Cubs Stepped Right Up and Swept the Mets – Cubs 7, Mets 4

Game Fifty-Seven: Cubs 7, Mets 4

WP – Justin Grimm (2-2, BS 1) LP – Vic Black (1-1) Save – Neil Ramirez (1)

wflag-pub2014Travis Wood and Anthony Rizzo homered and Junior Lake hit a two-run triple as the Cubs completed the three-game sweep over the Mets on Thursday night. The three-game sweep is the first for the Cubs at Wrigley Field since July 13-15, 2012 (Diamondbacks). And the Cubs swept the Mets at Wrigley for the first time since April 23-25, 2004.

The Cubs are .500 at Wrigley Field this year with a 13-13 record.

Travis Wood (1-for-2 with a home run and three RBI) had a rough night on the mound but he drove in three of the Cubs seven runs. After replay overturned a call at the plate that allowed Luis Valbuena (2-for-4 with a double and a run scored) to score the first run of the game and prolong the inning. Travis Wood pulled the first pitch from Jacob deGrom into the bleachers in left center. Wood plated Darwin Barney (2-for-4 with two doubles and three runs scored) with a fielder’s choice in the fourth inning. Wood drove in three of the Cubs first four runs.

After the Mets tied the game at four in the seventh, Anthony Rizzo (2-for-4 with a home run) launched his 11th home run of the season into the bleachers in right center in the home-half of the inning. Rizzo’s solo shot gave the Cubs a 5-4 lead. And Rizzo ended up scoring the winning run in all three games of the series.

Junior Lake (1-for-5 with a triple and two RBI) gave Neil Ramirez a little breathing room with a two-run triple in the bottom of the eighth that plated Darwin Barney and Emilio Bonifacio.

Eli Whiteside (0-for-3 with a sacrifice fly RBI) made his Cubs debut and drove in the Cubs’ first run. Whiteside became the 100th different player to suit up for the Cubs during the Theo EpsteinJed Hoyer Era.

Travis Wood struggled again on Thursday. Wood pitched into the fifth inning and dealt with command issues all night. Wood walked five batters and hit another one. Wood was charged with two runs on four hits with one of the runs crossing the plate after he left the game. Wood struck out three and threw 92 pitches, 51 for strikes, in five-plus innings.

The bullpen was shaky on Thursday after pitching 8 1/3 innings of shutout ball in the first two games. Brian Schlitter replaced Wood in the sixth and allowed an inherited runner to score. Justin Grimm served up a two-run homer to Andrew Brown that tied the game at four. Pedro Strop was wild (20 pitches, 10 strikes) but was able to work around a walk and a hit without allowing the Mets to tie the game.

Neil Ramirez was sharp once again. Ramirez retired all three batters he faced and earned his first big league save.

With Thursday’s victory, the Cubs improved to 23-34 on the season.

Luis Valbuena led off the second inning with a double to left. After Nate Schierholtz walked, Darwin Barney grounded into a 6-4 fielder’s choice. The Mets appeared to turn a 6-4-3 double play, but Barney was called safe and Terry Collins did not challenge the call. With runners on the corners and one out, Eli Whiteside hit a fly ball to left. Valbuena tagged and Andrew Brown threw a strike to the plate. Valbuena was called out. Rick Renteria challenged the call after replays showed Valbuena touched the plate with his hand before he was tagged. The call on the field was overturned and the Cubs took a 1-0 lead. With two down and Barney on first, Travis Wood drilled Jacob deGrom’s first pitch into the bleachers in left … and Wood’s second longball of the season, a two-run shot, put the Cubs up 3-0. Junior Lake flied out to right to end the inning.

At the end of two innings, the Cubs led 3-0.

Travis Wood gave up a double to Jacob deGrom in the third, but that was all. Wood threw 38 pitches, 23 for strikes, over the first three innings. The Cubs could not add to their lead in the bottom of the third despite Rizzo reaching on a one out single and Castro walking.

Travis Wood pitched out of a bases loaded jam in the fourth when Travis d’Arnaud flied out to center to end the inning. Wood threw 57 pitches, 34 for strikes, over the first four innings.

The Cubs added to their lead in the bottom of the fourth. Darwin Barney led off with a double to left. Eli Whiteside hit a slow roller to short. Barney read the play and advanced to third as Tejada threw out Whiteside at first base. Travis Wood put the ball in play and hit a grounder to short. Barney broke on contact and slid in ahead of d’Arnaud’s tag … 4-0 Cubs. With Wood at first and two down, Lake popped out to second to end the inning.

After four complete, the Cubs led 4-0.

The Mets started chipping into the Cubs lead in the sixth inning. Travis Wood issued a leadoff walk to Andrew Brown. Wilmer Flores followed with a single to center. With runners on first and second with no outs, Ruben Tejada singled to left, Brown scored … 4-1 Cubs. Rick Renteria made the slow walk and went to his pen for Brian Schlitter. Travis d’Arnaud flied out to right, Flores tagged and advanced to third with one out. Schlitter struck out pinch-hitter Daniel Murphy swinging for the second out. Chris Young followed and singled to center. Flores scored, 4-2 Cubs. Granderson popped out to third to end the inning.

The Cubs managed a two-out walk by Chris Coghlan in the sixth against Vic Black, but that was all.

After six innings, the Cubs led 4-2.

Justin Grimm started the seventh by striking out David Wright. Eric Campbell singled to left. Andrew Brown stepped in and launched a 2-1 pitch into the bleachers in left center … and just like that the game was tied at four. Grimm retired Flores and Tejada on fly outs to Schierholtz in right to end the inning.

Vic Black stayed in for the seventh and caught Justin Ruggiano looking for the first out. Black fell behind Rizzo 3-1. Anthony Rizzo crushed Black’s next pitch. The ball ended up in the bleachers in right center and the Cubs took a 5-4 lead. Castro struck out swinging for the second out. Terry Collins went to his pen for lefty Josh Edgin and Valbuena struck out swinging to end the inning.

After seven innings, the Cubs led 5-4.

Pedro Strop threw a zero on the board in the top of the eighth.

Jenrry Mejia struck out Nate Schierholtz for the first out in the bottom of the eighth. Darwin Barney followed with a bloop double to left. Eli Whiteside popped out to short. The Mets decided they would rather pitch to Junior Lake than pinch-hitter Emilio Bonifacio. Mejia intentionally walked Bonifacio and Lake made them pay. Junior Lake drove a 0-2 pitch into the gap in right center. Barney and Bonifacio scored easily and Lake slid in safe at third with a triple. But Flores’ relay skipped past Eric Campbell. Lake got up and tried to score. Campbell threw a strike to Anthony Recker and he applied the tag to end the inning.

The Mets went down in order in against Neil Ramirez in the ninth to end the game.

The Cubs welcome the Marlins to Wrigley Field on Friday (3:05pm CDT). Jason Hammel is scheduled to face Nathan Eovaldi in the opener.

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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