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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