Cubs Take the Wood to Santana … then Hang On for the Win – Cubs 8, Mets 7

Game Eighty-Three – Cubs 8, Mets 7
WP – Travis Wood (4-3) LP – Johan Santana (6-5) Save – None

wflag.jpgWhat should have been a feel-good victory over Johan Santana and the Mets with the focus on a season-high 18 hits and the first four-hit game of Anthony Rizzo’s career, ended up being too close for comfort in the ninth inning. The Cubs were able to escape a bad outing from Carlos Marmol and pickup a win on Friday night.

Anthony Rizzo (4-for-5 with a home run and three RBI) recorded the first four-hit game of his big league career Friday night. Rizzo’s fourth longball, a three-run shot off Johan Santana in the fifth broke a 2-2 tie … and ended up being the game winner, the fourth in 10 games for Rizzo. Anthony Rizzo and Reed Johnson (4-for-6 with a home run and three runs scored) combined for eight of the Cubs’ 18 hits. Johnson led off the game with his third homer of the season and his first leadoff homer since he took Johan Santana deep to start a game between the Blue Jays and Twins on July 23, 2007.

Five different Cubs recorded multi-hit games and Jeff Baker (2-for-4 with a home run, a double and two runs scored) hit the third longball of the night off Santana in the Cubs’ five-run fifth inning. The Cubs have hit four of the 12 home runs allowed by Johan Santana this season.

Travis Wood was not as good as he’s been over his last three starts … but he was good enough to pick-up his fourth straight win. Wood allowed three runs, two earned, on five hits with four walks and three strikeouts in six-plus innings. Wood’s scoreless innings streak came to an end in the second inning after Lucas Duda took him deep. Wood’s string of 20 scoreless innings was the longest for a Cubs’ left-handed starter since Juan Pizarro recorded 21 scoreless frames in 1971.

Shawn Camp recorded three outs on four pitches in relief of Wood in the seventh. James Russell allowed a run in the eighth on a pair of hits. The Cubs took a 8-4 lead into the ninth …

Carlos Marmol gave up three runs on two hits with three walks in a long, 28-pitch ninth inning. Marmol served up a one-out solo homer to Jordany Valdespin that cut the Cubs lead to 8-5. Marmol walked the bases loaded before giving up a two-run single to pinch-hitter Ike Davis. With runners on first and second with one out and the Cubs clinging to a 8-7 lead, Lucas Duda lined a 0-1 pitch back up the middle. Marmol caught the ball, and flipped it to Anthony Rizzo and doubled off Ike Davis to end the game. Carlos Marmol was in the right place at the right time.

The Cubs beat Johan Santana for the second time in less than two weeks and improved to 7-18 against lefties this season.

With Friday’s victory, the Cubs improved to 32-51 on the season …

The Cubs’ 18 hits topped the previous season-high of 15 set on May 14 against the Cardinals and again on June 18 against the White Sox. The only starter that did not record at least one hit was Travis Wood. Alfonso Soriano (2-for-4 with a RBI and a walk), Geovany Soto (2-for-5 with a run scored), Darwin Barney (1-for-4 with a run scored and a walk), Luis Valbuena (1-for-5 with a RBI) and Joe Mather (1-for-4 with a RBI and a sac fly) contributed to Friday night’s win.

The Cubs took a 1-0 lead two pitches into Friday night’s game. Reed Johnson launched a 1-0 offering from Johan Santana well over the wall in left center … Johnson’s first leadoff homer since July 23, 2007 and that one came against Johan Santana when Reed Johnson wore a Blue Jays’ uniform and Santana pitched for the Twins.

After Johnson’s third homer of the season, Darwin Barney flied out to right (2-2 pitch). Anthony Rizzo reached on an infield single past the mound that Ronny Cedeno could not make a barehand pick on. Alfonso Soriano followed with a single to left. With runners on first and second with one out, Jeff Baker struck out swinging … and Geovany Soto popped out to right (2-2 pitch) to end the inning.

Travis Wood made quick work of the Mets in the first … 1-2-3 on just nine pitches, six for strikes.

The Cubs did nothing in the second.

Travis Wood retired Scott Hairston on a grounder to short to start the second … 20 shutout innings for Travis Wood. Wood then fell behind Lucas Duda 2-0. Wood got the count back to even before Duda tied the game. Duda ripped a 3-2 pitch over the wall in right. Justin Tuner then reached on an infield single to Jeff Baker. Baker bobbled the ball but Turner was given a hit. Mike Nickeas and Kirk Nieuwenhuis flied out to center to end the inning. Wood threw 31 pitches in the first two innings, 20 for strikes.

Reed Johnson led off the third with his second hit of the game … and nearly his second homer. Johnson lined a 1-1 pitch from Santana off the wall in left for a double. Santana struck out Darwin Barney (2-2 pitch), Anthony Rizzo (1-2 pitch) and Alfonso Soriano (0-2 pitch) all swinging to end the inning.

The Mets took a brief lead in the home-half of the third. Wood struck out Johan Santana swinging to begin the inning. Wood jumped ahead of Ruben Tejada 0-2 but wound up losing him. Wood issued his first free pass of the night … and it ended up costing him. Ronny Cedeno followed and ripped a double into the left field corner. Tejada scored and the Mets took a 2-1 lead. David Wright grounded out to short for the second out. Luis Valbuena made a game-changing catch on a rocket off the bat of Scott Hairston. The ball looked like it was going foul but Valbuena made a diving catch on the third baseline to end the inning. Wood labored but was alble to get through the third (48 pitches, 31 for strikes) only down a run.

Jeff Baker led off the fourth with a double to center. Baker hit the first pitch over Nieuwenhuis’ head in center, the ball one-hopped the wall and Baker stopped at second. Geovany Soto banged a 0-1 pitch into left; Baker held at third with no outs. With the infield back and runners on first and third, Joe Mather lifted a 0-1 pitch to medium-depth center. Nieuwenhuis caught the ball and threw toward the plate. Baker scored as Turner cut the ball off and threw to Cedeno, instead of Tejada, as Soto slid in safe at second … Turner threw to the wrong guy. Luis Valbuena popped out to first and Wood popped out to right to end the inning.

Travis Wood escaped the fourth without allowing a run after giving up a single and back-to-back two out walks. Lucas Duda flied out to Mather to start the fourth. Justin Turner ripped a 0-2 pitch back up the middle and into center. Wood fell behind Nickeas 2-0. Terry Collins then called for a hit and run. Nickeas swung through a high fastball and Soto threw a strike to Barney, who was waiting for Turner. Wood ended up losing Nickeas (3-2 pitch) then issued his third free pass of the game to Kirk Nieuwenhuis. Wood struck out Santana to end the inning … 67 pitches for Wood after four, 42 for strikes.

After four, the game was tied at two.

The Cubs had one of their better innings of the year in the fifth against Johan Santana. The Cubs scored five times, hit two home runs and batted around.

Reed Johnson led off the fifth, third time in five innings Johnson started an inning. Johnson hit a 1-0 pitch toward first. Turner fielded the ball but his toss to Santana was off the mark. Santana tried a barehanded catch, dropped the ball then was stepped on. Johnson inadvertently landed on Santana’s ankle as he lunged for the bag. Santana dropped to the ground but stayed in the game.

Darwin Barney singled to right (0-2 pitch) and Johnson advanced to third with no outs. Anthony Rizzo smoked Santana’s first pitch to deep right and gone. Rizzo’s fourth home run of the season gave the Cubs a 5-2 lead.

After Alfonso Soriano struck out swinging, Jeff Baker hit his second longball of the trip. Baker lined a 1-2 change-up over the wall in left … and just like that the Cubs had a 6-2 lead. Geovany Soto followed Baker’s blast with a single to left center. Joe Mather singled to left and the Cubs had runners on first and second with one out.

Luis Valbuena smacked a 2-2 pitch into right. Soto scored but Valbuena was caught in a rundown (9-2-4-3) between first and second as Mather advanced to third. Terry Collins made his way to the mound and replaced Johan Santana with Ramon Ramirez. Wood tapped back to Ramirez to end the fifth.

Travis Wood put together a shutdown inning … 1-2-3 in the fifth for Wood and after five his pitch count stood at 79, 50 for strikes.

After five, the Cubs led 7-2.

Ramon Ramirez started the sixth and retired Reed Johnson (lineout to center) for the first time in the game. Darwin Barney grounded out to third. Anthony Rizzo singled to center, the first three-hit game of his big league career. Soriano walked but Baker hit a little blooper into shallow right that Cedeno caught to end the inning.

Scott Hairston reached to start the sixth on Darwin Barney’s first error since April 17. Barney fielded the ball in the hole at short but threw wide of first. Lucas Duda grounded a 2-2 pitch toward first. Rizzo threw to second to force Hairston. Barney’s return throw to Wood was off the line … and it ended up costing the Cubs. Justin Turner drove a 1-0 pitch into the right field corner. Duda ended up at third with one out. With the infield back, runners on second and third with one out, Mike Nickeas lifted a 1-1 pitch into center. Duda tagged and scored the Mets’ third run of the ballgame. Kirk Nieuwenhuis grounded out to second (2-1 pitch) to end the sixth … 95 pitches for Wood after six, 60 for strikes.

After six, the Cubs led 7-3.

The Cubs did nothing against Ramon Ramirez in the seventh.

Travis Wood started the seventh and issued his fourth free pass of the game. After the leadoff walk to pinch-hitter Jordany Valdespin, Dale Sveum decided that was enough for Travis Wood and went to his pen for Shawn Camp. Starlin Castro entered the game in a double switch with Barney moving to second base for Jeff Baker.

Shawn Camp induced a 5-4-3 double play off the bat of Ruben Tejada and retired David Wright on a grounder to short. Camp recorded three outs on four pitches (three strikes).

The Cubs were able to tack on a run in the eighth against Miguel Batista.

In his first at bat of the night, Starlin Castro grounded out to short to start the eighth. Reed Johnson notched his fourth hit of the night, a single to right. Darwin Barney walked to put two on with one out for Rizzo.

Anthony Rizzo lined Batista’s first pitch into right, the first four-hit game of Rizzo’s career loaded the bases. Alfonso Soriano popped a 0-1 pitch into shallow right. Lucas Duda made an unnecessary slide, the ball popped out of his glove and all of the runners moved up ninety feet. Johnson scored the Cubs’ eighth run of the game.

Bryan LaHair pinch-hit for Shawn Camp and struck out swinging on a 2-2 pitch for the second out. With the bases still loaded and two down, Geovany Soto flied out to deep center to end the inning.

David Wright greeted James Russell with a double to left (2-2 pitch) to start the eighth. Scott Hairston flied out to center and Russell struck out Lucas Duda swinging (2-2 pitch) for the second out. Justin Turner then notched his fourth hit of the game, a single to center that plated Wright with the Mets’ fourth run. Mike Nickeas grounded out to third to end the eighth … and the Cubs went to the ninth up 8-4.

Joe Mather and Luis Valbuena popped out to short and third respectively to start the ninth. Starlin Castro reached on an infield single, the Cubs 18th hit of the game. Miguel Batista struck out Reed Johnson for the third out.

Carlos Marmol made his way in for the ninth with the Cubs leading 8-4. Tony Campana took over in center and Mather replaced Soriano in left.

Marmol struck out Nieuwenhuis swinging to begin the inning then it became time to fasten those seatbelts. Jordany Valdespin pulled Marmol’s first pitch over the wall in right … and quickly the Cubs lead was down to 8-5. Marmol lost his command after the home run and issued walks to Ruben Tejada, pinch-hitter Daniel Murphy and David Wright to load the bases with one down.

Ike Davis hit for Scott Hairston and pulled a 1-1 pitch into right center. Tejada scored, Murphy scored and the Mets were down by one with two on and one out.

Marmol threw a first pitch strike to Lucas Duda … then the Mets’ right fielder hit a liner back up the middle. Marmol caught the ball, jogged half way to first and underhanded the ball to Anthony Rizzo to double off Davis to end the game.

Box Score from Yahoo Sports

Jeff Samardzija is scheduled to face Dillon Gee on Saturday afternoon.

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