Cubs Turn Seven Pirates Errors into a Win – Cubs 12, Pirates 2

Game One Hundred Thirty-Eight – Cubs 12, Pirates 2
WP – Travis Wood (5-11) LP – A.J. Burnett (15-6) Save – None

wflag.jpgThe Cubs took advantage of seven Pirates’ errors and ended their six-game losing streak with their first win on the road since August 18. The Cubs scored 12 runs on 12 hits, two for extra bases, and beat A.J. Burnett for the first time. Burnett was knocked out of the game after allowing seven runs, three earned, on eight hits in five-plus innings.

Starlin Castro (3-for-5 with a double, four RBI and a run scored) and Alfonso Soriano (3-for-5 with three RBI and a run scored) went a combined 6-for-10 with seven RBI and two runs scored on Friday night. Soriano plated Luis Valbuena (1-for-4 with a double, two RBI, two walks and two runs scored) with a first inning single and singled in two more in the seventh. Soriano’s three RBI on Friday night gives him 91 RBI for the season, the most RBI for Soriano in a Cubs’ uniform.

Starlin Castro made history on Friday night. Castro collected the 500th hit of his big league career in the fifth inning, a two-out single off A.J. Burnett. Castro became just the 28th player in the history of the game to record 500 hits before turning 23 years old.

Anthony Rizzo (1-for-3 with a RBI, two walks and two runs scored) picked up where he left off in the Nationals’ series and Steve Clevenger (1-for-5 with a RBI) drove in Castro with the Cubs’ fourth run.

The Cubs scored a single run in the first, three runs in the third, three in the sixth, five more in the seventh and finished the game 6-for-19 with runners in scoring position (nine left on base). Four of the Cubs’ 12 runs were unearned due to seven Pirates’ errors … the most errors for a Pirates’ team since September 16, 1985 and one short of Pittsburgh’s franchise record set on September 17, 1939.

Travis Wood put together one of his better outings of the season and notched his first win since July 6. Wood took a no hitter into the fifth and allowed only one hit over six shutout innings. Wood walked three and struck out five on 83 pitches, 52 for strikes. The Cubs defense helped keep Wood out of trouble and the Pirates off the board while he was on the mound.

Alfonso Soriano made a tremendous leaping catch to take away extra bases, if not a home run, from Andrew McCutchen to end the fourth inning.

Brett Jackson made the catch of the year for the Cubs in the sixth inning. Jackson ran full speed into the chain-link fence in center and took away an extra basehit and two RBI from Andrew McCutchen to end the inning. Jackson collided with the wall and hung onto the ball. Jackson left the game with a bruised right knee and will not play in Saturday’s game.

Alberto Cabrera pitched a scoreless seventh inning but James Russell gave up two runs in the eighth and struggled through a 31-pitch inning. Carlos Marmol struck out the last two batters he faced in the ninth to close out the game.

Darwin Barney (1-for-5 with a run scored) did not commit an error on Friday night and ran his errorless streak to 123 games. Barney tied Ryne Sandberg’s franchise mark for consecutive games played by a second baseman without an error.

With Friday’s win, the Cubs improved to 52-86 on the season …

David DeJesus popped out to Pedro Alvarez at third base to start the game. Luis Valbuena worked a walk. Anthony Rizzo hit a 0-2 pitch toward second. The Pirates’ rookie second baseman Brock Holt bobbled the ball then threw late to first base. Rizzo reached and Valbuena held at second on what should have been an inning ending double play. The Cubs took advantage of the miscue and took an early lead on a single to center off the bat of Alfonso Soriano. Soriano drove in Valbuena with a single off Josh Harrison’s glove.

Starlin Castro grounded the first pitch from Burnett to the hole at short. Harrison fielded the ball and threw to second to force Soriano. Castro beat Holt’s throw and the Cubs had runners on first and third with two down … but Steve Clevenger grounded a 0-2 pitch to Brock, who took it to the bag to end the inning. Burnett gave up a hit and an unearned run in the first inning on 21 pitches, 13 for strikes.

Travis Wood retired the side in order in the first … 1-2-3 on 15 pitches, nine for strikes.

The Cubs did nothing in the second. Burnett needed 31 pitches, 20 for strikes, to complete two innings of work.

Garrett Jones grounded out to Darwin Barney for the first out in the second. Wood jumped ahead of Gaby Sanchez 1-2 but ended up losing him and issuing his first free pass of the night. But Pedro Alvarez grounded into a 4-6-3 double play to end the inning. Wood threw 28 pitches, 17 for strikes, in the first two innings.

After two complete, the Cubs led 1-0.

David DeJesus grounded out to second to start the third. Valbuena grounded a 3-1 pitch toward first that Gaby Sanchez made a nice barehanded stop on for the second out. Anthony Rizzo ripped a two-out single into left. Alfonso Soriano followed Rizzo with a single to left that fell just in front of Starling Marte. Rizzo rounded the bag but stopped at second. Marte airmailed his throw to third. Both Rizzo and Soriano moved up to second and third with two outs.

Starlin Castro pulled a 1-1 pitch into left. Rizzo scored easily and Pat Listach waived Soriano around third. Marte charged the ball but it hit off his glove and rolled past him. Soriano scored easily and Castro ended up at second on Marte’s second error of the inning. The 499th hit of Castro’s career gave the Cubs a 3-0 lead.

Steve Clevenger followed Castro with a single to right. Castro scored and the Cubs took a surprising 4-0 lead on A.J. Burnett. Brett Jackson was caught looking at a 0-2 pitch to end the inning … 55 pitches for Burnett after three innings, 37 for strikes.

Travis Wood retired the side in order in the third. Wood faced the minimum the first time through the lineup on 43 pitches, 28 for strikes.

Darwin Barney reached on a swinging bunt to start the fourth. Barney dribbled a 2-1 pitch to the third base side of the mound. Burnett made a sliding stop but had no play … and left a huge divot in the infield. Travis Wood flied out to left for the first out. DeJesus popped out to Harrison in shallow left and Valbuena struck out swinging to end the inning. Burnett threw 68 pitches in the first four innings, 47 for strikes.

Travis Wood set down the side in order in the fourth … with a lot of help from Alfonso Soriano. Wood struck out Brock Holt and Starling Marte to start the inning. Andrew McCutchen launched Wood’s first pitch to deep left. Soriano made a leaping catch at the wall to take away at least extra bases from McCutchen to end the inning. Wood threw 51 pitches, 35 for strikes, in four innings.

A.J. Burnett retired Anthony Rizzo (groundout to second) and Alfonso Soriano (sliding catch in center by McCutchen) to start the fifth.

Starlin Castro ripped a 0-2 pitch into left for a single … the 500th hit of his career. Clevenger struck out swinging on Burnett’s 79th pitch of the game, 56 for strikes, to end the inning.

Travis Wood retired Garrett Jones and Gaby Sanchez on fly outs to Soriano to start the fifth. Pedro Alvarez crushed Wood’s first pitch to center. Brett Jackson tried to make a leaping catch at the wall and got a glove on the ball but could not haul it in. Alvarez reached second on the Pirates first hit of the game. Rod Barajas flied out to right to end the inning. Wood threw 68 pitches in six innings, 45 for strikes.

The Cubs took advantage of more Pirates miscues in the sixth and tacked on to their lead. Brett Jackson reached on an infield single to the hole at short (3-1 pitch). Josh Harrison dove but the ball knocked his glove off his hand and Jackson reached first base. A wild pitch on a 0-1 offering to Barney allowed Jackson to advance to second. Barney hit a grounder to Harrison. Jackson took off for third and was called safe. Jackson made a mistake and the Cubs caught a break. Replays showed that Jackson was out.

Clint Hurdle argued and was thrown out for the fourth time this season.

With the infield in and runners on first and third with no outs, Travis Wood dropped a bunt out in front of the plate. Barajas picked the ball up and threw toward second. Barajas’ throw was on the first base side of second and pulled Harrison off the bag. The Cubs loaded the bases on the Pirates’ fourth error.

David DeJesus grounded a 0-2 pitch toward first. Gaby Sanchez fielded the ball and threw toward the plate. Sanchez’s throw pulled Barajas off the plate and Jackson slid in safe with the Cubs’ fifth run on the Pirates’ fifth error … and that was all for A.J. Burnett.

Lefty Justin Wilson took over for Burnett and Luis Valbuena greeted him with a double into right center. The ball rolled all the way to the wall and the Cubs took a 7-0 lead after Barney and Wood scored. Rizzo stepped in with runners on second and third with no outs … and worked a walk to reload the bags. Justin Wilson gave way for right-hander Chris Leroux.

Chris Leroux struck out Alfonso Soriano swinging for the first out. Starlin Castro flied out to shallow right. DeJesus bluffed to the plate but held with two down. Steve Clevenger struck out swinging to end the inning.

Travis Wood retired Harrison on a pop out to Rizzo for the first out in the sixth. Michael McKenry walked and was forced at second when Castro fielded a smash off the bat of Brock Holt. Castro ran over, stepped on second but Holt beat the throw to first. Wood then walked Starling Marte to put runners on first and second with two out for McCutchen.

Andrew McCutchen crushed the first pitch from Wood to deep center. Brett Jackson got on his horse and caught the ball as he crashed into the chain link part of the fence. Jackson ran into the wall at full speed and hit the wall awkwardly but held onto the ball. It was an amazing catch.

After six complete, the Cubs led 7-0.

Tony Campana hit for Brett Jackson to start the seventh and reached on the Pirates sixth error of the game. Campana hit a routine grounder to Josh Harrison that his former teammate just booted. Chris Leroux uncorked a wild pitch on a 0-2 offering to Darwin Barney that allowed Campana to advance to second base. Barney flied out to right and Travis Wood grounded out to third for the second out. David DeJesus pulled a 3-2 pitch toward second. Brock Holt stumbled as he fielded the ball and DeJesus reached on the Pirates seventh error of the game. Campana advanced to third with two outs.

Hisanori Takahashi took over for Leroux and walked Luis Valbuena to load the bases. Anthony Rizzo worked his second walk of the game and forced in Campana with the Cubs’ eighth run of the game. Alfonso Soriano ripped a single into left. DeJesus and Valbuena scored … 10-0 Cubs. Dave Sappelt ran for Soriano.

Starlin Castro stepped in with runners on first and second with two down. Castro drove a 2-1 pitch from Takahashi into right center. Rizzo scored easily and Sappelt was waived in when Garrett Jones bobbled the ball. Jones was not given an error but the Cubs scored two more runs and took a 12-0 lead. Clevenger flied out to left to end the inning.

Alberto Cabrera took over for Travis Wood in the seventh and retired three of the four batters he faced. Pedro Alvarez worked a two-out walk but was stranded when pinch-hitter Jeff Clement grounded out to Darwin Barney.

Kyle McPherson took over in the eighth for the Pirates … and ended up facing the minimum after giving up an infield single to Tony Campana to start the inning. Darwin Barney hit into a 5-4-3 double play and Joe Mather looked at a 3-2 pitch to end the inning.

The Pirates broke up the shutout in the eighth against James Russell. Russell labored through a long, 31-pitch inning. Josh Harrison led off with a single to center … the Pirates’ second hit of the game. Michael McKenry ripped a 1-2 pitch into the left field corner. Dave Sappelt ran the ball down but Harrison scored all the way from first with the Pirates’ first run. Brock Holt hit a 0-2 pitch to the hole between first and second. Rizzo fielded the ball but Russell did not break for the bag … and Rizzo did not have a play.

With runners on first and third with no outs, Starling Marte flied out to left center. McKenry tagged and scored, 12-2 Cubs. Russell struck out Alex Presley looking before retiring Garrett Jones on a grounder to first to end the inning.

After eight complete, the Cubs led 12-2.

The Cubs did nothing against Kyle McPherson in the ninth.

Carlos Marmol issued a leadoff walk to Gaby Sanchez but that was it for the Pirates in the ninth. Marmol retired Alvarez on a tapper to the first base side of the mound that Marmol fielded and tagged Alvarez for the first out. With Sanchez at second, Marmol struck out Jordy Mercer and Josh Harrison swinging to end the game.

Box Score from Yahoo Sports

Jeff Samardzija will take the hill for the last time this season on Saturday night. Samardzija is scheduled to face James McDonald in game two.

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  • brent carmona

    Yes Neil you are right it was an amazing catch. Congrats to bjax for making the sportscenter top ten back to back nights AND having the number one play tonight. Glad he didn’t tear his knee up or anything like that too.

    • Zonk

      If he can just keep that strikeout rate around 30%…..still high, but close enough. He can contribute if he can hit .220.

      • Tony_Hall

        I think he needs to be closer to 250-260 range, but agree, he has to get the k’s down to at least 30%. If he brings his k’s down, the average will go up. He brings a lot to the team, if he can do both of those.

        I have heard BJAX compared to Jim Edmonds. That would be great if he could even come close to that, as I don’t think he will ever hit for as high of an average or as many HR’s as Edmonds. I think the comparisons are closer to Edmonds last 4-5 years offensively, but defensively he seems to have the same style of no fear, just go get it.

        • paulcatanese

          Tony, some may think he compares to Edmunds, and as you say If he could come close. IMO thats a stretch, Edmonds rarely took a bad route, BJAX may have the better
          arm, but thats it.
          I think Cub fans have been so anxious to have him come up that he is being over glorified.
          Balls that Edmonds would be standing under are being chased by BJax.
          At this point, no comparison. But definately the best defensive prospect the Cubs have had for center in quite a while.
          He as you say no fear in chasing balls down, but someone needs to remind him not to attempt what he did yesterday at Wrigley, they would be picking him up with a shovel and a sponge, the Ivy dont give.
          I do like him though, classey moves.
          Won’t even mention the bat, everyone knows what he has to do.

          • Tony_Hall

            I think the comparison are in style of play and potential. Not that he is there yet, obviously on offense or on defense. I really wouldn’t expect after 1 month that he would compare to Edmonds in stats or play.

          • paulcatanese

            Ironic Tony, I just now finished watching highlights of MLB over last ten years, and
            some of the catches that Edmund made.
            Hated the guy when he was with St Louis, but after he was added to the Cubs, got to know him as a team player. He was one of the best,
            amazing center fielder.
            Jackson could certainly develop, and hope he does, he has all the moves and tools
            to do just that. Hope he does.

          • Tony_Hall

            That he was. I disliked him as a Cardinal as well. He was definitly was the type of player who you love on your team, and hate on another. But no one can not say he wasn’t fun to watch roam CF. One of the best to play CF.