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

"The riches of the game are in the thrills, not in the money." – Ernie Banks

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  • Tony Spumoni

    Garza was really dominant until he ran out of gas late in the seventh inning.  It was fun to watch great Cubs pitching like that.

    • paulcatanese

      True, they have shut the Giants down, so far. But dont forget, the Giants are in
      a horrible slump and have not done much against anyone lately. Lopez may be the thing to cure what ails the Giants, as he is a lot slower to the plate. Both Wells and Garza looked good, maybe too good, today should tell a lot more. Then if the Cubs keep hitting, it won’t matter, they could win anyway.

  • diehardcubfan

    I did not get an opportunity to comment on the six Cubs that are going to the AZL this fall but for once Cubs management made a very smart move.


    1.  Preparing Jackson to take over in CF next year from Byrd.  I feel now that is what the Cubs have every intention of doing.

    2.  Getting DJ ready to compete for a job in the infield at the ML level.  Barney has had a good year but I think DJ is the long term answer. 

    3.  Working with McNutt to take the next step and hopefully at Iowa next year he will be ready to help the ML club out in the event another rash of injuries hit the starting staff again.

    4.  Building Cashner’s arm strength so he can win a starting job again next year.

    Randy Bush thank you for using some common sense.

    • Aaron


      1) Sorry, but I think you’re over-thinking this a bit. Sending Jackson might mean that they want to see him in action against advanced competition to see if his break-out in AAA is real or not….Or, it could be just another decision in a LONG line of similar ones where the Cubs send their #1 draft choices in recent seasons to the AZFL…with Vitters, Flaherty (supplemental), Colvin, and Cashner all previously being sent, and before them, guys like Patterson, Christensen, etc.

      2) DJ will not be the future 2B…or 3B for that matter. The Cubs royally messed with his development, and I believe this is a MAJOR reason why Quade should be fired, as LeMahieu isn’t the only young player to have been effected by his decision-making. LeMahieu appeared in 23 games….but only got 37 plate appearances. That roughly amounts to 1 1/2 plate appearances per game, or in other words, he was nothing more than a pinch hitter. Sending LeMahieu instead of Flaherty (Rule 5 eligible) is a very curious move, and one I don’t particularly care for. Flaherty at this point, with his power and versatility (all IF positions but catcher, plus corner OF) is a guy you’d want on your roster next year to replace DeWitt. LeMahieu needs to build more muscle and develop more power to be in the conversation, and it’s not going to help him, or the Cubs (in terms of evaluation) by putting him in the AZFL)

      3) Agreed. The McNutt move was more in reaction to all the time he missed due to injury. They just want to get him more work, but I agree, they want him to take the next step as well.

      4) Agreed.

      No……He’s the same guy as Hendry. Hendry’s rationale for keeping useless veterans like Baker, Johnson, Pena, and some of his going-to-be-expensive-arbitration players like Soto, was that he wanted the next GM to make those decisions.

      In my opinion, he didn’t want to trade them, because then he’d look like the bad guy to the veterans, and he values those relationships. If he, or Bush would’ve been managing the roster in the best interests of the team, then the following players wouldn’t be on it, (with their replacements):

      Lopez-(Jay Jackson…who really cares if he’s having a rough year…do you really see a 35 year old marginal starter making a difference on the team next year?)
      DeWitt-(Ridling…they obviously don’t play the same position, but with the added versatility of LeMahieu and Flaherty, you’d be able to make it work)

      THAT would be a great way to start, and give the new GM something to work with, but IMHO, I believe both Bush and Hendry did nothing, in order to spite the ownership.

  • GaryLeeT

    Serves the Giants right for hoarding all those #1 & #2 starters, and completely neglecting their offense. I know losing Posey was a blow, but even last year, I thought they caught lightening in a bottle, with that lame offense. They could have traded 2 starters for 2 superstars, and still had a the 2nd best 3 man playoff rotation.

  • cmschube

    So.. hopefully next season August has 162 days..

  • Brp921

    The third strike call on Carlos Pena in the second inning was a very hittable pitch. I know Pena tries to run the pitch count up. I know a team needs to take walks. I just get real frustrated when a batter has two strikes and takes a pitch that close (it was a strike). Pena does that way to often. I really hope that Bryan LaHair can proove to be a major league first baseman or at least a stop gap until we can groom one of the younger guys in the system. The only thing I value with Pena is his above average defense.

    • Schwimmer

      I agree with your comments on PENA.  One of the first things you learn when you play baseball is that you have to “protect” the plate when you have 2 strikes.  Yet, I see players on the CUBS, like PENA and SOTO who constantly strike out because they are sitting there “taking” a pitch that is “too close” to take.

      And, that is why PENA and SOTO have such low batting averages.

      I do not understand why the CUBS would not use the final 30-40 games of the season to bring up players like CASTILLO, LaHAIR, JACKSON, to see how they will do?

      • Richard Hood

        Isn’t Castillo hurt? Again?

        • paulcatanese

          Yes, he is Richard.He pulled something in the leg, posted yesterday.

        • Aaron

          Hamstring injury…considered minor apparently, just aggravated something.

          And here’s the thing on Castillo that I think everyone should know…

          While still just 24 years old, and with a VERY good CS% (37%) in the minors, he apparently is not very good at calling games. And if you looked at the time when he was injured with the AAA team, you’d see the ERA of the team drop considerably.

          Perhaps it’s because younger guys with better upside like Struck and Rusin have come along, and veterans like Davis, Diamond, Bush, etc. are gone….but it certainly is an indictment on a catcher whenever that happens.

          The problem Castillo has right now, is that Soto has good historical stats at the MLB level to work with, has power, and clearly knows how to call a game.

          While Castillo also has power, and a far better arm than Soto, his game-calling needs a lot of work. I’d like to see someone like Jody Davis really work with him on that, as he’d instantly be the superior catcher of the two of them.

          Then….you have Clevenger, who has the better overall bat, as well as game-calling, but his arm is not very good (a pathetic 11% CS rate at AAA this year…in 23 games with 25 SB, 3 CS….his 28% CS rate at AA is better, but still needs work)

          In my opinion, Castillo (if he learns to call a better game in winter ball) and Clevenger, would be the FAR superior tandem at catcher next year to the Soto-Hill tandem this year.

          • Richard Hood

            Lets get to an actually discussion on WHY Castillo is still having this issue. In spring trainiing before splitting into multiple camps Hendry said after watching Castillo that the only thing he is missing was how to comunicate better with pitchers. I at the time, as a lot of people did, Thought it was a language barrier problem. When I talked about it on here I got bombed for it. At the time I said the same things when he was up for his cup of coffee and said he would learn more from sitting on the bench and again got blasted for it.

            Now after your assessment of Castillo and looking back at Soto’s injury it should scream to you that Hill was playing to TEACH CASTILLO. What Hill is good at is communicating with the pitcher and thinking a good game plan against a hitter.  So basically the only things that Hill is good at is what Castillo sucks at.

            If  I was in Hendry’s position looking long term I would told Quade to sit him as well and let him work with the bullpen coaches and watch what he was talking about in the game.

             A catcher is a general on the field and needs to be able to dominate a conversation with the pitcher and get him on the catchers/coaches page not the other way around. Just look at Garza early on this year when he had not developed that trust with Soto yet. His games were very slow because he was shaking off about 5 or 6 pitches per AB. As his trust in the game plan and his catcher improved so did his working speed. The results were better because of it.

            I am not saying that this is not fixable. Look at how Pudge Rodriguez was before he matured as a catcher. Great physicall skills but took time to understand that just because you have a gun you do not have to call every game to show it off. All I am saying is that if Castillo was willing to listen he would have learned more in short stay with the big club playing at Triple A. And when he went back for a bit you saw an improvement in team ERA and general game calling. Then old habits set back in.

            I still think that Castillo will be one of our catchers next year but untill he can improve in the “communication” area that was his problem all year I just do not see moving Soto yet. As far as Clevenger I still see his old manager Brian Harper as his ceiling but you never know. 

      • GaryLeeT

        Pena and Soto are definitely guess hitters.

        • Aaron

          and Byrd is an even worse hacker than Soriano…if you can believe that

          • paulcatanese

            I do Aaron, if comparing the two, at least Soriono hits the ball when he does with the whole bat, not those stinking, miserable, handle and end of the bat ground balls. Even the swings and misses are atrocious and not even close.
            When Byrd does get a hit its usualy leading off or after the fact with the score.
            And when he reaches first base after a tweak hit, he smiles and looks as though he should be given the game ball. The guy is a total waste, but will continue to play under the Qua regime. Daily it builds on how bad Qua is at manageing.

      • Peabodydg

        Pena can be pitched to with runners on base as evidenced by his awful RISP.  Otherwise he brings a lot to the team. 

        I think it is time to get over the fact that Jackson is not going to be a September call up.  They need the roster spot that he would take on the 40 man.  It sounds like the thinking is to let him finish the PCL season, take a few weeks off and then play in the AFL for six weeks.  As much as I want to see him up here I think this is best for his development.

  • cubtex

    With Soriano going on one of his streaks, if I was a team fighting for the playoffs and in need of a bat….I would definately consider Soriano. The Cubs are willing to pay a huge chunk of his salary. He is tied for the team lead with 24 bombs. A team like the Angels or obviously Giants would be foolish not to at least kick the tires on him.

    • Aaron

      Actually, they’d be foolish to trade for him.

      September is Soriano’s worst statistical month over his career:
      .499, 52 hr, 131 RBI*that amounts to about 4 hr, 10 RBI each year in the month of September.

      He’s a very good May and July hitter, but that’s about it. The other months are fairly mediocre.

      • cubtex

        For the right price Aaron. He won’t cost much.

      • gocubs

        -14 hr in Sept. 07
        -.847 OPS in Sept of 08

        thats pretty good

        the last 2 years he was bad in Sept.

    • paulcatanese

      Agree, but under the twisted mentality of Cub management, I don’t think they really want to get rid of him at the moment, especialy since he is on a streak with home runs, Qua will go to the bitter end thinking he can turn this thing around. Otherwise why play Soriono or Byrd,Baker and Hill at all? Stll think the manageing of Qua will come around to sink his future (not the Cubs, he’s gone anyway) but any hope of another managerial job.

      • cubtex

        Only Ryan Braun has hit more HR’s than Soriano for left fielders in the majors. He would be an upgrade as a DH for alot of AL teams. The Cubs need to move him if they want to improve their team defense.

        • paulcatanese

          Agree, but  am really enjoying the old fzzt. But he does need to go for his sake as well as the Cubs. DH would be great for him and a great way for him to go out of the game, and not being knocked all the time for his glove,( not by you but in general) hope it comes about.

  • paulcatanese

    The self indugent style of manageing by Qua turns my stomach. “we need a long outing by the starter tonight to give the bullpen a rest”. Why then does he use three pitchers for an inning and a half?Marshall wasn’t even loose when he was brought
    in. (saw him running down to the bullpen to get loose) and then he brings Wood in for one hitter and then Marmol for the ninth. The Cubs are not going anywhere at all
    so why push the bullpen? Is Qua saying Marshall could not get the third out? Wood could not finish the ninth? The complaining of tired pitchers are all on Qua and his continued mis –use of the pitching staff.