Game Forty-Two – Cubs 8, Mets 2
WP – Scott Feldman (4-3) LP – Jeremy Hefner (0-5) Save – None
The Cubs won for the seventh time in 11 games on Saturday afternoon behind another solid outing from Scott Feldman. Feldman took advantage of a rather thin Mets’ lineup and made the big pitches when he needed to. Feldman surrendered seven hits, all singles, but issued only one walk while striking out six over 6 2/3 innings of shutout baseball. Feldman also helped himself at the plate. Feldman notched his second double of the season in the Cubs’ four-run fourth inning that turned a 2-0 lead into a 4-0 advantage.
Scott Feldman picked up his fourth win of the year with a final line of no runs on seven hits with a walk and six strikeouts on 109 pitches, 68 strikes … and a 1-for-3 afternoon at the plate that included a double and two RBI. Cubs pitching leads the majors with nine RBI on the season, two ahead of the San Francisco Giants (7) pitching staff, and are hitting .294 (10-for-34) with five doubles, one home run and six runs scored this month.
James Russell pitched 1 1/3 scoreless innings in relief of Feldman. The Mets two runs came off Hector Rondon in the ninth. Rick Ankiel broke up the shutout with a two-run homer.
Cubs pitching gave up two runs on nine hits, one for extra bases, and issued one walk while striking out six. The Mets had runners on base in seven of the nine innings but were 0-for-5 with RISP and left seven men on base.
The Cubs offense broke the scoreless tie in the fourth. Anthony Rizzo (2-for-4 with a home run and two runs scored) had another excellent game that did not include a strikeout. Rizzo singled to start the fourth and scored the Cubs’ first run on a sac fly off the bat of Luis Valbuena (1-for-2 with a sac fly RBI and a walk) after the Cubs loaded the bases with no outs. Welington Castillo (1-for-4 with a RBI and a run scored) singled in Alfonso Soriano (1-for-3 with a double, a run scored and a HBP) with the second run of the game. Scott Feldman then capped the scoring in the fourth with his two-run double.
Anthony Rizzo hit his tenth longball of the season leading off the fifth and the Cubs tacked on three in the eighth on a Nate Schierholtz (2-for-4 with a home run and two runs scored) and a two-out, two-run single from David DeJesus (1-for-4 with two RBI).
The Cubs scored eight times on 11 hits, five for extra bases, with two walks and one HBP and were 4-for-9 with runners in scoring position with six men left on base.
With Saturday’s victory, the Cubs improved to 18-24 on the season and 13-11 over the last 24 games.
Scott Feldman found himself in a jam right off the bat. Feldman struck out Baxter swinging to start his afternoon. Daniel Murphy reached on an infield single to Castro. The Cubs’ shortstop should have made the play on the slow roller. Terry Collins called a hit and run on a 1-2 pitch to David Wright. Wright singled to right center and the Mets had runners on first and third with one out. Feldman fell behind Ike Davis 3-1. Davis popped Feldman’s next pitch into shallow right. Nate Schierholtz caught the ball and made a strong, accurate throw to the plate. Murphy went back to third. Wright stole second on the first pitch to Lucas Duda. Feldman fell behind Duda 2-0. Duda then drove Feldman’s pitch to deep left center. DeJesus hauled in the ball before gently colliding with the ivy to end the inning. Feldman threw 17 pitches in the first, 10 for strikes.
The Cubs went down in order in the first on just 11 pitches, seven for strikes.
The Mets threatened again in the second inning after Starlin Castro was charged with his sixth error off the season. Feldman issued a leadoff walk to John Buck and fell behind Rick Ankiel 3-1. Feldman ended up striking out Ankiel swinging for the first out. Ruben Tejada then hit a tailor made double play ball to short. Castro bobbled and everyone was safe. Jeremy Hefner dropped down a sac bunt (0-1 pitch) and put runners on second and third with two down. Mike Baxter popped a 2-2 pitch down the left field line that Castro caught, with two hands, to end the inning. Castro’s error cost Feldman seven pitches, at the end of two innings, Feldman’s pitch count was relatively high (39 pitches, 23 strikes).
The Cubs were not able to capitalize on a leadoff double by Alfonso Soriano in the second and the game went to the third with no score.
Scott Feldman faced the minimum in the third and the Cubs went quickly and quietly in the third. Feldman then set down the Mets in order in the fourth. Feldman needed 64 pitches, 38 for strikes, to complete four innings on Saturday afternoon.
Anthony Rizzo started the Cubs’ fourth with a single to center. Hefner then plunked Alfonso Soriano with a 2-2 pitch, and changed the course of the game. Nate Schierholtz ripped a 1-0 pitch into left. Rizzo held at third with no outs. Luis Valbuena stepped in with the bags juiced and no outs. Valbuena pulled a 1-2 pitch to deep right. Baxter caught the ball on the track, Rizzo tagged and scored, 1-0 Cubs. Soriano also advanced on the play and Welington Castillo went to the plate with runners on first and third with one down. Castillo delivered a single to left on a 1-1 pitch. Soriano trotted in and the Cubs took a 2-0 lead. Darwin Barney lined out to left center for the second out.
Scott Feldman strolled to the dish with runners on first and second with two down. Hefner jumped in front of Feldman 1-2. Feldman then smoked a low fastball into the gap in right center. Schierholtz and Castillo scored on Feldman’s second double of the season … 4-0 Cubs. DeJesus walked but Castro flied out to right to end the inning. The Cubs batted around in the fourth and put four on the board.
Scott Feldman found himself in another jam in the fifth. Marlon Byrd hit for Jeremy Hefner and reached on a one-out single to left. Mike Baxter blooped a 1-0 pitch into right and the Mets had runners on first and second with one down. Feldman made his best pitches of the day at that point. Feldman struck out Daniel Murphy swinging (2-2 pitch) and David Wright swinging (1-2 pitch) to end the inning. Feldman needed 83 pitches, 51 for strikes, over the first five innings.
Anthony Rizzo made it 5-0 Cubs with his tenth homer of the season to lead off the fifth. Rizzo lined a 1-0 pitch from left Robert Carson into the party deck down the right field line. Carson retired three of the next four batters he faced to close out the fifth.
Scott Feldman faced the minimum in the sixth after giving up a single to Lucas Duda and inducing a 5-4-3 double play off the bat of John Buck to end the inning. Feldman started the seventh and gave up a bunt single to Rick Ankiel. With the Cubs in an exaggerated shift, Ankiel pushed a bunt toward third and reached easily. Tejada then blooped out to right and Feldman struck out pinch hitter Justin Turner swinging to end his afternoon.
Dale Sveum went to his pen for James Russell. Baxter grounded out to short for the final out.
The game remained 5-0 Cubs until the bottom of the eighth.
Collin McHugh started the eighth for the Mets in his second inning of work. Nate Schierholtz pulled a 0-1 pitch down the right field line. Schierholtz’s fifth longball of the season put the Cubs up 6-0. Luis Valbuena singled to center but was erased when Ruben Tejada made a sensational diving stop toward the hole on a ball hit by Welington Castillo and started a 6-4-3 double play. Darwin Barney blooped a single into right that fell in the middle of Ankiel, Murphy and Baxter. Ryan Sweeney hit for Russell and pulled a double into the gap in right center. David DeJesus stepped in with runners on second and third with two down.
David DeJesus worked a full count before pulling a single into right. Barney and Sweeney scored, 8-0 Cubs. Castro flied out to right to end the inning.
Hector Rondon started the ninth and gave up a one-out single to John Buck. Rick Ankiel launched a 1-2 pitch into the bleachers in right. Ankiel’s two-run shot broke up the shutout. Tejada lined out to Barney and Jordany Valdespin grounded out to Rizzo to end the game.
Travis Wood faces Dillon Gee in the series finale with the Mets on Sunday afternoon.