The Bottom of the Lineup and Bullpen Deliver a Win – Cubs 5, Padres 3

Game Twenty-Five – Cubs 5, Padres 3

WP – Michael Bowden (1-1) LP – Clayton Richard (0-3) Save – Kevin Gregg (4)

wflag-pubThe Cubs kicked off the 10-game homestand on a positive note with a victory over the Padres on Monday night. The Cubs snapped a 3-3 tie in the sixth on a RBI single from Cody Ransom and the bullpen kept the Padres off the board over the final four innings. The bottom of the lineup and the bullpen led the way after Jeff Samardzija struggled with his command throughout his short, five-inning start.

Cody Ransom had a huge night against the team that cut him 12 days ago both at the plate and in the field. Ransom drove in the game winning run in the sixth and made a game saving play in the field to end the seventh. Ransom went 2-for-4 with a home run, two RBI and two runs scored.

Scott Hairston (1-for-3 with a home run) and Cody Ransom hit back-to-back jacks in the second inning.

Darwin Barney (2-for-3 with two doubles, two RBI and a walk) drove in two of the Cubs’ five runs with a pair of doubles. Ransom and Barney were a combined 4-for-7 with a home run, two doubles, four RBI, a walk and two runs scored … and both Ransom and Barney delivered run scoring hits with two outs and runners in scoring position. Three of the Cubs five runs scored with two outs on Monday night (3-for-13 with RISP, six left on base). Welington Castillo (1-for-3 with a double, a walk and a run scored) had another good night at and behind the plate while Alfonso Soriano (2-for-4 with a double and a run scored) scored the eventual winning run on Ransom’s sixth inning single.

The six-eight spots in the Cubs’ lineup on Monday night drove in all five runs.

After Jeff Samardzija departed, the bullpen did not allow a run over the last four innings. While it was not pretty, the bullpen did their job. James Russell cleaned up Shawn Camp’s mess in the seventh. Russell struck out three batters over 1 1/3 innings. Kevin Gregg then bailed Russell out of trouble in the eighth and pitched a perfect ninth. Gregg picked up a four-out save and earned his fourth save of the season.

Jeff Samardzija did not have it on Monday night and admitted after the game that he is still dealing with cut on his index finger on his pitching hand that he suffered in his last start in Cincinnati. Samardzija struggled with his command and one of his two wild pitches in the first inning gave the Padres a run. Samardzija gave up three runs on four hits with four walks, two wild pitches and eight strikeouts in five innings. Samardzija threw 101 pitches, 63 for strikes, in his shortest start of the season.

With Monday’s victory, the Cubs have won five of seven after dropping four in a row.

Jeff Samardzija struggled with his command in the opening inning. After issuing a leadoff walk to Everth Cabrera, Chris Denorfia flied out to Sappelt in left center. Chase Headley followed with a single to right. With runners on first and second and one out, Samardzija uncorked a wild pitch on a 1-1 offering to Quentin. Cabrera and Headley moved up ninety feet. Sveum left his infield back with runners on second and third with one out. Samardzija got Carlos Quentin to chase a 2-2 pitch. Quentin struck out swinging on a ball in the dirt that got past Castillo. Cabrera scored but Quentin did not run to first. While the Padres were given a run, it should have been first and third with one in and one down. Instead there were two out in the inning and Headley at third. Yonder Alonso grounded out to short for the third out. Samardzija threw 17 pitches, 10 for strikes, in the first inning.

The Padres were not able to add on in the second after a two out single by Nick Hundley and an error by Starlin Castro that allowed Clayton Richard to reach. Castro misplayed a liner off the bat of Richard. Samardzija caught Cabrera looking at a 0-2 pitch to end the inning. Samardzija needed 38 pitches, 25 for strikes, to complete two innings on Monday night.

The Cubs started taking a few pitches in the second and it paid off. After Castillo grounded out to short to start the inning, Scott Hairston and Cody Ransom went back-to-back and gave the Cubs a 2-1 lead. Hairston lined a 3-1 pitch into the bleachers in left and Ransom drove a 3-2 pitch to deep center that ended up in the batter’s eye. Darwin Barney walked. Samardzija bunted Barney into scoring position but Sappelt grounded the first pitch toward third and Headley threw him out to end the inning.

The game remained 2-1 until the fourth. Samardzija issued a one out walk to Headley but no runs and recorded his only 1-2-3 inning in the fourth.

Welington Castillo doubled off the vines in right center to start the fourth. Scott Hairston advanced Castillo to third with a flyout to right. Ransom struck out swinging (1-2 pitch). But Darwin Barney pulled a 2-1 pitch into the gap in left center. Castillo scored on Barney’s two out double. Samardzija grounded out to second to end the inning.

Jeff Samardzija took the hill in the fifth with a 3-1 lead and a manageable pitch count (69 pitches through four, 45 for strikes) but the Padres would not give in. Not only did San Diego tie the game but they also made Samardzija work.

After Richard popped out to second to start the fifth, Samardzija jumped in front of Cabrera 0-2 but could not put him away. Cabrera singled to center on the eighth pitch of the at bat. Samardzija then issued a four-pitch walk to Denorfia. Chase Headley struck out swinging on a 3-2 pitch for the second out. Quentin then fell behind 0-2, but once again, Samardzija could not put a batter away. Quentin ended up walking to load the bases.

Yonder Alonso dumped a 1-0 pitch in front of Soriano in shallow left. Cabrera and Denorfia scored and tied the game at three. Samardzija caught Jedd Gyorko looking at a 0-2 pitch to end the inning. Samardzija threw 32 pitches in the fifth inning.

The game remained knotted at three until the bottom of the sixth. Michael Bowden set down the side in order in the top of the inning.

Alfonso Soriano led off the Cubs’ sixth with a single to left. Richard then walked Welington Castillo. With runners on first and second and no outs, Scott Hairston rolled over the top of a 3-1 pitch and grounded into a 5-4-3 double play. Soriano advanced to third with two down.

Cody Ransom stepped in and lined a 1-1 pitch into center. Soriano scored and gave the Cubs a 4-3 lead. Bud Black decided that was enough for Clayton Richard and went to his pen for Anthony Bass. Ransom then took off for second on a 1-2 pitch to Darwin Barney. Barney went with the pitch and drove in down the right field line. Ransom scored from first on Barney’s second double of the game and gave the Cubs a 5-3 lead. Nate Schierholtz hit for Bowden. Schierholtz broke his bat on a 3-2 pitch and blooped out to Bass in foul ground to end the inning.

Shawn Camp’s bad season continued on Monday night. Shawn Camp started the seventh by giving up back-to-back singles to Cabrera and Denorfia. Chase Headley pulled a 1-0 pitch to the hole at second. Barney made an excellent diving stop and threw out Headley at first. With runners on second and third with one out, Camp walked Quentin on four pitches to load the bases. Sveum went to his pen for James Russell to face Yonder Alonso with the bags juiced and the Cubs up by two.

Alonso tried to check his swing on a 2-2 pitch but it was ruled that he went around for the second out. Gyorko tried to check his swing on the first pitch from Russell. Gyorko hit a slower roller past the mound toward third. Cody Ransom ran in and made a barehanded pick then threw a strike to Rizzo just ahead of Gyorko to end the inning.

The Cubs did nothing in the seventh and James Russell stayed in for the eighth. Russell struck out Jesus Guzman and Nick Hundley to start the eighth. Kyle Blanks hit for Anthony Bass and ripped a single into right. Everth Cabrera followed and pulled a double down the right field line. Julio Borbon played the ball of the side wall rather well and almost threw out Cabrera at second. With runners on second and third with two down, Sveum made the slow walk and brought in Kevin Gregg. Gregg retired Denorfia on two pitches. Denorfia tapped a 1-0 pitch back to Gregg to end the inning.

The Cubs could not tack on in the eighth after Alfonso Soriano led off with a double to left center off Brad Brach. Castillo worked a full count but struck out swinging on a 3-2 pitch. Julio Borbon reached on an infield single to third (originally charged as an error to Headley). With runners on first and third with one out, Cody Ransom struck out swinging. Borbon stole second on a 2-1 pitch to Barney … but Barney tapped out to second to end the inning.

The game went to the ninth with the Cubs up 5-3.

Kevin Gregg struck out Chase Headley and Carlos Quentin then retired Alonso on a grounder to second to end the game.

Edwin Jackson faces Edinson Volquez on Tuesday night.

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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