What a Long Strange Trip … Q’s Cubs Win Fifth Straight – Cubs 7 Pirates 6

Game One Hundred Twelve – Cubs 7 Pirates 6
WP – Jeff Samardzija (6-4) LP – Daniel McCutchen (3-3) Save – Carlos Marmol (23)

wflag.jpgThe Chicago Cubs posted their fifth straight win on Thursday night and finished the 10-game road trip with a 5-5 record … and completed the first four-game sweep in Pittsburgh since 1959 (June 5 – June 7) at Forbes Field.

The Cubs took a 4-0 lead into the bottom of the fourth after three more home runs. The Cubs hit 10 homers over the last three games of the series and three of their first four hits left the park on Thursday night … and not one of them was a cheap shot.

Geovany Soto (1-for-4 with a home run) led off the third with his 11th longball of the year. Carlos Pena (1-for-3 with a home run, a walk and two RBI) blasted his team-leading 21st in the fourth that gave the Cubs a 2-0 lead. After Marlon Byrd collected the 1000th hit of his big league career, Blake DeWitt hit a deep fly to the back of the bleachers in right to give the Cubs a 4-0 advantage.

Rodrigo Lopez imploded in the bottom of the fourth … and should have not been allowed to finish the inning. The Pirates rallied with six runs off Lopez in the fourth with the biggest hit coming off the bat of James McDonald. The Pirates pitcher hit a bases clearing double that gave the Bucs a 5-4 lead. Andrew McCutchen doubled in McDonald for the sixth run of the inning. And the game appeared over …

The Pirates pounded Lopez to the tune of six runs on seven hits with two walks and no strikeouts in four innings … Lopez has allowed 12 runs on 15 hits over his last two starts (8 1/3 innings).

Ramon Ortiz and Jeff Samardzija kept the Pirates from tacking on and the Cubs mounded a comeback in the eighth.

Reed Johnson (2-for-2 with a run scored) started the three-run rally in the eighth with a bloop single to center. After a Starlin Castro single and Darwin Barney was hit by pitch to load the bases, Aramis Ramirez singled in Johnson with the Cubs’ fifth run.

Carlos Pena worked a bases loaded walk to tie the game and Marlon Byrd (1-for-3 with a run scored, a sac fly and a RBI) hit a sac fly to left center that allowed Castro to tag and score the go ahead run.

James Russell and Kerry Wood worked around a one-out single by Ryan Doumit in the eighth and Carlos Marmol picked up his third save of the series with a perfect ninth.

With Thursday’s win, the Cubs are 10-10 in the last 20 games since the break … and Q’s squad improved to 47-65 on the season, 18 games under .500.

Rodrigo Lopez and James McDonald retired the first six batters they faced on Thursday night … and that all changed in the third.

Geovany Soto led off the third with a line drive homer to left. Soto’s 11th of the season gave the Cubs a 1-0 lead … Soto’s longball was the Cubs first hit of the game.

Tyler Colvin (fly out to shallow center), Lopez (tap back to the mound) and Castro (ground out to short) went down quickly to end the top of the third.

Xavier Paul led off the bottom of the third with a bloop single to center … the Bucs first hit of the game. With Brandon Wood at the plate, Paul took off for second. Soto made a strong throw but Barney made an even better pick to nail Paul at second. Lopez ended up walking Wood.

After James McDonald sacrificed Wood to second, McCutchen grounded out to third to end the inning.

Rodrigo Lopez threw 34 pitches, 20 for strikes, in the first three innings.

Darwin Barney and Aramis Ramirez went down quickly to start the top of the fourth. Carlos Pena launched McDonald’s first pitch over the wall in straight away center … the ball ended up under the ‘A’ in ‘Pirates’ in the batter’s eye. Pena’s team leading 21st homer of the season gave the Cubs a 2-0 lead.

Marlon Byrd followed Pena with a single to left … the 1000th hit of his big league career.

Blake DeWitt then hit his third homer of the season to the back of the bleachers in right … and the Cubs took a 4-0 lead. Soto struck out swinging to end the inning.

Rodrigo Lopez started the bottom of the fourth with a 4-0 lead … and the lead didn’t make it through the inning.

Garrett Jones led off the fourth with a double to right center. Neil Walker grounded out to second, Jones advanced to third and scored on Ryan Ludwick’s first hit in a Pirates’ uniform. Ludwick singled to center and the Pirates were on the board.

Pedro Alvarez hit Lopez’s first pitch into right center for a single. With runners on first and second with one out, Ryan Doumit ripped a single into right. Ludwick held at third with the Pirates down by three.

Xavier Paul hit a weak chopper to the hole on the left side. Ramirez cut the ball off and threw to second to force Doumit for the second out of the inning. Ludwick scored … 4-2 Cubs. Lopez seemed to pitch around Brandon Wood and walked him to load the bases.

James McDonald stepped in hitting .079 for the season (3-for-38) … and he ripped a 2-1 pitch out into left center. Three runs scored, the first three RBI of McDonald’s career, and just like that the Pirates took a 5-4 lead.

Andrew McCutchen gave the Bucs a little breathing room with a double to right center. McDonald scored … 6-4 Pirates.

Garrett Jones, who started the fourth with a double, flied out to Tyler Colvin, with his back against the wall, to end the inning.

Rodrigo Lopez threw 37 pitches, 23 for strikes, in what should have been his last inning in a Cubs’ uniform.

The Pirates took a 6-4 lead into the fifth and the Cubs started swinging at everything close to the plate. Q’s squad went down in order in the fifth.

Ramon Ortiz faced the minimum in the bottom of the fifth … and McDonald faced one over the minimum in the sixth after Ramirez reached on an error by Pedro Alvarez. Ortiz allowed only an infield single to Brandon Wood in the sixth (hole at short).

James McDonald retired DeWitt (fly out to left center), Soto (tap back to the mound) and Colvin (fly out to right) quickly in the seventh.

Jeff Samardzija gave up a one-out double to Garrett Jones in the seventh but struck out Neil Walker and retired Ludwick on a fly out to right to end the inning.

Daniel McCutchen took over for James McDonald in the eighth.

Reed Johnson entered the game in a double switch in the top of the inning. Johnson hit in the pitcher’s spot and led off the inning with the Cubs’ fifth hit of the game … a bloop single to right center. Starlin Castro followed with a single to center, his 10th hit of the series. McCutchen then hit Barney on a 2-2 pitch to load the bases with no outs.

Clint Hurdle went to his pen and brought in Jason Grilli to face Aramis Ramirez.

Ramirez blooped a single into center. Andrew McCutchen tried to make a sliding catch but trapped the ball. Johnson scored … 6-5 Pirates. Hurdle made the slow walk again and brought in lefty Joe Beimel to face Carlos Pena.

Carlos Pena had faced Beimel only once in a big league game prior to Thursday night and the result was a walk. Pena’s patience paid off on Thursday against Beimel and he worked a walk to force in Castro with the tying run.

Clint Hurdle made his fourth pitching change of the inning and brought in Jose Veras to face Marlon Byrd with the bases loaded and no outs.

Byrd did his job and lifted a 1-2 pitch into left center. Barney tagged and scored7-6 Cubs. Ramirez tagged from second and advanced to third.

With runners on first and third with one out, Blake DeWitt popped out to second on the first pitch. Veras struck out Soto swinging to end the inning.

James Russell started the eighth and retired Pedro Alvarez on a ground out to short. Ryan Doumit singled to left on a 2-2 pitch. Hurdle sent Matt Diaz in to hit for Xavier Paul and Quade went to his pen for Kerry Wood … and brought in Alfonso Soriano to play left.

Wood struck out Diaz looking for the second out. Brandon Wood stepped in and launched a 0-2 pitch to deep left center … but Byrd was there to end the inning.

Joel Hanrahan struck out Alfonso Soriano to start the ninth. Reed Johnson reached on a single to center on a ball that hit off the second base bag. Starlin Castro hit into a 5-4-3 double play to end the inning.

The Cubs took a 7-6 lead into the ninth.

Steve Pearce hit for Hanrahan and mashed a 1-2 pitch into deep left center. Byrd caught a ball that in just about any other park would have been a home run. Andrew McCutchen struck out swinging and Jones flied out to deep center to end the game.

Five wins in a row after one of their worst games of the season …

Box Score from Yahoo Sports

The Cubs open a three game series Friday afternoon against the Reds at Wrigley … Ryan Dempster versus Mike Leake in game one.

Quote of the Day

"Whatever you think, be sure it is what you think; whatever you want, be sure that is what you want." – T.S. Eliot

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  • jw

    Nice Headline!!!

    Get all the Cubs news from CCO, the best source of Cubs information on the web!

    • http://chicagocubsonline.com/ Neil

      Thank you

  • paulcatanese

    Lopez stayed in too long, again with no one loose in the bullpen. Qua should know better, he’s been down this path before. Sometimes I wonder where he’s at.

    • paulcatanese

      Maybe I’m looking at the wrong person, dont the Cubs have a pitching coach?Someone on that bench should be aware when the pitcher is losing it. I could see it and I’m over two thousand miles away. I tried to yank Lopez but he just wouldnt listen.So I just sit here and throw cotton balls at the computer. Qua,Qua,Qua,,,,You got to take charge out there if you ever,ever want to be a manager. You are still managing to pad yourself to keep a job.Can you not realize that it takes greater talent on the part of a manager to win games with young players? You keep these old dogs out there every day and what have you achomplised? A five game winning streak., and a multitude of games to make up. You must think the average fan is an idiot, what you are doing is not the future but remaning with the past and hoping for the best. Show some class and resign a winner (only a five game streak,but still a winner).

      • Calicub

        I agree. I had a feeling the staff would fall off in the wake of Ol’ Larry heading east. Like most people I’m sure, (more likely a select few) I got used to the idea of promoting coaching from within but it seems clear that either Riggins is out matched at this level or quade hears and just plain doesn’t care what his coaching staff says or does. The gaffs if this coaching staff are unbearable the amount of runs stopped by DeJesus and allowed by Quade/Riggins complacency is appauling just plain appauling. This team depends far too much on the long ball, sure theCubs are winning now that they can hit it out of the park…

        Please oh please God don’t let this winnin streak last please oh please let the cubs finish last.

        On a side note,
        Is it just me or is anyone else getting sick of people using quade’s nicknames on here?
        its bad enough quade uses them sheesh..

        • paulcatanese

          Good assesment of the coaching staff, as you say, Riggins is almost invisible with his input. I think Qua cares about his staff, and as a “players manager” therin lies the problem. He is defending the coaching staff no matter what.But as for who’s decision in the end to make things happen is Qua’s as the buck stops there. Beyond that level, its JH and Ricketts, and they have given no indication that there will be change. In essance the whole program and the fault lies with Ricketts.

    • Ripsnorter1

      So let me get this straight: you think that Qua should not let any pitcher give up six runs in one inning? Is that what you are trying to say?

      Well how can you have a team 24 games under .500 after they have played 105 games without such managerial finesse? I just don’t think you can do it. 

      This guy, Qua, has proven beyond any reasonable doubt that he cannot manage a pitching staff. And he’s also proved that he can wreck young arms. 

      The man is dangerous. Very dangerous.

      And that’s why he’ll not be fired. He’ll be BBBBAAAAAAAAAAAACCCCKKKK!

      • paulcatanese

        Cant improve on that Rip,too little, too late..Unfortunatly, you are correct, he will be back, apparntly with all the rest.

  • Baron_S

    mixed feelings about this winning streak…

    always like to see them win……

    but anything that gives the imbecile Hendry a lifeline cannot be good!!

  • Ripken Boy

    Watch the Cubs go on a meaningless run and both Hendry and Quade get another year. Winning now is the worse thing that can happen to this team.

    • Calicub

      My worst fear exactly… i’ sure its most peoples actaully

  • Anonymous47701

    2012 lineup idea



    J.Baker-Utility INF

    • J Daniel

      What about soriano?  how are you getting rid of him?  Also, no way vitters is ready.

    • Demitri

      I’ve seen this a lot. How is Matt Kemp coming here?

      • paulcatanese

        I dont think Kemp will be here,with the Cubs. Hits too many home runs and would overshadow Pena and Aram(sounds like a peanut butter and jelly sandwich) And they would have to blow up the team to get him, about a four to one ratio for him.

  • Romberg Rabbit

    Must be that time of the year when the games mean nothing, so Duh Cubs start winning and all the saps start buying tix, for “next” year.

  • Ripsnorter1

    WELL–it had to happen, I guess……..

    Funko got another RBI last night. He has 16 on the year, and it is starting to look like his drive to make the Hall of Fame for fewest RBIs in a 502+ PA season will fail.  He can only get 8 more RBIs and still set the record. He was 1-2 with RISP last night.

    AND–very shockingly–he stole a base, too.

    • paulcatanese

      Well Rip, cream comes to the top, what can I say?

  • Ripsnorter1

    Accuscore gives the Reds at 59% chance of beating the Cubs today.

    That’ll stop the bleeding.

  • Rbmercer

    You won’t see me defending Quade too often, but……

    Soriano was inserted as a double switch in the bottom of the 8th and he then led off the 9th. He was not inserted as a defensive replacement. In a one run game, that was actually a needed move by Quade. Dewitt came out bcuz he was one of the last batters in the 8th.

    Some on here were ripping Quade saying he inserted Soriano as a def replacement, not the case.

    • paulcatanese

      I guess the point would be to have Soriono hit in the spot that Campana had hit in and then put Campana in left on the double switch. That is an error on Qua. More chance of Campana getting to the ball than Soriono in a tight game.As it turned out didnt Soriono strike out? and then had to because of the situation go to left,not the best choice but it turned out well, and thats what counted.

      • Rbmercer

        Yes, I agree with that, he could’ve reversed their roles.

  • Skeldor

    These clowns are doing what they did last year which is why we got Quade to begin with.  Why can’t they just go down in flames so there is not choice but to dump him and Hendry.  Now this just gives Hendry and excuse to say we are only 2-3 moves away from contending next year and the young guys won’t play, again.  I want LeHair to play so bad the rest of the year just to see what he has, but that will never happen and the poor guy will rot in the minors even though he was only given 1 year in the bigs.  Any other club, in the same situation, would have played him any of the last 2 years but the Cubs brilliant brain trust for some reason won’t.  At some point prospects/minor leaguers need to have a chance to play to see if they can be something, especially if they are a high producer in AAA. 

    • Ripsnorter1

      You needn’t fear that a winning streak will preserve Quade’s job. His job is already secure.

      You also needn’t fear that this winning streak will continue. It is over today. The Reds will beat the Cubbies bloody this afternoon. 

      You needn’t fear that this streak will justify Jim Qlueless’ continued excuses that “we are just 2-3 moves away” from beating the Yanks. He’s going to say that irregardless of circumstances. He won’t be silenced if the Cubs lose 100 games.

      You needn’t fear that the Cubs’ winning streak will justify playing the vets and sitting the youngsters. That will happen anyway.

      You needn’t fear that this winning streak will keep LaHair in the minors. The Cubs already hate him and he likely won’t even be called up in September.

      So your fears all all unfounded. The winning streak means nothing. All of these things will happen irregardless of winning streaks or losing streaks. That’s because you are not dealing with a rational, experienced baseball man. No. You are dealing with Jim Clueless, and he lives in a fairy tale world, and not reality.

      • Skeldor

        lol…..thanks for putting my fears to rest

      • paulcatanese

        Rip, you convinced me, I’m not scared anymore.

  • Brp921

    It’ starting…

    “There’s been a lot of stuff, probably in the last 20 games, that has gotten better,” he said before the game. “When we get Marmol back right, and we pitch the way we have, it’ll be like we did when I took over last year.” http://www.dailyherald.com/article/20110805/sports/708059916/#ixzz1U9uvN6EM

    I can hear it now. If it hadn’t been for all the injuries…

  • Kingdomusa

    We beat Houston 3 in a row & sweep the “back to the old style” Pirates. We just won against 2 of the 2nd tier teams in the Central. If Cub fans get excited over this they need to visit a drug or alcohol rehab center. This is last September all over again playing vets instead of Rookies. Quade again left lopez in too long with another late start in the bullpen warming up. I would like to see the trifecta of either Cashman or Hahn as GM, Gillick as President, & yes Ryno as the Manager with a few Cubs in the cugout coaching. All of Cubs nation wants “CHANGE” except Ricketts isn’t listening. Quade said in an interview in Pittsburgh he likes youth. Give me a break. He can only play vets because they like him. The rookies would have had a chance under ryno because he coached them. The whole operation is embarassing & only 1 man can chage it around.
    Tom Ricketts, please listen to the fans.

    • paulcatanese

      You have to understand Qua’s impression of “youth” anyone under 35-40 qualifies. 

  • Kingdomusa

    Hahn or cashman for GM
    Gillick for President (the Sox have Obama)
    Ryno + a staff of ex-Cubs

    All we have is a circus with alot of clowns in management & coaching positions
    Hendry just screwd Ryno & probably would not come back til Hendry is gone.
    I dare Jim hendry to sing the 7th inning stretch. I really want to see that as do most Cub fans (especially a nice group of 40,000+.