Schierholtz’s Revenge – Cubs 1, Giants 0

Game One Hundred Two– Cubs 1, Giants 0

WP – Pedro Strop (1-0, 1-3) LP – Sergio Romo (3-6) Save – Kevin Gregg (21)

wflag-pubThe Cubs somehow pulled one out in San Francisco on Saturday night and beat the Giants 1-0 on a solo home run by Nate Schierholtz in the top of the ninth inning.

Saturday night’s game was fun to watch. Chris Rusin went pitch for pitch with Madison Bumgarner for seven innings. Pedro Strop worked out of a bases loaded, no out jam in the eighth. The only run in the game scored on a solo homer by Nate Schierholtz off Sergio Romo in the ninth. And Kevin Gregg was able to wiggle out of a bases loaded, one out jam in the bottom of the ninth after Tony Abreu rapped into a 3-2-3 game ending double play.

Chris Rusin pitched an excellent game. Rusin limited the Giants to two hits over seven innings. Rusin did not give up a hit until the fifth inning and recorded 12 groundball outs. Rusin walked two and struck out three batters on 90 pitches, 55 for strikes.

Pedro Strop allowed the Giants to load the bases in the eighth with no outs. Strop made two bad decisions on sac bunt attempts that allowed both runners to reach. Strop got out of the jam by inducing two groundball outs with the infield in before striking out Hunter Pence swinging to end the inning.

Kevin Gregg picked up his 21st save but it was not pretty. Gregg missed badly on back-to-back one out walks to Brandon Belt and Gregor Blanco that loaded the bases. To Gregg’s credit, he induced the grounder to Anthony Rizzo that started the 3-2-3 game ending double play.

As one of the beat writers pointed out, four of the Giants last eight plate appearances came with the bases loaded and they did not hit the ball out of the infield once. The Giants went 1-for-10 with runners in scoring position on Saturday night and left ten men on base.

The Cubs managed only five hits and two walks on Saturday night. The Cubs had only one at bat with a runner in scoring position (0-for-1, seven left on base). Starlin Castro (2-for-4) picked up a pair of hits and Dioner Navarro (1-for-4) also reached base. Darwin Barney (1-for-4) collected the Cubs only other base hit … and Nate Schierholtz’s game winner was the Cubs’ only extra basehit in the game.

According to the Sun-Times, the last time a Cubs’ team beat the Giants 1-0 in San Francisco was in 1985 when Rick Sutcliffe topped Mike Krukow at Candlestick Park.

With Saturday night’s victory, the Cubs guaranteed themselves a winning road trip (5-4) and improved to 47-55 on the season.

Chris Rusin and Madison Bumgarner locked in a pitcher’s duel on Saturday night. Bumgarner was his typical dominate self and did not allow two runners to reach in the same inning until the sixth inning. The Cubs did make Bumgarner work but managed only four hits and a walk over the first seven innings. Bumgarner threw 100 pitches, 66 for strikes, over seven innings and the Cubs were 0-for-1 with RISP and left six on base in their first seven at bats.

Chris Rusin went pitch for pitch with Bumgarner until the seventh inning. Rusin did not allow a baserunner or a hit until the fifth inning. Rusin was efficient and needed only 76 pitches, 45 for strikes, to complete six innings. And 11 of the first 16 outs Rusin recorded were on the ground.

After Bumgarner faced the minimum in the seventh, Hunter Pence led off the seventh with a ground rule double to right center. Jeff Francoeur grounded out to first. Pence advanced to third with one down … the first time all night that a runner reached first base. Dale Sveum brought his infield in. Joaquin Arias pulled a grounder toward short. Ransom cut in front of Castro, threw to first and got the out as Pence held at third. Brandon Belt worked a 2-2 count before pulling a liner toward first. Anthony Rizzo timed his leap perfectly and made a leaping catch on a ball ticketed for right field to end the inning. Rusin threw 90 pitches, 55 for strikes, over seven shutout innings.

Junior Lake led off the eighth in a scoreless game and worked a walk (3-2 pitch). Cody Ransom smoked a 1-0 pitch out to left that Francoeur caught for the first out. Rizzo struck out for the third time on the night. And Navarro grounded out to third to end the inning.

Pedro Strop replaced Chris Rusin in the eighth and issued a leadoff walk to pinch hitter Gregor Blanco. Strop did not get the call on a 3-2 pitch that replays showed was a strike. Strop then did not take what the Giants were willing to give him.

Andres Torres dropped down a bunt that Strop pounced on and threw to second. Strop’s throw was low, Castro tried to scoop but the ball skipped past him into center. The runners could not advance and the Giants had two on with no outs. Marco Scutaro bunted up the third baseline. Strop got off the mound quickly, picked up the ball and looked at third. Strop then threw late to first and the Giants loaded the bases with no outs.

Dale Sveum brought his infield in. Buster Posey pulled a 2-2 pitch toward short. Castro fielded the ball and threw to Navarro and forced Blanco at the plate. Posey just beat out Navarro’s throw to first. With the bases loaded and one down, Pablo Sandoval smoked a grounder toward first. Rizzo knocked the ball down, and threw to the plate to force Torres for the second out. Pedro Strop struck out Hunter Pence swinging (1-2 pitch) to end the inning. Strop got in and out of the jam with a lot of help from his defense but he made the pitches he needed to and kept the ball down.

After eight, it was still nothing to nothing.

Sergio Romo took the hill for the ninth and struck out Castro swinging for the first out.

Nate Schierholtz stepped in and worked a full count against his former teammate before launching a solo homer over the high wall in right center. Schierholtz’s third home run on the road trip and 14th of the season gave the Cubs a 1-0 lead. Bruce Bochy went to his pen for lefty Javier Lopez. David DeJesus hit for Gillespie and grounded out to second and Barney struck out swinging to end the inning.

The Cubs went to the bottom of the ninth with a 1-0 lead.

Kevin Gregg retired Francoeur on a grounder to second for the first out. Joaquin Arias singled to center. Gregg then issued back-to-back walks to Brandon Belt and Gregor Blanco that loaded the bases with one out.

Tony Abreu pulled a 0-1 pitch toward Rizzo. With the infield in, Anthony Rizzo fielded the ball cleanly, threw home, Navarro stepped on the plate and threw back to Rizzo to complete the 3-2-3 game ending double play.

Travis Wood faces Tim Lincecum in the series and season series finale against the Giants on Sunday afternoon.

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  • Sonate

    It sounds like I missed a very exciting game. Rusin again pitched impressively. Since his fastball tops out around 88 mph he was probably also lucky. Great recap Neil. Thank you.

    • http://chicagocubsonline.com/ Neil

      Thank you very much.