Game One Hundred Twenty-Four – Cubs 5, Rockies 3
WP – James Russell (6-1) LP – Matt Belisle (3-5, BS 6) Save – Carlos Marmol (16)
The Cubs ended their four-game losing streak with a come from behind victory over the Rockies on Friday afternoon. The Cubs hit three home runs, scored three of their five runs in the eighth inning and kicked off the long homestand on a positive note.
Colorado jumped out to a 3-0 lead on a wild pitch in the first inning and solo home runs by Chris Nelson and Carlos Gonzalez before the Cubs could record their first hit. About the time Jeff Samardzija settled down the Cubs figured out how to square up lefty Drew Pomeranz.
The Cubs first three hits all left the park … and all five hits produced runs on Friday afternoon.
Alfonso Soriano (1-for-4 with a home run) broke up Pomeranz’s no hit bid in the fifth. Soriano led off the inning with his 23rd dinger of the season. Welington Castillo (1-for-3 with a home run) cut the Rockies lead to 3-2 with his fourth big league homer of the season. After Starlin Castro (0-for-2 with a walk) popped out to second following Soriano’s home run, Castillo launched a 2-2 pitch almost to the exact spot as Soriano’s homer in left center. The Cubs did not manage another hit until the eighth inning.
Brett Jackson (1-for-3 with a home run) crushed a hanging slider from Matt Belisle and Jackson’s first home run at Wrigley Field (second of his career) tied the game at three.
Luis Valbuena hit for James Russell with one out in the eighth. Valbuena doubled to left center and scored the go ahead run on a single by Joe Mather (1-for-4 with a RBI and a run scored). The Rockies committed two errors that allowed Mather to score the Cubs’ third run in the inning and fifth of the game.
Following the game Jeff Samardzija said he was very proud of his outing. Samardzija explained that he figured out how to keep his team in the game and battle through not having his best stuff.
Jeff Samardzija struggled early, ran up his pitch count (46 after two innings) and found himself in a three-run hole after just three innings. Samardzija did not allow another run after the third and retired 11 of the last 12 batters he faced on 99 pitches (64 for strikes). Samardzija received a no decision after allowing three runs on six hits (two home runs) with two walks and seven strikeouts in seven innings … and he may have taken the next step in his development as a big league starting pitcher.
Dale Sveum used Shawn Camp and James Russell perfectly in the eighth. Carlos Marmol closed it out in the ninth and earned his 16th save of the season (15-for-15 in save opportunities since May 2).
Anthony Rizzo (0-for-4) went hitless Friday afternoon but his defense was stellar once again. Rizzo made two excellent plays in the field and kept Colorado from adding onto their lead in the first inning.
With Friday’s win, the Cubs improved to 48-76 on the season … After Jeff Samardzija retired Charlie Blackmon on a fly out to center to start the game, Jonathan Herrera reached on an error by Starlin Castro. Jordan Pacheco followed with a single to right and the Rockies had runners on first and second with one down. Carlos Gonzalez grounded out to first, both runners advanced on the play. A wild pitch on a 2-2 offering to Ramon Hernandez allowed Herrera to scamper home with the game’s first run. Samardzija ended up walking Hernandez. Tyler Colvin stepped to the plate with runners on first and third and two down.
Tyler Colvin smoked a 1-0 pitch toward first. Anthony Rizzo made an excellent diving stop and threw to Samardzija to end the first inning. Samardzija labored through a 20-pitch (11 for strikes) first inning but allowed only one run.
The Cubs did nothing in the first. Drew Pomeranz retired the side in order on 14 pitches, nine for strikes.
Chris Nelson led off the second with his sixth home run of the season. Samardzija fell behind 3-1 and Nelson gave the Rockies a 2-0 lead. D.J. LeMahieu followed with a single to center. Pomeranz bunted LeMahieu to second then Samardzija started to figure things out. Samardzija struck out Charlie Blackmon. Jonathan Herrera walked but Jordan Pacheco looked at a 3-2 pitch to end the inning … 46 pitches for Samardzija after two, 25 for strikes.
Starlin Castro worked a one-out walk in the second but Welington Castillo grounded into a 5-4-3 inning ending double play. Pomeranz faced the minimum in the second and needed only 26 pitches (16 for strikes) to complete two innings.
Carlos Gonzalez led off the third with his 21st home run of the season … a big fly over the wall in center. With the Rockies up by three, Samardzija retired the next three batters he faced to end the inning. Samardzija needed 60 pitches to complete three innings of work, 33 for strikes.
The Cubs did nothing in the third. Pomeranz faced the minimum the first time through the lineup on 34 pitches, 22 for strikes.
Samardzija faced the minimum in the fourth after surrendering a leadoff single to D.J. LeMahieu. Pomeranz could not get the bunt down and struck out. With Blackmon at the plate, LeMahieu took off for second and was thrown out by his former teammate, Welington Castillo. Samardzija struck out Blackmon swinging to end the inning … 71 pitches for Samardzija after four innings, 41 for strikes.
The Cubs did nothing in the fourth … and after four complete, the Cubs were down 3-0.
Jeff Samardzija retired the side in order for the first time in the fifth … with a little help from Anthony Rizzo. Rizzo made an excellent stab of a bad hop and threw a strike to Samardzija just ahead of a diving Jonathan Herrera to start the inning. Samardzija threw 82 pitches over the first five innings, 50 for strikes.
Alfonso Soriano led off the fifth with the Cubs first hit … a home run into the bleachers in left center. Starlin Castro popped out to second. Welington Castillo notched the Cubs’ second hit (and run) with his fourth longball of the season (2-2 pitch). The ball landed in nearly the same spot as Soriano’s in left center. Brett Jackson flied out to Carlos Gonzalez at the wall in left for out number two … and Darwin Barney flied out to right center to end the inning and Drew Pomeranz’s day.
Samardzija set the side down in order in the sixth … 90 pitches for Samardzija through six innings, 56 for strikes.
Other than a one out walk by Josh Vitters, the Cubs did nothing against Josh Roenicke in the sixth.
D.J. LeMahieu led off the seventh with his third hit of the day, a single to center. Roenicke could not get the bunt down and fouled off a bunt attempt on a 0-2 pitch for the first out. Blackmon flied out to center and Herrera grounded out to third to end the inning.
The Cubs did nothing in the seventh against Josh Roenicke.
Shawn Camp started the eighth and retired Jordan Pacheco on a liner to right. Dale Sveum went to his pen and brought in James Russell to face Carlos Gonzalez … Gonzalez popped out to center and Ramon Hernandez grounded out to short for the third out.
Matt Belisle started the eighth with the Rockies up 3-2 … but the one-run lead did not last long. Brett Jackson pulled a hanging slider (1-2 pitch) into the bleachers in right center. And just like that the game was tied at three. Darwin Barney grounded out to first following Jackson’s home run.
Dale Sveum went to his bench and sent Luis Valbuena up to hit for James Russell. Valbuena drove a 3-2 pitch into the gap in left center. Valbuena ended up at second with the go-ahead run … just the Cubs fourth hit of the game. Joe Mather followed and dropped a single into right center. Valbuena scored and the Cubs took a 4-3 lead.
Josh Vitters pulled a 1-1 pitch toward third. Chris Nelson fielded the ball and threw to second … but LeMahieu dropped the ball and the mistake put runners on first and third with one down.
Jim Tracy decided he’s seen enough of Belisle at that point and went to his pen for Matt Reynolds. Anthony Rizzo hit a tapper up the first baseline that Reynolds fielded … but he airmailed his throw to first. The ball ended up in right field and Mather scored the Cubs’ fifth run. With the infield back and runners on first and third with one down, Alfonso Soriano popped a 2-2 pitch into shallow right. Charlie Blackmon caught the ball and threw out Josh Vitters at the plate to end the inning. Vitters did not run hard off the base and it cost his team a run.
The Cubs took a 5-3 lead into the ninth.
Tyler Colvin flied out to center (2-1 pitch) to begin the ninth. Chris Nelson then blooped a 3-2 pitch down the right field line and just out of the reach of a diving Darwin Barney. Nelson ended up at second with a double. D.J. LeMahieu stepped in representing the tying run. LeMahieu lined out to left center and Marmol struck out pinch-hitter Josh Rutledge looking to end the game.
Friday was a game between two of the worst teams in baseball … at least the Cubs came out on the winning end.
Brooks Raley is scheduled to face Alex White in game two on Saturday afternoon.
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