Game Seventy-Eight – Cubs 7 Rockies 3
WP – Matt Garza (4-6) LP – Jhoulys Chacin (8-5) Save – None
Following Monday’s make-up game, Mike Quade said he liked the formula his team used to beat the Rockies. Quade added that the end result was good but he did not like all of the mistakes he team made. Quade held a meeting with his team after they salvaged the finale of the three game series that began back in April. Quade stressed to his team they needed to clean up the mistakes they can control on the field … namely the physical and mental errors.
All and all Monday was a good day for the Chicago Cubs as they finished the season series with the Colorado Rockies (2-4).
Matt Garza’s day ended the same way it began with Carlos Gonzalez hitting a home run … but in between he put together one of his better outings of the season. After giving up the solo shot to Gonzalez to start the game, Garza settled down, found a rhythm and did not allow his third hit until the sixth inning. Garza pitched into the eighth inning and gave up three runs on five hits, and two of those came on two swings of the bat. Garza did not walk and batter, struck out six and hit a batter in 7 1/3 innings. Garza threw 110 pitches, 75 for strikes.
The Cubs offense came out swinging against a very good pitcher. Aramis Ramirez and Carlos Pena drove in six of the Cubs seven runs on four homers … two each. The Cubs other run scored on a wild pitch in the fourth inning. The Cubs pounded out 10 hits, only two singles … three doubles, a triple and four home runs for the Cubs offense on Monday afternoon.
Aramis Ramirez has really stepped up as of late both in the field and at the plate. Ramirez put together a 3-for-4 afternoon that included a double, two home runs, three runs scored and three RBI. Ramirez recorded the 24th multi-homer game of his career, the first of 2011.
Carlos Pena notched his first multi-homer game in a Cubs’ uniform and his first since last June. Pena drove in three with his two longballs and continued to cleanup the poor throws at first base.
Starlin Castro (1-for-4 with a triple and a run scored) extended his hitting streak to 11-games with a first inning triple. Castro hit in the three-hole and reached on a two-out triple in the first inning, his sixth three-bagger of the season. Castro was on board for Aramis Ramirez’s first longball of the day that gave the Cubs the lead.
The Cubs were charged with two more errors Monday and finished the game 2-for-9 with runners in scoring position with six left on base. The Cubs put runners in scoring position in each of the first six innings.
With Monday’s win, the Cubs improved to 32-46 on the season, 14 games below the .500 mark …
To Garza’s credit he settled down and retired Todd Helton (fly out to center), Troy Tulowitzki (on a 4-6 fielder’s choice) and Seth Smith (struck out swinging) to end the inning.
After Fukudome and Campana made two quick outs to start the bottom of the first, Starlin Castro ripped a 2-1 pitch into center (just missed a home run) and ended up a third with his sixth triple of the season. Castro trotted home on Aramis Ramirez’s blast to left center … 2-1 Cubs.
Carlos Pena popped out to left to end the inning.
Matt Garza retired the Rockies in order in the top of the second … with a little help from Tony Campana. Campana made a diving catch in right center to take away a hit from Chris Iannetta. At the end of two, Garza’s pitch count stood at 30, 18 for strikes.
The Cubs could not tack onto their lead in the bottom of the second after a leadoff double by Alfonso Soriano. Soriano advanced to third on a ground out by Blake DeWitt but Soto struck out swinging … and Garza tapped back to the mound to end the inning.
Garza retired the Rockies in order in the third and worked around a one-out single and a mental error in the fourth. Troy Tulowitzki reached on a one-out single to center in the fourth. After Seth Smith advanced Tulowitzki on a swinging bunt, Ty Wigginton hit a 2-1 pitch into foul ground that should have ended the inning. Pena and Soto let the ball fall in between them and gave Wigginton another shot. With the Cubs up 2-1 at the time, Wigginton flied out to right center to end the inning.
The Cubs tacked on two runs in the bottom of the fourth and gave Garza a little breathing room.
Carlos Pena led off the inning with his 15th dinger of the season. Pena took over the team lead in homers and gave the Cubs a 3-1 lead.
Geovany Soto doubled with two outs in the fourth, the Cubs seventh hit of the game. Chacin then lost the strike zone and walked Garza on four pitches. Fukudome then worked a walk to load the bases with two outs.
Tony Campana stepped in and hit a 2-1 pitch up the first baseline. The ball was just foul and Chacin uncorked a wild pitch with his next offering that allowed Soto to score … 4-1 Cubs. Campana grounded out to second to end the inning on Chacin’s 35th pitch of the inning.
Garza worked around his own error in the fifth and ended up facing the minimum.
After Castro tapped back to the mound to start the fifth, Aramis Ramirez ripped Chacin’s first pitch down the right field line. Ramirez ended up at second and was along for the ride on Pena’s second homer of the game. Pena launched a 3-1 pitch into the bleachers in left center. Pena’s seventh homer in his last 11 games gave the Cubs a 6-1 lead.
Alfonso Soriano worked a one-out walk but DeWitt and Soto struck out to end the inning. At the end of five, the Cubs were up 6-1.
Jonathan Herrera singled to center with one out in the sixth. Herrera broke for second on a 1-1 pitch to Helton that was in the dirt. Soto threw the ball into center and Herrera advanced to third. Helton cut the Cubs lead to 6-2 with a single to right. Tulowitzki grounded into a 6-4 fielder’s choice and Smith grounded out to second to end the inning.
Matt Garza retired the Rockies in order in the seventh.
Aramis Ramirez led off the bottom of the seventh with a monster blast just to the left of dead center. Ramirez’s eighth homer of the season hit off the top of the batter’s eye and gave the Cubs a 7-2 lead.
Mike Quade left Garza in to start the eighth. Garza retired pinch-hitter Ryan Spilborghs for the first out of the eight. Garza had retired six in a row at the time but Gonzalez launched a 1-2 pitch into the bleachers in right and ended Garza’s day.
With the score 7-3, Sean Marshall retired Herrera and Helton to end the inning.
Carlos Marmol made it interesting in the ninth. Tulowitzki reached on a bloop single to start the inning and advanced to second when Marmol walked Seth Smith. Marmol settled down and struck out Wigginton and Jason Giambi. With two on and two out, Chris Iannetta flied out to center to end the game.
A win is a win … and at least Q’s squad started the long homestand out with a victory.
Tuesday will be a long day of baseball for the Chicago Cubs. The Cubs play a day-night doubleheader against the defending World Champs. Doug Davis versus Ryan Vogelsong in game one with Rodrigo Lopez facing Barry Zito in the nightcap.