Game One Hundred Sixty-One – Cubs 6 Padres 2
WP – Matt Garza (10-10) LP – Chad Qualls (6-8, BS 5) Save – None
Mike Quade’s veteran lineup powered Matt Garza to his tenth victory in his final start of the season. Four of the Cubs six runs scored on a pair of homers … a solo shot by Aramis Ramirez in fourth and a three-run bomb by Alfonso Soriano in the eighth. The Cubs had managed only one run over the first 16 innings of the series but that all changed in the eighth inning … and it was a pair of walks that set it up for Soriano to turn a 2-1 deficit into a 4-2 advantage.
With the Cubs down by a 2-1 score, Aramis Ramirez (1-for-3 with a home run and a walk) led off the eighth with a free pass. Tony Campana ran for Ramirez, stole second and advanced to third when Carlos Pena flied out to center. Bryan LaHair (0-for-4 with a walk and a run scored) put together an impressive at bat that resulted in a walk on the ninth pitch from Chad Qualls.
Alfonso Soriano (2-for-3 with a home run, a walk and three RBI) blasted a 0-1 pitch over the wall just to the right of straight away center to give the Cubs the lead. Soriano and Ramirez both hit their 26th homers of the season on Tuesday … two behind team leader Carlos Pena (28). Ramirez has driven in 93 runs and Soriano has 88 RBI this season.
Blake DeWitt added a bases loaded, two-run, pinch-hit single in the ninth that drove in the Cubs other two runs.
Starlin Castro tallied two more hits (206) on Tuesday night with a 2-for-5 performance. With one game left to play, Castro reached base for the 39th game in a row and extended his current hitting streak to 10 games … the fifth time Castro has recorded a double-digit hit streak this season.
The Cubs pounded out 11 hits on Tuesday night and walked seven times, four times in the last two innings … and three of the four walks in the eighth and ninth came around to score.
Matt Garza finished his season on a very positive note. Other than laboring through the second inning, Garza was very good on Tuesday night. Garza pitched seven innings and came within two innings of 200 in his first season with the Cubs. Garza allowed two runs on five hits with two walks and eight strikeouts (197 for the season). Three of the Padres five hits came in a cluster in the second inning that led to the Padres’ two runs.
Matt Garza finished the year with a 10-10 record and won his last four decisions. Garza threw 122 pitches, 79 for strikes … the third straight outing Matt Garza tossed 120-plus pitches.
Sean Marshall bailed out Jeff Samardzija in the eighth. Marshall struck out both of the batters he faced with the tying runs in scoring position.
Carlos Marmol struggled in the ninth again. Marmol walked a pair and could not find the strike zone. Marmol struck out two and did not allow any runs but threw 31 pitches, 17 for strikes. Marmol has walked 48 batters this season and given up 54 hits … 102 baserunners in 55 innings.
With Tuesday’s win, the Cubs improved to 71-90, 19 games under with one left to play … Starlin Castro hit the first pitch of the game into left field. Castro reached base for the 39th straight game and extended his hitting streak to 10 games. Darwin Barney worked the count to 3-1. Castro took off for second on the 3-1 offering, Barney looked at strike two and Castro was thrown out at second … it was a perfect throw by the Padres catcher Luis Martinez. Barney ended up walking.
Aramis Ramirez, in his first game in a week, fouled out to Martinez and Carlos Pena looked at a 3-2 pitch to end the inning. The Cubs made Anthony Bass work but for the tenth inning of the series, no runs for Q’s Cubs.
Matt Garza struck out Will Venable to start the home half of the first … then made quick work of Jason Bartlett and Cameron Maybin. Garza retired the Padres in order on 13 pitches, nine for strikes.
Alfonso Soriano ripped Bass’ first pitch into left center for a one-out single in the second. Marlon Byrd lined out to left (1-1 pitch) and Geovany Soto grounded into a 5-4 fielder’s choice to end the inning (2-2 pitch).
Chase Headley led off the second with a soft single to center. Orlando Hudson hit Garza’s first pitch into left center … and the Padres were in business. Garza jumped out ahead of Jeremy Hermida 0-2 but could not get Hermida to chase. Hermida tapped a 3-2 pitch back to Garza, who bobbled the ball but got the out at first. Headley and Hudson advanced to second and third with one down.
Garza left a 2-1 pitch out over the plate to Kyle Blanks and the huge first baseman launched the ball into left center. Headley and Hudson scored … 2-0 Padres. A frustrated Garza walked Luis Martinez, the eighth place hitter in the Padres’ lineup.
Anthony Bass dropped down a sac bunt, Blanks and Martinez advanced to second and third with two down. Garza jumped ahead of Venable 0-2 and eventually struck him out swinging on a 2-2 pitch.
The Padres scored two runs on three hits with a walk in the second. Garza tossed 31 pitches in the second, 18 for strikes.
The Cubs did nothing in the third against Anthony Bass.
Garza settled down and sat down the Padres in order in the bottom of the third … 13 pitches, nine for strikes.
Aramis Ramirez led off the fourth and lined a 1-0 pitch over the wall in center … the Cubs first run of the series. Pena grounded out to Bartlett in the shift, LaHair grounded out to first but Soriano walked on four pitches. Marlon Byrd lined out to left, second time in the game, to end the inning.
Orlando Hudson pulled a 1-0 pitch down the first baseline to start the fourth. The ball went off Pena’s glove but the Cubs held Hudson to a single. Garza struck out Hermida swinging on a 3-2 pitch. Hudson ran and stole second without a throw. Blanks grounded out to short for the second out. With Hudson at second, Garza jammed Martinez on a 1-2, broke his bat and Castro caught the soft liner to end the inning.
Geovany Soto led off the top of the fifth with an infield single to the hole at short. Garza sacrificed Soto to second. Castro lined out to left on a 0-1 offering. Darwin Barney stepped in a lashed the first pitch into right past a diving Orlando Hudson. Hermida charged the ball and kept Soto from rounding third. With runners on first and second and two down, Aramis Ramirez tapped back to the mound to end the fifth.
The Padres managed a leadoff single against Garza in the bottom of the fifth … but that was all. Garza struck out two in the fifth and ran his pitch count to 93, 59 for strikes.
Bud Black went to his pen in the sixth … and to no surprise, the Cubs did nothing against Joe Thatcher and Ernesto Frieri.
Matt Garza sat down the Padres in order in the sixth … 108 pitches, 66 for strikes.
After Marlon Byrd grounded out to the hole at short to start the seventh, Ernesto Frieri walked Geovany Soto. Tyler Colvin ran for Soto as Matt Garza stepped to the plate.
Garza hit for himself in a one-run game with the tying run on first … and could not get the bunt down. Garza bunted at and fouled off a 1-2 pitch for the second out.
Starlin Castro collected his second hit of the game, a single to left center. Colvin advanced to third and Bud Black made the slow walk.
Luke Gregerson replaced Frieri and got out of the first and third jam by retiring Barney on a fly out to right (2-2 pitch).
Matt Garza retired Blanks and Martinez on grounders to start the seventh. Chris Denorfia hit for Gregerson and reached on a slow grounder to short … the Padres’ fifth hit.
Matt Garza struck out Will Venable swinging to end the inning, his outing and his first season with the Chicago Cubs.
Aramis Ramirez worked a walk against Chad Qualls to start the eighth. Tony Campana ran for Ramirez and stole second on a pitch out, first offering to Carlos Pena. Pena flied out to medium depth centerfield. Campana tagged and advanced to third with the tying run.
Bryan LaHair quickly fell behind 1-2 before eventually walking on the ninth pitch of the at bat. Alfonso Soriano stepped in and crushed a 0-1 offering from Qualls. The ball ended up beyond the wall just to the right of straight away center and the Cubs took a 4-2 lead.
Marlon Byrd grounded out to short for the second out but Koyie Hill singled to center. D.J. LeMahieu hit for Matt Garza and singled to right on the first pitch from Qualls. With runners on first and second with two outs, Starlin Castro grounded out to second.
Jeff Samardzija took over in the eighth and struggled with his command. Samardzija pitched from behind in the count to two of the three batters he faced. Jason Bartlett walked to start the inning. Cameron Maybin singled to right center on a 0-2 pitch. Bartlett ended up at third with no outs.
Samardzija struck out Chase Headley swinging on a 2-2 pitch. Maybin broke for second on the pitch and stole second … with the tying run.
Mike Quade made the slow walk and went to the pen for Sean Marshall.
With runners on second and third with one out, Marshall struck out Orlando Hudson and pinch hitter Nick Hundley to end the inning.
Andrew Carpenter walked Darwin Barney on four pitches to start the ninth. Tony Campana dropped down a bunt that was a high chop, once the ball hit the ground again, Carpenter had no shot at Campana.
Carpenter uncorked a wild pitch on a 1-1 offering to Carlos Pena. Both runners advanced ninety feet and the Padres put Pena on first.
With the bases loaded and no outs, Bryan LaHair struck out swinging.
Blake DeWitt hit for Sean Marshall and delivered a single into center on a 3-2 pitch. Barney and Campana scored … 6-2 Cubs. With runners on first and second with one out, Marlon Byrd struck out swinging. Koyie Hill struck out swinging (2-2 pitch) to end the ninth … with one game left, Koyie Hill is 0-for-34 on the season with runners in scoring position.
Carlos Marmol struggled in the ninth inning again. Marmol walked Kyle Blanks (3-2 pitch) to start the inning. Luis Martinez grounded out to first on a 3-2 pitch. Blanks advanced to second with one out. Marmol struck out Andy Parrino swinging but issued a two-out walk to Will Venable.
After a visit from Mark Riggins, Marmol struck out Jason Bartlett swinging (3-2 pitch) to end the game.
161 down … one to go.
Ryan Dempster will face Wade LeBlanc in the final game of the season on Wednesday night.