Cubs Put It On the Board Three Times and Avoided the Sweep – Cubs 12, White Sox 5

Cubs Put It On the Board Three Times and Avoided the Sweep – Cubs 12, White Sox 5

Game Thirty-Three: Cubs 12, White Sox 5

WP – Brian Schlitter (2-0) LP – Scott Carroll (1-2) Save – None

wflag-pub2014Anthony Rizzo, Starlin Castro and Mike Olt went deep on Thursday night and the bullpen gave up one run over the last five innings of the game as the Cubs avoided the sweep on Thursday night with a win over the White Sox.

The Cubs broke out the bats on Thursday night in a game that took four hours and seven minutes to complete. The Cubs put crooked numbers on the board in the third, fourth and eighth innings and recorded more hits (15) in the series finale than in the three previous games combined (12) with the White Sox. The Cubs had 26 men reach base as the entire team put together good at bats against the Sox staff. And two of the Cubs runs scored on a bases loaded walk (Junior Lake) and a hit by pitch (Welington Castillo).

Anthony Rizzo (3-for-5 with a home run, a double, two RBI, a walk and three runs scored) gave the Cubs a 3-2 lead in the third with a booming home run to center. Starlin Castro (1-for-5 with a home run, two RBI, a HBP and two runs scored) gave the Cubs a 6-2 lead in the fourth with a two-run homer, his fifth longball of the season. The Cubs broke open a 6-4 game with a five-run eighth inning with the big blast coming off the bat of Mike Olt (2-for-4 with a home run and four RBI). Olt hit the first Grand Slam of his career that turned a 7-4 Cubs advantage in to an 11-4 lead.

Ryan Kalish (2-for-6 with a triple and a run scored) tripled and scored the Cubs’ first run on a Luis Valbuena (1-for-5 with a walk, a RBI and two runs scored) single in the third inning. Nate Schierholtz (2-for-4 with a triple, two walks and two runs scored) reached base four times and scored twice while Junior Lake (2-for-4 with a walk and a RBI) worked a bases loaded walk in the third inning that forced in Schierholtz with the Cubs’ fourth run.

Welington Castillo (1-for-4 with two RBI, a run scored and two HBP) was hit by a pitch twice on Thursday, once with the bases loaded that forced in a run. Three different Cubs were hit with a pitch on Thursday night (Castillo, Olt and Castro).

Each player in Rick Renteria’s starting nine reached base at least two times on Thursday night at the Cell.

Jake Arrieta had a rough outing in his second start of the season. Arrieta was not sharp and struggled with his command and control. Welington Castillo received quite the workout behind the plate. Arrieta gave up a pair of runs in the second inning after working out of a jam in the first. After the Cubs gave Arrieta a four-run cushion in the top of the fourth, he gave two of the runs right back in the bottom of the inning. Rick Renteria decided 81 pitches, 47 for strikes, in four innings were enough for Arrieta and he lifted him before Arrieta could qualify for the win. With Arrieta coming back from shoulder soreness, Renteria made the right call.

Jake Arrieta was charged with four runs, three earned, on nine hits with one walk and one strikeout in four innings.

Brian Schlitter tossed 1 2/3 innings of scoreless ball in relief of Arrieta. Zac Rosscup was impressive again. Both of the outs Rosscup recorded were on strikeouts. Neil Ramirez struck out the two batters he faced. Justin Grimm struck out the side in order in the eighth before giving up a run on three hits with a walk in the ninth. Wesley Wright struck out the only batter he faced to end the game.

The Cubs’ pen gave up one run on four hits with two walks, a HBP and eight strikeouts over the last five innings of the game.

Thursday was a long, sloppy game that ended with the Cubs snapping their four-game losing streak and avoiding a season-series sweep at the hands of the White Sox.

With Thursday’s win, the Cubs improved to 12-21 on the season.

The Cubs put two on in the first inning against Scott Carroll after Ryan Kalish led off the game with a single and moved to second when Valbuena hit a slower roller to first. Anthony Rizzo lined a 3-2 pitch into center. Gary Jones held Kalish at third with one out. Starlin Castro grounded in to a 5-4-3 double play to end the inning.

Like the Cubs, the Sox put two on the first inning and went away empty. Connor Gillaspie reached on a single to center. Jose Abreu followed with a single to right. With runners on first and second with one out, Adam Dunn popped out to left center and Arrieta got Viciedo to chase a 2-2 pitch to end the inning. Arrieta threw 22 pitches in the first inning, 12 for strikes, and it was obvious in the first frame that Arrieta would not pitch deep into the game.

The Cubs could not take advantage of two gifts in the second and push across a run. Welington Castillo reached on a throwing error by Alexei Ramirez with one out. Carroll hit Mike Olt with two outs, but with runners on first and second, Junior Lake struck out swinging to end the inning.

Alexei Ramirez led off the second and reached on an infield single. Luis Valbuena made a diving stop toward the hole at second but could not throw out the hustling Ramirez. Alejandro De Aza singled to left. With runners on first and second with no outs, Moises Sierra singled to left on a 3-2 pitch. Lake fielded the ball cleanly and made a strong throw toward the plate. But his throw was well off the mark, inside the baseline. The ball skipped past Castillo and Arrieta, hit the backstop and rolled around the wall. Ramirez scored, 1-0 White Sox. With runners on first and third with one out, Tyler Flowers grounded out to third. Olt made a good pick on a short-hop and threw out Flowers at first as De Aza scored, 2-0 White Sox. Sierra advanced to second on the play. Gordon Beckham hit a soft liner toward first that Rizzo caught for the second out. Sierra forgot how many outs there were and took off running. Rizzo tossed to Castro at second to complete the double play and end the inning. Arrieta needed 42 pitches, 26 for strikes, to complete two innings on Thursday.

The White Sox took a 2-0 lead into the third inning.

Ryan Kalish led off the third with a triple into the right field corner (1-2 pitch). Kalish hustled out of the box and slid in safe at third just ahead of Sierra’s throw. Luis Valbuena singled to center, plated Kalish and cut the Sox lead to 2-1. Anthony Rizzo launched a homer over the wall in center. Rizzo’s seventh home run of the season put the Cubs up 3-2 … and their first lead of the series. After Castro grounded out to short, Nate Schierholtz singled to left center and Carroll hit Welington Castillo. Chris Coghlan singled to right and loaded the bases with one out. Olt popped out to short. Junior Lake put together a solid at bat and walked. Lake’s bases loaded free pass forced in Schierholtz with the Cubs’ fourth run. Kalish hit for the second time in the third inning and grounded out to Ramirez, who was playing him behind the second base bag, to end the inning.

Jake Arrieta continued to struggle in the third inning, but he kept the Sox off the board. Arrieta threw 56 pitches, 31 for strikes, over the first three innings.

The Cubs added to the 4-2 lead in the fourth. Anthony Rizzo worked a one out walk. Starlin Castro followed with a big fly to left center. Castro’s fifth longball of the season put the Cubs up 6-2. Nate Schierholtz followed with a triple into the right field corner. Schierholtz was stranded after Castillo popped out to second and Coghlan struck out swinging to end the inning.

Jake Arrieta took a 6-2 lead into the bottom of the fourth and allowed the Sox to get back in to the game. Alexei Ramirez led off with a single to right. De Aza flied out to right center. A passed ball with Sierra at the plate allowed Ramirez to move up ninety feet. Sierra tapped back to Arrieta for the second out. With Ramirez at third and two out, Tyler Flowers singled to center. Ramirez scored, 6-3 Cubs. Gordon Beckham singled to left center. With runners on first and second with two down, Conor Gillaspie blooped a 2-0 pitch into left center. Flowers scored, 6-4 Cubs. Arrieta retired Abreu on a grounder to Castro to end the inning.

After four innings, the Cubs had a 6-4 lead and that is where the score stood until the eighth inning thanks to the Cubs’ pen.

Maikel Cleto retired three of the four batters he faced in the seventh inning, so Robin Ventura left the big right-hander in for the eighth inning. Luis Valbuena worked a leadoff walk. Anthony Rizzo followed and just missed his second longball of the night. Rizzo pulled a 1-1 pitch to deep right. The wind played havoc with the ball and Sierra misplayed it into a double. The ball hit off the tip of his glove and Valbuena ended up at third on Rizzo’s double. Starlin Castro rolled over a 1-1 pitch that was well out of the zone and grounded out to third for the first out. Nate Schierholtz walked to load the bases. Cleto grazed Welington Castillo with his first pitch on a high inside pitch that grazed his jersey. Valbuena trotted in, 7-4 Cubs. Chris Coghlan was caught looking at a 1-2 pitch for the second out. Mike Olt stepped in and looked at three straight out of the zone before he took a strike. Olt took a vicious cut on the 3-1 pitch and swung right through it. Olt did not miss the next offering. Olt crushed the ball and it ended up well in the stands in left field. Olt’s first career Grand Slam gave the Cubs an 11-4 lead. Kalish flied out to deep center to end the inning.

Justin Grimm struck out the side in the eighth … and the game went to the ninth with the Cubs up by seven runs.

Jake Petricka replaced Cleto for the ninth and retired Valbuena (liner to first) and Rizzo (grounder to second) rather quickly for the first two out. Petricka hit Starlin Castro, the fourth HBP for the Cubs’ offense on the night. A wild pitch advanced Castro to second and Schierholtz walked. Welington Castillo singled in Castro, 12-4 Cubs. Coghlan flied out to center to end the inning.

Justin Grimm stayed in for his second inning of work in the ninth and issued a two-out walk to Marcus Semien. Adam Dunn singled to center. Dayan Viciedo singled to left; Semien scored and cut the Cubs lead to 12-5. Alexei Ramirez single to center. Dunn held at third and loaded the bases with two outs. Renteria went to his pen for lefty Wesley Wright to face De Aza. De Aza could not check his swing on a 2-2 pitch and was called out to end the game.

The Cubs open a three-game series in Atlanta on Friday night. Jason Hammel is scheduled to face Julio Teheran in the opener.

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  • Richard Hood

    5 homer runs so far Castro that is a good sign that he is becoming the Barry Larkin light we all thought he could be when he first came up. Right now he projects out to 22 homer runs. with a .775 OPS. If he can keep playing with his head in the game on defense then we might be in for a special type of ride. I just hope that all of the Baez fans realize that if he stays at short the hope is he eventually gets as consistent as Castro is right now on defense.

    My only question for Castro so far this year is where did the speed go? I know he is hitting lower in the line up to protect Rizzo but you still have to create a disruption when you get on. He should be a 20 to 30 steal player just by how his skill set is. Renteria needs to unleash him on the bases a bit more.

    • jtrain23

      I agree with you in regards to Castro on the base paths. I always believed this guy would be a consistent 20-30 steals guy. Last year, he only had 9. In 2012, he had 25, but he was thrown out 13 times.

      I don’t think he is going to ever be a “base stealer”, but i believe he has the speed to steal some bases. Hopefully, he can develop the instincts to read pitchers, get good jumps, and pick his spots. It is just another facet of his game that is so raw at this point.

      I am very encouraged by his hitting this year, but all of the parts of his game that are so raw have to be somewhat concerning. It is just a product of him spending little time in the minors and having a revolving door major league coaching staff that hasn’t helped him develop in the areas that he lacked maturity in. Hopefully this staff will recognize those needs and hopefully it isn’t too late.

  • John_CC

    This all or nothing approach is troubling. On one hand it’s great to see what they can do when they are all on. But what the heck? I wonder about the focus and motivation on the other 3 days.

    • jtrain23

      It just shows the inconsistencies of a team that is built like the Cubs are. You look at all of these young guys and see tons of potential, but you have to remember they are all guys in their early 20’s. With that you are going to have mental lapses and lulls in intensity.

      That is when your strong, leadership driven veterans pull the youngsters along and get them through those times. Unfortunately, this team does not have those veterans, and what veterans they do have are here on a “rental” basis. I believe that’s why we’re going to see this year as an emotional roller coaster. We will get our hopes up by all of the potential that is there but then be let down by the inconsistencies.