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