Game One Hundred Twenty – Cubs 8 Braves 4
WP – Randy Wells (4-4) LP – Derek Lowe (7-11) Save – Carlos Marmol (27)
The Cubs bounced back nicely from Friday night’s debacle and put together a rare victory over Derek Lowe less than 24 hours later. After spending Saturday dealing with the latest Carlos Zambrano drama, the youngest of the Cubs led the way on Saturday night.
Starlin Castro (4-for-5 with a run scored and two RBI) recorded the seventh four-hit game of his young career and Darwin Barney (4-for-5 with a run scored and a RBI) set a career high with four hits. The top of Quade’s lineup combined on a 8-for-10 night with two runs scored and three RBI … add in Tyler Colvin’s 2-for-5 night that included a double, a triple and two runs scored and the Cubs’ kids were responsible for 10 of the Cubs 14 hits and seven of the eight runs scored.
Carlos Pena (1-for-5 with a double and two RBI) broke up the one-one tie in the fifth with a two-out, two-run double. Aramis Ramirez (1-for-4 with a sac fly, RBI and run scored) drove in the first run of the game with a sac fly and scored on Pena’s double in the fifth. Three of the Cubs eight runs scored on two out hits by Carlos Pena and Starlin Castro.
Randy Wells put together a solid start and made the big pitch when he needed it. Wells gave up two runs on eight hits without a walk, a HBP and one strikeout in five-plus innings. Wells threw 76 pitches, 50 for strikes.
Jeff Samardzija bailed out Wells in the sixth. Samardzija did not allow an inherited run to score after taking over for Wells with runners on first and second with no outs.
Carlos Marmol picked up his 27th save of the season after coming into a bases loaded jam with one out in the ninth. Marmol gave up a sac fly to Chipper Jones that allowed a run to score but that was it … and more importantly, Marmol threw strikes (five pitches, four for strikes).
Dan Uggla extended his hitting streak to 33 games with a 2-for-3 night that included a home run and a walk. Uggla was also hit by a pitch and scored two runs. The Cubs have retired Uggla only once in two games and the Braves’ slugger has hit three home runs in the series.
With Saturday’s win, the Cubs improved to 52-68 on the season … 16 games below .500. Starlin Castro led off the game with his first of four hits on the night. Quade called for a hit and run on a 2-1 offering to Darwin Barney. The Cubs second baseman responded with a single to right. Castro ended up at third and scored on a sac fly to left off the bat of Aramis Ramirez. Lowe retired Pena and Byrd to end the inning.
Randy Wells had a shaky first inning but did not allow any runs. After retiring Bourn and Prado to start the inning, Freddie Freeman reached on a two-out single to center. Dan Uggla extended his hitting streak to 33 games with a single to center. Wells retired Chipper Jones on a fly out to center to end the inning.
Tyler Colvin doubled to right with one out in the second but was stranded when Soto grounded out to third and Wells struck out swinging.
The Braves did nothing against Wells in the bottom of the second … three up, three down.
Starlin Castro led off the third with a single to left. Barney followed, again, with a single to right off Freddie Freeman’s glove. Castro advanced to third with no outs. Aramis Ramirez hit a grounder to Alex Gonzalez at short. Castro paused for just a second and was thrown out at the plate when David Ross scooped the low throw and tagged him out.
Carlos Pena and Marlon Byrd struck out swinging to end the inning.
Randy Wells pitched around a one-out infield single by Michael Bourn in the bottom of the third. Bourn stole second with Freeman at the dish but Freeman grounded out to second to end the inning.
At the end of three, 1-0 Cubs.
The Cubs did nothing against Derek Lowe in the fourth.
The Braves tied the game at one in the bottom of the fourth … and it was that guy again, Dan Uggla. Uggla hit his third home run of the series and tied the game at one. Chipper Jones followed with a double but tried to advance to third on a grounder to Castro. Castro threw out Jones at third for the first out of the inning.
David Ross followed with a single and the Braves had runners on first and second with one out. Jose Constanza tapped back to the mound. Wells threw to second and forced Ross but the speedy Constanza beat Castro’s throw. Derek Lowe grounded out to short to end the inning.
The Cubs took the lead for good in the top of the fifth. After Wells grounded out to short and Castro flied out to right to start the inning, Darwin Barney singled to center with two outs. Aramis Ramirez followed with a single to left and Carlos Pena stepped to the plate with two on, two out in a tied game.
Carlos Pena ripped a 1-0 pitch into the gap in left center. Barney scored and broke the tie and Ramirez lumbered around the bases … and just like that it was 3-1 Cubs. Byrd struck out swinging to end the inning.
Randy Wells responded with a nice shut down inning … the Braves did nothing against Wells in the bottom of the fifth.
Tyler Colvin launched a 0-1 pitch to center with one out in the sixth. Michael Bourn raced back and appeared to catch the ball but as he hit the wall the ball popped loose. Colvin hustled around the bases and ended up with his first triple of the season.
Geovany Soto hit a grounder to third, Colvin broke for the plate and scored when the ball got away from David Ross. Jones was charged with an error at the time but was changed to a fielder’s choice and a RBI for Soto.
Wells sacrificed Soto to second and Castro delivered a two-out single into center. Soto scored and the Cubs took a 5-1 lead. Barney flied out to center to end the inning.
Randy Wells started the sixth but could not record any outs. Wells hit Uggla to start the inning and he advanced to second on a single to right by Chipper Jones. Alex Gonzalez ripped a 1-0 pitch back up the middle and off of a diving Darwin Barney’s glove. Uggla scored … 5-2 Cubs.
Mike Quade went to his pen and brought in Jeff Samardzija with runners on first and second with no outs and the Cubs up by three.
Samardzija did his job without allowing an inherited runner to score. Ross popped out to second. Constanza tapped back to the mound, Samardzija forced Gonzalez at second and retired pinch-hitter Brooks Conrad on a fly out to right to end the inning.
The Cubs did nothing in the top of the seventh and Sean Marshall worked around his own error in the bottom of the seventh without allowing any runs. The Cubs actually retired Dan Uggla for the first time in the series to end the inning (fly out to left).
The Cubs appeared to put the game away in the top of the eighth. Alfonso Soriano reached on a swinging bunt up the third baseline. Tony Campana ran for Soriano and advanced to third on error in left by Martin Prado. Colvin made it to second with no outs.
After Geovany Soto struck out swinging, Blake DeWitt hit for Marshall and hit a weak grounder to the first base side of the mound. Campana broke on contact and scored just ahead of Ross’ tag. Colvin ended up at third and scored on a single to left by Starlin Castro … 7-2 Cubs.
Fredi Gonzalez went to his pen and replaced Cristhian Martinez with Anthony Varvaro.
Darwin Barney singled to center and plated DeWitt with the Cubs’ eighth and final run of the night. Ramirez flied out to left, Castro advanced to third but Pena flied out to deep right to end the inning.
The Braves started chipping away at the Cubs’ six-run lead in the bottom of the eighth against Ramon Ortiz.
Chipper Jones led off the inning with a double to right center … Byrd and Colvin did not communicate. Gonzalez grounded out to second. Ross followed with a single to center. Jones advanced to third with one out.
Mike Quade went to his pen and brought in James Russell to face Jose Constanza. Constanza grounded out and drove in Jones with the Braves third run. Eric Hinske strolled to the plate, hitting for Varvaro and struck out swinging to end the inning.
At the end of eight … 8-3 Cubs.
Other than a one-out single by Tony Campana, the Cubs did nothing against George Sherrill in the top of the ninth.
James Russell started the ninth with the Cubs up 8-3. Martin Prado single to center with one out and advanced to second on a single to right by Freddie Freeman. Russell walked Uggla to load the bases with one out.
Carlos Marmol was summoned from the pen, along with Reed Johnson (right field).
Chipper Jones hit a deep fly to right. Prado tagged and scored but Alex Gonzalez popped out to Castro in short center to end the game.
What a roller coaster of a day for the Chicago Cubs …
Matt Garza will face Brandon Beachy in the series finale on Sunday afternoon.