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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  • SuzyS

    WoW, with this win and Houston’s loss….we’re no longer in last place!!!!
    Small miracles :)

    • Patrick_Schaefer

      climbing up the latter World Series here we come lol.

  • SuzyS

    GaryLeeT…I’m replying to your last comment on the last thread:
    I completely understand your frustration and viewpoint that you
    don’t support your team “losing on purpose”.
    The players aren’t doing that….management set it up that way during the offseason.
    I don’t like Marmol any more than you do…that being said…Considering the state of the team RIGHT now…with a lack of plausible replacements for Marmol…what would you propose?
    Marmol is making $7 mil this season and is due to earn $9.8 mil
    next season…(thanks to JH extension)….One bright spot on the contract…If I read Neil’s (40 man roster info) correctly, Marmol’s contract has a $500,000 buyout for next season.
    IF, IF, the new regime could have straightened Marmol out a bit with an eye to trading him…I support that….But it certainly looks
    bleak for that scenario at this point.
    At this exact point in time…I consider this year NOT to be about wins and losses…but rather team evaluation and development. We still have several contracts/players to get rid of…Marmol/Soto/Soriano among them.
    This is still the tear down phase. Next year…I expect it ALL about rebuilding…playing/evaluating only those that may be with the team in the future.

    • GaryLeeT

      Thanks for taking the time to expand upon your point, but I still contend that every year (even a rebuilding one) should be gone into with an eye on that year’s prize. Especially with the expanded playoff format. The Cubs had the money to go after Darvish, then overpay E. Jackson, and Beltran for 1 or 2 year deals. They would not have blocked any evaluation process. I still don’t understand the mentality that winning, and rebuilding are exclusive of each other, and to every major market team other than the Cubs, it isn’t. Theo’s way is a way, but not the only way to get from point A to point B.

      • cubtex

        I agree with you Gary. Say they signed Darvish(the Cubs were the 2nd highest bidder although it was a distant 2nd) Kept ARAM for another year and signed Jason Kubel(.293 14HR and 59 RBI) and still signed DeJesus and Maholm. Never made the Sean Marshall trade and brought up Anthony Rizzo sooner. Do you think this team could compete this year?
        Pitchers
        Darvish
        Garza
        Dempster
        Shark
        Maholm
        1st base Rizzo
        2nd Barney
        SS Castro
        3rd ARam
        LF Soriano
        CF DeJesus
        RF Kubel
        C Soto
        Sean Marshall is your 8th inning guy still which would help the bullpen considerably.
        I

        • paulcatanese

          Absolutly correct, in fact they still could have dumped ARam and done it, as Valbuena is kind of working out for them, at least he can catch a ball more than three feet away:)

          • cubtex

            I just mentioned ARam because I think the Cubs had an option to keep him for 2012. That way he wouldn’t hamper the rebuilding process. Kubel and DeJesus are signed to short term deals so again you are not blocking anyone long term. You have 3 power arms in Darvish,Garza and Shark that you lock up for the next 5 years and you keep building long term while competing. That is what I call a BIG MARKET rebuild. Theo is doing a small market rebuild.

  • cubtex

    I know he hasn’t played that long in right field but this is what I have been saying all along about moving Bryan LaHair to the outfield. It is trying to fit a square peg in a round hole. He has no range. He can’t run. His range factor is 1.38 which currently ranks him 34th among all NL rightfielders who have played at least 10 games. In other words……he is ranked dead last for range. That is the reason why I have been saying for months that they need to trade him. He is not an acceptable outfielder. You do not want this guy starting in the outfield next year.

    • paulcatanese

      You are right, plus several balls other outfielders would have reached and he didnt.
      While the bat is desired in the lineup, if he dosent hit , you must aquit:) :

      • cubtex

        This is not a shot at LaHair. He is a 1st baseman/DH. Those that are wanting LaHair to be apart of this team in the future need to consider how much he lacks range. He will hurt the pitching staff and team.

        • brent carmona

          I want to give him a shot in LF or RF. Lahair’s makeup is off the charts, possibly the highest of any on the team (after reading a few articles/blogs he has worked his butt off to become better in any weak aspect of his game) . Lahair will put in time to get better in the outfield, and I bet he can be serviceable. Look how much better soriano got after working with Dave mckay; who says lahair won’t improve like soriano did this year?

          • cubtex

            Putting LaHair in the outfield is playing someone out of position. His range can improve slightly….and I stress slightly by taking better routes……but he can’t run. If they have a young pitching staff next year including Shark,Wood and 2 other younger guys aquired via trade for Garza/Dempster it will hurt their stats and development putting a guy like that in the outfield.

          • J Daniel

            Like Fonzi. I think you can live with one of them out there if he is slugging. I would prefer LaHair in left. But you can’t have both of them out there.

            I am with you on a possible trade, and as we have discussed, only if good value is brought back in return.

            If value is not brought back I am not sure what the plan would be. LaHair is to good to just dump. Maybe Fonzi will be moved with them obviously picking up all of the salary.

            Maybe LaHair could be moved to left. I know, still not great but not terrible due to left handed power bat.

          • J Daniel

            As far as Vitters maybe they are not bringing him up as he is doing real well and they do not want to bring down his trade value? Who knows what their plan is. But let’s say they move Garza to the Tigers and bring back their stud 3bman. Then, Vitters can be moved in another package for another need – maybe with Dempster to expand the prospects coming back?

            It is so hard to tell what is going on behind the scenes.

            Would love for them to pick up a young stud 3b – wouldn’t that be great to go with Rizzo? They would have the corners covered for a decade. That would be a huge relief and a great place to start.

          • cubtex

            The big question is…..would Castellanos turn out to be better than Vitters? Vitters has really turned the corner this year hitting for power. Castellanos has not hit for power yet in the minors(everything with him is based on projections) Vitters and Castellanos are both below average defensively at 3rd. Another factor is that Castellanos has a much higher K rate than Vitters. He struck out 130 times last year.
            I don’t think it is a slam dunk that he will turn out to be better than Vitters

          • gary3411

            Nick Castellanos has a higher slugging pct than Josh Vitters. Doubles and Triples are very valuable too.

          • J Daniel

            You never know with prospects – you know what they say about them – suspects until proven.

            Maybe it is a different deal? We just don’t know how many deals they are discussing right now.

            I am still giving the benefit of doubt as I like what they are doing. I know some do not but I do.

  • SuzyS

    Cubtex, While I agree with you in principal…I do believe LaHair IS 1b/DH…I don’t see LaHair bringing enough back in trade to offset his valuable power bat…at this point. Possibly he might go in a package with one of the pitchers to expand a deal…especially if it is to an AL team.
    I believe the main goal (in the outfield) is STILL to find a taker for Soriano or come to some sort of resolution with him. We’re really in trouble if Soriano is the opening day LF in 2013. We’ll have a much better idea of what is doable after the July 31st
    deadline.

    • cubtex

      Suzy, why would the Cubs really be in trouble if Soriano is in LF in 2013 and OK if LaHair is? Is it just about the money or production? I feel Soriano is a better offensive player and defensive player than LaHair is.

      • SuzyS

        I never said the Cubs would be ok if LaHair is in LF as a starter. Presently, I agree that Soriano is the better player.
        As we all know, Soriano is not the future of this team…rather the past. While there is not a clear cut candidate to take his place just now…I feel he has to be moved so the Cubs can move forward in finding his replacement…the sooner we do that…the better.

  • cmschube

    “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”

    Why was Rizzo’s home run considered the game winner? It only made the game 5-2 at the time?

    Not tryin’ to be a smart A.. They said it last night on Comcast, and I thought the same thing.

  • Cubbie Blue

    Since the Mets didn’t tie the score it is considered the game winning rbi

  • Gramps

    If it puts your team in the lead and you never lose the lead it is considered the game winning hit.

  • paulcatanese

    Correct.

  • http://www.facebook.com/craig.york.52 Craig York

    thanks for clearing that up. I was confused as well. Go cubs!

  • cmschube

    Hmmm.. That doesn’t make much sense to me.. Oh well..