Somebody Had to Win … Cubs Top ‘Stros in 12 – Cubs 4 Astros 3

Game One Hundred Fifty-One – Cubs 4 Astros 3 – 12 innings
WP – Jeff Samardzija (7-4) LP – David Carpenter (0-3) Save – None

wflag.jpg The day after the Cubs played an 11-inning marathon in Cincinnati and lost, two of the worst teams in the National League played for three hours and 52 minutes … but this time the Cubs came out on top and snapped their three-game losing streak

Q’s squad scored the winning run in the bottom of the 12th on a bases loaded infield single by Marlon Byrd (1-for-4 with a RBI and two walks). Byrd hit a chopper up the third baseline that appeared to be a foul ball. Chris Johnson touched the ball right after the ball landed on the other side of the line. The umps ruled the ball was fair and Starlin Castro scampered home with the winning run. The call went the Cubs way to end the game.

Matt Garza pitched a very good game and made only two mistakes … but the second one cost him big time.

Garza held the Astros to one run on four hits in eight innings. The only blemish, a second inning homer by Carlos Lee. Garza started the ninth after throwing 96 pitches, 70 for strikes, and had retired 14 of the previous 15 batters he faced. Garza gave up a leadoff single to Jordan Schafer then retired J.B. Shuck and J.D. Martinez. With two outs and Schafer on second, Carlos Lee hit a 1-2 pitch into the bleachers in left center to tie the game at three … Lee’s 23rd career longball at Wrigley and the 38th time he hit a homer off Cubs pitching.

Matt Garza threw 28 pitches in the ninth and ended up tossing a season-high 124 over nine innings, 88 for strikes. Garza should have never been allowed to face Carlos Lee in the ninth. Garza completed nine innings and ended up allowing three runs on seven hits with no walks and four strikeouts … Friday was only the third time this season a Cubs’ starting pitcher has gone nine innings (Garza and Randy Wells).

The Cubs offense was non-existent after the sixth inning until the 12th. Q’s squad took advantage of David Carpenter again and loaded the bases with one out in the 12th without a hit.

Starlin Castro (0-for-4 with two walks and a run scored) went hitless in six plate appearances and his quest for 200 hits was temporarily put on hold. Castro walked twice and his second free pass led off the final inning. Castro has reached base safely in 29 straight games.

Aramis Ramirez (3-for-5 with a triple, a walk and a run scored) had a big day and his first triple since July 9, 2010 led to the Cubs second run of the game. Jeff Baker (1-for-3 with a RBI and a run scored) drove in Ramirez in the sixth and broke the one-one tie. Alfonso Soriano (1-for-3 with a RBI) drove in Baker with a RBI single in the sixth … Soriano’s 81st RBI of the season. Geovany Soto (1-for-5 with a home run) tied the game in the third with his 15th homer of the year.

Carlos Marmol was impressive in the 10th and 11th. Marmol retired all six batters he faced in two innings on 19 pitches, 17 for strikes. Jeff Samardzija gave up a leadoff single to Carlos Lee in the 12th but that was all and he picked up his seventh victory of the year.

With Friday’s win, the Cubs improved to 66-85 on the season … 19 games below .500.

Matt Garza sat down the Astros in order in the first inning on just 13 pitches, nine for strikes. Garza was sharp and made quick work of Houston.

Starlin Castro led off the bottom of the first with a walk. Wandy Rodriguez appeared to hit Barney but the umps ruled the ball hit the bat. The ball rolled out in front of the plate. Carlos Corporan picked up the ball and started the 2-6-3 double play. Aramis Ramirez followed with a single to left center but Jeff Baker grounded out to third (3-2 pitch) to end the inning.

Carlos Lee gave the Astros a one-run lead with one swing of the bat. Lee led off the second with the 22nd homer of his career at Wrigley (37th off Cubs pitching). Garza struck out Brian Bogusevic and Jimmy Paredes before retiring Clint Barmes on a pop out to Castro (10th pitch of the at bat) to end the inning.

The Cubs did nothing against Wandy Rodriguez in the second … and after two, the Astros led 1-0.

Wandy Rodriguez doubled to right with one out in the third. Jordan Schafer tried to bunt Rodriguez to third but popped the bunt up … and Soto caught it for the second out of the inning. Jose Altuve grounded out to short to end the inning. Garza three six pitches, all for strikes, in the third.

Geovany Soto launched Rodriguez’s first pitch over the wall in left to start the third. Soto’s 15th longball of the season tied the game at one. Garza struck out swinging, Castro tapped back to the mound and Barney grounded out to short to end the inning.

Both Matt Garza and Wandy Rodriguez took over after the third. Garza sat Houston down in order on eight pitches, six for strikes, in the fourth. Rodriguez lost his command for a short time in the home half of the fourth.

After Jeff Baker hit into a 4-3 double play that erased Ramirez’s leadoff single in the fourth, Byrd and Pena worked two out walks. Alfonso Soriano popped out to Carlos Lee in short right to end the inning.

Garza retired Houston in order in the fifth on nine pitches, all for strikes. Garza’s pitch count stood at 62, 46 for strikes, after five.

The Cubs did nothing against Rodriguez in the fifth.

Garza retied the Astros in order again in the sixth … at the time, Garza had retired eight in a row after six innings (72 pitches, 53 for strikes).

The Cubs finally got to Rodriguez in the bottom of the sixth.

After Darwin Barney struck out to start the sixth, Aramis Ramirez ripped a 1-1 pitch into center. Ramirez ended up at third with his first triple of the season and scored on a single to left by Jeff Baker. The Cubs took a 2-1 lead … but were not done.

Marlon Byrd walked for the second time but Pena looked at strike three on a 3-2 offering. With runners on first and second with two down, Alfonso Soriano singled to center. Baker scored and gave the Cubs a 3-1 lead. Soto struck out swinging (3-2 pitch) to end the inning.

Garza put together an impressive shutdown inning in the seventh … and retired the Astros in order on 10 pitches, eighth for strikes.

Wilton Lopez took over for Rodriguez in the seventh … and sat down the Cubs in order.

Matt Garza struck out Paredes and Barmes grounded out to short to start the eighth. Carlos Corporan singled to left … and broke a string of 13 in a row retired by Matt Garza. Brett Wallace hit for Lopez and grounded out to second (2-2 pitch) to end the inning … 96 pitches for Garza after eight, 70 for strikes.

The Cubs could not tack on the in the bottom of the eighth against Lucas Harrell. The game went to the ninth with the Cubs up 3-1.

Garza could not find the strike zone to start the ninth and fell behind Jordan Schafer 3-0. Schafer ended up singling to center on a 3-2 pitch. J.B. Shuck hit for Altuve and hit a tapper in front of the plate. Soto picked up the ball and threw Shuck out at first. Schafer took second but had to hold when J.D. Martinez flied out to left (3-2) pitch.

Matt Garza was struggling but was left in to face Carlos Lee. Lee launched Garza’s 116th pitch of the game over the wall in left (1-2 pitch) and just like that the game was tied at three. A visibly upset Matt Garza gave up a single to Bogusevic before Jimmy Paredes flied out to deep right to end the inning.

The Cubs had a chance to win the game in regulation. After Carlos Pena just missed a walk off homer off rookie southpaw Xavier Cedeno, Tony Campana lined a single into right (2-2 pitch).

Brad Mills went to his pen for Enerio Del Rosario. With Soto at the plate, Campana stole second and advanced to third when Soto grounded out to short. With the winning run on third and two down, Quade sent Blake DeWitt up to hit for Garza.

Mills countered and brought in lefty Wesley Wright. Quade kept DeWitt in and he walked to put runners on first and third with two down for Starlin Castro … Castro looked at strike three to end the inning.

Carlos Marmol retired Houston in order on 11 pitches, all for strikes, in the 10th … and the Cubs did nothing against Fernando Rodriguez, Jr. in the bottom of the 10th.

Carlos Marmol retired the Astros 1-2-3 in the top of the 11th.

Fernando Rodriguez lost his command (likely do to fatigue) in the bottom of the 11th but the Cubs could not take advantage … and win the game.

Carlos Pena ripped a one-out double into the right field corner in the 11th. Tony Campana worked a walk. With runners on first and second with one out, Geovany Soto struck out swinging (2-2 pitch). Bryan LaHair hit for Marmol and struck out swinging (2-2 pitch) to end the inning.

Carlos Lee led off the 12th with a single to right off Jeff Samardzija. Jason Bourgeois ran for Lee and stole second with Bogusevic at the plate. Bogusevic flied out to left. Bourgeois was not able to advance. Chris Johnson fouled out to Pena (second out) and Barmes hit a blooper to Pena to end the inning.

David Carpenter walked Starlin Castro (3-2 pitch) to start the 12th. Barney bunted Castro to second and Mills’ intentionally walked Ramirez. Reed Johnson, who came in as a defensive replacement for Jeff Baker in right, stepped in and showed patience.

Carpenter’s first pitch to Johnson was a wild one. Both runners advanced as Carpenter struggled with his control. After missing three straight to Johnson, the fourth one was intentional to load the bases for Marlon Byrd.

Byrd hit a 1-0 pitch up the third baseline. Instead of letting the ball go foul, Chris Johnson tried field the slow chopper. Castro scored … 4-3 Cubs, game over.

The Cubs won the game, but it was far from good.

Box Score from Yahoo Sports

Rodrigo Lopez is scheduled to face Henry Sosa in game two on Saturday afternoon.

Quote of the Day

"Don’t ever permit the pressure to exceed the pleasure." - Joe Maddon