Cubs Complete a Long, Strange Trip with a Sweep – Cubs 2, Giants 1

Game One Hundred Three– Cubs 2, Giants 1

WP – Travis Wood (7-7) LP – Tim Lincecum (5-11) Save – Kevin Gregg (22)

wflag-pubThe Cubs completed their first three-game sweep in San Francisco in nearly 20 years on Sunday behind a pair of solo home runs from Travis Wood and Welington Castillo.

Travis Wood was serviceable on the hill and completed seven innings of work. Wood held the Giants to one run on four hits with four walks and seven strikeouts in seven innings. Wood did not pitch as well as his final line indicates but did his job. Wood struggled with his fastball command and left countless pitches up in the zone. Against a better offense, Wood would not have been around as long on Sunday afternoon.

Travis Wood picked up another quality start (18 out of 21 for the season) and once again he helped his own cause at the plate. Travis Wood (2-for-3 with a home run) collected two of the first three Cubs’ hits and broke a scoreless tie in the fifth with his third homer of the season. Wood has hit three home runs this season, three short of the Cubs’ single-season home run mark for pitchers held by Ferguson Jenkins (1971) and Carlos Zambrano (2006).

Pedro Strop pitched a scoreless eighth and Kevin Gregg picked up his third save of the series.

The Cubs offense was pretty much non-existent on Sunday. After letting Tim Lincecum off the hook in the first inning, the Cubs managed only two runs and four hits over the last eight innings. Welington Castillo (1-for-3 with a home run) broke the 1-1 tie in the seventh inning with his third longball of the season. Castillo hit a big, big fly and possibly the longest home run of his big league career that proved to be the game winner.

Anthony Rizzo (1-for-3 with a double and a walk) and Luis Valbuena (1-for-4) collected the other two hits while David DeJesus (0-for-2 with two walks) was the only other Cub that reached base on Sunday.

The Cubs completed their first series sweep in San Francisco since Sept. 13 – Sept. 15, 1993 and took the season series from the Giants (4-3). The Cubs finished a very difficult ten-game road trip through Colorado, Arizona and San Francisco with a 6-4 record. With Sunday’s victory (7-10 on Sundays in 2013), the Cubs improved to 48-55 on the season.

The Cubs wasted a great scoring chance in the first inning after David DeJesus walked to start the game and ended up at third with one out when Anthony Rizzo doubled to right. Nate Schierholtz worked a full count before striking out swinging. Starlin Castro flied out to right center (3-2 pitch) to end the inning. The Cubs made Tim Lincecum work (32 pitches, 17 for strikes) but could not push across a run.

Travis Wood really struggled in the first inning. Wood walked Andres Torres after jumping ahead of him 0-2 to start the at bat. Scutaro popped out to right and Wood struck out Buster Posey swinging. Wood then issued his second walk of the inning to Pablo Sandoval. With two on and two down, Hunter Pence grounded out to third to end the inning. Wood threw 26 pitches in the first, 14 for strikes.

The game remained scoreless through the second as both Wood and Lincecum settled in somewhat.

Travis Wood led off the third with a single to left but Lincecum retired DeJesus, Lake and Rizzo in order to wrap up the inning. Lincecum needed 61 pitches, 37 for strikes, to complete three innings.

Tim Lincecum led off the bottom of the third with a single to left. Wood retired Torres on a flyout to left but issued a one-out walk to Marco Scutaro. Wood caught Posey looking at a 0-2 pitch. With two on and two down, Wood walked Sandoval to load the bases for Hunter Pence. Wood made an excellent pitch to Pence, jammed him and then caught his pop up in foul ground to end the inning. Wood survived another shaky inning and needed 57 pitches, 31 for strikes, to complete three frames on Sunday.

The game remained scoreless through the fourth.

Lincecum retired Barney and Castillo rather quickly to start the fifth inning. Travis Wood stepped in and launched a 3-2 pitch to deep left. The ball ended up in the stands and Wood gave himself a 1-0 lead with his third big fly of the season. Lincecum issued a four-pitch walk to DeJesus. Junior Lake smoked Lincecum’s first pitch down the third baseline. Pablo Sandoval made a diving stop toward the line and threw out Lake at first to end the inning.

Travis Wood took the hill in the fifth with a 1-0 lead, but it did not last long. Tim Lincecum single to right to start the inning. Andres Torres hit a routine grounder to third. Luis Valbuena stopped the ball, then dropped it and had no play. Marco Scutaro singled to left and loaded the bases with no outs.

Buster Posey pulled a grounder toward third. Luis Valbuena fielded the ball as Lincecum retreated toward third. Valbuena ran over and stepped on the bag, then threw home to complete the double play. With runners on first and second with two down, Pablo Sandoval doubled into the left field corner. Scutaro scored and tied the game at one. With runners on second and third, Wood struck out Hunter Pence swinging to end the inning … 85 pitches, 52 strikes, for Wood after five innings.

The game remained tied at one through the sixth and into the seventh.

Andres Torres made a diving catch running in toward the infield to take away a hit from Valbuena to start the seventh. Barney grounded out to short for the second out.

Welington Castillo stepped in and worked a 3-1 count. Castillo did not miss Lincecum’s next pitch. Castillo launched the 3-1 offering into the stands in left field. Castillo’s third home run of the season put the Cubs up 2-1. Lincecum struck out Wood swinging to end the inning.

Travis Wood retired the side in order in the seventh … and after seven complete, the Cubs led 2-1.

The Cubs did nothing in the eighth and Pedro Strop worked around a two-out infield single (swinging bunt up the third baseline) by Hunter Pence in the eighth without allowing the tying run to score.

Luis Valbuena reached with a two-out single in the ninth but that was all and Kevin Gregg took the hill in the ninth with the Cubs clinging to a 2-1 lead.

Kevin Gregg retired Arias on a flyout to right and caught Brandon Belt looking at a 3-2 pitch for the second out. Bruce Bochy sent up Kensuke Tanaka to hit for Sandy Rosario. Gregg walked Tanaka on a 3-2 pitch. Tanaka took off for second on a 1-2 pitch to Gregor Blanco. Castillo made a low throw, the ball skipped past Castro and into centerfield. Tanaka ended up at third with two out. Blanco popped out to Castro to end the game.

The Cubs open a four-game series against the Brewers on Monday night at Wrigley. The Cubs play four games in three days against Milwaukee … Jeff Samardzija versus Kyle Lohse in game one.

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