Rizzo Delivers and the Pen Nails Down the Win – Cubs 5, Mets 3

Game Seventy-Four – Cubs 5, Mets 3
WP – Scott Maine (1-1) LP – Dillon Gee (5-6) Save – Carlos Marmol (5)

wflag.jpgTuesday was a good night for a team that hasn’t had many this season. The bullpen bailed out Randy Wells with six shutout innings. Scott Maine picked up his first big league win and Carlos Marmol notched the 100th save of his career. The Cubs defense made several excellent plays. Three of the Cubs five runs scored on two-out hits and Anthony Rizzo drove in the winning run in his first game at Wrigley Field.

The Cubs beat the Mets for the second day in a row and won the series after falling behind 2-0 in the second inning. The Cubs battled back and scored three runs in the third and took a one-run lead into the fourth. Randy Wells (three runs on six hits with four walks and three strikeouts in three-plus innings) could not throw strikes and was lifted with two on and no outs in the fourth after throwing 79 pitches, 43 strikes. Wells labored through another outing and put his status with the team in question once again.

Scott Maine allowed an inherited run to score in relief of Wells but that was it for the Mets for the rest of the night. Maine allowed just one walk in his two innings of work. Dale Sveum did an excellent job of managing his pen in the wake of another short outing from Randy Wells. James Russell took over for Maine in the sixth and allowed a hit with a strikeout in his 1 2/3 innings. Shawn Camp surrendered a hit and worked around an error by Luis Valbuena in his 1 1/3 innings … and Carlos Marmol struck out two of the four batters he faced to close out the win.

The Cubs offense pounded out 12 hits, scored five times, finished the night 4-for-11 with runners in scoring position and left nine on base.

Anthony Rizzo was able to shutout all of the hype and media pressure from earlier in the day and just played ball. Rizzo finished his Cubs’ debut 2-for-4 with a double and a RBI. Rizzo delivered the game winner in the bottom of the fourth with a two-out double to left center that plated Steve Clevenger (2-for-4 with a run scored). Rizzo also contributed in the three-run third inning.

Anthony Rizzo put the ball in play in his second at bat that advanced the tying runs into scoring position with one out in the third. Alfonso Soriano (0-for-2 with a RBI, two HBP) plated the Cubs’ first run with a groundout to second and Luis Valbuena (2-for-4 with a double and a RBI) drove in the tying run with a two-out double off the top of the wall in right field. Bryan LaHair (0-for-3 with a walks and a runs scored) scored the Cubs’ third run of the inning on an infield single off the bat of Darwin Barney (2-for-4 with a RBI and a run scored).

With Tuesday’s win, the Cubs improved to 26-48 on the season …

Randy Wells set the tone for his outing in the first inning. Wells jumped ahead of Kirk Nieuwenhuis 1-2 and eventually walked him. Nieuwenhuis took off for second on a 1-0 pitch to Ruben Tejada. Steve Clevenger threw a strike to second and Nieuwenhuis was called out … the Cubs caught a break, replays showed Nieuwenhuis got his foot in. Tejada popped out to third on the next pitch and David Wright grounded out to Anthony Rizzo to end the inning. Wells threw 12 pitches in the first, six for strikes.

The Cubs wasted a chance in the first inning. David DeJesus singled to center (1-2 pitch) to start the inning. Starlin Castro lined out to center (0-2 pitch) and Anthony Rizzo made his way to the dish. After a loud ovation, Rizzo smoked a 0-1 pitch toward short. The ball hit off Tejada’s glove. Tejada’s was given an error but it was quickly changed to a hit for Anthony Rizzo. Dillon Gee then struck out Alfonso Soriano and retired Bryan LaHair on a flyout to left (2-1 pitch) to end the inning.

Lucas Duda lined out to Rizzo to start the second. Wells fell behind Ike Davis and everything out of Wells’ hand was up and out of the zone. Davis ended up popping out to Valbuena in the shift (3-2 pitch) for the second out. With two outs and the bases empty, the Mets went to work against Randy Wells.

Scott Hairston singled to left (1-1 pitch), Daniel Murphy reached on a soft liner to right (2-2 pitch) and all of the sudden the Mets had runners on first and second with two down. Wells jumped ahead of Josh Thole 0-2 before Thole worked the count full. Thole ripped the 3-2 pitch under a diving Rizzo and into right field. Hariston scored, 1-0 Mets. Murphy ended up at third then scored on a broken bat single to center off the bat of Dillon Gee (0-1 pitch). Wells focused and struck out Kirk Nieuwenhuis to end the inning.

Randy Wells threw 31 pitches in the second inning … after two innings, 43 pitches and 26 strikes.

Luis Valbuena led off the bottom of the second with a smash down the third baseline. David Wright fielded the ball but Valbuena beat the throw to first. Gee set down Barney (pop out to Gee), Clevenger (fly out to center) and Wells (strikeout) in order to end the inning.

After two, the Cubs trailed 2-0.

Randy Wells continued to struggle in the third and somehow escaped a bases loaded jam without allowing any runs.

Wells struck out both Ruben Tejada and David Wright to start the third … then Wells issued a four-pitch walk to Lucas Duda. A two-out, four-pitch walk. Ike Davis crushed a 2-1 pitch from Wells. The ball ended up in the right field corner. Duda should have scored but was held at third after he slowed up. The Cubs caught a break. Wells walked Hairston to load the bases for Daniel Murphy. Wells kept the ball down and induced a grounder to first off the bat of Murphy to end the inning.

Randy Wells threw 70 pitches, 38 for strikes, in the first three innings.

David DeJesus led off the bottom of the third with a single to right. Starlin Castro walked (second free pass in as many games for Castro). Anthony Rizzo stepped in with runners on first and second with no outs. Rizzo put the ball in play and grounded out to first. Rizzo’s productive out put the tying runs in scoring position with one out.

Alfonso Soriano shattered his bat on the first pitch from Gee and hit a grounder toward second. Murphy fielded the ball and threw to first and DeJesus crossed the plate … 2-1 Mets. Castro advanced to third on the play. Gee wanted nothing to do with LaHair and walked him.

With runners on first and third and two down, Luis Valbuena pulled a 1-2 pitch off the top of the vines in right (missed leaving the park by a couple of feet). Castro scored and LaHair ended up at third on Valbuena’s double.

Darwin Barney then hit a 0-1 pitch back up the middle. Tejada dove, got a glove on the ball and kept it from rolling into center. LaHair scored the go ahead run but Valbuena slipped rounding third and could not make it back to the bag before David Wright tagged him out.

With three in the books, the Cubs led 3-2.

After Luis Valbuena dropped a foul ball leaning into the Cubs’ dugout, Josh Thole ripped a single into center to start the Mets’ fourth. Randy Wells walked Dillon Gee … and Dale Sveum decided that was more than enough for Randy Wells.

Sveum went to his pen and brought in Scott Maine.

Kirk Nieuwenhuis bunted back to Maine. Both runners advanced on the play. With the infield back and the Cubs up by one, Maine walked Tejada to load the bases for David Wright.

Wright hit a 2-1 pitch into right center. Thole tagged and scored the tying run. Bryan LaHair appeared to misjudge the ball slightly but reached up and grabbed the ball for the second out. With runners on first and second with two down, Maine fell behind Lucas Duda 3-0. Duda grounded out to Castro (3-2 pitch) in the shift to end the inning.

Steve Clevenger smoked a 2-2 pitch back up the middle (first base side of second) to start the Cubs’ fourth. Daniel Murphy bobbled the ball in the grass and could not get enough on the throw to get Clevenger at first. Scott Maine strolled to the plate for the first time in a big league park and could not get a bunt down. Maine fouled off a 0-2 pitch for the first out. David DeJesus popped up the first pitch to second.

Starlin Castro blooped a 0-2 pitch into center. Kirk Nieuwenhuis ran in and tried to make a diving catch. Nieuwenhuis got a glove on the ball but he could not haul it in. Clevenger ended up at third with two outs.

Anthony Rizzo stepped in and put together a good at bat. Rizzo lined a 2-2 pitch into left center. Clevenger scored and Rizzo ended up at second with what was ruled a double. Gee then plunked Soriano to load the bases for LaHair. Bryan LaHair chased a 1-2 pitch in the dirt for the third out.

After four, the Cubs led 4-3.

Scott Maine stayed in for the fifth. Ike Davis flied out to center on a 3-1 pitch for the first out. Scott Hairston then reached on the first of two errors on the night by Luis Valbuena. Maine did not let the miscue bother him and retired both Daniel Murphy (lineout to second) and Josh Thole (flyout to left) to end the inning.

The Cubs did nothing in the fifth … and after five they led 4-3.

James Russell started the sixth and gave up a single to pinch hitter Ronny Cedeno (2-2 pitch). Cedeno hit for Gee and recorded his third hit in the first two games of the series. Russell struck out Nieuwenhuis then Alfonso Soriano helped out Russell with a terrific lunging catch to take away a hit from Ruben Tejada. David Wright flied out to the track in left center (3-0 pitch) to end the inning.

The Cubs did nothing in the sixth against Jeremy Hefner.

James Russell started the seventh. Alfonso Soriano made another lunging catch on a ball over his head to take away a hit from Lucas Duda. Ike Davis tapped back to the mound and Sveum made his way to the mound.

Shawn Camp replaced Russell and appeared to end the inning. Luis Valbuena let a routine grounder off the bat of Scott Hairston go through his legs (the five-hole) and into left. Hairston ended up at second with the would-be tying run. Daniel Murphy pulled a 3-2 pitch toward first. Anthony Rizzo made a nice pickup and took it to the bag to end the inning.

Anthony Rizzo flied out to right on the first pitch to begin the seventh. Alfonso Soriano was plunked for the second time. Terry Collins went to his pen and replaced Hefner with lefty Tim Byrdak. LaHair hit a grounder to Ike Davis. Davis’ throw to second was off the mark and Tejada could only get one. Josh Thole threw behind Bryan LaHair after a 2-1 pitch to Valbuena. LaHair was too far off the bag, and Thole picked him off to end the inning.

After seven, the Cubs led 4-3.

Shawn Camp stayed in for the eighth and Joe Mather replaced LaHair in right. Camp fell behind Thole 3-1. The Mets’ catcher grounded out to Rizzo for the first out. Collins sent up Justin Turner to hit for Tim Byrdak. Turner ripped a 3-1 pitch into right. Andres Torres ran for Turner and took off for second on the first pitch to Kirk Nieuwenhuis. Clevenger’s throw beat Nieuwenhuis to the bag but Castro appeared to miss the tag.

With the tying run in scoring position, Nieuwenhuis hit the next pitch back up the middle. Darwin Barney fielded the ball in the grass and made a terrific one-hop throw to Rizzo just in time to nail Nieuwenhuis for the second out. Torres ended up at third and was stranded when Tejada grounded out to first base.

The Cubs took advantage of the Mets’ defense in the eighth and was able to add an insurance run. Lefty Justin Hampson retired Valbuena on a grounder to second for the first out. Darwin Barney singled to center then advanced to second on Clevenger’s second infield hit of the night. Clevenger hit a 3-2 pitch back up the box and off of Hampson’s backside. The ball rolled toward first and Clevenger reached.

Terry Collins went back to his pen and replaced Hampson with Miguel Batista.

Reed Johnson hit for James Russell and looked at two straight out of the zone to begin the at bat. Thole threw behind Clevenger following a 2-2 pitch to Johnson. Davis made a swiping tag and thought he tagged Clevenger (replays showed the Cubs caught a break). First base umpire Manny Gonzalez called Clevenger safe and enraged Davis. Davis argued immediately and appeared to bump Gonzalez. Darwin Barney advanced to third as Davis was being tossed from the game.

Terry Collins came out to argue, so did Sveum after Barney was sent back to second. Omar Quintanilla took over at second after the Davis ejection and Murphy moved to first base.

Reed Johnson pulled the next pitch toward the hole at short. Tejada fielded the ball but his throw ended up in right field. Barney scored, 5-3 Cubs, and Clevenger ended up at third with two down. David DeJesus popped out to shallow center and Starlin Castro grounded out to third (2-2 pitch) to end the inning.

The Cubs went to the ninth with a 5-3 lead …

Carlos Marmol walked David Wright to start the inning. Marmol appeared to find his slider after issuing the free pass. Marmol caught Lucas Duda looking for the first out. Quintanilla, not Ike Davis, popped out to shallow right. Marmol then struck out Scott Hairston with a weak, half-swing on a 2-2 pitch to end the game.

Box Score from Yahoo Sports

Jeff Samardzija is scheduled to face lefty Jon Niese in the series finale on Wednesday afternoon.

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