Three Home Runs … and a Three-Game Sweep – Cubs 4, Pirates 2

Game One Hundred Forty – Cubs 4, Pirates 2
WP – James Russell (7-1, BS 3) LP – Jason Grilli (1-6) Save – Carlos Marmol (18)

wflag.jpgThe Cubs hung on at the end and completed the three-game sweep over the Pirates. Dale Sveum’s team posted their first three-game road sweep of the season … and their first three-game sweep on the road since August of 2010.

Chris Rusin left the game after five innings in line for his first win. The Cubs took a 2-1 lead into the seventh on solo home runs by Josh Vitters (1-for-4 with a home run) and Anthony Recker (1-for-4 with a home run). Manny Corpas gave up a leadoff triple to Brock Holt in the seventh. James Russell replaced Corpas with two on and one down and the Cubs up by a run. Russell balked in the tying run but was able to wiggle his way out of the jam in the seventh without allowing the Pirates to take the lead.

Anthony Rizzo (2-for-5 with a run scored) led off the eighth with a single off Jason Grilli and set it up for Alfonso Soriano (1-for-4 with a home run) again. Soriano launched Grilli’s first pitch just to the left of straight away center. Soriano’s 28th longball of the year, a two-run shot, gave the Cubs a 4-2 lead. Soriano has driven in 94 runs this season.

Shawn Camp set down the side in order in the eighth and the Cubs were unable to tack on the ninth. Carlos Marmol took the hill with his team up by two.

Carlos Marmol gave up a leadoff single to Brock Holt on a 0-2 pitch then walked Starling Marte. After Andrew McCutchen popped out to Darwin Barney in shallow right, Marmol walked Garrett Jones to load the bases with one out. Marmol struck out Gaby Sanchez swinging (2-2 pitch) and Pedro Alvarez flied out to Joe Mather in left to end the game.

The Cubs made the pitches when they needed to on Sunday afternoon. The Pirates scored two runs on seven hits with eight walks … and finished the game 0-for-11 with runners in scoring position and left 13 runners on base.

Chris Rusin allowed one run on five hits with three walks and four strikeouts in five innings. The only run came via a solo home run off the bat of Andrew McCutchen in the first inning. Rusin threw 83 pitches, 52 for strikes, and put together a serviceable start on Sunday afternoon.

The Cubs pen bent but did not brake. Jaye Chapman pitched another scoreless inning. Manny Corpas gave up the leadoff triple to Brock Holt and was charged with a run scored after James Russell balked in Holt with the tying run. Shawn Camp struck out two of the three batters he faced in the eighth.

The Cubs offense pounded out 12 hits on Sunday afternoon and had their own issues with runners in scoring position. The Cubs had chances to break the game open but were not able to come up with a hit with runners on base. The Cubs finished the afternoon 0-for-7 with runners in scoring position and left 10 on base.

All four of the Cubs runs scored on three home runs. Josh Vitters tied the game in the fourth with his second longball of the season. Anthony Recker notched his first hit in Cubs’ uniform with his first big league home run. Recker gave the Cubs a 2-1 lead in the fourth with a deep fly over the wall in center. Alfonso Soriano’s two-run shot in the eighth broke the two-all tie and gave the bullpen a little breathing room.

Joe Mather (3-for-5) notched three of the Cubs’ 12 hits but did not score a run. Starlin Castro (1-for-5 with a double) and Dave Sappelt (1-for-3) also recorded hits Sunday in Pittsburgh.

Darwin Barney (1-for-5) did not commit an error for the 125th straight game.

With Sunday’s win (11-12 on Sundays in 2012), the Cubs improved to 54-86 on the season …

Joe Mather led off the game with an infield single. Darwin Barney rapped into a 6-4-3 double play on a 3-2 pitch. Anthony Rizzo followed with a single to center but Jeff Locke caught Alfonso Soriano looking at a 1-2 pitch to end the inning.

Chris Rusin retired Brock Holt and Starling Marte on four pitches to start his afternoon. Holt grounded out to Barney and Marte tried to bunt his way on but Rusin fielded the ball and threw out the speedster. The Cubs did a good job in the series of keeping Andrew McCutchen in check … but that changed in the first inning of Sunday’s game.

Andrew McCutchen pulled a 1-1 pitch over the wall in left center. McCutchen’s first hit of the series and 25th homer of the year gave the Pirates a 1-0 lead. Garrett Jones followed with a single to left. Rusin walked Gaby Sanchez to put two on with two out for Pedro Alvarez. Rusin struck out Alvarez on three pitches to end the inning.

After one, the Cubs trailed 1-0.

Jeff Locke retired Starlin Castro on a fly out to right (3-1 pitch) for the first out in the second. Josh Vitters grounded out to short but Dave Sappelt singled to left on a 2-1 pitch. Anthony Recker struck out swinging on the sixth pitch of the at bat (1-2 count) to end the inning.

Chris Rusin made his way through the second inning on Sunday. Rusin struck out Michael McKenry swinging for the first out. Clint Barmes walked. Jeff Locke could not get the bunt down and struck out on a bunt attempt. Brock Holt grounded out to Barney for the third out.

After two, the Cubs trailed 1-0.

After Rusin grounded out to second for the first out in the third, Joe Mather singled to center and advanced to second on an infield single to short off the bat of Darwin Barney. Anthony Rizzo flied out to left on the first pitch. Mather then swiped third with Alfonso Soriano at the plate but Locke struck out Soriano swinging (1-2 pitch) to end the inning.

Chris Rusin ended up facing the minimum in the third. Starling Marte popped out to Barney for the first out. Rusin walked McCutchen but Garrett Jones grounded into a 4-6-3 double play to end the inning.

Starlin Castro flied out to center for the first out in the fourth. Josh Vitters launched Locke’s first pitch into the stands in left. Vitters’ second big league home run tied the game at one. Dave Sappelt grounded out to short for the second out.

Anthony Recker stepped in and unloaded on a 0-1 pitch. Recker launched Locke’s 90 mph fastball over the wall in center. The ball ended up in the bushes beyond the wall and the Cubs took a 2-1 lead. Chris Rusin looked at a 2-2 pitch to end the inning.

Chris Rusin retired Gaby Sanchez on a grounder to short for the first out in the fourth. Pedro Alvarez singled to center … but Michael McKenry filed out to left and Clint Barmes fouled out to Darwin Barney to end the inning.

After four complete, the Cubs led 2-1.

The Cubs did nothing in the fifth.

Jeff Locke led off the fifth with a single to left. Brock Holt followed with an infield single. With two on and no outs, Starling Marte struck out swinging (2-2 pitch). Dave Sappelt made an excellent diving catch to take away a hit from Andrew McCutchen and Jones flied out to Sappelt in right to end the fifth.

Josh Vitters reached on an error by Brock Holt with two down in the sixth but that was all for the Cubs … and after five and a half, the Cubs led 2-1.

Jaye Chapman struck out Gaby Sanchez swinging to start the sixth. Pedro Alvarez reached on an error by Anthony Rizzo but Michael McKenry popped out to Castro for the second out. Jeff Clement hit for Clint Barmes and worked a walk (3-2 pitch). Josh Harrison hit for Jeff Locke with two on and two down … and grounded out to Vitters to end the inning.

Kyle McPherson took over for the Pirates in the seventh and retired Anthony Recker on a grounder to third. Bryan LaHair hit for Chapman and singled to right. Joe Mather was caught looking at a 1-2 pitch for the second out. Darwin Barney grounded out to short to end the inning.

Brock Holt greeted Manny Corpas with a triple to right to start the seventh. Starling Marte grounded out to Rizzo for the first out. Corpas then intentionally walked Andrew McCutchen. Dale Sveum went to his pen and brought in James Russell to face Garrett Jones.

James Russell was called for a balk with Jones at the plate. Holt jogged home with the tying run and McCutchen advanced to second with the potential go ahead run. Jones flied out to Soriano for the second out. Russell then issued a free pass to Gaby Sanchez. With runners on first and second with two down, Pedro Alvarez grounded out to Barney to end the inning.

After seven, the game was ties at two.

Jason Grilli replaced McPherson to start the eighth. Anthony Rizzo singled to center (1-0 pitch). Alfonso Soriano launched the first pitch he saw to deep center (just to the left of straight away center) and gave the Cubs a 4-2 lead. Starlin Castro followed with a ground rule double but Vitters was caught looking for the first out. David DeJesus hit for Sappelt and walked. With runners on first and second with one out, Clint Hurdle went to his pen for Chad Qualls. Anthony Recker flied out to deep left and Luis Valbuena hit for James Russell and struck out swinging (3-2 pitch) to end the inning.

Shawn Camp retired the side in order in the eighth.

The Cubs wasted a chance to tack on against Joel Hanrahan in the ninth. Joe Mather led off the inning with a single to center. Darwin Barney grounded out to short but Mather reached second then advanced to third when Rizzo grounded out to first base. Tony Campana walked. Campana stole second on the first pitch to Starlin Castro. Castro could not drive them in and struck out swinging to end the inning.

The game went to the bottom of the ninth with the Cubs clinging to a 4-2 lead.

Carlos Marmol struggled with his command in the ninth and made things very interesting once again. Brock Holt led off the ninth with a single to left on a 0-2 pitch. Starling Marte walked. Andrew McCutchen popped a 1-1 pitch into shallow right. Darwin Barney made a basket catch going toward the line. He appeared to be struggling with the wind. Marmol then issued a four-pitch walk to Garrett Jones that loaded the bases with one out.

After a visit from Chris Bosio, Marmol struck out Gaby Sanchez swinging (2-2 pitch). Pedro Alvarez swung and missed at Marmol’s first two pitches then hit a routine fly to Mather in left to end the game.

Box Score from Yahoo Sports

The Cubs open a three-game series on Monday night in Houston. Chris Volstad is scheduled to face lefty Dallas Keuchel.

Follow ChicagoCubsOnline on Twitter: @TheCCO

Quote of the Day

"You can’t sit on a lead and kill the clock. You’ve got to give the other man his chance. That’s why baseball is the greatest game." - Earl Weaver