A Volstad Victory – Cubs 5, Rockies 0

Game One Hundred Twenty-Six – Cubs 5, Rockies 0 – 8 innings
WP – Chris Volstad (1-9) LP – Jhoulys Chacin (1-4) Save – Shawn Camp (2)

wflag.jpg413 days and two rain delays later Chris Volstad’s winless streak came to an end with a victory over the Colorado Rockies. The Cubs took a 2-0 lead into the eighth and tacked on three runs in the inning in the rain. The game was put into delay after the eighth and called 30 minutes later.

Chris Volstad not only won a game but had one of his better outings of the season in the process. Volstad found a rhythm early, worked quickly and more importantly, he threw quality strikes. Volstad kept the Rockies from reaching second base through the first six innings and not a single batter reached third during his nearly seven innings of work.

Chris Volstad faced the minimum over the first three innings and allowed only four baserunners in six innings. The game was much closer than the final score. The Cubs did not score their second run until the sixth. Volstad had no room for error Sunday and responded with an excellent performance. Volstad departed with two on and two down in the seventh and was rewarded with a standing ovation from the crowd for his effort. Volstad tipped his cap in appreciation.

Chris Volstad posted his first win since July 10, 2011 after tossing 6 2/3 scoreless innings on Sunday afternoon. Volstad surrendered three hits, walked three and struck out three on 101 pitches, 60 for strikes.

Manny Corpas threw one pitch to close out the seventh and Shawn Camp picked up a save with a scoreless eighth.

Starlin Castro (2-for-3 with a double, three runs scored and a walk) had an excellent day at the plate. Castro scored the Cubs’ first three runs of the game. Castro led off the second with a double and scored on a force out off the bat of Darwin Barney (1-for-3 with two RBI and a run scored). Barney drove in the Cubs’ first two runs and added a RBI single in the sixth.

Anthony Rizzo (2-for-2 with two walks) reached base in each of his four plate appearances on Sunday and Brett Jackson (1-for-2 with two walks and a run scored) continued showing improvement at the plate while making numerous excellent plays in the field. David DeJesus (2-for-5 with a RBI) singled in Darwin Barney with the Cubs’ fifth run in the eighth inning.

The Cubs played a good game Sunday in not-so-good conditions and picked up their first series win in nearly a month (July 27 – July 28).

With Sunday’s win (10-11 on Sundays in 2012), the Cubs improved to 49-77 on the season …

Chris Volstad was sharp in the first inning after rain delayed the start of the game for two hours and 23 minutes. Volstad set down the side in order on 16 pitches, 12 for strikes.

The Cubs were very aggressive in the first inning and drove everything from Jhoulys Chacin to right field. David DeJesus flied out to right (1-1 pitch) for the first out. Luis Valbuena lined out to right (0-2 pitch). Anthony Rizzo pulled a 1-0 pitch into right for a single but Alfonso Soriano flied out to right (first pitch) to end the inning.

Chris Volstad faced the minimum in the second after catching Carlos Gonzalez looking at a 1-2 pitch to start the inning. Wilin Rosario dumped a single into center (3-2 pitch) but was erased quickly when Tyler Colvin lined the first pitch he saw to Darwin Barney. Barney threw to Rizzo and doubled off Rosario to end the inning … 27 pitches for Volstad after two, 19 for strikes.

Starlin Castro led off the second with a double to right center. Castro drove Chacin’s first pitch to deep right center. The ball one-hopped the wall and Castro ended up at second with a standing double. Steve Clevenger drove Chacin’s first offering to deep center. Colvin caught the ball on the track a couple of feet from the vines. Castro tagged and advanced to third on the play. Brett Jackson walked and the Cubs had runners on first and third with one down for Darwin Barney.

Darwin Barney tried to push Chacin’s first pitch to the right side of the infield but missed his bunt attempt. Barney hit a weak chopper toward short (0-2 pitch). Castro took off for the plate and scored as Brett Jackson was forced at second. Jackson took out D.J. LeMahieu at second and that gave Barney enough time to beat LeMahieu’s throw. Chris Volstad flied out to the track in center for the third out. Chacin needed 22 pitches, 15 for strikes, to complete two innings of work.

At the end of two, the Cubs led 1-0.

Chris Volstad retired the side in order in the third. Volstad threw 40 pitches, 26 strikes, over his first three innings.

Other than a two-out single by Anthony Rizzo the Cubs did nothing in the third. Chacin threw 37 pitches in three innings, 25 for strikes.

Chris Volstad kept the Rockies off the board in the fourth. Volstad retired Charlie Blackmon on a grounder to second and LeMahieu on a grounder to short. Castro made a nice pick on a bad-hop to throw out his former teammate. Jordan Pacheco singled to left (2-2 pitch) but Carlos Gonzalez ripped a 1-0 pitch to Barney, who flipped to Castro for the third out … 55 pitches for Volstad through four, 35 for strikes.

Starlin Castro struck out swinging (2-2 pitch) to start the fourth. Steve Clevenger tapped a 3-1 pitch back to the mound for the second out. Brett Jackson singled to right (1-1 pitch) and was forced at second to end the inning when Barney hit a 2-1 pitch to LeMahieu. Chacin needed 55 pitches, 35 for strikes, to complete four innings on Sunday afternoon.

After four, the Cubs led 1-0.

Chris Volstad struggled a little with his command in the fifth but did not allow a hit and issued only a two-out walk to Chris Nelson. Volstad needed 70 pitches to make it an official game on Sunday, 43 for strikes.

Chris Volstad led off the fifth with a single to left (2-2 pitch). David DeJesus flied out to left center and Valbuena fouled out to Rosario behind the plate for the second out. Anthony Rizzo worked a walk but Alfonso Soriano struck out swinging (0-2 pitch) with runners on first and second to end the inning.

D.J. LeMahieu worked a two-out walk in the sixth but that was all for the Rockies. Chris Volstad retired three of the four batters he faced in the sixth … 86 pitches, 52 for strikes, for Volstad after six innings.

The Cubs added a much-needed run off Adam Ottavino in the sixth. Starlin Castro led off the inning with a walk. Castro was down 0-2 in the at bat and ended up with a free pass. Steve Clevenger chopped a 1-1 pitch over the mound. Jonathan Herrera fielded the ball but had only one play … first base. Castro advanced to second with one down. Brett Jackson pulled a 1-1 pitch to first. Castro advanced to third and scored the Cubs second run on a bloop single to right center off the bat of Darwin Barney. Volstad struck out looking to end the inning.

After six, the Cubs had a 2-0 lead.

Chris Volstad retired Carlos Gonzalez with one pitch to start the seventh. Gonzalez drove the first pitch to deep left center that Brett Jackson hauled in for the first out. Volstad caught Rosario looking at a 1-2 pitch for out number two. Tyler Colvin recorded his first hit of the series, a double down the left field line on a 2-1 pitch … the first Rockie to reach second all afternoon. Volstad got ahead of Chris Nelson 1-2 but lost him and issued his third free pass of game. With runners on first and second and two down, Dale Sveum made the slow walk and went to his pen for Manny Corpas.

Chris Volstad received a standing ovation from the crowd at Wrigley as he made his way to the dugout and tipped his cap in appreciation. Manny Corpas retired Jonathan Herrera with one pitch (groundout to second) to end the inning.

The Cubs wasted a chance to tack on in the seventh. David DeJesus drove a 1-2 pitch into left center. Colvin let the ball roll between his legs and all the way to the wall. DeJesus ended up at third on Colvin’s error. Valbuena struck out swinging (2-2 pitch) for the first out. Ottavino intentionally walked Anthony Rizzo … and put runners on first and third with one down for Soriano.

Alfonso Soriano spanked a 1-0 pitch toward third. Chris Nelson fielded the ball and started a 5-4-3 inning ending double play.

After seven, the Cubs were clinging to a 2-0 lead in the rain.

Shawn Camp started the eighth and retired pinch hitter Josh Rutledge on a fly out to center. Brett Jackson made an excellent sliding catch running in toward the infield for the first out. Charlie Blackmon grounded out to first for the second out.

D.J. LeMahieu crushed Camp’s first pitch to deep center. Brett Jackson nearly hauled in the knuckling fly ball. The ball hit off his glove and LeMahieu ended up at second with a two-out double. Jordan Pacheco flied out to deep left center to end the inning. Pacheco just missed, Jackson hauled the ball in just a couple of steps in front of the ivy.

Matt Reynolds took over the Rockies in the eighth. Starlin Castro reached on an infield single to the hole at short. Steve Clevenger popped up a bunt attempt to Pacheco in foul ground. Brett Jackson walked on four pitches and Tracy went to his pen for righty Will Harris.

Darwin Barney quickly fell behind 0-2 but worked a full count as Will Harris struggled to grip the baseball … the rain was falling very hard at that point. Barney walked to load the bases with one out.

Joe Mather hit for Shawn Camp and pulled a 0-2 pitch into left field. Carlos Gonzalez caught the ball and made a very strong, accurate throw to Wilin Rosario. Castro slid in safe and likely would have been out if Rosario hung onto the ball. The ball rolled away and both Jackson and Barney moved up ninety feet. A 1-2 pitch to DeJesus got away from Rosario and Jackson slid in headfirst with the Cubs’ fourth run. Barney advanced to third and scored when DeJesus singled to left (2-2 pitch). Valbuena fouled out to Nelson to end the inning.

Carlos Marmol started in from the pen for the ninth with the Cubs up 5-0 … but Derryl Cousins halted play and put the game into its second rain delay.

Exactly 30 minutes later (by rule once a game is put into a rain delay after the top of the fifth with the home team leading the game, the umpire crew must wait at least 30 minutes to call it) the game was called … and Chris Volstad picked up his first win of the season.

Box Score from Yahoo Sports

The Cubs and Brewers kick-off a four-game series Monday night at Wrigley Field … Justin Germano against Marco Estrada in game one.

Follow ChicagoCubsOnline on Twitter: @TheCCO

Quote of the Day

"People who write about Spring Training not being necessary have never tried to throw a baseball." – Sandy Koufax