Game One Hundred Twenty-Six – Cubs 3 Cardinals 0
WP – Matt Garza (6-9) LP – Edwin Jackson (9-9, 2-2) Save – Carlos Marmol (29)
Matt Garza dominated the Cardinals on Saturday afternoon after a less than spectacular start. The Cardinals loaded the bases in the first on a hustle double by Jon Jay and back-to-back one-out walks to Albert Pujols and Lance Berkman. After a meeting on the mound with Mike Quade, Garza induced a 6-4-3 inning ending double play off the bat of David Freese … and Garza never looked back.
Matt Garza was as good as he’s been all season. Garza allowed five hits (four after the first) and stuck out eight. Both of Garza’s free passes came in the first inning and he even started a 1-6-3 double play to end the fifth as well as executing his first successful sacrifice bunt of the season. Garza’s final line: no runs, five hits, two walks, a wild pitch and eight strikeouts in seven innings (110 pitches, 78 for strikes).
Matt Garza posted his first win at Wrigley since June 27 (Rockies).
All of the Cubs runs came on four hits in the fourth inning. The Cubs hit for the cycle in the inning and the three runs they scored turned out to be all that Matt Garza and the pen would need.
Edwin Jackson did not allow a hit in the first three innings and faced the minimum. Starlin Castro (1-for-4 with a run scored) recorded the Cubs first hit leading off the fourth and scored the game’s first run.
Aramis Ramirez (1-for-3 with a home run, two RBI and a walk) hit his team-leading 24th homer of the year, a two-run shot on the first pitch of the at bat. Ramirez leads the majors with 12 first pitch home runs on the season. After Carlos Pena (1-for-4 with a triple and a run scored) tripled, Marlon Byrd (1-for-3 with a double and a RBI) doubled him in with the Cubs third run.
The Cubs offense managed only six hits on Saturday afternoon … in the end Matt Garza just out-pitched Edwin Jackson.
Sean Marshall, Kerry Wood and Carlos Marmol combined for two perfect innings in relief of Garza … Cubs’ pitching handed the Cardinals their seventh shutout of the season, the Cardinals first since June 26 (Blue Jays).
With Saturday’s win, the Cubs posted their fourth consecutive series win at Wrigley (Cubs have won five of last six series) and improved to 56-70 (13-5 in August) on the year, 14 games below .500 … Matt Garza struggled with his command, himself and Mike Quade in the first inning. Jon Jay reached on a hustle double to left center to start the game. Soriano got to the ball in the gap, spun around and made a strong throw to second. Barney missed the tag as Jay slid into second.
Garza retired Allen Craig on the ninth pitch of the at bat on a ground out to short. Garza was taking a lot of time in between pitches and quickly fell behind Albert Pujols 3-0. Quade asked for ball four to be issued intentionally and Garza did but was not happy about the decision. Garza then walked Lance Berkman on five pitches to load the bases with one out.
Garza was visibly upset and received a visit from Quade.
David Freese grounded into a 6-4-3 inning ending double play (0-2 pitch). Garza labored through a 23-pitch (13 strikes) first inning.
The Cubs did nothing against Edwin Jackson in the first.
Garza more than settled down in the second … and retired the Redbirds in order in the second on 11 pitches, 10 for strikes (34 total, 23 for strikes after two).
Jackson continued to mystify the Cubs in the second … and Q’s offense went in order again.
Matt Garza sat down the Cards in the third … 1-2-3 on just nine pitches (seven for strikes).
The Cubs finally put a runner on base in the bottom of the third. Geovany Soto worked a one-out walk but was erased when Garza bunted the ball too hard to Pujols. The Cardinals turned a 3-6-4 double play and Jackson faced the minimum through three innings.
The Cardinals did nothing against Garza in the fourth … Garza retired the side on 17 pitches, 11 for strikes.
The Cubs finally got a hit and put a run on the board in the bottom of the fourth.
Starlin Castro led off the fourth with a single to center, the Cubs’ first hit of the game. Darwin Barney sacrificed Castro to second … but it would not matter.
Aramis Ramirez launched the first pitch from Jackson into the bleachers in left. Ramirez’s Major League leading 12th homer on the first pitch gave the Cubs a 2-0 lead. Ramirez took over the team lead in homers with his 24th longball of the season.
Carlos Pena followed with his second triple of the season. Pena smoked a 1-2 pitch past Jay in right center. The ball rolled all the way to the vines and Pena slid into third safe. Marlon Byrd lined a 0-1 pitch into the gap in left center. Pena scored easily and Byrd hustled into second with a double.
The Cubs took a 3-0 lead after hitting for the cycle against Edwin Jackson … Castro singled; Ramirez homered; Pena tripled; Byrd doubled.
Alfonso Soriano looked at strike three and Colvin flied out to left to end the inning.
Skip Schumaker singled to left to start the fifth … and broke up Garza’s string of retiring 10 in a row. Molina popped out to second and Ryan Theriot grounded into a 1-4-3 inning ending double play. Garza faced the minimum on 11 pitches, eight for strikes (71 total, 49 for strikes).
Geovany Soto led off the fifth with a ground rule double to left. The ball hit and skipped into the ivy … and disappeared. Garza dropped down his first successful sac bunt of the year. Soto advanced to third with one out. With the infield in, Castro grounded out to second. Darwin Barney put together a good at bat that ended in a lineout to right on the eighth pitch.
After five complete, the Cubs had a 3-0 lead.
Matt Garza allowed his third hit of the afternoon in the sixth. Jon Jay ripped a 2-2 pitch into center. Garza refocused and blew a fastball by Allen Craig for the second out of the inning … then jammed Albert Pujols with a 95 MPH fastball that resulted in a pop out (foul ground) to Aramis Ramirez to end the inning.
The Cubs did nothing against Edwin Jackson in the bottom of the sixth.
Lance Berkman led off the seventh with the Cardinals’ fourth hit … a single to right on a 0-2 pitch. Garza struck out Freese swinging but gave up a bloop single to Skip Schumaker on a 2-2 offering. With runners on first and second with one out, Yadier Molina hit a tailor-made double play ball to Ramirez. Aramis stepped on third and fired to first … but the throw was high and pulled Pena off the bag.
Ryan Theriot stepped in and fell behind 0-2. Garza uncorked a wild pitch that allowed Schumaker to advance to third. With runners on first and third with two down, Theriot struck out swinging to end the inning.
Matt Garza departed after the seventh with a 3-0 lead. Garza threw 110 pitches, 78 for strikes.
Edwin Jackson retired the Cubs in order in the seventh.
Mike Quade used two pitchers to record three outs in the top of the eighth. Sean Marshall struck out pinch-hitter Matt Holliday swinging on a 2-2 pitch … and Jon Jay flied out to left. Quade went back to his pen and brought in Kerry Wood to face Allen Craig. Woody retired Craig on two pitches (fly out to right) to end the inning.
Darwin Barney reached on a two-out single in the eighth off Mitchell Boggs. Barney advanced to second on a wild pitch with Aramis at the plate (2-2 offering). Ramirez took Boggs’ next pitch for ball four. Pena popped out to Theriot at short to end the inning.
Carlos Marmol sat down the Cardinals in order to end the game.
It is always a good day when the Cubs beat the Cardinals.
Rodrigo Lopez is scheduled to face Jake Westbrook in the series finale on Sunday night.