Bum-ba-deeda, Bum-ba-deeda, Bum-ba-deeda … Cubs Walk Off with a Win – Cubs 5, Astros 4

Game One Hundred Sixty-Two – Cubs 5, Astros 4
WP – Carlos Marmol (3-3) LP – Hector Ambriz (1-1) Save – None

wflag.jpgIt’s all over, the Cubs beat the Astros on a bases loaded RBI single by Bryan LaHair in the bottom of the ninth inning. The Cubs walked off with a win in their final game of the season and ended a bad year with a victory.

Bryan LaHair (2-for-5 with a home run and two RBI) had a big day in what could have been his last game in Cubs’ uniform. LaHair tied the game in the second with his 16th longball of the year, a solo shot to left. LaHair then delivered a bases loaded, two-out single to right in the bottom of the ninth that plated Darwin Barney with the winning run.

The Cubs took a 4-1 lead into the eighth but an error by Brett Jackson (0-for-3 with a walk and a run scored) and a walk to Matt Dominguez brought the tying run to the plate. Justin Maxwell crushed a 0-1 pitch from Shawn Camp and tied the game at four. Camp wiggled out of the eighth and Carlos Marmol faced the minimum in the ninth.

Travis Wood put together a solid outing in his last start of the season. Wood left the game in line for his seventh victory of the season after allowing one run on three hits with five walks and four strikeouts in 6 1/3 innings. Wood struggled with his command early and issued three of his five walks in the first two innings, including one to pitcher Edgar Gonzalez, the 23rd time this season the Cubs walked the opposing pitcher. To Wood’s credit he settled down, found a groove and appeared to get stronger as the game progressed into the later innings. Wood retired 12 in a row before walking the last two batters he faced (93 pitches, 55 for strikes).

Travis Wood (1-for-3 with two RBI) helped his own cause with a two-run single in the fourth after Anthony Recker (0-for-2 with two walks and a RBI) walked with the bases loaded to force in the go ahead run. Wood led the Cubs’ staff with four RBI on the season, one ahead of Jeff Samardzija (3).

The Cubs offense managed seven hits and eight walks in the season finale. Tony Campana (2-for-5 with a stolen base) recorded a multi-hit game and stole his 30th base of the season. Adrian Cardenas (0-for-3 with two walks) reached base twice via free passes and Josh Vitters (1-for-2 with two walks and a run scored) reached base a career-high three times. Dave Sappelt was 1-for-4 with a run scored. The Cubs went 2-for-8 with runners in scoring position and stranded nine runners on base.

Starlin Castro (0-for-4) became the first shortstop in Cubs’ history to play in all 162 games (started 161) and is the first Cubs’ infielder since Ron Santo in 1968 to play a full 162 game season.

The Cubs drew 2,882,756 fans to Wrigley Field this season, their lowest attendance since 2002 and the first time since 2003 the Cubs drew 3 million in attendance.

The Cubs ended a season with a victory for the first time since 2006 … and with Wednesday’s win the Cubs finished the 2012 season with a 61-101 record. Cue Van Halen’s version of Happy Trails …

Travis Wood labored through a 26-pitch first inning. Wood walked a pair but the Cubs’ inability to turn a double play gave the Astros an extra out and they took advantage. Wood retired Tyler Greene on a routine fly to right for the first out. Wood got ahead of Jed Lowrie but lost him and issued his first walk of the game. Matt Dominguez hit a routine grounder to Cardenas at second. Cardenas fielded the ball but stumbled then made an awkward looking shovel, flip to Castro. Starlin Castro caught the ball but did not throw to first to complete the double play. Castro appeared to have problems getting the ball out of his glove … but the timing was off for obvious reasons.

Wood then jumped ahead of Justin Maxwell 0-2 but lost him and issued his second walk of the inning. Carlos Corporan stepped in with runners on first and second with two down. Corporan fell behind 1-2 but Wood threw him a curveball on a 2-2 pitch and sped up his bat. Corporan lashed a single into left. Dominguez scored, Campana threw to third and not only was his throw late, the mistake by Campana allowed Corporan to advance to second. Brandon Barnes popped a 3-2 pitch into shallow right that Dave Sappelt made a sliding catch on near the line to end the inning. Wood threw 26 pitches, 12 for strikes, in the first inning.

Edgar Gonzalez faced the minimum in the first inning and required just 10 pitches, five for strikes, to do so. Tony Campana grounded out to second for the first out. Adrian Cardenas walked but was erased when Starlin Castro grounded into a 6-4-3 double play.

Travis Wood retired Brandon Laird (groundout to third) and Jimmy Paredes rather quickly to start the second inning … but for some reason, Wood could not throw a strike to Edgar Gonzalez and issued a four-pitch walk. The 23rd time this season the Cubs walked the opposing pitcher. Tyler Greene reached on a swinging bunt to Vitters. Josh Vitters made a good play and throw but it was just late. With runners on first and second with two down, Jed Lowrie tapped a 0-2 pitch back to Wood for the third out … 42 pitches for Wood after two, 22 for strikes.

Bryan LaHair led off the second with his 16th longball of the season. LaHair cranked a 0-1 pitch up and out of the zone into the bleachers in left field. LaHair’s first home run since August 22 (third since being selected to the NL All-Star team) tied the game at one. Dave Sappelt flied out to right (1-2 pitch). Josh Vitters walked on four-pitches. Brett Jackson put together a good at bat. Jackson worked a full count but struck out swinging. Vitters was running on the pitch and swiped second base. Anthony Recker grounded out to second (2-2 pitch) to end the inning. Gonzalez needed 33 pitches, 18 for strikes, to complete two innings.

After two, the game was tied at one.

Matt Dominguez hit a 2-2 pitch back to the mound to start the third. Justin Maxwell pulled Wood’s first pitch to deep left center. The ball hit off the door and Maxwell ended up at second with a double … but Carlos Corporan lined out on the first pitch and Barnes grounded out to third, first pitch swinging, to end the inning. Wood needed 53 pitches, 31 for strikes, to complete three innings of work.

Travis Wood lined out to left for the first out in the Cubs’ third. Tony Campana hit a 3-2 pitch up the middle that Greene fielded but he could not throw out Campana at first. With Adrian Cardenas at the plate, Edgar Gonzalez uncorked a wild pickoff attempt to first. Campana ended up at second, easily, with one out. Cardenas popped a 3-2 pitch to Lowrie in shallow left for the second out. On the first pitch to Castro, Tony Campana swiped third … his 30th stolen base of the season. Castro grounded out to second for the third out. Gonzalez threw 49 pitches, 28 for strikes, over three innings.

Travis Wood retired the side in order in the fourth … 66 pitches for Wood after four, 40 for strikes.

Bryan LaHair fouled out to Lowrie near the Cubs’ bullpen to start the fourth. Dave Sappelt chopped a 2-2 pitch from Edgar Gonzalez back up the middle. Tyler Greene fielded the ball behind the bag and made a one-hop throw to first. Sappelt beat the throw then advanced to second when Josh Vitters blooped a 1-2 pitch into right. With runners on first and second with one down, Brett Jackson stepped in … and took a walk (seventh pitch of the at bat). Anthony Recker followed and with the bags packed, the Cubs’ third string catcher worked a full count … then took ball four. Sappelt trotted in with the go ahead run.

Travis Wood lashed a 1-0 pitch into left. Vitters scored easily and Jackson followed. Justin Maxwell bobbled the ball and Jackson crossed the plate without a throw. With the Cubs up 4-1 and runners on first and second with one out, Astros’ interim manager Tony DeFrancesco decided he’d seen enough and went to his pen for lefty Fernando Abad. Tony Campana took a full swing on a 1-1 pitch but the ball did not make it ten feet from the plate. Corporan picked up the ball and made a strong throw to first to nip Campana. Both runners advanced to second and third. Adrian Cardenas worked a walk to reload the bases. Tony DeFrancesco went back to his pen for right-hander Jose Valdez.

Starlin Castro flied out to left (0-1 pitch) to end the inning.

After four complete, the Cubs led 4-1.

Travis Wood made quick work of the Astros in the fifth … 1-2-3 and Wood needed 77 pitches, 48 for strikes, to complete five innings of work.

The Cubs did nothing against Jose Valdez in the fifth.

Travis Wood set down the side in order in the sixth … Wood retired 11 in a row and 14 of 15 at that point. Wood threw 81 pitches, 52 for strikes, over the first six innings.

With Len Kasper and Bob Brenly calling the game on WGN Radio and Pat Hughes and Keith Moreland in the TV booth, the Cubs did nothing against Mickey Storey in the sixth.

Brandon Laird fouled out to Anthony Recker for the first out in the seventh … 12 in a row retired by Travis Wood. Wood then lost his command and issued back-to-back walks to Jimmy Paredes and pinch-hitter Matt Downs. Dale Sveum decided that was enough for Travis Wood. Sveum made the slow walk and went to his pen for Jaye Chapman. Tyler Greene rolled a 1-1 pitch out to Castro … 6-4-3 inning ending double play.

The Cubs did nothing against Fernando Rodriguez in the seventh.

After seven, the Cubs led 4-1.

Shawn Camp took over in the eighth and Jed Lowrie drove his first pitch to deep center. Brett Jackson did not get a good jump then took his eye off the ball. The ball hit off his glove and Lowrie ended up at second on the error. Camp in his 80th appearance of the season walked Matt Dominguez on four pitches. Justin Maxwell stepped in with runners on first and second with no outs.

Justin Maxwell crushed a 0-1 pitch from Camp. The ball ended up in the back of the bleachers in left field … and just like that the game was tied at four. Carlos Corporan followed with a single to right. But Tony DeFrancesco called for a hit and run on Brandon Barnes, the pitch was high and outside. Barnes swung through the pitch and Recker threw a strike to second base. Castro tagged out Corporan after he stopped short of the bag. Corporan slid headfirst but the turf slowed him up and he ended up sliding on his face. Barnes grounded out to short and Brandon Laird struck out swinging to end the inning … but the damage had been done and the game was tied at four.

Hector Ambriz started the eighth and retired Bryan LaHair on one pitch, a fly out to right. Dave Sappelt flied out to right center (3-2 pitch). Josh Vitters worked a walk (3-2 pitch) but Brett Jackson struck out swinging (1-2 pitch) to end the inning.

The game went to the ninth tied at four.

Jimmy Paredes singled to left on a 1-2 pitch from Carlos Marmol to start the ninth. Brett Wallace then rapped into a 3-6-1 double play. Marmol caught Tyler Greene looking at a 1-2 pitch to end the inning.

Game 162 went to the bottom of the ninth tied at four.

Hector Ambriz stayed in for the ninth and issued a leadoff walk to Anthony Recker (3-1 pitch). Darwin Barney ran for Recker. Steve Clevenger stepped in for Carlos Marmol … and popped a bunt attempt (1-0 pitch) straight up. Ambriz caught it for the first out. Tony Campana pushed a bunt past the mound (0-1 pitch). Greene ran in, picked and shoveled to first but Campana beat the throw and the Cubs had runners on first and second for Adrian Cardenas struck out swinging (2-2 pitch). Starlin Castro worked a two-out walk and the bases were loaded for Bryan LaHair.

Bryan LaHair ripped the first pitch into right … Cubs Win!

Box Score from Yahoo Sports

The next Cubs’ game that counts will take place on April 1, 2013 at PNC Park in Pittsburgh … likely Jeff Samardzija against AJ Burnett on Opening Day 2013.

Follow ChicagoCubsOnline on Twitter: @TheCCO

Quote of the Day

"The more reasons you have for achieving your goal, the more determined you will become." - Brian Tracy

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  • SuzyS

    To Aaron,
    re yesterday’s thread on Washington/Chicago success:
    Thanks for your detailed reply….You simply amaze me (in a good way) sometimes with the in depth, detailed analysis of your replies.
    I agree with you that we are much further along than Washington was at the beginning…but they (and Texas) also had the advantage of the old cba rules making it easier to rebuild with overpaying both draft picks and international signings.
    The Cubs seemed to have picked a more difficult time to return to an old concept of rebuilding from the ground up…(What else is new?).
    So without adjustments to the plan to take into account the new rules….the timeline for a rebuild is suspect with me. And yet, I’m immensely MORE hopeful of better things to come than I ever was under the old JH regime.
    101 losses or not…It feels so much better than thinking of being stuck with another year of Milton Bradley and the decision makers that brought him here.
    For now, the mistakes are short term and not weighed down with no-trade clauses and huge overpaid contracts that we’re stuck with for what seems an eternity.
    We may not be good right now…But I do have the feeling that
    we’re moving in the right direction.
    I don’t always agree with you Aaron, but I always love your posts…and the discourse that they generate among all the CCO.
    -Suzy

    • Aaron

      Thanks Suzy….as for the discourse, sometimes when you say it like it is, people don’t want to hear it, and they get all in a tiff….it is what it is. Sometimes I’ve said things that were somewhat over-the-top, but I’ve also strangely predicted a lot of what’s happened to this team, or perhaps not so “strangely” if you think logically like I do, just breaking down facts, etc.

      As for the current direction of the team, at least it appears they are unwilling to commit beyond 2 years to any veterans which is in stark contrast to what Hendry used to do….Bradley, Byrd, Jones, Miles (though it was 2 years, but I included, because NOBODY would go over 1 year for him), etc. are all examples of failures of the past.

      Contrast that with guys like DeJesus, Maholm, Germano, etc. that were signed for 2 years or less, and you have a great deal of flexibility. Why? Because if you’re looking to sign free agents in the first place, they should be better than what you currently have both on the team and in your system….or, you’re looking to sign them short-term in order to give guys who might have a higher ceiling than ______ free agents, but need more seasoning.

      Jackson and Vitters need more seasoning, just as Rizzo did. Do we know how much? Maybe…maybe not. Maybe they need half a season like Rizzo did…or, maybe they need a full season. Both should let us know by the winters they have. At that point, it’d probably be wise to pony up for a guy on a 1 year deal with an option, such as a guy like Melky Cabrera (who very well might be looking at a “make good” deal in the 1-2 year range after his PED suspension). Fans can argue about distractions it might cause, but when you’re trying to rebuild, you’re looking for 2 things: assets you can control in the future, or assets you can turn into multiple long-term assets by trading them at the deadline or the following offseason (obviously provided they have good years).

      I can think of several guys that might be looking at short-term deals (either because other teams don’t have money/openings, they’re aging, or are looking at “make good” 1-2 year deals), including:
      Youkilis
      Rolen
      D. Young
      Victorino
      Pagan
      M. Cabrera
      A. Jones
      C. Lee (though you might as well retain Soriano in that case)
      Sizemore
      T. Hunter
      …..and many more

  • GaryLeeT

    Neal, thanks again for spectacular season long coverage. Made all the more impressive, because you did it while administering extended hospice to the Cubs.

  • http://www.facebook.com/jim.canavan.14 Jim Canavan

    Neil/Abby/Brian/Tom U: Thanks for all the work and insight that you put into the CCO.

  • http://chicagocubsonline.com/ Neil

    WGN’s Jordan Bernfield caught up with Brett Jackson after the game. Here’s what Jackson had to say:

    “Very motivated moving into the off season. Know what I need to work
    on. I’m excited to get to work in a couple weeks. What’s great is, we
    know my potential, I know my potential. I believe in what what I can
    become and what I want to become. I won’t stop until I become the player
    that I think I’m capable of becoming. Hard work starts soon. There’s a
    lot to take from this season. But I know what I need to work on,
    offensively and defensively. I think you’ll see a different player in
    spring training. Like I said I’m very motivated for the off season
    moving to 2013. There’s some muscle memory things, some bad habits I
    need to take care of. That’s a matter of work ethic.” (Confident it can be fixed)

    When asked Jackson what he needs to change: “Some mechanical,
    physical adjustments with my swing. There’s nothing wrong with my
    approach.”

  • SuzyS

    Neil, On the last day of the season…I just want to say thanks for your hard work…and the wonderful CCO cite you’ve provided for us all. It’s a great outlet to talk baseball and get rid of some huge frustrations with OUR team.

  • SuzyS

    Brett is going to need that confidence to right the ship…I hope he realizes his every dream…professionally….I’ll root
    for both he and Vitters to justify the faith the JH regime had in selecting them as first rounders….But I do have my doubts.

  • paulcatanese

    Agree with you Suzy, I would have said the same, but you did so well, I will just second it.

  • http://chicagocubsonline.com/ Neil

    Thanks guys, I appreciate all of the kind words.

  • Aaron

    Well done Neil…just like everyone else said

  • brent carmona