Cubs Deal Another Blow to the Champs – Cubs 5 Giants 2

Game One Hundred Thirty-Six – Cubs 5 Giants 2
WP – Matt Garza (7-10) LP – Ryan Vogelsong (10-5) Save – Carlos Marmol (31)

wflag.jpgThe Cubs took the second game of the series against the Giants behind a strong performance from Matt Garza … and a pair of RBI from both Alfonso Soriano and Geovany Soto.

Matt Garza posted his seventh win of the season on a night that he threw only 23 pitches out of the strike zone. Garza pitched into the seventh inning and made only three mistakes on the night … a two-out walk to Cody Ross in the seventh and a pair of run scoring hits by Jeff Keppinger (3-for-5 with a double and two RBI). Garza had very good command on Tuesday night. He threw a total of 95 pitches, 72 for strikes, in 6 2/3 innings. Garza allowed only two runs on nine hits (one for extra bases) with a walk and six strikeouts.

Garza kept the Giants off the board until two outs in the fifth …Cubs pitching shutout the Giants through the first 13 2/3 innings of the series. Garza also recorded the first multi-hit game of his career. Garza entered the game with three hits on the year and went 2-for-4 against Giants’ pitching on Tuesday.

Sean Marshall and Kerry Wood worked around two Cubs errors (112 charged errors on the season) in the eighth without allowing a run … and Carlos Marmol retired three of the four batters he faced (two strikeouts) to earn his 31st save of the season.

Alfonso Soriano (2-for-4 with a home run and two RBI) hit his second homer in as many games. Soriano’s 24th longball of the year was not only a blast to left center but it also tied him with Aramis Ramirez and Carlos Pena for the team lead. Soriano added a RBI single in third.

Geovany Soto (1-for-3 with a double, a walk and two RBI) gave the Cubs a little breathing room in the seventh. Soto stepped in with two outs and the bases loaded and hit a smash down the left field line. What should have been a bases clearing double ended up being only a two-run double after a fan reached over the side wall and interfered with the ball.

Starlin Castro (1-for-4 with a triple, a walk and a run scored) led off the third with his ninth triple of the season and scored the Cubs’ second run on a sac fly by Darwin Barney (0-for-4 with a RBI).

Aramis Ramirez (1-for-4 with a walk and two runs scored), Carlos Pena (1-for-3 with two walks and a run scored) and Tyler Colvin (1-for-3 with a double and a walk) were part of the Cubs 10-hit, six-walk night. The Cubs had plenty of opportunities to break the game open and were 2-for-7 with RISP (10 left on base).

With Tuesday’s victory, the Cubs not only won the series (2-0) but also the season series (5-3) against the defending World Series Champs. The Cubs improved to 59-77 on the season … 18 games below .500.

The Cubs did nothing against Ryan Vogelsong in the first inning … but after Starlin Castro hit a soft liner to second on the first pitch of the game, Darwin Barney put together an eleven pitch at bat that ended with a lineout to center. Aramis Ramirez lined out to center but long at bats by Barney and Ramirez ran up Vogelsong’s pitch count (20 pitches, 14 for strikes).

Matt Garza retired the Giants in order on eight pitches (seven for strikes) in the first.

After Carlos Pena was caught looking at a 3-2 pitch to start the second, Alfonso Soriano crushed Vogelsong’s first pitch. The ball ended up three-quarters the way up the bleachers in left center … 1-0 Cubs on Soriano’s second homer (24th of the year) in as many games.

Marlon Byrd grounded out to short ahead of a double to left off the bat of Tyler Colvin. Colvin ripped a 0-1 pitch over Brandon Belt’s head in left. The ball hit the track and hopped over the wall. Geovany Soto was intentionally walked and Garza struck out swinging to end the inning.

Aubrey Huff notched the Giants’ first hit with a one-out single to right center on a 1-2 pitch. Brandon Belt flied out to center (1-2 pitch) and Mike Fontenot struck out swinging to end the second. Garza threw 21 pitches (16 for strikes) in the first two innings.

The Cubs tacked on in the third … but it should have been more.

Starlin Castro led off the third with his ninth triple of the season. Castro lined a 1-2 pitch into right center and it was off to the races. Castro ended up at third and scored when Barney hit a 2-0 pitch into right field … 2-0 Cubs.

Aramis Ramirez singled to left past Mike Fontenot and advanced to second on a single to right (3-1 pitch) by Carlos Pena.

With runners on first and second with one out, Alfonso Soriano ripped a 1-2 pitch into left field. Ramirez scored but Belt threw behind Pena, who rounded second too far, and Pena was tagged out for the second out of the inning. Byrd grounded out to third to end the frame.

The Giants threatened in the home half of the third after Ryan Vogelsong singled to right center with one out. Tyler Colvin and Marlon Byrd did an excellent job of holding Vogelsong to a single. Colvin dove to keep the ball from rolling between him and Byrd and Marlon backed up the play to hold Vogelsong to a single.

Andres Torres swung at the first pitch and hit a grounder to first. Pena threw to second to force Vogelsong. Castro held onto the ball and did not try to force a play at first. Jeff Keppinger singled to center with two outs.

Carlos Beltran stepped in with two on, two out and the Giants down by three. Matt Garza struck him out swinging on three pitches to end the inning … last pitch was a 95 MPH fastball that Garza blew past him.

Matt Garza reached on a two-out single to center in the fourth, Garza’s fourth hit of the year. Starlin Castro grounded out to third to end the inning.

Pablo Sandoval led off the bottom of the fourth with a bloop single to the hole at short. The ball hit and rolled past Castro and into left field. Garza jammed Sandoval and broke his bat. Aubrey Huff lined a 2-0 pitch to Barney at second. Barney snagged the liner and threw to first to double off Sandoval. Belt popped out to short (0-1 pitch) to end the inning.

Garza threw 47 pitches in four innings, 35 for strikes.

Outside of a two-out walk by Carlos Pena, the Cubs did nothing against Vogelsong in the fifth.

Mike Fontenot led off the bottom of the fifth with a single to right just out of the reach of Darwin Barney. Chris Stewart popped out to third (0-1 pitch) and Bruce Bochy went to his bench for Miguel Tejada. Tejada hit for Ryan Vogelsong and singled to right off Barney’s glove (0-2 pitch). Fontenot advanced to third … the first time in the series the Giants put a runner on third base.

With runners on first and third with one out, Andres Torres struck out swinging on a 0-2 pitch. Jeff Keppinger did what Jeff Keppinger does against Cubs pitching … Keppinger doubled to right just out of the reach of Tyler Colvin. Colvin made the right decision by not diving for the ball and kept another run from scoring. Fontenot scored and Tejada held at third with two outs … the first run scored by the Giants in 13 2/3 innings against Cubs pitching.

Carlos Beltran fouled out to Aramis Ramirez (0-2 pitch) to end the fifth.

Matt Garza faced six batters in the fifth and gave up one run on three hits but did not throw a single ball in the inning (17 pitches). At the end of five, Garza’s pitch count stood at 64 (52 for strikes).

Marlon Byrd led off the sixth with a single to center (3-2 pitch) against Guillermo Mota. Tyler Colvin fouled out to third (3-2 pitch) and Soto flied out to center. Matt Garza singled to center for the second time in the game … and Castro walked on five pitches to load the bases with two outs. Barney hit a 1-1 pitch back up the box. Fontenot fielded behind the bag and threw Barney out at first to end the inning.

Thanks to three excellent defensive plays (Castro, Ramirez and Pena), Garza retired the Giants in order in the sixth on just nine pitches (seven strikes) … 73 pitches, 59 for strikes, for Garza after six innings.

The seventh inning started with Guillermo Mota throwing seven straight out of the strike zone. Mota walked Ramirez on four pitches and fell behind Pena 3-0 before throwing his first strike. Pena swung at and missed the fifth pitch of the at bat before walking and ending Mota’s night. Bochy went to his pen and brought in Ramon Ramirez to face Alfonso Soriano.

Soriano popped out to shallow right on a 1-2 pitch and Byrd hit a weak chopper to Sandoval (hole at short) on a 1-1 pitch. Byrd was thrown out at first as Ramirez and Pena advanced to second and third. Colvin was intentionally walked to load the bases for Geovany Soto.

With the sacks full and two down, Soto worked the count full before ripping a double into the left field corner. A fan reached well into the field of play and caught the ball with his glove. Ramirez and Pena scored but Colvin, who would have scored easily, was sent back to third. Mike Quade argued to no avail. The Cubs took a 5-1 lead but it should have been a bases clearing double … instead of a two-out, two-run double. Garza struck out swinging to end the inning.

Garza struck out Mike Fontenot and pinch-hitter Aaron Rowand to start the seventh. Garza had excellent command all night and had not walked a batter … until two outs in the seventh. Garza walked pinch-hitter Cody Ross.

Andres Torres ripped a 1-1 pitch to the hole at short. Castro showed off his range and got to the ball with a diving stop. Castro tried to make a throw to second but the ball slipped … he would not have had a play.

Jeff Keppinger ripped a 0-1 pitch into right. Ross scored, 5-2 Cubs, and chased an unhappy Matt Garza from the game.

With runners on first and second with two down, Sean Marshall threw one pitch to Carlos Beltran … and ended the inning. Beltran hit a one-hopper to Ramirez at third. Aramis stepped on the bag to end the inning.

The Cubs did nothing against Ramon Ramirez in the eighth.

Sean Marshall started the bottom of the eighth … and two throwing errors by the left side of the Cubs infield prolonged the inning.

Pablo Sandoval hit a 1-1 pitch to third. Ramirez fielded the ball but did not set his feet. Ramirez’s throw was low and Pena did a good job of not letting the ball get past him. Marshall struck out Aubrey Huff swinging (1-2 pitch) and as soon as Mark DeRosa was announced Quade went to his pen for Kerry Wood.

DeRosa lined Woody’s first pitch to short. Castro caught the liner and threw flat-footed to first. The ball got past Pena and Sandoval ended up at second on Castro’s 23rd error of the season. Mike Fontenot grounded out to second (3-2 pitch) to end the inning.

The Cubs did nothing against Jeremy Affeldt in the top of the ninth.

Carlos Marmol struck out Eli Whiteside looking (3-2 pitch) to start the ninth … but hit Cody Ross on a 2-1 pitch. After missing on the first pitch to Andres Torres, Marmol settled down and struck out Torres swinging for the second out. Jeff Keppinger popped out to Darwin Barney in shallow center (2-2 pitch) to end the inning … and the game.

Two in a row in San Fran … and a series win on the road.

Box Score from Yahoo Sports

Rodrigo Lopez against Madison Bumgarner in the series finale on Wednesday afternoon.

Quote of the Day

"People who write about Spring Training not being necessary have never tried to throw a baseball." – Sandy Koufax