A Grand Day for Garza and the Cubs – Cubs 7, Diamondbacks 2

Game Fifty-Three – Cubs 7, Diamondbacks 2

WP – Matt Garza (1-0) LP – Wade Miley (3-5) Save – None

wflag-pubThe Cubs took advantage of the conditions at Wrigley on Friday afternoon and rode the wind to their fifth straight victory, the Cubs longest winning streak under manager Dale Sveum.

Three home runs in the first three innings accounted for all seven of the Cubs runs. Scott Hairston (1-for-3 with a home run and four RBI) hit his third career grand slam in the third inning off Wade Miley that turned an uncomfortable 2-0 advantage into a 6-0 lead. With Hairston’s granny on Friday, the Cubs hit grand slams in consecutive games for the first time since Sammy Sosa launched two slams in Arizona on July 27-28, 1998. The last time the Cubs hit grand slams in consecutive games at Wrigley Field was back in 1972 when Jim Hickman and Burt Hooton accomplished the feat on September 15-16 … 41 years ago.

Alfonso Soriano (1-for-3 with a home run, two RBI, two runs scored and a walk) put the Cubs up 2-0 in the first inning with his sixth longball of the season and in the process tied Matt Williams for 66th place on the All-Time home run list with no. 378 of his career. Soriano was on board for Hairston’s slam in the third after Miley intentionally walked him to face Hairston with the bases loaded. The Cubs continue to get production out of their third base platoon. Cody Ransom (1-for-3 with a home run) capped the Cubs’ scoring with his fourth longball of the year, a solo dinger in the third.

Anthony Rizzo (1-for-4 with a double and a run scored) doubled in the third to put runners on second and third ahead of Soriano. Rizzo moved ahead of Carlos Gonzalez for the National League lead in extra basehits (29) with his 17th double of the season. The Cubs scored seven runs on seven hits, four for extra bases, walked twice, struck out eight times and David DeJesus (1-for-3 with a HBP and two runs scored) was hit by a pitch.

Matt Garza picked up his first victory since he beat the Diamondbacks at Wrigley last July 15. Garza put together a very effective and efficient outing with help from several excellent defensive plays behind him. Garza completed seven innings while limiting the D-Backs to two runs on six hits with not walks and four strikeouts. Garza threw 93 pitches, 66 for strikes.

James Russell and Carlos Villanueva did not allow any runs over the last two innings while retiring six of the last seven batters they faced with a strikeout.

With Friday’s victory, the Cubs finished May with a 13-14 record and improved to 23-30 on the season.

Matt Garza retired Arizona in order on just 10 pitches, seven for strikes, in the first inning. Scott Hairston made an excellent leaping catch at the wall to take away extra bases from Paul Goldschmidt to end the inning.

Wade Miley plunked David DeJesus on a 1-1 pitch to start the Cubs’ first inning. Starlin Castro then reached on a swinging bunt up the third baseline. But Rizzo rapped into a 4-6-3 double play. DeJesus advanced to third with two outs.

Alfonso Soriano stepped in and lifted a 2-1 pitch into the wind. The ball ended up in the basket in left center and the Cubs took a 2-0 lead on Soriano’s sixth longball of the season. Hairston grounded out to third to end the inning.

The game remained 2-0 Cubs through second and into the bottom of the third. Matt Garza worked around a leadoff single in the second and an infield single and a bunt single in the third without allowing any runs. Garza needed only 30 pitches, 22 for strikes, to complete three innings on Friday afternoon.

David DeJesus led off the Cubs’ third with a single to left. After Castro struck out swinging, Anthony Rizzo doubled to right. DeJesus stopped at third with no outs. Miley tried to get Soriano to chase, missed on his first two offerings then decided to put him on and take his chances with Scott Hairston with the bases loaded … and it was the wrong decision.

Scott Hairston pulled a 1-1 pitch to deep left. Hairston’s fourth homer of the season, a grand slam, gave the Cubs a 6-0 lead. It was Hairston’s first slam since he took Casey Coleman deep for a four-bagger last year in a Mets’ uniform at Wrigley. Castillo grounded out to short for the second out.

Cody Ransom then made it 7-0 Cubs when he pulled a 3-1 pitch from Miley into the basket in left. After a short conference on the mound, Miley struck out Barney swinging to end the inning.

Matt Garza retired the next six batters he faced and needed only 57 pitches, 41 for strikes, to complete five innings of work.

Arizona got on the board in the sixth inning and it could have been worse. Miley reached on an infield single up the middle to start the inning. Gerardo Parra then pulled a 2-1 pitch into right for a double. Miley held at third with no outs. Didi Gregorius hit a 1-1 pitch to deep left center. Miley tagged and scored after DeJesus hauled it in for the first out. Parra held at second on the play. Paul Goldschmidt then grounded out to Barney for the second out. Parra advanced to third and trotted home when Miguel Montero doubled down the left field line. Garza refocused and caught Martin Prado looking at a 1-2 pitch to end the inning. Garza threw 79 pitches, 56 for strikes, over six innings.

With help from an excellent catch from Darwin Barney in the shift in short right to take away a hit from Jason Kubel, Matt Garza set down the side in order in the seventh to end his afternoon. The Diamondbacks managed only one other baserunner over the last two innings of the game. James Russell pitched a 1-2-3 eighth and Carlos Villanueva gave up a two-out single to Martin Prado before striking out Jason Kubel swinging to end the game.

Jeff Samardzija takes on Ian Kennedy on Saturday night under the lights at Wrigley Field.

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Quote of the Day

"People who write about Spring Training not being necessary have never tried to throw a baseball." – Sandy Koufax