Maholm Keeps Rollin’ Rollin’ Rollin’ – Cubs 5, Pirates 1

Game Ninety-Six – Cubs 5, Pirates 1
WP – Paul Maholm (9-6) LP – James McDonald (10-4) Save – None

wflag.jpgPaul Maholm posted a career-high fifth win in a row and beat his old team for the first time with a tremendous eight-inning effort on Tuesday night. Maholm allowed one run on four hits with a walk and seven strikeouts on 109 pitches, 69 for strikes.

Paul Maholm retired the leadoff hitter in each of the first seven innings, did not allow his second hit until the seventh and the Pirates put two runners on base at the same only once in Maholm’s eight innings. Maholm made only one mistake, a solo homer off the bat of Garrett Jones in the fourth that tied the game at one.

After David DeJesus (1-for-4 with a double, two RBI and a walk) broke the tie in the top of the fifth with a bases loaded, two-out, two-run double, Maholm was very aggressive and went right after his former teammates.

Paul Maholm became the first Cubs’ left handed pitcher since 1918 to complete at least six innings and allow one or fewer runs in five straight starts.

Carlos Marmol worked around a leadoff double by Neil Walker and a walk to Andrew McCutchen without allowing any runs in the ninth.

Starlin Castro (1-for-5 with a home run) and Alfonso Soriano (2-for-4 with a home run and two RBI) were responsible for three of the Cubs’ five runs with two swings of the bat. Castro launched his ninth home run of the season, a solo homer in the first that gave the Cubs an early lead.

Alfonso Soriano has driven in four of the Cubs’ seven runs in the first two games of the series. Soriano gave Maholm a lot of breathing room with his 19th longball of the season (all since May 15) in the sixth. Soriano’s two run shot put the Cubs up by four.

Alfonso Soriano (359) passed Yogi Berra for 77th on the All-Time home run list with the two-run homer in the sixth inning of Tuesday’s game.

The Cubs defense was very good once again Tuesday. Sveum’s team turned two more double plays … one behind Maholm in the eighth and the other in the ninth that ended the game.

With Tuesday’s win, the Cubs improved to 40-56 on the season …

James McDonald started the game by catching David DeJesus looking at a 1-2 pitch. Starlin Castro drove the first pitch over the wall in right center. Castro’s ninth homer of the season put the Cubs up 1-0. Anthony Rizzo grounded out to first and Alfonso Soriano struck out swinging to end the inning.

Paul Maholm retired the Pirates in order in the first on 11 pitches, seven for strikes.

The Cubs did nothing against James McDonald in the second. McDonald threw 25 pitches in the first two innings, 11 for strikes.

The Pirates went down in order in the second. Maholm needed 25 pitches, 16 for strikes, to get through two innings.

James McDonald kept the Cubs off balance in the third and make quick work of the bottom of the lineup.

Paul Maholm retired Rod Barajas (pop out to right) and Clint Barmes (groundout to short) to begin the third. Maholm then lost his command and walked James McDonald. Maholm refocused and struck out Drew Sutton swinging to end the inning. Maholm threw 49 pitches, 29 for strikes, over four innings.

The Cubs did nothing in the fourth. After four innings, McDonald had retired 11 in a row.

Maholm retired Neil Walker (groundout to third) and McCutchen (flyout to center) to begin the bottom of the fourth. Garrett Jones stepped in and launched a 1-2 pitch to deep right. Jones’ 14th homer of the season was the Pirates’ first hit and tied the game at one. Andrew McCutchen lined out to center to end the fourth … 68 pitches for Maholm after four, 39 for strikes.

After four, the game was tied at one.

Bryan LaHair led off the fifth with a flyout to center, 12 in a row retired by McDonald. Geovany Soto followed with a walk (3-2 pitch). A wild pitch on the first offering to Barney allowed Soto to advance ninety feet. Barney lined out to third for the second out.

McDonald tried to get Luis Valbuena to chase early in the at bat. After Valbuena took two out of the zone, McDonald issued the last two intentionally and walked Valbuena. With runners on first and second, two outs and the game tied at one, Paul Maholm walked on four pitches to load the bases.

David DeJesus pulled a 0-1 pitch down the right field line and into the corner. Soto lumbered in with Valbuena right behind him and the Cubs took a 3-1 lead on DeJesus’ double. With runners on second and third and two out, Starlin Castro grounded out to Walker in the shift behind second to end the inning.

Paul Maholm put together a shutdown inning in the bottom of the fifth … 1-2-3 for Maholm and the Cubs led 3-1 after five complete.

Anthony Rizzo led off the sixth with a single to center. Rizzo then got a running lead and swiped second with Soriano at the plate … but it would not matter. Soriano launched a 1-1 breaking ball into the bleachers in left and just like that the Cubs’ led 5-1. LaHair grounded out to first and Soto struck out swinging following Soriano’s blast. Darwin Barney singled to right but Valbuena grounded out to second to end the inning.

Paul Maholm kept mowing down his former teammates in the sixth. Maholm retired the side in order … 81 pitches for Maholm after six, 50 for strikes.

Jared Hughes replaced McDonald in the seventh and struck out Maholm to start the inning. David DeJesus reached on an error that was charged to Hughes. DeJesus pulled a 2-1 pitch toward first. Casey McGehee fielded the ball and threw behind Hughes as he tried to cover the bag. DeJesus reached then swiped second on a 1-2 pitch to Castro … replays showed DeJesus was out. Castro ended up striking out and Rizzo grounded out to second for the third out.

Paul Maholm worked his way in and out of his first jam in the seventh. Maholm caught McCutchen looking to begin the inning then struck out Garrett Jones swinging for the second out. Casey McGehee stepped in and recorded the Pirates second hit of the night, a single to left. Pedro Alvarez blooped a 1-2 pitch into left for a single. With runners on first and second, two out and the Cubs up by four, Maholm retired Rod Barajas on a flyout to left to end the inning … 97 pitches for Maholm after seven, 61 for strikes.

Brad Lincoln ended up facing the minimum in the eighth after giving up a leadoff bloop single to right to Alfonso Soriano. LaHair was caught looking and Geovany Soto grounded into a 4-6-3 double play to end the inning.

Paul Maholm started the eighth and gave up an infield single to Clint Barmes. Castro tried to field the smash and bobbled the ball twice … but Gorkys Hernandez rapped into a 6-4-3 double play and Drew Sutton struck out swinging (3-2 pitch) to end the inning and Maholm’s night.

The Cubs went to the ninth up 5-1.

Evan Meek made quick work of Darwin Barney and Luis Valbuena to start the ninth. Reed Johnson hit for Maholm and reached on a single to center. Johnson lined a 2-2 pitch into center that McCutchen dove for but could not make the catch. Johnson got a running lead on a 2-1 pitch to DeJesus and stole second. DeJesus ended up walking to put two on with two out for Starlin Castro. Castro flied out to right center to end the inning.

Tony Campana took over for LaHair in right and Reed Johnson stayed in and replaced Soriano in left … and Carlos Marmol took over on the hill.

Neil Walker greeted Marmol with a double into the right field corner (2-2 pitch). Marmol then walked McCutchen (the 36th game in a row McCutchen has reached bases against the Cubs). Garrett Jones flied out to Reed Johnson in deep left … and Casey McGehee grounded into a 6-4-3 double play (Castro-to-Barney-to-Rizzo) to end the game.

Cubs improved to 6-1-1 in their last eight series with Tuesday’s win.

Box Score from Yahoo Sports

Ryan Dempster is scheduled to face Kevin Correia in the finale on Wednesday morning.

Follow ChicagoCubsOnline on Twitter: @TheCCO

Quote of the Day

"The riches of the game are in the thrills, not in the money." – Ernie Banks

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  • BosephHeyden

    Well, not only does it look like these talks with the Dodgers are legitimate, they’ve also got a name attached: Allen Webster. Looking at his numbers, he looks like a slightly older, equally knocked around Zach Lee.

    At this point in time, any move made with the Dodgers that doesn’t involve them depleting their already depleted minor league system is stupid. Make Dempster stick around a losing team until he decides to go to a team with a better farm system, and if he doesn’t, then get the comp pick next season.

    • calicub

      i don’t like the direction the trade talks have taken the past2 days.

      Webster is a career 3.42 ERA pitcher in the minors but seems to have been struggling since being promoted to AA hes struggled compiling a 4.56 ERA

      • Ale

        Randall Delgado to this. I really hope cubs don’t move him just to move him and get someone not worth his value

        • DWalker

          thats what I am afraid will happen now, take anything they can get from the dodgers and be done with it. Like Mike said though, maybe they will just ask for such a large package its not doable for the dodgers and they will be the ones to break off. Dempster hasn’t outright refused the braves, hes just putting as much pressure on the cubs to make it work with the dodgers he can, even if it undercuts the teams position. Lousy position to be in, and its a shame dempster will be leaving town on such a sour note.

          • paulcatanese

            Nice re-cap of the game Neil, Castro, Soriono, and DeJesus,
            all great hits. And Maholm, good effort today. Good team win
            no matter who steps up its a win.

          • Neil

            Thanks Paul

    • Mike Simala

      If they get webster, we need something else, a positon player of value, Federowicz their catcher at AAA maybe and Withrow and Gould, but this is just not good.

  • John_CC

    Wow, too stellar starts in row. Maholm is on a roll. Good for him. Now I guess we have wait to see if get’s moved or not. As much as I appreciate what he’s done as a Cub, he is probably at the peak value of his career. This is an ideal “sell high” moment. Maybe we can get lucky on a trade with the least likely of the three available pitchers. At least something seems to be working in the Cubs favor this week.

    • Mike Simala

      shoot hes got like 5 real good starts in a row, def sell high time. Dont get me wrong i liked the signing of him when we did it and wouldnt mind him for next year but getting quality “suspects” back doesnt bother me. Im ALL IN rebuilding this way. Great signing for team Theo looks to be working toward the purpose of the signing. Plus they landed Maholm this year why cant they find someone to replace him again next year if he gets moved now.

  • Aaron

    As I’ve said….if that’s the type of deal that the Cubs get from the Dodgers, then make Dempster miserable the rest of the year playing for a loser, and feel the heat from fans…and the league for doing so. In that case, he probably won’t want to come back, thus making it less of a risk to offer arbitration.

    • Mike Simala

      just wondering but can a Dfad guy still veto his trade if he has the 10/5 rights?

      • Tony_Hall

        DFA’s must be due to performance. That is why they couldn’t cut Soriano right now either.

  • DWalker

    So, is there a package there with the braves for garza? don’t see delgado for maholm unfortunately……….

    • Aaron

      I don’t believe the Braves have interest in Garza because of cost (prospects) as well as cost (dollars). The Braves have a limited budget.

    • Mike Simala

      Braves have plenty they could package for Garza, but like Aaron said its probably a cost control measure to not go for him. However I hope its something that Theo is exploring.

      • Neil

        Aaron is right about the Braves budget.

  • Mike Simala

    I wonder if this situation could cause a new way of handling trade talks with guys who have 10/5 rights. Maybe if you get approached by your team once youve received 10-5 rights and you then provide a list to them of teams that you would go to. That could get amended into their contract and allow for trades to said teams without final approval of the player.

    • Tony_Hall

      Doesn’t and won’t work that way. It is veto power, that they hold. Nothing less.

      • Mike Simala

        I get that its veto power that they hold, provided by the CBA with the Union. And im just grasping at straws here. However you can legally amend contracts. Im just saying that if given a players permission and signature on an amended contract, i dont see why something like that couldnt be done.

        Its just shady business to say “Id play here or there” and then when they send you there, you say “no.”

        Just trying to find a way to make that list of teams carry some weight instead of meaning absolutely nothing in the end.

  • triple

    I think if Hendry was still the GM he woulda stuck his tail between his legs and shipped Dempster to L.A. already, and I don’t even know if he woulda gotten even Gould and Withrow in return. I don’t think Theo will give in. He is here as a business man, and not the family/friend that Hendry always acted as with his players. Theo is the one with the good cards to play, although it seems like Demptser is trying to hold the Cubs hostage, as are the Dodgers. I don’t think Theo has the emotional attachment that JH would, so I can’t really see him flinching here. While all this is happening you know the Dodgers and Braves both want Dempster, so as this drags out Theo may be able to get even more in return. He can make the Dodgers offer as much as necessary to get Demp, or just go with the Braves offer. And if that’s not on the table anymore, then keep him and get the compensation round pick.

  • Aaron

    The way I see it….even after seemingly being backed into a corner, the Cubs still have the upper hand in all trades for starting pitching from here on out (unless some wacky trade for a top flight starter like Felix Hernandez goes down), and here’s why:

    -Dempster still leads the league in ERA, which means he’d likely qualify for the $12 million salary to gain a draft pick
    -Dempster has already been said to be looking for a multi-year deal, which would likely mean he’d turn down the Cubs 1 year offer
    -JA Happ has been traded (though he wasn’t high on anyone’s list)
    -Anibal Sanchez has been traded
    -Wandy Rodriguez has been traded
    -Hamels is rumored to be signing an extension tomorrow
    -Cubs, Astros, Twins, and Rockies are the only teams out of contention that are said to be interested in dealing just about anyone on their rosters, and other than Liriano, the other teams don’t have much of anything to offer.
    -Cubs have Dempster, Garza, and Maholm to trade…all guys with ERA’s under 4, and in Garza and Maholm’s cases, both are controlled for another year

    The Brewers seem unwilling to concede defeat just yet, and are asking a high price for Greinke.

    But that’s not all….The Cubs also hold the upper hand in deals for bench help in Johnson and Baker, as both are turning it on hitting-wise, and pushing .300 (over .300 in Johnson’s case), and they have an underrated chip in Soriano, who has 19 hr right now….granted they’d need to eat just about all of his salary, but with AROD going down tonight with a broken hand, isn’t it conveivable that the Yankees might at least consider him for some power, especially if the Cubs kicked in just about all his salary?

    I’m glad Theo and Hoyer haven’t made trades just to make trades….but hopefully they start utilizing their upper hand in everything, and start making some trades of guys that aren’t in the future plans, like just about everyone on the roster not named Rizzo, Castro, and Samardzija.

    • Theboardrider

      Good thoughts Aaron…

    • Larry Schwimmer

      I agree 100%. There is no point just making trades. And, SORIANO should remain a CUB if no one MLB team thinks a player who can still hit 30-35 HR + 90-100 RBIs is worth anything. I say…re-sign DEMPSTER to a 2 yr contract!

  • Tony_Hall

    Looks like we have more rumored trades.

    Hanley going to the Dodgers for Eovaldi

    • Vivid_Reality

      At this point I am just losing respect for Dempster. We try to send him to his number two destination and he needs to take time to decide? I realize it is his right but what was the point of picking your destinations if we cant send you there. With the flurry of recent trades, I feel like we are losing suitors.

    • BosephHeyden

      That trade is now official. This looks like it was more of a payroll dump than anything else. The Marlins get rid of a highly paid guy not performing and don’t eat anything on his contract, give up a Loogy, and get an MLB-ready arm that, right now, looks like he’ll be a 4 or 5 guy (which isn’t saying a lot for the rest of their prospects, since Eovaldi’s minor league numbers were better than that of Webster’s and Lee’s).

      Again, the Dodgers have something to offer for certain teams: the Cubs are not one of those teams.

  • Tony_Hall

    Hamels looks to be staying, 3 – $20M+ pitchers in the same rotation…

    “Hamels, 28, is close to a six-year contract extension with the Phillies for more than $137.5 million, according to major-league sources.”