A Big Extra Innings W at the Big A – Cubs 8, Angels 6

Game Fifty-Seven – Cubs 8, Angels 6 – 10 innings

WP – Kevin Gregg (2-0) LP – Robert Coello (2-2) Save – None

wflag-pubIt took over four hours and an Anthony Rizzo bases clearing double in the tenth inning but the Cubs ended their three-game losing streak on Wednesday night in Anaheim.

The Cubs battled back from an early 4-1 deficit and tied the game in the fifth on a three-run homer off the bat of Cody Ransom (2-for-4 with a home run, a double and three RBI). The Cubs took a 5-4 lead in the sixth after Starlin Castro (1-for-4 with a double, a run scored and a walk) led off the inning with a double and scored on a bloop single by Ryan Sweeney (2-for-5 with a triple, a RBI and a run scored) but Mark Trumbo tied the game in the eighth with the first of his two home runs on the night.

The Cubs pen worked out of a jam in the ninth and sent the game to extra innings.

Dioner Navarro (2-for-4 with a walk and a run scored) worked a one out walk in the tenth. Julio Borbon ran for Navarro and advanced to third on a single from Darwin Barney (2-for-6 with a RBI and two runs scored). Luis Valbuena worked his second walk in as many at bats to load the bases for Anthony Rizzo.

Anthony Rizzo pulled a 2-1 pitch into the right field corner and gave the Cubs a 8-5 lead with his 18th two bagger of the season.

Kevin Gregg escaped a jam in the tenth to earn his second victory of the season. Gregg served up a solo homer to Mark Trumbo that cut the Cubs lead to 8-6 then gave up a two-out single to Howie Kendrick and walked Alberto Callaspo to put the tying run on base. Gregg struck out Hank Conger swinging on a 3-2 pitch to end the game.

All in all the Cubs played one of their better games of the year on Wednesday. While it was not a clean game, the defense stepped up and made plays when they needed to and made up for earlier miscues and errors.

The Cubs outhit the Angels 15-10 and showed a lot of patience at the plate, especially late in the game, that led to the extra inning victory. Alfonso Soriano (2-for-6 with two doubles and a stolen base) also collected a pair of hits and seven of the Cubs’ 15 hits went for extra bases. Each of the nine starters reached base at least one time on Wednesday night.

Matt Garza had a decent outing and was in line for the win before James Russell served up the solo homer to Trumbo in the eighth, the Cubs 13th blown save in 23 chances. Garza gave up all four runs he allowed in two innings. Howie Kendrick ripped a two-run homer off Garza in the second and Chris Iannetta and J.B. Shuck delivered RBI singles in the fourth. Welington Castillo made a game changing play in the fourth when he picked off Shuck from first base to end the inning when the Angels appeared to have Garza on the ropes.

Matt Garza left with one out in the seventh after Nate Schierholtz’s second error of the season put the tying run on third. Garza allowed four runs on seven hits with a walk and five strikeouts in 6 1/3 innings. Garza threw a season-high 103 pitches, 60 for strikes.

With Wednesday’s win, the Cubs posted their sixth victory of the season against the Junior Circuit, the most wins for a Cubs team in Interleague play since 2009 (6-9) and improved to 24-33 on the season.

Jason Vargas and Matt Garza both pitched a scoreless first inning and Alfonso Soriano led off the second with a double to right. Josh Hamilton lost the ball in the sun. After Hairston struck out, Castillo grounded out to second, Soriano advanced to third and held when Starlin Castro walked on four pitches. Vargas struck out Dioner Navarro swinging (2-2 pitch) for the third out.

The Angels jumped on Matt Garza in the second inning and took an early lead. Josh Hamilton doubled to right (1-1 pitch) to start the frame. Howie Kendrick then drove Garza’s first pitch over the wall in right center. Kendrick’s two-run shot gave the Angels a 2-0 lead. Garza retired Callaspo on a grounder to second and struck out Chris Iannetta for the second out.

J.B. Shuck appeared to hit his first big league homer when he pulled a 0-1 pitch down the right field line. Dale Sveum asked for the umps to take another look. The umps correctly reversed the call and Garza retired Shuck on a grounder to Castro to end the inning. Garza needed 23 pitches, 17 for strikes, to complete two innings of work.

At the end of two, the Angels led 2-0.

The Cubs chipped into the Angels lead in the third. Ryan Sweeney tripled to center to start the inning. Mike Trout tried to make a diving catch just to the right of straight away center but the ball hit off the tip of his glove and Sweeney ended up a third with a standing triple. With the infield back, Darwin Barney hit a routine grounder to short. Sweeney scored and cut the Angels lead to 2-1. Cody Ransom followed with a double into the left field corner (1-2 pitch) but Rizzo grounded out to first and with Ransom at third, Soriano flied out to right for the third out.

Matt Garza retired the Angels in order in the third. Garza threw 34 pitches, 23 for strikes, in the first three innings.

After the Cubs failed to do anything against Vargas in the fourth, Garza labored through a long fourth inning and the Angels added to their lead. Garza issued a leadoff walk to Mark Trumbo to start the fourth. Josh Hamilton rolled over a 1-2 pitch to Barney. But the Cubs could not turn two and Hamilton reached first base. Howie Kendrick singled and Hamilton advanced to third with one down. Alberto Callaspo popped out to Castro behind second for out number two. Garza fell behind Iannetta and could not put him away. Iannetta ripped a 3-2 pitch into center. Hamilton scored and the Angels took a 3-1 lead. J.B. Shuck stepped in with runners on first and third with two down. Shuck drove a 2-1 pitch into left and plated Kendrick with the Angels’ fourth run. Erick Aybar followed with a chance to break the game wide open but Welington Castillo picked off Shuck from first to end the inning. Garza threw 29 pitches in the fourth inning.

At the end of four, the Cubs trailed 4-1.

Dioner Navarro singled to left to start the fifth. Sweeney popped out to short (1-2 pitch) for the first out. Darwin Barney singled to center to put two on with one out for Cody Ransom.

Cody Ransom pulled Vargas’ first pitch down the left field line … and into the bleachers. Ransom’s fifth homer of the season, a three-run shot, tied the game the game at four. After Rizzo flied out to center, Alfonso Soriano drove Vargas’ first pitch to the wall in right center and ended up a second with a two-out double. Scott Hairston walked. Soriano and Hairston pulled off a double steal on a 1-1 offering to Welington Castillo. With runners on second and third and two down, Castillo drove a 3-2 pitch to deep right center. Mike Trout tracked the ball down just before the wall to end the inning.

Matt Garza set down the side in order in the fifth. Garza threw 77 pitches, 45 for strikes, in five innings of work.

Starlin Castro led off the sixth with his first extra basehit since May 27. Castro pulled Vargas’ first pitch into the gap in left center and ended up a second with a leadoff double. Dioner Navarro then reached on a Baltimore Chop and the Cubs had runners on first and third with no outs. Ryan Sweeney stepped in and blooped a 0-1 pitch into left. Castro scored and the Cubs took a 5-4 lead. With runners on first and second with no outs, Mike Scioscia decided that was enough for Jason Vargas and went to his pen for righty Michael Kohn.

Barney fouled out to Callaspo, Ransom popped out to Kendrick and Rizzo grounded out to first to end the sixth.

Matt Garza struck out Mark Trumbo to start the sixth. But Castillo did not secure the ball and Trumbo reached on a passed ball. Josh Hamilton grounded into a 3-6-3 double play. Howie Kendrick singled to right ahead of Alberto Callaspo lining out to center to for the third out.

At the end of six, the Cubs led 5-4.

The Cubs could not add to their lead against Garrett Richards in the seventh and Garza took the hill for the bottom of the seventh. Garza caught Iannetta looking for the first out and appeared to retired J.B. Shuck on a flyout to right. But Nate Schierholtz lost the ball at the last minute in the sun and dropped the ball. Shuck ended up a third on the three base error and Dale Sveum went to his pen for James Russell.

Erick Aybar fouled out to Welington Castillo (2-0 pitch) for the second out. Castillo made an excellent catch at the barrier behind home plate. Russell then walked Mike Trout on four pitches.

Albert Pujols stepped in with runners on first and third with two down. Pujols hit a sinking liner to center (1-2 pitch) that Ryan Sweeney ran in and made an excellent diving catch to end the inning.

The Cubs did nothing against Kevin Jepsen in the eighth and Russell stayed in for the home half of the eighth.

Mark Trumbo led off the eighth with a towering homer to left center (0-1 pitch) off Russell and tied the game at five. Russell retired Hamilton, Kendrick and Callaspo to end the inning … and the game went to the ninth tied at five.

Luis Valbuena hit for Ransom and walked to start the ninth. Anthony Rizzo followed with a single to left off Ernesto Frieri and the Cubs had runners on first and second with no outs … but Soriano popped out to second (infield fly), Schierholtz fouled out to third and Castillo popped out to short to end the inning.

Hector Rondon started the ninth by walking Chris Iannetta. Scioscia sent in Chris Nelson to run for his catcher. J.B. Shuck bunted Nelson to second for the top of the lineup. Erick Aybar grounded out to second, Nelson advanced to third and Sveum went to his pen for Kevin Gregg.

Kevin Gregg got Mike Trout to chase a 2-2 pitch in the dirt. Castillo threw to first to retire Trout and the game went to extra innings.

Robert Coello started the tenth for the Angels and struck out Castro swinging. Dioner Navarro worked a walk and Sveum sent in Julio Borbon to run for Navarro. Coello caught Sweeney looking for the second out.

Darwin Barney kept the inning going with a single to left. Borbon was running with the pitch and easily advanced to third with two down. Barney took second on the first pitch to Valbuena. Coello ended up walking Valbuena to load the bases for Rizzo.

Anthony Rizzo looked a two out of the zone before swinging and missing at Coello’s third pitch. Rizzo pulled the fourth pitch of the at bat down the right field line and into the corner. Rizzo cleared the bases with a two-out double and gave the Cubs an 8-5 lead. Scioscia went back to his pen for another former Cub, Jerome Williams. Alfonso Soriano flied out to right to end the inning.

Kevin Gregg stayed in for the tenth and retired Pujols on a pop out to right to start the inning. Mark Trumbo followed with his second homer in as many at bats and cut the Cubs lead to 8-6. Gregg struck out Hamilton for the second out before giving up a single to Howie Kendrick. Gregg then walked Alberto Callaspo to put the tying run on base. Scioscia sent in Brendan Harris, another former Cub, to run for Callaspo.

Hank Conger stepped in with two on and two down. Gregg jumped ahead 0-2 before Conger worked a full count. Gregg struck out Conger on the sixth pitch of the at bat to end the game.

Thursday is a day off for the Cubs while the front office focuses on the First-Year Player Draft. The Cubs kickoff a seven game homestand on Friday afternoon with the first of three against the Pirates … Travis Wood is scheduled to face Francisco Liriano in game one.

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  • paulcatanese

    Could only catch bits and pieces on MLB, but seemed like a great game.
    I like the way the Cubs came back after losing a tough one last night.
    They are a lot better than most have given them credit for, including myself. The frustration seems to be by the fans themselves and the Cubs are handling it better and better.
    If for just a few games (bullpen) these guys would be easily pushing .500.
    Castro, if he’s pulling the ball, great, and Rizzo in a clutch, winning runs, and legs Soriono, Sweeny, Barney, all contributed and Castillo picking another off
    first (ala Molino) ,Garza, good effort by all.

    • triple

      I wish I could have seen tonight’s game. I agree Paul; this team is better than some give them credit for. With a -2 run differential, they should be a .500 team. It’s a shame that very poor timely hitting, bullpen implosions, and bad bullpen management can take a team from being in the middle of the pack to the bottom of the barrel… At the same time, I am fine with that, knowing that we will have another top 6 or 7 pick in next year’s draft, and that there is some possibility to trade some guys for some future pieces.

      Oh yeah, and haters will hate….

      • http://theboardridersuite.wordpress.com/ Theboardrider

        Although is is impossible for me to not root for the Cubs to win, I really want a high draft choice next year. I think one more year drafting top 3 could be huge. If we trade some pieces for prospects at the deadline and then bring up the kids in September I can stomach losing some games and getting that high choice.

  • calicub

    Great game tonight. Leads traded back and forth, free baseball and a Cubs win.

  • calicub

    This game was a Perfect example of how crucial instant replay is. That ball was nearly over my head a section away from the foul pole but was called fair.

    We don’t need balls and strikes to be called but I’m in favor of everything else done in the spirit of the way football does it.

    • triple

      Glad you got to enjoy a Cubbie victory out in Anaheim! And I agree on the impact of replay, but I really hope they can have an extra ump at each ballpark just to be in a replay booth so he can be looking at it immediately instead of stopping the flow of a game so much. I always feel like 30-60 seconds is plenty to know whether the call was right or not.

      My biggest gripe about replay (in all sports) is how it stops the momentum and allows the team that’s in trouble to recoup and gather themselves during a free time out! Obviously talent is big part of sports, but the other part is physical conditioning and an athlete’s ability to bring their best while involved in physically demanding situations late in the game. I just don’t think that the lesser conditioned team deserves a break because of a bad call.

    • http://theboardridersuite.wordpress.com/ Theboardrider

      Absolutely. Home runs and foul balls always frustrated me when not replayed. “We can rebuild him, we have the technology.”

    • 07GreyDigger

      I think they need to add close plays too. I would be annoyed if a team lost an important game over a missed call out or safe call.

  • calicub

    Far too many runners left on base tonight. Cubs need to step it up with the clutch hitting

    • paulcatanese

      Agree with the Clutch. Not a criticism but if Rizzo was or did hit four ground balls is not always a bad thing, means he is getting closer to a line drive approach, cutting down from an automatic uppercut swing, the line drive double
      down the line is a great improvement for him,
      and swinging down instead of up.
      Fielder is the only one I see that can uppercut a swing at neck level and get away with it.
      Rizzo is on the right track:)

      • paulcatanese

        Could not get the game, but for my info,
        Calicub, were the ground balls hit hard?, or the variety of Castro’s (recent)
        weak ground ball variety?

        • calicub

          They were all pretty weak. He didn’t really square anything up until his double.

          • paulcatanese

            Thanks, spent a couple of pleasurable hours at the Dentist
            and just got you’re reply. Glad he finally squared it up.

  • Tony_Hall

    Neil – Your recaps are always greatly appreciated, but especially when you miss the games. I haven’t seen but 2 pitches in the last 2 nights, but your recaps make me feel like I watched the games. Thanks again for what you do, everyday to keep us informed in everything Cubs!

    • paulcatanese

      Amen!!

  • Ripsnorter1

    The Cubs are improving due to the power that has come out of their lineup. We had 7 extra base hits last night. Ranson has powered 5 HRs. He has a career MiL slugging of .445, and .403 in MLB. He’s hot right now.

    Speaking of hot, Ryan Sweeney has a .426 OBP right now.

    And Scott Hairston is hitting .213!

    • 07GreyDigger

      Hairston getting hit is a great example how you can’t judge a free agent deal as a failure after two months. Sure he hit .097 in April, but he’s gotten progressively better each month, (.216 May, .250 this month) and has some key hits.

      So yes, two months in Jackson has been crappy, but is he going to be this bad by the end of year 4? Not likely.

      • Ray Ray

        No not likely. Jackson will be better but it was still a stupid sign. 52 mil for a back end starter is overpriced no matter how you slice it. Hairston also is only a 5 mil investment for 2 years. Not a good comparison.

        • 07GreyDigger

          I can’t wait until three years from now when I’m right. Oh what a day!

          • http://theboardridersuite.wordpress.com/ Theboardrider

            “Stupid?” They paid market value and were desperate for starting pitchers that could grow with the team. So far it’s not been a success but “stupid,” is stupid to say.

          • Ray Ray

            I will stick with the word. It was stupid. Why overpay for a back end starter while you are rebuilding?

          • 07GreyDigger

            I feel like we’ve talked about this a million times, but they’re not “rebuilding” in the traditional sense, they’re doing an accelerated version where they add free agents that help them speed up the process.

            That was the point of Edwin Jackson. Give them a built in rotation arm instead of struggling through the season with a rotation like the one at the end of last year.

          • 07GreyDigger

            If they were truly “rebuilding” they would be terrible for ten years or so. Look at the Rays, who never won more than 70 games from the 98-07 and now are consistently competitive.

          • Ray Ray

            I am a Cub fan so I hope you are right, but I doubt it. He has a career 1.5 WHIP

      • Ripsnorter1

        I say this politely, but I think you are wrong about “you can’t judge a free agent deal as a failure after two months.”

        Look at it this way:
        If Hairston had the major league minimum deal, he would have been cut, and the Cubs would have kept Sappelt.

        If Marmol had a minimum deal, he would have been cut and Bowden kept on the roster.

        Therefore I think that the big contracts serve to keep underperforming players on a team, while better performing, lower paid players are cut, in the–most often–vain hopes that the team can recoup a portion of a poor investment.

        As for Hairston, yeah, he’ll likely hit .236–that’s all he ever hits. His contract isn’t totally outlandish, and his mental equilibrium may return.

        And Jackson? Most likely he’ll perform like Adam Dunn did in the first year of his outlandish Sox contract: very poorly. He hit .156. He’ll bounce back next year and have an okay–but not great–year. Let’s say he wins 10 or 11 games. Then the third year he’ll stink up the joint like Adam Dunn is now.

        That’s what I expect.

        • paulcatanese

          Rip, big extended contracts, I agree, there always seems to be a let down in 90% of those.
          And there always seems to be play em cause you paid big bucks for em mentality.
          In defense of the extended contracts, I believe Rizzo will turn out to be the exception of this rule.
          With Rizzo the Cubs caught him young when they extended, too soon for him to have any real judgment on. But I think the Cubs caught Rizzo on the up swing and will pay off.
          I am happy they didn’t go for Pujols, a bad example, I think he’s downward bound.
          E. Jackson, I just don’t know, haven’t figured why or how or what he’s supposed to be doing, but it aint good so far.

        • 07GreyDigger

          Adam Dunn huh? That’s very low praise. I really don’t think he’s going to pitch lights out, but he’s not going to be as bad as Adam Dunn has. Dunn has hit .180 in that deal so far.

          I think Jackson posts numbers like these by the end.
          4.25 ERA, 1.45 WHIP 40 Wins, average about 185 IP and about 150K. Maybe I’m being generous. But if he were the pitching equivlant of Dunn that’s like a 5.50 ERA, 1.60 WHIP 32 wins and average 175 IP and 95K. I don’t think he’ll be that bad.

          • Ripsnorter1

            Low praise? LOL

            Remember a Danny Jackson the Cubs signed for 3 years?

            What did they get out of him? Let’s see….5-14 record…183.2 IP….5.83 ERA…..LOL

            Gotta winnah, gotta winnah…

          • 07GreyDigger

            I don’t even remember that guy. I looked him up. I was 8 years old when they signed him. Maybe that’s why.

          • Ripsnorter1

            LOL

            Free agent contracts stunk then as much as they do now.

          • 07GreyDigger

            That’s part of the “rebuilding” idea I think with the Cubs. The Hendry years really visualized to all of us the hazards of free agency. That’s why this team needs a core of young players and you fill in the gaps with free agents instead of using them to fill large holes.

          • paulcatanese

            I’m old school, over the hill, but I still like it before free agency, year by year, negotiate every
            year.

          • Ripsnorter1

            Admit it, Paul:

            It was much better then. The unremitting greed has spoiled the game.

            And managers out to be like Walt Alson: year by year contracts as well.

          • paulcatanese

            Agree Rip. Liked it much better when players just held out for more, and were fined when they didn’t report.

  • paulcatanese

    How many of the 20 MLB players that are supposed to be suspended for illegal substance abuse are international players? And does that have anything to do with the limitation that’s being put out in 2014 for the international signings?