Game Fifty-One – Cubs 9, White Sox 3
WP – Scott Feldman (5-4) LP – John Danks (0-1) Save – None
Dioner Navarro (3-for-3 with three home runs, six RBI, a walk and four runs scored) hit not one, not two but three home runs, drove in a career-high six runs while scoring a career high four runs. Dioner Navarro became the first Cub to hit three home runs in a single game since Aramis Ramirez (2010), the first Cub to homer from both sides of the plate since Mark Bellhorn (2002) and the first Cubs’ catcher George Mitterwald (Baron von Mitterwald) to hit three homers in a single game since 1974. Navarro joined Victor Martinez (2004) as the only other catcher in the history of the game to hit home runs from both sides of the plate as part of a three homer game.
Dioner Navarro hit a solo home run in the second, a two-run shot in the fourth and a three run homer in the seventh that ended up on Sheffield Avenue … the first three run homer by a Cubs’ player this season. So while the focus on Wednesday at Wrigley was on hockey, Navarro put together somewhat of a natural hat trick against the White Sox.
Dioner Navarro did most of the damage on Wednesday, but the offense as a whole had a good day and beat John Danks for the first time at Wrigley Field. Anthony Rizzo (1-for-4 with a RBI and a run scored), Ryan Sweeney (1-for-1 with a RBI) drove in runs while the other run scored on a miscue by the Sox’s defense. Scott Hairston (2-for-4 with two runs scored) had one of his best games this season at the plate and was on board for one of Navarro’s three longballs. The Cubs pounded out 11 hits, four for extra bases, and walked two times.
Scott Feldman put together a quality start on a day he did not have his best stuff. Feldman labored early, ran up his pitch count, but made the big pitch when he needed it. Feldman went six innings on Wednesday and allowed two runs on six hits with no walks and seven strikeouts on 104 pitches, 67 for strikes.
The Cubs bullpen was solid once again. Carlos Villanueva tossed a scoreless seventh. Carlos Marmol gave up a run on a hit and a passed ball but struck out two in the eighth. Alex Burnett made his Cubs’ debut on Wednesday and pitched a scoreless ninth inning.
The Cubs improved to 21-30 on the season with Wednesday’s victory over the White Sox.
Scott Feldman worked around an Alexei Ramirez bloop single and a stolen base in the first inning by retiring Alex Rios on a grounder to third and striking out Adam Dunn swinging to end the inning … the first of three strikeouts on the day for Dunn. Feldman threw 15 pitches in the first, nine for strikes.
David DeJesus reached on an error by Dayan Viciedo in the first inning that led to the Cubs’ first run. Viciedo misplayed a deep fly to left into a two-base error. Starlin Castro followed with a single and the Cubs had runners on first and third with no outs. Anthony Rizzo pulled a 3-1 pitch to first base. Dunn chose to go to second instead of throwing home. DeJesus scored as Castro was forced at second. Rizzo beat out the throw to first and picked up his team leading 36th RBI. Soriano rapped into a 6-4-3 double play to end the inning, but the Cubs took advantage of the extra out and put a run on the board.
The Sox tied the game at one in the second. Conor Gillaspie reached on a one-out single to right (0-2 pitch). Jeff Keppinger stepped in and put a long, 11-pitch at bat together that ended with a single to left. Gillaspie advanced to third and scored on a single to right by Tyler Flowers. With runners on first and second with one down, John Danks bunted both runners up ninety feet but De Aza grounded out to Barney to end the inning. Scott Feldman needed 44 pitches, 28 for strikes, to complete two innings of work.
After Scott Hairston fouled out to start the second, Dioner Navarro lifted a 0-2 pitch into the bleachers in left center. Navarro’s fourth longball of the year gave the Cubs a 2-1 lead. Luis Valbuena walked but Barney popped out to right and Feldman struck out swinging to end the inning.
After two complete, the Cubs led 2-1.
Feldman retired the side in order in both the third and fourth innings. Feldman threw 69 pitches, 44 for strikes, through the first four frames.
Scott Hairston reached on a one-out single in the fourth after Soriano flied out to left center. Dioner Navarro pulled a 1-1 pitch down the line in left and into the bleachers. Navarro’s fifth dinger of the season gave the Cubs a little breathing room with a 4-1 lead. Valbuena followed and flied out to left. Darwin Barney then pulled a 3-1 pitch into the left field corner for a double. Scott Feldman put together a long, 11-pitch at bat, but hit a soft liner on a 3-2 offering from John Danks to Gillaspie at third to end the inning.
The White Sox got one of the runs right back in the fifth. Tyler Flowers doubled to left to start the inning. Casper Wells hit for Danks and singled to left on a 3-2 pitch. Flowers stopped at third with no outs. De Aza hit a 1-0 pitch out to left. Alfonso Soriano hauled it in, Flowers tagged and scored, 4-2 Cubs. Ramirez hit a grounder to second. Barney was able to force Wells but his throw messed up the timing on the play and Ramirez reached first. Ramirez then swiped second with Rios at the dish. Rios grounded out to third to end the inning.
The game remained 4-2 Cubs until the sixth. Feldman retired the side in order in the sixth to end his afternoon. Scott Hairston led off the Cubs’ sixth with a single to left. Hector Santiago then walked Navarro. Luis Valbuena bunted both runners up ninety feet and Robin Ventura went to his pen for Matt Lindstrom.
Lindstrom uncorked a wild pitch on a 2-0 offering to Barney. Hairston scampered home with the Cubs’ fifth run. Barney grounded out to short and Navarro held at third with two outs. Dale Sveum sent in Ryan Sweeney to hit for Feldman. Sweeney delivered a bloop single to left center that plated Navarro … the second pinch-hit RBI for Sweeney this season. DeJesus singled to center to put runners on first and second with two down. Starlin Castro lined out to second for the third out.
Carlos Villanueva kept the Sox off the board in the seventh and the Cubs went to work on Brian Omogrosso in the bottom of the seventh.
Anthony Rizzo led off the seventh with a single to left center. Omogrosso then plunked Alfonso Soriano to put two on for Hairston. Omogrosso struck out Hairston swinging for the first out.
Dioner Navarro stepped to the dish for the first time on the afternoon from the left side. Navarro crushed a 2-0 pitch to deep right. The ball sailed out onto Sheffield and the Cubs took a commanding 9-2 lead on Navarro’s third homer of the day … and the first three-run homer by a Cub this season. Valbuena and Barney struck out to end the inning.
Carlos Marmol gave up a double to Alexei Ramirez to start the eighth. Marmol struck out Rios but Navarro could not handle a 0-1 pitch to Dunn. Ramirez advanced to third on another passed ball by Navarro and scored when Dunn lifted a 2-2 pitch out to left field. Marmol struck out Hector Gimenez to end the inning.
The Cubs did nothing in the eighth and Alex Burnett pitched a scoreless ninth in his Cubs’ debut.
Travis Wood faces Jake Peavy in the third game with the Sox on Thursday afternoon.