Down to the Last Strike … Cubs Walk-off the Giants Again – Cubs 5 Giants 2

Game Eighty-Two – Cubs 5 Giants 2 – 13 innings
WP – John Grabow (1-0) LP – Ramon Ramirez (2-1, BS 1) Save – None

wflag.jpgThe Chicago Cubs came from behind not once but twice against the San Francisco Giants’ bullpen on Thursday afternoon and pulled off an improbable walk-off victory … the Cubs second walk-off win over the Giants in as many days.

After Aramis Ramirez tied the game at one in the bottom of the ninth with a solo shot off Brian Wilson, the two teams exchanged punches for three innings but neither one of the pens gave up a run until the 13th inning.

The Cubs bullpen was spectacular Thursday in relief of Carlos Zambrano who left in the second inning with soreness in his lower back. The pen did not allow a hit after the third inning and put together 11 innings of shutout ball.

The Giants finally broke through against John Grabow in the 13th inning. Pablo Sandoval, who recorded the Giants last hit in the third, launched a 1-1 pitch from Grabow into the bleachers and gave the Giants a 2-1 lead.

To the Cubs credit they showed a lot of heart on Thursday … and never quit playing.

After Koyie Hill and Reed Johnson went quickly to start the bottom of the 13th, Jeff Baker fell behind 0-2 … and the Cubs were down to their last strike.

Jeff Baker ripped Ramon Ramirez’s next pitch off the wall in left center. Baker’s two-out, two-strike double gave Darwin Barney a chance to tie the game … and Barney delivered once again.

Darwin Barney singled to left on a 1-2 pitch. Baker rounded third and slid in safe below Cody Ross’ throw … the Giants left fielder airmailed the throw and Barney took second on the play. After an intentional walk to Starlin Castro, Mike Quade went to his bench and sent Geovany Soto up to hit for John Grabow.

Geovany Soto looked a two out of the zone to start the inning. Soto ended up working the count to full before launching a three-run shot into the bleachers in left. Soto’s eighth home run of the season powered the Cubs to the 5-2 win.

All four runs in the 13th came after two outs with two strikes on Baker, Barney and Soto.

Marcos Mateo had is best day as a big leaguer on Thursday. Mateo was really the difference in a game that was billed as a pitcher’s duel between Carlos Zambrano and Matt Cain. Mateo mopped up Zambrano’s mess in the second inning without allowing another run.

Marcos Mateo gave up only two hits in five innings of work. Mateo struck out six without a walk on 56 pitches, 37 for strikes.

Jeff Samardzija, Sean Marshall and James Russell each threw a scoreless and hitless frame while Carlos Marmol tossed two innings of shutout ball. Marmol and Samardzija each walked a batter, the only two baserunners the Giants had until the 12th inning.

John Grabow worked his way in and out of trouble in the 12th. Grabow walked the bases loaded (one intentional) but did not allow a hit and escaped his first inning of work without allowing a run. Grabow picked up the win after allowing one run on one hit with three walks and a strikeout in two innings.

Carlos Zambrano left in the second inning with lower back soreness. Z received an MRI on his back but is not expected to miss anytime. Z allowed a run on two hits with a pair of walks and a strikeout.

With Thursday’s win, the Cubs improved to 34-48 (11-18 in June), 14 below the mediocre mark, and split the four-game series the Giants (2-2, 3-3 on the season) …

When Carlos Zambrano left the game and with Matt Cain on the hill, the likelihood of the Cubs beating the Giants seemed remote at best but to the Cubs credit they never quit playing.

The Giants scored the first run of the game, the last until the ninth, in the second inning off of Carlos Zambrano.

Z walked Nate Schierholtz on four pitches to start the inning. Brandon Crawford dropped a bunt towards first that Pena fielded and tried to shovel to Zambrano. Z bobbled the ball then tried to throw out Schierholtz at second. The ball ended up in left field and the runners advanced to second and third … with no outs.

Miguel Tejada hit a pop up into shallow right that Barney dropped. It was ruled a hit and a RBI as Schierholtz scored … 1-0 Giants.

With runners on first and third with no outs, Zambrano threw a pitch to Eli Whiteside. Z was in pain, Mark O’Neal came out and Z left the game with an apparent back injury.

Marcos Mateo was summoned from the pen and struck out Whiteside on a 3-2 pitch. Tejada broke for second and was caught in a run down before eventually running out of the baseline (2-6-3). Crawford held at third and was strained when Cain popped out to Castro to end the inning.

Marcos Mateo worked out of a first and third, one out jam in the third after giving up back-to-back singles to Emmanuel Burriss and Pablo Sandoval (the Giants last hit until the 13th). Mateo struck out Pat Burrell and after a wild pitch advanced Sandoval to second, Schierholtz popped out to left to end the inning.

That was it for the Giants until the 12th inning.

The Giants took a 1-0 lead into the ninth and gave the ball to Brian Wilson. Wilson retired Starlin Castro on a groundout to third. Wilson fell behind Aramis Ramirez 3-1. Ramirez showed he did not fear the beard. Ramirez launched Wilson’s 3-1 pitch into the bleachers in left center game tied at one on the first homer allowed by Wilson this season.

Carlos Marmol retired the Giants in order in the 10th on ten pitches and gave the Cubs a chance to win it in the bottom of the 10th.

Tony Campana led off with an infield single and advanced to second on a sac bunt by Koyie Hill. Reed Johnson reached on an infield single. Bruce Bochy went to his pent and brought in Javier Lopez to face Fukudome. Quade countered with Baker but he hit into a 6-4-3 inning ending double play.

Carlos Marmol worked around a two-out walk in the 11th but the Cubs went in order in the bottom of the inning.

John Grabow took over in the 12th and proved once again why he should no longer pitch in close or tied ballgames. Grabow issued back-to-back walks to Cody Ross and Nate Schierholtz. Ross actually advanced to second during Schierholtz’s at bat after Koyie Hill tried to pick Ross off first and the ball ended up in right field.

Brandon Crawford sacrificed Ross and Schierholtz to second and third. Grabow intentionally walked Tejada to load the bases with one out.

Bochy went to his bench and sent up Aubrey Huff to hit for Eli Whiteside. Huff popped up Grabow’s first pitch into shallow right … and Aaron Rowand flied out to center to end the inning.

The Cubs went down in order against Jeremy Affeldt in the bottom of the 12th.

John Grabow gave up the dinger to Pablo Sandoval in the 13th and was the beneficiary of three clutch hits from Jeff Baker, Darwin Barney and Geovany Soto.

Taking two from the Giants after dropping both games of the doubleheader on Tuesday is not bad, not bad at all. Maybe Q’s squad can finally get over that three-game hump …

Box Score from Yahoo Sports

The second round of the City Series begins Friday afternoon … Randy Wells against Edwin Jackson in game one of round two with the White Sox.

Quote of the Day

"The real voyage of discovery consists not in seeking new landscapes but in having new eyes." - Marcel Proust

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  • paulcatanese

    Just the way a screenwriter would draw it up. Reminded me of the days of Banks, Santo,Sandberg, and Williams, great finish.

    • John G

      I always thought Glen Beckert played 2nd in the days of Banks, Santo and Williams. Shows what I know.

      • paulcatanese

        John,I was speaking more in terms of these guys and walk off wins and not neccesarily who played together. My fault for not making that clear. The walk offs have not been to often lately. And I lost my mind with this one. All the better for me as it was against the Giants.

        • John G

          I knew you knew that Paul. I was just tweekin’ you a little.

  • erniesarmy

    “I always thought Glen Beckert played 2nd in the days of Banks, Santo and Williams. Shows what I know.”
    ——————————————
    Nope, you are right on the money! Beckert was at second and Kessinger was shortstop.

    Now if I could just remember who that right fielder was …

  • http://chicagocubsonline.com/ Neil

    Marlon Byrd was 1-for-4 Thursday night with the
    I-Cubs. Byrd was hit by another pitch and picked up an outfield assist.

    • paulcatanese

      Neil,thats a little worrisome and I kind of agree with Rip,that Byrd may have a problem picking up the pitch, seems like its every other day he gets hit.And thats not good.

  • The Maven

    Despite being owed the remainder of a 7.25 million dollar contract this season, the Boston Red Sox just DFAed Mike Cameron.

    So…THAT’S how a big league team operates!

    • jw

      NIce banter today on the site…a bit on the testy side…nice.

      Your post got me thinking

      I agree a good GM has to recognize their mistake and move on…Its just that  the Red Sox have a lot more financial bullets to use up than the Cubs…it is harder for any GM in Chicago to recover from bad or misfortunate decisions…having said that it would be interesting if you could simulate scenarios to see if Jimmyboy had that kind of spending power and flexibility if he could keep the Red Sox winning big. He uses the no-trade tool a lot but of course it’s easier to recruit to Boston than to the Cubs for obvious reasons.

      • cubtex

        So boy wonder should be hailed for bad contracts and cutting Cameron. Most know my thoughts on Theo. He has the easiest GM job in baseball. Most any GM in baseball can succeed with those resources including our own Jim Hendry! Look at some of these ridiculous contracts…. Lackey 16 mil JD Drew 14 mil Cameron 7,750,000 Jenks 6 mil Scutaro 5,500,000. 160 mil payroll and that will only go up. I didn’t even mention Crawford at almost 15 mil with a 6 mil dollar signing bonus. Wait till they have to pay Lester and Bucholz!

        • Tony_Hall

          Good point, but JH, has a much bigger payroll that his division counterparts, and doesn’t make it work.

          Boston should be hailed for admitting that the player isn’t worth the roster spot, and that they have to pay him either way.

          • cubtex

            I am not saying Hendry has done a good job but Theo is sooooo overated. A number of general managers could do his job better than he has!

          • Dorasaga

            Your opinion is heard, but I don’t see how those are bad signings. I don’t see how JHendry or Bill Smith (Twins) can do better in Boston.

            JD Drew when healthy is still one of the best right fielder both defensively and offensively (unless we disregard his on-base and power and believe BA is everything); he had two good years with Boston. Jenks and Lackey are signed during their prime. Matsuzaka contributed to two postseason trips, including a World Series; plus he’s a great marketing tool. The Pirates and Royals should thank Boston for all those shared-revenue income through the Japanese star-bred…

            Alright, I don’t need to get into details. The thing here is simple: We look across their career. Will you rather have Theo Epstein in a big marketing team, or Jim Hendry?

            The Cubs is operating half-ass. They have the resources to spend like Boston. Chicago, vicinity, the Tribune, and the WGN influences were combined to be the biggest market second only to the Yankees.

            The Cubs should have spent MORE THAN Boston between 1980 to 2007 (the Tribune Era), and they should be lucky once in a while. But why were their postseason appearances limited?

            Mediocre management. Anyway, like said, Cubs fans are paying hard-earned money for a Chicago Royals team, not a big market thinker.

  • diehardcubfan

    The Cubs winning two in a row and both games in dramatic fashion is good and a step in the right direction but for me causes alarm.

    I may go against many here but in my opinion the Cubs actually starting to win is not a good thing. The Cubs are 14 games below .500 and 10 games out.  They will likely need to play .700 to .800 ball the remainder of the season and hope that the Brewers and Cardinals have melt downs to have an actual shot at the playoffs. 

    Winning in my opinion will only continue to fuel JHs delusion that the Cubs can actually win.  This team needs an overhaul and losing will only help that to happen to a degree but trade clauses and overpriced contracts will limit any dramatic transformation as we all well know.

    I do agree with JH that we need to build for the future but frankly I have little faith that he is the right man for the job of getting us there.

    The Cubs now need a GM that understands baseball metrics, develops talent and fundamentals at all levels of the organizaiton and fosters a winning culture. 

    His moves over the past couple of years have brought little value to the team.  This includes bringing on board quality prospects in trades to plug holes in the farm system and have quality players ready for the ML level.  JH has done a decent job of recruiting but not a good job of trading as of late.

    Maybe a miracle could happen and anything is possible in baseball but does short term success really good for the organization. I argue NO unless it involves a WS title. 

    Only complete transformation and the continued infusion of young talent like B. Jackson, M. Szczur, R. Flaherty and others will transform this team.

    My concern with JH remains will he let them progress and then add the missing parts to build a long time contendor or insist on keeping aging and overpriced veterans.  

    I have grown more convinced over the past few years though JH will not lead this team were it needs to go.

    • PleaseStopLosing

      After trading so many key pieces of our farm system last off season for Matt Garza showed Hendry is still trying to win now. Garza is a good pitcher and the trade may have been fair but Garza’s deal will be running out about the same time we have a chance to compete again. At that point I would rather have the guys we gave away then an unsigned Garza who helped us get 2nd to last rather than last the last couple years.

      • diehardcubfan

        I am like you that in my opinion the trade for Garza was not the right time and I think we gave up too much for him.  Arguably, Garza has Ace potential and now that he is a Cub he will have to be the pitcher the Cubs build the staff around. 

        • paulcatanese

          I agree, but “Quality” Jim did not think the players he traded were “quality”
          players. In”quality” Jim’s mind Garza was to put the Cubs over the top. Garza is good, and a great team player, but you are both right. Right pitcher,wrong time. And as I have said before, Aram,Soto,Pena and the pitching staff will be here next year. Not my choice but with a delusional GM I do not see it any other way. He truly believes they are the near future for the Cubs.