Cubs Hammel Out a Win Over the D-Backs – Cubs 9, Diamondbacks 2

Game Nineteen: Cubs 9, Diamondbacks 2

WP – Jason Hammel (3-1) LP – Brandon McCarthy (0-4) Save – None

wflag-pub2014Jason Hammel turned in another excellent outing and quality start on Tuesday night as the Cubs posted back-to-back wins for the first time this season. The Cubs scored eight of their nine runs on Tuesday night with two outs and 13 of the 14 runs the Cubs have scored in the series have come with two outs.

While the offense will garner a majority of the attention from Tuesday night’s victory, Jason Hammel set the tone early and kept the Diamondbacks off the board while the offense grinded out at bats and finally broke through against Brandon McCarthy with four unearned runs in the fifth inning.

Jason Hammel threw strikes and a lot of them over his seven innings of work. Hammel appeared to keep the Diamondbacks off balance all night and Arizona made very little hard contact. The Cubs defense turned a pair of double plays early in the game and Hammel actually faced the minimum over the first four innings. Hammel took a shutout into the sixth inning before Tuffy Gosewisch, the D-Backs’ backup catcher, put Arizona on the board with his first big league home run.

Jason Hammel allowed one run on four hits with no walks and four strikeouts on 109 pitches, 67 for strikes.

Justin Grimm retired all three batters he faced in the eighth thanks to two excellent defensive plays by Starlin Castro. Blake Parker surrendered the D-Backs second run in the ninth inning.

Luis Valbuena (2-for-4 with a double, a walk, a RBI and three runs scored) set the tone for the offense on Tuesday night hitting leadoff for the first time this season. Valbuena put together an 11-pitch at bat against Brandon McCarthy that ended with a flyout to left. The Cubs grinded out at bats all night and did not appear to expand their strike zone. Valbuena saw 40 pitches in his five plate appearances while Anthony Rizzo forced the Diamondbacks to throw him 34 pitches.

Nate Schierholtz (1-for-3 with two RBI) drove in the Cubs first two runs with a two-out RBI single in the third and a sac fly in the fifth. Mike Olt (1-for-4 with a home run and three RBI) launched a three-run shot through the wind and into the right field bleachers. Olt’s fourth home run gave the Cubs a 5-0 lead in the fifth inning.

The Cubs scored four runs in the eighth after Starlin Castro (2-for-4 with a double and two runs scored) led off the inning with a double and scored when Luis Valbuena worked a walk with the bases loaded. Justin Ruggiano (2-for-5 with two RBI) singled in John Baker and Ryan Kalish. Anthony Rizzo (1-for-3 with a RBI, a run scored and two walks) capped his night with an infield single off lefty Joe Thatcher that plated Valbuena with the Cubs’ ninth run.

The Cubs defense turned two double plays in the first four innings that helped keep Jason Hammel out of trouble … and both Mike Olt and Starlin Castro made several excellent plays in the field on Tuesday night.

With Tuesday’s victory, the Cubs improved to 7-12 on the season.

Jason Hammel kept the D-Backs off the old scoreboard for the first three innings. Hammel benefited from a double play in the third and needed 40 pitches, 24 for strikes, to complete three frames on Tuesday night. The Cubs made Brandon McCarthy work over the first two innings (39 pitches, 26 for strikes) but could not string together any hits until the third inning.

McCarthy struck out Hammel swinging for the first out in the third. Luis Valbuena put together another long at bat (11-pitch at bat in the first innings) that ended with a double to left center on a 3-2 pitch. Justin Ruggiano popped out to Prado at second. Anthony Rizzo worked his second walk and put two on with two down for Nate Schierholtz. The Cubs’ right fielder singled to right center past a diving Prado, Valbuena scored, 1-0 Cubs. Starlin Castro lined out to right center to end the inning.

At the end of three, the Cubs had a 1-0 lead.

The game remained 1-0 Cubs through the fourth and top of the fifth. Jason Hammel kept the Diamondbacks off balance over his first five innings. Hammel threw 72 pitches, 43 for strikes, in five innings.

Luis Valbuena led off the fifth with a single to right (2-2 pitch). Ruggiano hit a chopper toward third on McCarthy’s first pitch. Eric Chavez had only one play and that was to first base. Valbuena advanced to second with one out. Anthony Rizzo bounced a 0-2 pitch up the middle to the right of second base. Prado ranged over but could not field the ball cleanly and Rizzo reached on the error. Valbuena advanced to third on the play. Nate Schierholtz lifted a 1-0 pitch out to right. Gerardo Parra caught the ball, Valbuena tagged and scored … 2-0 Cubs. Starlin Castro lined a 2-1 pitch into right. Rizzo held at second with two outs. Mike Olt looked at three straight out of the zone before taking a strike. Olt drove McCarthy’s next pitch through the wind and into the bleachers in right. Olt’s fourth home run of the season gave the Cubs a 5-0 lead. Junior Lake flied out to Tony Campana in center to end the inning.

At the end of five innings, the Cubs had a 5-0 lead.

Tuffy Gosewisch, the D-Backs backup catcher, led off the sixth with his first big league homer. And the solo shot cut the Cubs lead to 5-1. Hammel retired pinch-hitter Aaron Hill (flyout to right center), Campana (groundout to second base) and Martin Prado (pop out to first base) in order to end the inning. Hammel threw 87 pitches, 53 for strikes, in six innings.

Randall Delgado retired the Cubs in order in the sixth … and Jason Hammel ended his night by retiring the D-Backs in order in the seventh.

The Cubs took a 5-1 lead into the bottom of the eighth.

Starlin Castro led off the eighth with a double into the left field corner. Randall Delgado struck out Mike Olt swinging (2-2 pitch) for the first out. Kirk Gibson went to his pen for J.J. Putz. Junior Lake struck out swinging for the second out. John Baker worked a walk. Ryan Kalish hit for Justin Grimm and reached on an infield single (swinging bunt) to Putz that loaded the bases. Luis Valbuena put together his fifth long at bat of the night. Valbuena fell behind in the count before working a walk and forcing in Castro with the Cubs’ sixth run. Justin Ruggiano followed with a bloop single to right. Baker and Kalish scored, 8-1 Cubs. Gibson decided that was enough for Putz and went to his pen for lefty Joe Thatcher with runners on the corners and two down. Anthony Rizzo worked a full count before hitting a roller to Chavez in the shift. The D-Backs’ third baseman fielded the ball near the shortstop position and had no play at first. Valbuena scored, 9-1 Cubs. But Ruggiano rounded second and tried to beat Chavez to third. Chavez tagged him out to end the inning.

The game went to the ninth with the Cubs up 9-1.

Blake Parker replaced Justin Grimm for the ninth and gave up a leadoff single to pinch-hitter Cliff Pennington. Campana grounded out to first, Pennington advanced to second and held when Prado popped out to Rizzo in foul ground for the second out. Paul Goldschmidt worked a full count before ripping a single into right. Pennington scored, 9-2 Cubs. Parker retired Eric Chavez on a flyout to Lake in left to end the game.

Wrigley Field turns 100 years old on Wednesday with the Federals taking on the Packers … Jeff Samardzija faces lefty Wade Miley on Wednesday afternoon (1:30pm CDT) in the third game of the four game series with the Diamondbacks.

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  • jtrain23

    I still can’t figure out what I think Olt will give us. The average isn’t there yet, and the strikeout numbers are too high. He has shown off his power and run producing potential so far, however. That is promising.

    Then I wonder to myself what sort of line is considered a success for him (personally and organization). I have to think the FO is more than pleased if this guy hits 20 homers, drives in 60-70 runs, and hits around .250.

    Let’s hope he can get more contact with more exposure instead of pitchers figuring him out more with a larger sample size. Time will tell but it is one of the few story lines that are interesting thus far.

    • Eugene Debs

      I hope he gets the average up, but we do really need the power. You can live with his average being in the .230 – .245 range if the rest of the lineup gets on base and he bops a few. A team full of Barneys can’t absorb Olt’s average.

      I think Olt is a keeper and I’d like to see more of him.

      • mutantbeast

        Hes averaging 1hr/12abs and an rbi/5.5ABS. Those are really good numbers if you transcribe them over 500 abs.

        • Eugene Debs

          Definitely.