Nate the Great – Cubs 7, Diamondbacks 6

Game Ninety-Nine – Cubs 7, Diamondbacks 6 – 12 innings

WP – Hector Rondon (2-0) LP – David Hernandez (4-6) Save – None

wflag-pubIt took four hours, 17 minutes and 12 innings for the Cubs to win game three in Phoenix against the Diamondbacks. Nate Schierholtz capped his night by doubling in Anthony Rizzo with the winning run in the 12th inning.

Nate Schierholtz (3-for-6 with a home run, a double and five RBI) drove in a career high five runs that included the game winner in the top of the 12th after Kevin Gregg blew the lead in the ninth and sent the game into extra innings. The Cubs improved to 7-3 in extra-inning ballgames this season with Wednesday night’s victory.

The Cubs took a 6-0 lead into the fifth inning after Nate Schierholtz hit a three-run homer off Ian Kennedy in the top of the inning. But Jeff Samardzija struggled with his command and allowed the D-Backs to start chipping away. Arizona scored two in the fifth and three more in the sixth on a three-run homer by Paul Goldschmidt off Blake Parker. The Cubs pen kept the D-Backs from tying the game until the ninth when Kevin Gregg issued a leadoff walk to Paul Goldschmidt and he scored on a sac fly off the bat of Cody Ross. Gregg was charged with his third blown save. Wednesday night marked the 20th time this season the Cubs’ pen was charged with a blown save.

Jeff Samardzija was inconsistent on Wednesday night. After laboring through a 24-pitch first inning and wiggling out of a bases loaded jam without allowing any runs, Samardzija settled down and was electric for three innings. Samardzija brought the heat and ran his fastball up into the high 90s with an excellent split. Samardzija lost his command and composure in the fifth after not getting a called third strike. Samardzija started the sixth but left the game with two on and two outs after throwing a season-high 118 pitches. Blake Parker served up the three-run shot to Goldschmidt that closed the book on Samardzija.

Jeff Samardzija was charged with four runs, three earned, on six hits with five walks and five strikeouts in 5 2/3 innings. Samardzija threw 118 pitches, 70 for strikes.

Hector Rondon picked up his second big league win after tossing two scoreless innings.

Cubs’ pitching allowed six runs on 12 hits with nine walks and 10 strikeouts. The D-Backs’ went 1-for-15 with runners in scoring position and left 16 runners on base. To say Arizona had runners on base all night would be an understatement.

The Cubs looked like they would cruise to a win on Wednesday night after they scored six runs in the fourth and fifth innings off Ian Kennedy.

Anthony Rizzo (1-for-4 with a double, two walks, three runs scored and a RBI) doubled in David DeJesus (2-for-6 with a double and two runs scored) with the game’s first run. Nate Schierholtz followed with a single to left that plated Rizzo and gave the Cubs a 2-0 lead.

Junior Lake (2-for-5 with two doubles, a RBI and a run scored) doubled in DeJesus with the Cubs’ third run in the sixth and was on board for Nate Schierholtz’s three-run homer.

The Cubs scored seven runs on 11 hits with three walks and finished the game 3-for-10 with runners in scoring position and left seven men on base.

With Wednesday’s victory, the Cubs improved to 45-54 on the season …

The Cubs managed one hit, a Junior Lake double in the first, the first time through against Ian Kennedy. Kennedy faced the minimum through three innings and struck out four of the first nine on 39 pitches, 29 for strikes.

Jeff Samardzija labored through a 24-pitch first inning but caught Jason Kubel looking to end the inning. Samardzija settled down after the first inning and was very sharp with excellent command. The game was scoreless going into the fourth inning.

David DeJesus led off the fourth with a double off of the top of the centerfield wall. Junior Lake tried to bunt for a hit and ended up with a sacrifice after DeJesus advanced to third. Anthony Rizzo drove a 2-2 pitch into the gap in left center. Rizzo’s 29th double of the season plated DeJesus and gave the Cubs an early 1-0 lead. Nate Schierholtz hit a soft single into left. Rizzo scored, 2-0 Cubs. Starlin Castro walked and two on for Luis Valbuena. Ian Kennedy struck out Valbuena swinging and Barney flied out to right center to end the inning. Kennedy needed 63 pitches, 42 strikes, to complete four innings on Wednesday night.

Jeff Samardzija wiggled his way out of his second base loaded jam of the night in the fourth without allowing the Diamondbacks to score. Martin Prado singled to left with one out. Samardzija retired Kubel on a deep fly to right center. Samardzija broke Wil Nieves’ bat on a 0-1 pitch but he blooped an infield single over Samardzija’s head. Samardzija ran back as Barney raced in. The two collided with Barney get the wrong end of the exchange. Both players were okay but the mishandled infield hit cost Samardzija eight pitches. Samardzija walked Gregorius to load the bases before Ian Kennedy grounded out to short to end the inning. Samardzija threw 78 pitches, 48 for strikes, over the first four innings. The Diamondbacks were 0-for-2 with RISP after four at bats and left six men on base.

The Cubs tacked on in the fifth after David DeJesus reached on a two-out infield single to second (changed in the seventh inning to an error by Martin Prado). Junior Lake delivered again and his second double of the game (left center) plated DeJesus … 3-0 Cubs. Rizzo walked to put runners on first and second for Schierholtz.

Nate Schierholtz launched a 1-2 pitch down the right field line and into the bleachers … 6-0 Cubs. Castro grounded out to short for the third out. The Cubs scored four runs after two outs and nobody on in the fifth.

Jeff Samardzija took the hill in the fifth with a 6-0 lead but Samardzija lost his command and allowed the Diamondbacks to start chipping into the lead.

With a six-run lead, Samardzija issued a leadoff walk to Adam Eaton. Gerardo Parra followed with a single to right. With runners on first and second with no outs, Samardzija appeared to catch Goldschmidt looking at a 2-2 pitch. But Angel Hernandez did not ring him up. Replays showed Samardzija threw a strike. Samardzija lost his composure and walked Goldschmidt to load the bases.

Eric Chavez popped out to Castro in shallow left for the first out and the runners could not advance. Martin Prado then hit a grounder up the middle. Barney was in position to field the ball and turn two. But the ball appeared to hit the back of the base and skipped under his glove into center. Barney was charged with an error after Eaton and Parra scored, 6-2 Cubs. With runners on the corners and one out, Jason Kubel popped out to left to left for the second out. Both runners held and Nieves grounded out to third to end the inning. Samardzija threw 105 pitches, 63 for strikes, in five innings of work.

The Cubs could not tack on against Josh Collmenter in the sixth and Samardzija took the hill in the bottom of the sixth with a 6-2 lead. A.J. Pollock, who came in with Collmenter as part of a double switch in the top of the inning, reached on a one out single to center (3-2 pitch). Eaton flied out to left for the second out. Samardzija then fell behind Parra 2-0. Parra blooped a single into center. Pollock advanced to third and Dale Sveum went to his pen for Blake Parker.

With runners on the corners and two outs, Parker missed his spot on a 1-1 pitch to Goldschmidt by a foot. Paul Goldschmidt lined Parker’s mistake over the wall in left and just like that the Cubs lead was cut to 6-5. Parker struck out Chavez to end the inning.

The game remained 6-5 Cubs through the seventh and eighth innings. The Cubs offense could not string together any hits against the Diamondbacks’ pen while the Cubs pen kept Arizona off the board.

Kevin Gregg replaced Pedro Strop in the ninth and jumped ahead of Goldschmidt 0-2. Gregg started nibbling and ended up walking Goldschmidt. Eric Chavez blooped a single into right. Goldschmidt advanced to third with no outs. Dale Sveum brought his infield in and Martin Prado flied out to right. Goldschmidt held at third with one out. Gregg fell behind pinch-hitter Cody Ross 1-0. Ross then lifted Gregg’s next pitch to deep left. Junior Lake caught the ball. Goldschmidt tagged and scored … game tied at six. Wil Nieves reached on an infield single to second. Barney fielded the ball in shallow right but his throw was late and off the mark. Cliff Pennington ran for Chavez at second. Didi Gregorius grounded out to short for the third out … and the game went to the tenth tied at six.

The Cubs did nothing against Heath Bell in the tenth and Kevin Gregg worked his way out of a bases loaded jam in the tenth without allowing the winning run. Darwin Barney doubled to left with one out in the 11th, the ball hit the third base bag and bounced down the line. But Bell struck out both Castillo and Navarro swinging to end the inning.

Hector Rondon started the bottom of the 11th by striking out pinch-hitter Patrick Corbin. Wil Nieves followed with a double down the left field line. Gregorius popped out to Rondon for the second out. Rondon walked Pollock but Eaton popped out to DeJesus to end the inning.

David Hernandez replaced Bell in the 12th and retired both DeJesus and Lake to start the inning. Anthony Rizzo worked a two-out walk.

Nate Schierholtz drove Hernandez’s first pitch into the left field corner. Rizzo lumbered around the bases and slid in safe with the go ahead run. Castro struck out swinging to end the inning.

Hector Rondon retired the side in order in the 12th to end the game.

Carlos Villanueva faces lefty Wade Miley in the series and season series finale against the Diamondbacks on Thursday night.

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