horrible this team is… for all the talk of the complete failure of management to stock the lineup… for all the talk of how horrible a manager Quade is…. for all the talk of how Hendry is clueless…. for how the offense is one of the worst in the league…

    Explain this to me.

    The Cubs are only 3 games out of first… even though 2 under .500

    …with 40% of their starters coming out of camp still on the DL since the first week of the year

    …with the clutch hitting being as dismal as it has been.

    Am I saying this team is awesome – heck no. There are spots to improve all over the place.

    Am I saying they are contenders – not that either. Although the division is more open than my eyes at a buffet.

    But the glass isn’t NEARLY as empty as some have been saying either.

    There are positives here.

    Barney rookie of the month
    Cashner and Wells on the road back
    Pena seeming to be finally snapping out of it
    Dempster too
    Coleman looking good today against a good-to-great hitting team
    Fonzie finally realizing that he’s going to have to hit for power to compensate for his lack of speed anymore (and leading the league in homers btw)
    Garza continuing to adjust to the NL but still second in Ks (when I remember people pointing at his Ks dropping in 2010 as a sign he was losing it)

    And as a team they are #3 in the majors in batting avg… seriously. Look it up. 3rd in the majors. Really. I am not making that up. That’s with Pena and Colvin counted too.

    Yes – the clutch hitting is dismal…. and dismal isn’t a strong enough word.
    Yes – the running game is non existent.
    Yes – for Soriano leading the league and Pena having a great week… there’s still an abundant lack of power.
    Yes – for a team hitting .270, we’re not scoring runs like we could – or really like we should.

    But all that said – a win tomorrow and through early May this team is only a half game out of second in the division. A 1/2 game behind Cincy… 1 1/2 or 2 1/2 ahead of the Brewers.

    Do I feel the bottom could fall out at any moment? Oh my goodness yes. Like a lead balloon.

    But do I also think things could still fall in the right direction? You betcha. Enough bad things have happened that if those turn around and the good continues there’s (gasp) a chance.

    A win like today is the kind of thing that can catapult a streak – it’s happened before.

    I’m going to continue to look at the glass as half full – that’s all I’m saying.

    For a year that I looked at as the bridge year to clearing payroll and (knock on wood, rubbing lucky rabbit’s foot, crossing fingers) fixing a lot of things that were mandated under the Tribune’s direction contract-wise… I’m actually seeing signs that this might not be a completely lost year. And the the future is actually bright beyond 2011.

    It could happen – we could be a dozen games under .500 easy by the AS break. Wouldn’t be a shock either.

    Or we could be in first or within striking distance.

    I know… one’s more likely than the other. And it’s not the good one.

    But for the love of Santo – can we please stop shoveling the dirt on the casket already? You’ll probably get your chance soon enough – but do people have to seem so eager about it? Sheesh.

    • Calicub

      despite the fact that the cubs won today nothing will change. the cubs may look to compete in the weakest division in baseball but they in no way compare to any truly elite team. I’d rather the cubs loose and start rebuilding now than to cling to the hope that 30 ifs might happen.

      i love to see the cubs win and clutch hitting in the ninth is rare but great when it happens but there are just so many things that could be done now to ensure success for a majority of the next decade

    • paulcatanese

      Good article Gary. First of all,Pena is making me eat my words, and I hope he keeps it up. Coleman also,and I would be estatic if Russell would too.The loss for a while of Cashner and Wells hurts but it looks as though they just might hang in there. The one glaring thing in my mind is the number 3-4 spot, if they can cure that one, the Cubs could be business. Today’s game, very enjoyable.

    • Tony

      Whatever you are drinking, you should share!

      Yes the mighty offense of the Cubs is 3rd in Batting average in all of major league baseball and 2nd in the NL.

      We keep score using RUNS though.

      The Cubs are 11th out of 16 teams in the NL in RUNS!

      They are 20th out of 30 teams in all of Baseball.

      They are tied for 8th place out of 16 teams in the NL, based on record.

      This type of talk makes JH drool. He hears talk like this, and helps him justify, trading away more prospects, for another rental , or aging vet, with too much pay left for next year, mortgaging that future you talk of, while still losing in the present.

      My goal for the Cubs is to win a WORLD SERIES! Not to have a chance to be respectable in a weak division.

      Also, I am not eager to see the Cubs lose, but rather to see them make smarter decisions for the future, while still giving the present team the same basic chance to win this year.

  • Patrick_Schaefer

    Great comeback off a difficult closer, nice win I hope Pena can keep this up. Is Coleman finally settling in?

    • paulcatanese

      And don’t forget,Fukudome is not fading yet. Been pushing him for a long time. and for sure Coleman did a nice job today and I as well hope he is settling in.Pleased with Pena also in his last few games.

  • Tom U

    In an interesting development this evening, Brett Jackson started for only the fourth time in right field, and was later moved to left.