Cubs Kept Chippin’ Away, Walk Off with a Sweep – Cubs 8, Padres 6

Game Fifty – Cubs 8, Padres 6
WP – James Russell (2-0) LP -Dale Thayer (0-1) Save – None

wflag.jpgDale Sveum’s Cubs completed their first series sweep and posted their first three-game winning streak of the season with Wednesday’s 8-6 walk-off win over San Diego.

The Cubs were down 6-3 going into the bottom of the fifth. Ryan Dempster was horrible (six runs on six hits, three home runs, four walks and four strikeouts in 4 1/3 innings) and on a day with the wind blowing in, Dempster served up three, two-run homers with two coming off the bat of Carlos Quentin. Dempster departed with one out in the fifth after throwing 98 pitches, 57 for strikes.

While Sveum’s pen was busy throwing up zeros, the Cubs’ offense chipped away at the Padres lead.

The Cubs displayed rare patience in the bottom of the fifth. Bud Black tried to qualify Anthony Bass for the win but he lost his command. The Cubs worked four walks, three off Bass, in the fifth and forced in two runs. Ian Stewart (0-for-4 with a walk and a RBI) and Darwin Barney (2-for-3 with a home run, two walks, three RBI, a stolen base and three runs scored) both walked with the bases loaded and cut San Diego’s lead to one run.

The game remained 6-5 until two outs in the eighth inning. Reed Johnson hit for Randy Wells and reached on a two-out single off Andrew Cashner. Tony Campana ran for Johnson and did what Campana does best … steal bases. On his 26th birthday, Campana swiped second and third with David DeJesus at the plate. Campana seemed to disrupt Cashner and he ended up walking DeJesus. Starlin Castro (2-for-4 with a RBI, a run scored, a walk and a stolen base) hit a chopper toward third and beat out Chase Headley’s throw by diving headfirst into the bag. Campana raced home with the tying run.

Bryan LaHair (1-for-5 with a run scored) led off the ninth with a single to center off Dale Thayer. After Thayer struck out Alfonso Soriano and retired Ian Stewart on a fly out to right center, Darwin Barney launched a 1-2 pitch through the wind and into the first row of the bleachers in left center. Barney’s third home run of the year completed the comeback … all eight runs the Cubs scored Wednesday came with two outs. Darwin Barney said after the game that Wednesday was the first walk-off home run he ever hit.

Steve Clevenger had a huge day both behind and at the plate in his first start back from the disabled list. Clevenger was 2-for-4 with a double, a RBI and a run scored.

Ryan Dempster just didn’t have it Wednesday. While he drove in a run (1-for-2 with a RBI) with his first hit of the season, Dempster remains winless in his last 18 starts (first Cubs’ pitcher to go winless in 18 consecutive starts since Danny Jackson, 1991-1992). The Cubs are 4-14 in Dempster’s last 18 starts.

The bullpen was tremendous Wednesday and tossed 4 2/3 innings of scoreless ball and allowed only four baserunners. Casey Coleman (one hit, no walks and two strikeouts in 1 2/3 innings), Carlos Marmol (no hits, two walks and a strikeout in one inning), Randy Wells (no hits and a strikeout in one inning) and James Russell (two hits and a strikeout in one inning) did their job and picked up Ryan Dempster.

With Wednesday’s victory, the Cubs improved to 18-32 on the season …

Ryan Dempster worked around a one-out walk and a stolen base by Everth Cabrera in the first without allowing any runs. Dempster threw 12 pitches, six for strikes, but all three of the outs were fly outs.

David DeJesus grounded out to first on a 3-2 pitch for the first out in the bottom of the first. Starlin Castro reached on a swinging bunt toward third (3-2 pitch). On the second pitch of Joe Mather’s at bat, Castro swiped second. Mather lined out to left and Bryan LaHair hit the first pitch to Yonder Alonso to end the inning. Bass threw 18 pitches in the first, 10 for strikes.

Dempster labored through a long second inning. Chase Headley led off with a single to right. With Denorfia at the plate, Headley stole second. Dempster left a 2-2 pitch up to Chris Denorfia that he deposited into the bleachers in left … and just like that the Padres had a 2-0 lead. Dempster walked Nick Hundley then ran the count full to Alexi Amarista. Hundley took off for second on the 3-2 pitch as Amarista grounded out to third. Dempster struck out Anthony Bass and Will Venable to end the inning.

Ryan Dempster threw 33 pitches in the second inning (45 total, 25 for strikes).

Anthony Bass struck out Soriano swinging and Ian Stewart grounded out to first on a 0-1 pitch for the second out in the second. Darwin Barney worked a walk and stole second with Clevenger at the plate. The Cubs have not gotten much production out of the catcher’s position since Clevenger went on the DL … and he made a difference in his first at bat Wednesday.

Steve Clevenger hit a 1-2 pitch into center. Barney rounded third and headed for home. Barney scored and Clevenger advanced to second on Venable’s throw to the plate. Ryan Dempster tied the game with a single to center, his first hit of the season. With Dempster at first and two down, DeJesus flied out to left center for the third out.

The game did not remain tied for long.

Everth Cabrera led off the third with a double to left. Dempster struck out Alonso swinging. Carlos Quentin ripped a 0-1 pitch over the wall in left center and gave the Padres a 4-2 lead. Dempster walked Headley and Denorfia followed with a double to right.

Dale Sveum brought his infield in with runners on second and third with one down … and the Cubs already trailing 4-2. Nick Hundley hit the first pitch toward second. Darwin Barney fielded the ball and made a strong throw to the plate. Barney gave Clevenger plenty of time to catch the ball and prepare for impact. Clevenger held on as Headley crashed into him. With runners on first and second with two outs, Amarista flied out to left on Dempster’s 71st pitch (42 strikes) to end the inning.

The Cubs did nothing in the third … and after three, the Cubs trailed 4-2.

Ryan Dempster retired the Padres in order in the fourth (85 pitches for Dempster, 52 strikes).

Alfonso Soriano grounded out to third to start the Cubs’ fourth. Stewart struck out swinging, the sixth in a row retired by Anthony Bass. Darwin Barney kept the inning going with a single to center.

With Barney running, Steve Clevenger drove a 1-1 pitch into the left field corner. The ball got past Quentin and Barney scored the Cubs’ third run. Dempster grounded out to third to end the inning.

After four, the Cubs trailed 4-3.

Dempster issued a four-pitch walk to Yonder Alonso to start the fifth. Carlos Quentin made him pay and hit his second, two-run homer of the game (right field on a 1-2 pitch). Chase Headley flied out to the wall in center and Dale Sveum made his way to the mound.

With the Cubs down 6-3 and just one out in the fifth, Casey Coleman took over for Ryan Dempster. Chris Denorfia flied out to deep left and Hundley grounded out to second to end the inning.

David DeJesus singled to right on a 3-2 pitch to start the Cubs’ fifth. Starlin Castro then walked, just his fifth free pass of the season. Joe Mather popped out to left for the first out. Chris Denorfia robbed Bryan LaHair of a hit and RBI with a diving catch on a sinking liner in right center.

Anthony Bass issued a four-pitch walk to Soriano to load the bases with two outs.

Ian Stewart looked at a 3-1 pitch and forced in DeJesus with the Cubs’ fourth run. Bud Black could not stick with Bass any longer and went to his pen. Miles Mikolas took over and could not throw strikes. Darwin Barney walked on a 3-1 pitch and forced in Castro with the Cubs’ fifth run. Black went to his pen and brought in lefty Alex Hinshaw. Steve Clevenger grounded out to second to end the inning.

After five, the Cubs trailed 6-5.

Casey Coleman worked around a misplayed ball in right by David DeJesus that allowed Will Venable to reach with a two-out single. Venable stole second with Cabrera at the plate but Coleman was able to catch Cabrera looking at a 2-2 pitch to end the inning.

The Cubs did nothing in the sixth against Alex Hinshaw.

Carlos Marmol made his first appearance since being activated from the DL on Monday. Yonder Alonso flied out to left for the first out. Marmol issued a four-pitch walk to Carlos Quentin then lost Chase Headley and walked him after being ahead 1-2. Denorfia flied out to right and Hundley struck out swinging to end the inning.

Other than a two out walk by Alfonso Soriano, the Cubs did nothing against Luke Gregerson and Joe Thatcher in the seventh.

After seven, the Cubs trailed 6-5.

Randy Wells sat down the Padres in order in the eighth.

Andrew Cashner made his second appearance of the series in the bottom of the eighth. Barney flied out to left center (0-2 pitch) for the first out. Clevenger hit the first pitch to Alonso for the second out.

Dale Sveum went to his bench and sent up Reed Johnson to hit for Randy Wells. Johnson singled to center (2-2 pitch) and Sveum went back to his bench. Tony Campana ran for Johnson and swiped second on a pitch out on the first offering to DeJesus. Campana then took third without a throw. DeJesus walked and gave Castro a chance to drive in the tying run.

Starlin Castro chopped a 2-2 pitch toward third. Campana broke for the plate. Headley did not transfer the ball cleanly and the delay gave Castro a chance to dive into the bag. Castro reached with his second infield hit of the game … and Campana scored the tying run. Joe Mather popped out to short to end the inning.

James Russell started the ninth. Everth Cabrera reached on an infield single but Yonder Alonso hit into a 4-6-3 double play. Carlos Quentin ripped a double to left and Cameron Maybin ran for him. James Russell struck out Headley swinging (2-2 pitch) to end the inning.

The game went to the bottom of the ninth tied at six.

Bryan LaHair singled to center off Dale Thayer to start the inning. Soriano struck out and Stewart flied out to right. Darwin Barney then barreled up a 1-2 slider that floated over the middle of the plate … the ball ended up in the bleachers as Barney circled the bases.

Cubs Win!

Box Score from Yahoo Sports

Thursday is a travel day for the Chicago Cubs. The Cubs open a four-game wrap around series Friday night in San Francisco. Paul Maholm is scheduled to face Madison Bumgarner in game one.

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