Game Twenty-Two – Cubs 4, Marlins 2
WP – Scott Feldman (1-3) LP – Wade LeBlanc (0-4) Save – Kevin Gregg (2)
The final score of Friday night’s game could read Anthony Rizzo 4, Marlins 2 as the Cubs’ first baseman hit a pair of tape measure shots off lefty Wade LeBlanc on Friday night that accounted for all four of the Cubs’ runs. The Cubs posted back-to-back wins for the first time this season … and for the first time since last September 12 and September 14.
Anthony Rizzo (3-for-4 with two home runs, four RBI and a stolen base) had a huge night. Not only did he hit a pair of dingers off a lefty, but he added a single in the eighth and stole his second bag of the season. Rizzo became the first lefty in Cubs’ history to hit eight home runs in April passing Henry Rodriguez and Sweet Swingin’ Billy Williams. Rizzo also climbed into a tie for the second most home runs in the NL and into the top five in RBI. Rizzo has driven in 18 runs this season and became the first Cub to drive in four runs in a single game this season. Rizzo’s first homer of the night came on the first pitch of his at bat … the fourth time this season Rizzo has launched a homer on the first pitch.
Scott Feldman picked up his first win in a Cubs’ uniform with a solid outing against a poor offense. Feldman pitched into the seventh inning and had good command for the most part throughout the game. Feldman issued both walks in the seventh inning. Feldman allowed two runs on seven hits with two walks and two strikeouts in 6 2/3 innings. Feldman served up a solo home run to Joe Mahoney in the fourth and one of his two free passes scored in the seventh. Feldman picked up his first big league win since August 4 of last year (14 starts).
James Russell cleaned up Feldman’s mess in the seventh and Shawn Camp was able to work his way out of a jam in the eighth. Kevin Gregg picked up his second save with a perfect ninth inning.
Darwin Barney (3-for-3 with a double and a HBP) not only reached base in all four plate appearances on Friday night but he also made a game changing play in the third inning. With the Cubs up 4-0 with two on and no outs, Feldman fielded a comebacker off the bat of Placido Polanco. Feldman’s throw toward second sailed and appeared to be on its way into centerfield. Barney made a leaping catch, stepped on second and threw to first to complete the double play.
Cody Ransom (1-for-3 with a double and a walk) was solid in the field as well, and Dave Sappelt (2-for-4 with two runs scored) was on board for both of Anthony Rizzo’s home runs. Starlin Castro was a loud 0-for-4 on the night.
The Cubs pounded out 10 hits, four for extra bases, but walked only one time and finished the game 1-for-7 with RISP and left six runners on base.
With Friday’s victory, the Cubs improved to 8-14 on the season.
Dave Sappelt lined Wade LeBlanc’s first pitch into left for a single. Starlin Castro then drove a 0-2 pitch to deep center. Chris Coghlan made a good play to snag the liner just before the ball got over his head. With Sappelt at first, Anthony Rizzo launched LeBlanc’s first pitch over the wall in right center. Rizzo’s seventh longball of the season, and second off a lefty, put the Cubs up 2-0. Alfonso Soriano reached on an infield single to the hole at short. After Castillo fouled out to Polanco, Soriano was thrown out at second following a two-strike pitch to Scott Hairston to end the inning.
Scott Feldman retired three of the four batters he faced in the first, just a two-out single by Giancarlo Stanton, on 18 pitches, 11 for strikes.
The game remained 2-0 Cubs until the third after Feldman worked around a one-out double by Rob Brantly in the second.
Dave Sappelt led off the third with an infield single off Wade LeBlanc. Castro chopped a 3-1 pitch toward second. Sappelt advanced to second as Solano threw out Castro at first base.
Anthony Rizzo crushed a 2-1 pitch from lefty Wade LeBlanc. The ball ended up in the second deck beyond the right field wall. Rizzo’s eighth of the season and second of the night put the Cubs up 4-0. Soriano struck out swinging and Castillo flied out to center to end the inning.
Scott Feldman nearly self-destructed in the bottom of the third inning … and Darwin Barney bailed him out. Wade LeBlanc reached on an infield single to start the third. Juan Pierre then pulled a 0-1 pitch past a diving Rizzo and into right field. Feldman made a good pitch to Placido Polanco with runners on first and second with no outs. Polanco hit a comebacker that Feldman fielded cleanly, turned and threw toward second. The ball sailed and it appeared to be on its way into centerfield. Darwin Barney made an excellent leaping catch, touched second and threw to Rizzo to complete the 1-4-3 double play. With LeBlanc at third, Stanton rapped the first pitch to Castro for the third out.
The Marlins got on the board in the fourth inning on Joe Mahoney’s first home run of the season. Mahoney crushed a 2-2 pitch from Feldman to the upper deck in right field … 4-1 Cubs. Donovan Solano followed with a single to right on the ninth pitch of the at bat. Rob Brantly pulled a 1-1 pitch toward first. Rizzo fielded the ball, stepped on the bag and threw to Castro, who applied the tag on Solano, to complete the 3-6 double play. Feldman retired Coghlan on a grounder to Rizzo on his 61st pitch of the game to end the fourth.
The Cubs missed a chance to tack on in the top of the seventh. Cody Ransom worked a walk to start the inning. Darwin Barney then singled to left, his second hit of the night. Mike Redmond decided that was enough for LeBlanc and went to his pen. Tom Koehler replaced LeBlanc and retired Feldman on a foul bunt to Brantly behind the plate. Feldman’s inability to get down the bunt led to the Cubs not adding on their lead. Sappelt followed with a slow chopper to short. Chris Valaika threw out Sappelt at first as Ransom and Barney advanced to second and third with two down.
Starlin Castro lined a 1-0 pitch into right center … and Giancarlo Stanton made a diving catch to rob Castro of a hit and a couple of RBI to end the inning.
Scott Feldman settled in after the fourth inning and retired nine in a row before issuing a one out walk to Rob Brantly in the seventh. Chris Coghlan followed Feldman’s first free pass of the night with a double to right that one-hopped the wall. Brantly held at third with one out. Feldman hung a breaking ball on a 2-2 offering to Valaika. The Marlins’ shortstop lifted the ball into left. Soriano hauled it in as Brantly tagged and scored the Marlins’ second run of the game. Austin Kearns hit for Koehler with two outs and Coghlan at second. Feldman walked Kearns and put the tying run on base. Dale Sveum went to his pen for James Russell. Russell retied Juan Pierre on two pitches. Pierre popped a 1-0 pitch into left that Soriano hauled in to end the inning.
The Cubs were not able to add on in the eighth after Anthony Rizzo singled and stole second … and were not able to capitalize on a one-out double by Darwin Barney in the ninth. The game went to the bottom of the ninth with the Cubs up 4-2.
Kevin Gregg made his way in from the Cubs pen … and retired all three batters he faced on 15 pitches to close out Scott Feldman’s first win in a Cubs’ uniform.
Travis Wood takes on Alex Sanabia on Saturday night in game three in South Florida.