Game Ninety – Cubs 5, Marlins 1 – 8 innings
WP – James Russell (3-0) LP – Josh Johnson (5-7) Save – None
The Cubs’ bats woke up just before the rain made its way to Wrigley Field and Dale Sveum’s team beat the Marlins for the first time this season (1-4) in a game that was called with one out in the top of the eighth inning.
The game was knotted at one entering the bottom of the seventh. Alfonso Soriano (1-for-3 with a run scored) led off the inning with the Cubs’ third hit of the game. Soriano advanced to second on a wild pitch then to third when Bryan LaHair (0-for-3) grounded out to first. Geovany Soto (1-for-3 with a RBI and a run scored) chopped a 3-2 pitch over a drawn-in Hanley Ramirez and plated Soriano with the go ahead run. After singles by Darwin Barney (2-for-3 with a run scored) and Luis Valbuena (1-for-3 with a run scored) loaded the bases, Jeff Baker pinch-hit for James Russell and doubled in Soto and Barney. David DeJesus (0-for-3 with a sac fly RBI) drove in Valbuena with a sac fly to centerfield.
The Cubs took a 5-1 lead into the top of the eighth. Shawn Camp surrendered a leadoff single to Greg Dobbs then induced a grounder to short off the bat of Omar Infante. After the third pitch to Brett Hayes, the rain was falling too hard to continue play … one hour and 17 minutes later, the game was called.
The Cubs offense hit Josh Johnson rather hard all night but had only two hits to show for it prior to the seventh inning. Starlin Castro (1-for-3 with a home run) tied the game in the fourth with his eighth homer of the season. The Cubs managed only three baserunners against Josh Johnson in the first six innings while Jeff Samardzija spent his short outing pitching his way out of jams.
Jeff Samardzija had very good stuff on Wednesday night that was not his problem. At times, Samardzija struggled with his command and while the strikeout numbers look good he had to throw a lot of pitches to get them. Samardzija struck out nine in five innings, ran up his pitch count (97, 66 for strikes) and had to leave with the game tied at one in the fifth. Samardzija made only one mistake, a solo homer off the bat of Jose Reyes in the third. Samardzija pitched around a leadoff triple and an error by Geovany Soto in the fifth without allowing further damage. In his first start in 11 days, Samardzija was charged with one run on six hits with three walks and nine strikeouts.
Manny Corpas pitched a perfect sixth and James Russell picked up the win with a scoreless seventh. Dale Sveum’s staff struck out 12 batters in 7 1/3 innings.
With Wednesday’s victory, the Cubs have won 13 of 18 and improved to 37-53 on the season … Jeff Samardzija survived a long, 25-pitch first inning (16 strikes) without allowing any runs. After retiring Jose Reyes on a grounder to second, Emilio Bonifacio lined a 2-2 pitch into left. Bonifacio took advantage of Soriano and ended up at second with a double. Samardzija missed on a 3-2 offering to Carlos Lee and issued his first free pass of the game. With runners on first and second with one out, Samardzija did not get the call on a 2-2 pitch to Logan Morrison. Morrison popped up the next offering to Castro in short left. Samardzija then caught Hanley Ramirez looking to end the inning (0-2 pitch).
The Cubs went down in order quickly in the first (11 pitches, eight strikes) but all three outs were hard-hit, Josh Johnson did not fool anyone. David DeJesus lined out to second, Starlin Castro lined out to a diving Bonifacio and Anthony Rizzo lined out to third.
Samardzija was more efficient in the second (14 pitches, 12 strikes) and struck out the side swinging. Samardzija’s only blemish was a liner over Darwin Barney off the bat of Omar Infante. After two, Samardzija’s pitch count stood at 39, 28 for strikes.
The Cubs did nothing in the second. Josh Johnson threw only 22 pitches over two innings, 16 for strikes.
Jose Reyes led off the third and launched a 0-2 pitch to deep right. The ball landed halfway up the bleachers and the Marlins took a 1-0 lead on Reyes’ fourth homer of the season. Emilio Bonifacio ripped a 0-1 pitch back up the middle. Castro did a good job of getting to the ball but his throw was up the first baseline. Rizzo caught the ball as Bonifacio raced past him. Rizzo could not apply the tag and Bonifacio was given a single.
Darwin Barney made an amazing play that helped keep the Marlins from adding on in the third. Bonifacio took off for second on a delayed steal following a 3-1 pitch to Carlos Lee. Barney made a diving stop of Soto’s throw and tagged Bonifacio in one motion. Samardzija ended up walking Lee for the second time in as many at bats. Samardzija struck out Logan Morrison swinging for the second out.
Carlos Lee took a running lead on a 2-2 pitch to Hanley Ramirez. Ramirez singled to left and Lee ended up at third with two down. Samardzija struck out Greg Dobbs swinging on his 65th pitch (46 for strikes) of the game to end the inning.
The Cubs continued making loud outs in the bottom of the third … and continued to have nothing to show for it. Darwin Barney flied out to center and Luis Valbuena hit a smash back up the middle and off the body of Josh Johnson. Johnson recovered, picked the ball up and threw out Valbuena for the second out. Jeff Samardzija worked a walk, the Cubs’ first baserunner of the game, but David DeJesus grounded out to second to end the inning.
After three, the Cubs had no hits and were trailing 1-0.
Samardzija struck out Omar Infante and Brett Hayes swinging to start the fourth. Samardzija issued a two-out walk to Josh Johnson. Jose Reyes grounded out to second for the third out … 85 pitches for Samardzija after four, 58 for strikes.
Starlin Castro pulled Johnson’s first pitch of the fourth into the basket in left center. Castro’s eighth homer of the season broke up the no-hit bid and shutout. Josh Johnson refocused and retired Anthony Rizzo (groundout to second), Alfonso Soriano (swinging strikeout) and Bryan LaHair (swinging strikeout) to end the inning.
After four, the game was tied at one.
Emilio Bonifacio pulled a 2-1 pitch into deep right center to begin the fifth. The ball rolled to the vines and Bonifacio ended up at third with a sliding triple. Dale Sveum brought his infield in and Samardzija put together his best stretch of the game.
Samardzija jammed Carlos Lee and Lee rolled the first pitch toward short. Castro fielded the ball, bobbled but held Bonifacio at third and threw out a jogging Lee for the first out. Logan Morrison hit a grounder right to Rizzo. Rizzo fielded the ball and threw across the diamond. Bonifacio broke for the plate, stopped and the Cubs appeared to have him caught in a rundown. Valbuena threw to Soto but Soto dropped the ball in the exchange. Bonifacio made it back to third and Morrison took second on Soto’s error.
Jeff Samardzija caught Hanley Ramirez looking at a 2-2 pitch … Samardzija’s ninth strikeout of the game. Greg Dobbs grounded the first pitch to Rizzo for the third out.
After Geovany Soto flied out to deep center to start the fifth, Darwin Barney notched the Cubs’ second hit of the night, a single to right center. A 1-0 pitch to Valbuena got past Brett Hayes, Barney advanced to second on the wild pitch. Valbuena launched Johnson’s next pitch to deep left center. Bonifacio caught the ball three feet from the wall as he and Morrison collided. Barney could not advance on the play. Sveum sent up Reed Johnson for Jeff Samardzija … and Johnson struck out swinging to end the inning.
After five, the game was tied at one.
Manny Corpas set the Fish down in order in the sixth on 13 pitches, 10 for strikes.
The Cubs did nothing in the sixth … more hard hit balls but more loud outs.
James Russell took over in the seventh. Jose Reyes launched a 1-2 pitch to deep left center. The wind held the ball in the park and DeJesus caught it for the first out. Russell struck out Bonifacio looking (2-2 pitch) for the second out.
Russell walked Carlos Lee, his third free pass of the game. Logan Morrison then hammered (a hanging breaking ball on a 3-2 offering) into center for a single. Hanley Ramirez pulled Russell’s first pitch right to Valbuena … Valbuena went the short way to Barney and forced Morrison to end the inning.
Alfonso Soriano led off the seventh with the Cubs’ third hit of the game. Soriano hit a 0-1 pitch back up the middle that Infante fielded in the grass. Infante made an off-balance throw to first that pulled Lee off the bag. Soriano advanced to second on a 1-2 pitch in the dirt then LaHair advanced him to third with a groundout to first.
With one out and Soriano on third, Ozzie Guillen pulled his infield in. Geovany Soto chopped a 3-2 pitch over a leaping Hanley Ramirez and into left field. Soriano scored and the Cubs took a 2-1 lead. Darwin Barney singled to left (2-1 pitch) and chased Johnson from the game.
Ozzie Guillen went to his pen and brought in lefty Mike Dunn. With runners on first and second with one out, Luis Valbuena blooped a 1-1 pitch into right center to load the bases. For some reason, Guillen did not have a right-hander warming in the pen and Sveum took advantage. Jeff Baker stepped in against a southpaw with the bases loaded and one down.
Jeff Baker pulled a 1-1 pitch down the left field line. Soto and Barney scored and Valbuena held at third on Baker’s double. The Cubs took a 4-1 lead and had runners on second and third with one out. David DeJesus lifted Dunn’s first pitch into center. Valbuena tagged and scored the Cubs’ fifth run.
As the rain picked up, Dunn issued an intentional walk to Starlin Castro. Brett Hayes appeared to get crossed up on the first pitch to Rizzo. The ball hit off his glove and both Baker and Castro moved up ninety feet. Anthony Rizzo grounded out to second for the third out.
After seven, the Cubs led 5-1.
As the rain continued to fall, Shawn Camp started the eighth, with Tony Campana taking over in right for Bryan LaHair. Greg Dobbs led off the eighth with a bloop single to left. Omar Infante hit a 0-2 pitch toward short. Castro fielded the weakly hit grounder and tossed to Barney for the first out. With the rain falling even harder, Brett Hayes stepped in and quickly fell behind 0-2. After Camp missed with his next offering, homeplate umpire and crew chief Derryl Cousins put his hands up … and placed the game under a rain delay.
One hour and 17 minutes later, the game was called … Cubs win.
Weather permitting … Paul Maholm is scheduled to face Mark Buehrle in the series and season finale against the Fish on Thursday afternoon.
Follow ChicagoCubsOnline on Twitter: @TheCCO