Beating Tanaka in the Rain – Cubs 6, Yankees 1

Game Forty-Three: Cubs 6, Yankees 1

WP – Jason Hammel (5-2) LP – Masahiro Tanaka (6-1) Save – None

wflag-pub2014The Cubs played one of their best games of the season on Tuesday night in the rain at the old ballyard. Jason Hammel outpitched Masahiro Tanaka as the Cubs beat the Yankees and handed Tanaka his first loss in his last 43 professional starts (August 19, 2012). The Cubs won their third game in a row and will post a winning homestand.

Jason Hammel was hit on his pitching hand on a comebacker of the bat of Brett Gardner after throwing his second pitch of the game. Hammel did an excellent job of just staying in the game after his first practice throw sailed to the backstop. WGN provided a close up of his hand that not only showed swelling but the imprint the stitches of the baseball left behind. Not only did ‘Plan B‘ stay in the game but he limited the Yankees to one run on four hits and a walk with six strikeouts. Hammel threw 92 pitches, 59 for strikes, in 5 2/3 innings.

Justin Grimm threw one pitch to Alfonso Soriano with two on and the Cubs leading 2-1 to close out the sixth inning. Brian Schlitter tossed a perfect seventh and James Russell pitched a scoreless eighth.

Rick Renteria used Neil Ramirez and Hector Rondon in the ninth to close out the game. Ramirez ran into a little trouble as the rain started again. Ramirez gave up an infield single and walked Ichiro with two outs. Rondon was summoned from the pen and issued ball four to Brett Gardner to load the bases. Derek Jeter bounced out to Starlin Castro to end the game.

The Cubs offense did an excellent job of situational hitting and manufacturing runs on Tuesday night. The Cubs scored six runs on 11 hits without a ball leaving the yard. Two of the Cubs runs scored on back-to-back sacrifice flies in the sixth inning. Mike Olt worked a bases loaded walk that forced in the Cubs’ sixth run in the seventh inning.

Mike Olt drove in three of the Cubs six runs with a single, a sacrifice fly and a walk. Luis Valbuena collected three more hits and John Baker had his best game of the season. Olt and Baker were a combined 3-for-5 with a double, two sacrifice flies, a walk, four RBI and a run scored.

Emilio Bonifacio (2-for-5 with a triple, a RBI and a run scored) singled in John Baker (2-for-3 with a double, a run scored and a sacrifice fly RBI) with the Cubs first run in the third inning. Mike Olt (1-for-2 with a walk, a sac fly and three RBI) singled in Luis Valbuena (3-for-4 with two doubles and a run scored) in the fourth inning. After the Yankees cut the Cubs lead to 2-1 in the sixth, the Cubs scored two runs on consecutive sacrifice flies in the sixth … one by Mike Olt, the other by John Baker.

The Cubs put the game away with two runs off the Yankees pen in the seventh. Starlin Castro (1-for-4 with a RBI) singled in Bonifacio and Mike Olt worked a bases loaded walk that forced in Anthony Rizzo (0-for-3 with two walks and a run scored).

The Cubs scored more runs (four runs, three earned) than any Major League team has against Masahiro Tanaka. And not only was Tanaka hung with his first loss, Tuesday was his shortest outing of the season (six innings). After the way he manhandled the Cubs in the Bronx last month, the Cubs did a very good job of adjusting to him

Derek Jeter received a standing ovation prior to his first at bat and Alfonso Soriano received a warm welcome in his return to Wrigley Field.

With Tuesday’s victory, the Cubs improved to 16-27 on the season.

As the rain picked up, John Baker led off the third inning with a long single to right. Baker slipped on the first base bag or he would have had a double. Jason Hammel bunted Baker to second. With Bonifacio at the plate, Masahiro Tanaka uncorked a wild pitch that allowed Baker to move up to third base. Joe Girardi pulled his infield in and Emilio Bonifacio singled to center. Baker scored, 1-0 Cubs. Junior Lake grounded out to first, Bonifacio advanced to second. Anthony Rizzo worked a rare walk against Tanaka. With two on and two down, Castro grounded out to Brian Roberts, who was shaded up the middle, to end the inning.

At the end of three innings, the Cubs led 1-0.

Jason Hammel retired the Yankees in order in the fourth. Hammel struck out five batters in first four innings and threw 59 pitches, 39 for strikes.

Luis Valbuena led off the fourth with his second double of the game. Valbuena doubled to left and moved up ninety feet when Schierholtz grounded out to second. Girardi pulled his infield in again and Mike Olt pulled a 0-1 pitch into left past a diving Jeter. Valbuena scored, 2-0 Cubs. Olt was o-for-4 in his previous four at bats against Tanaka with four strikeouts. John Baker drove a 3-1 pitch into the gap in left center. Olt stopped at third on Baker’s double. With the infield in, one out and runners on second and third, Hammel bunted. Tanaka picked up the ball and flipped to McCann. Olt broke a little late on a safety squeeze and slid into McCann’s glove. With runners on the corners and two out, Emilio Bonifacio bunted. Tanaka barehanded the ball and flipped to McCann. Baker slid into another out to end the inning.

After four complete, the Cubs had a 2-0 lead.

Hammel made quick work of the Yankees in the fifth (70 pitches, 48 for strikes) and Tanaka struck out the side (Lake, Rizzo and Castro) in order in the bottom of the fifth. The game went to the sixth with the Cubs up 2-0.

Brett Gardner led off the sixth with a double to left. Derek Jeter grounded out to Castro, Gardner advanced to third and held when Castro ran into shallow left and snagged a humpback liner off the bat of Jacoby Ellsbury for the second out. Mark Teixeira pulled a 1-1 pitch into right center. Gardner scored, 2-1 Cubs. Hammel walked Brian McCann and Rick Renteria made the slow walk. Renteria went to his pen for Justin Grimm with two on, two out and Alfonso Soriano due up. Soriano pulled Grimm’s first pitch right to Olt at third. Olt fielded the ball cleanly and took the ball to the bag for the third out.

Luis Valbuena led off the sixth with his third hit of the night, a single to left center. Nate Schierholtz singled to right. Valbuena ran on Soriano and went to third base. With runners on the corners and no outs, Mike Olt lifted Tanaka’s first pitch into medium left center. Valbuena and Schierholtz tagged after Gardner made the catch. Mark Teixeira cut the poor throw and tried to throw out Schierholtz at second. Teixeira’s throw was on the left field side of the bag and Schierholtz went to third on E3. John Baker drove a 1-1 pitch out to deep left center. Schierholtz tagged and scored, 4-1 Cubs. Chris Coghlan hit for Justin Grimm and struck out swinging to end the inning.

At the end of six, the Cubs had a 4-1 lead.

Brian Schlitter set down the side in order in the top of the seventh and Preston Claiborne replaced Tanaka for the bottom of the seventh.

Emilio Bonifacio led off the seventh with a triple to right center. With the infield in, Lake grounded out to third for the first out. Rizzo was intentionally walked. With runners on the corners and one out, Starlin Castro blooped a single into left center. Bonifacio scored, 5-1 Cubs. Girardi went to his pen and brought in Matt Thornton to face Valbuena with runners on first and second and one out. Valbuena rolled one out to first. Teixeira fielded the ball and threw to second to force Castro. No one was covering first and the inning continued. Thornton hit Schierholtz with a 1-2 pitch to load the bases. Girardi went back to his pen for sidearm righty Matt Dailey. Mike Olt worked a walk and forced in Rizzo, 6-1 Cubs. Baker struck out swinging to end the inning.

James Russell, Neil Ramirez and Hector Rondon kept the Yankees off the board over the last two innings.

The Cubs wrap-up the two-game series with the Yankees on Wednesday afternoon (1:20pm CDT) … Jeff Samardzija is scheduled to face Chase Whitley.

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Quote of the Day

"You can’t sit on a lead and kill the clock. You’ve got to give the other man his chance. That’s why baseball is the greatest game." - Earl Weaver