Cubs Walk-Off with a Win Over the Braves – Cubs 5, Braves 4

Game Ninety-Two: Cubs 5, Braves 4

WP – Hector Rondon (2-3, BS 3) LP – Jordan Walden (0-1) Save – None

wflag-pub2014What looked like was going to be a disappointing loss turned into an exciting walk-off victory as the Cubs took game one of the series with the Braves. After the Braves tied the game at four in the ninth, Arismendy Alcantara reached on a two-out single to right, stole second and scored the game-winner on a Justin Ruggiano single to left.

Arismendy Alcantara (1-for-4 with a walk, a stolen base and a run scored) had a hand in the Cubs winning a ballgame for the second day in a row.

Jake Arrieta put together another good outing. Arrieta threw strikes, for the most part, and was rather efficient. Arrieta issued three walks, one was intentional, and the other two were to Jordan Schafer. For whatever reason, Arrieta had issues with the Braves leadoff man Friday afternoon. Arrieta faced the minimum the first time through the lineup on 36 pitches, 27 for strikes. And the Braves first two runs scored after a walk, a double and two groundouts.

Jake Arrieta limited the Braves to just four hits over 7 2/3 innings. Arrieta gave up three runs with six strikeouts and gave his team more than a quality start. Arrieta turned the game over to Neil Ramirez with two on and two outs in the eighth. With the Cubs up by a run, Neil Ramirez blew a 94 mph fastball past Justin Upton to end the inning.

Jake Arrieta’s final line: three runs, four hits, three walks, six strikeouts, 98 pitches, 61 strikes, 7 2/3 innings. And Jake Arrieta went 0-for-1 at the plate with a RBI and two sacrifice bunts. Arrieta and Chris Coghlan pulled off a safety squeeze in the third that led to the Cubs first run.

Hector Rondon had a rough ninth inning and was charged with his third blown save of the year. While the other two blown saves were products of bloop hits, the Braves squared Rondon up rather well Friday afternoon. Rondon gave up one run on two hits with one strikeout. And both of the outs on balls in play were not weakly hit.

PrintJustin Ruggiano (2-for-5 with two RBI) and Chris Coghlan (2-for-3 with a double, a RBI, a run scored and a stolen base) led the Cubs offense Friday afternoon. Coghlan doubled, stole third and scored the Cubs first run on a safety squeeze by Jake Arrieta. Coghlan stepped up with the bases loaded in the sixth and singled in Anthony Rizzo (1-for-4 with a double and a run scored) with the tying run. Ruggiano drove in Mike Olt (0-for-1 with a walk and a run scored) with the Cubs’ second run and delivered the game winner.

Starlin Castro (1-for-4 with a run scored) singled and scored the Cubs’ fourth run in the sixth after Luis Valbuena (0-for-1 with a walk and a RBI) hit for Mike Olt with the bases loaded and walked to force in Castro.

The Cubs scored five runs on seven hits with four walks and were 4-for-9 with RISP and left seven men on base.

With Friday victory, the Cubs improved to 40-52 on the season.

Chris Coghlan led off the bottom of the third of a scoreless game and ripped a double off the vines just to the right of straight away center. After collecting the Cubs’ first hit, Coghlan swiped third on a 1-0 pitch to Mike Olt. Alex Wood walked Olt and put runners on the corners with no outs. Jake Arrieta pushed a bunt toward the first baseline. Coghlan broke from third and slid in headfirst at the plate with the game’s first run. Olt took second and held when Arismendy Alcantara struck out swinging on a 2-2 pitch. Justin Ruggiano ripped a 2-2 pitch into center. Olt scored and the Cubs took a 2-0 lead. Anthony Rizzo popped out to Schafer in center for the third out. The Cubs made Alex Wood work. The Braves’ southpaw threw 45 pitches, 27 for strikes, in three innings.

After three complete, the Cubs led 2-0.

Jake Arrieta took the hill for the fourth inning with a 2-0 lead after throwing 36 pitches, 27 for strikes, in the first three innings. Arrieta issued a five-pitch walk to Jordan Schafer to start the fourth. Schafer stole second with Simmons at the plate. Andrelton Simmons doubled to right, but Schafer misread the ball and ended up at third. With runners on second and third with no outs, Freddie Freeman grounded a 1-0 pitch to Alcantara. Schafer scored, 2-1 Cubs. Simmons advanced to third and scored when Justin Upton hit a dribbler to the first base side of the mound that Arrieta fielded but had no play at the plate … game tied at two. Jason Heyward grounded out to second for the third out. Jake Arrieta threw 52 pitches, 34 for strikes, over the first four innings.

The Cubs did nothing in the fourth and the game went to the fifth tied at two.

Alex Wood led off the sixth and bunted his way on base. Wood bunted to the third base side of the mound. Arrieta fielded the ball but slipped as he was throwing to first as rain began to fall at Wrigley prior to the top of the inning. The ball hit Wood and he advanced to second when Schafer tried to bunt his way on. Simmons grounded out to short for the second out. With Alex Wood at second, Freddie Freeman drove a 1-0 pitch off the wall in center. Wood scored and the Braves took a 3-2 lead. Justin Upton grounded out to third to end the inning. Arrieta threw 70 pitches, 46 for strikes, over the first six innings.

Anthony Rizzo led off the Cubs’ sixth with a double into the right field corner (3-1 pitch). Starlin Castro smoked Alex Wood’s pitch toward third. The ball went off Chris Johnson’s glove to the hole at short. Rizzo held as Castro reached on an infield single. Wood hit Welington Castillo with a 0-2 pitch to load the bases. Junior Lake stepped in with the bags loaded and no outs. Lake struck out swinging on a 2-2 pitch and broke the bat over his knee. Chris Coghlan picked up Lake with a single to right on a 0-1 pitch. Rizzo scored and tied the game at three. Fredi Gonzalez decided that was enough for Wood and went to his pen for righty Shae Simmons. Rick Renteria countered and sent up Luis Valbuena to hit for Mike Olt. Valbuena took a four-pitch, Castro trotted in and the Cubs took a 4-3 lead. With the bases still loaded, Jake Arrieta struck out swinging for the second out. Arismendy Alcantara lined a 1-2 pitch into center to end the inning.

At the end of six, the Cubs led 4-3.

Hector Rondon took the hill for the ninth with the Cubs clinging to a 4-3 lead. Rondon did not throw strikes. Jason Heyward drove a 3-1 pitch to the gap in left center. Junior Lake tried to make a diving catch on the track, but he came up short and Heyward ended up at second with a leadoff double. Chris Johnson lined out to short and Tommy La Stella grounded out to first. Heyward advanced to third with two outs. Christian Bethancourt smoked Rondon’s first pitch back up the middle and into center. Heyward trotted in and the game was tied at four. Rondon refocused and struck out pinch-hitter Ramiro Pena to end the inning.

Jordan Walden retired Luis Valbuena (tap back to the mound) and pinch-hitter Ryan Sweeney (fly out to left) for the first two outs in the ninth. Arismendy Alcantara pulled a 1-0 pitch past a diving Le Stella and into right field. Alcantara took off for second on a 1-0 pitch to Ruggiano and slid in headfirst with his first stolen base in the big leagues. Justin Ruggiano pulled a 2-1 pitch past a diving Simmons and into left field. Alcantara scored easily, game over … Cubs win.

Edwin Jackson faces lefty Mike Minor in game two with the Braves on Saturday afternoon (3:05pm CDT).

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Quote of the Day

"Now there's three things you can do in a baseball game: You can win or you can lose or it can rain." - Casey Stengel 

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  • Tom U

    Cubs minors 8th highest BB%

    @MiLB pic.twitter.com/M8aubigSP1

  • http://theboardridersuite.wordpress.com/ Theboardrider

    As I said on game thread. I think yesterday and today were the two most impressive wins of the season. And two of the more impressive pitching performances. Arietta wasn’t as dominant as he’s been, but he dug deep and him tough against a good, hot lineup. He showed he could be effective when he didn’t have his absokute best. And I thought the 7th inning was his best of the days. His pitches were dancing on a string. He reminded me of the good Dempster who was at his best when effectively wild. But Arietta looked like he had more intent.

    I don’t think Alcantara is a cooncidence. He’s a sparkug, gritty player. A “gamer.”

    And Renteria made good, tough calls. Just like yesterday he trusted his pitcher when many would have ha him out. He was rewarded for the trust by Arietta as he was by Hendricks. I think Remteria is showing he knows how to lead this team.

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  • Larry Schwimmer

    There was a lot to like about the CUB effort today, but I do not trust Rondon to be the “closer.” We can make all the excuses we want for him, but the reality is that he is not someone you can count on to close out the 9th inning. Ramirez is a far better choice to be the CUBS closer. (And Strop is another very undependable better that is likely to blow a lot of games because of his inconsistency.) When the game is on the on the line, you do not want Strop or Rondon in relief.

    • Ripsnorter1

      I agree 100%. Let Ramirez close ‘em out.

    • http://theboardridersuite.wordpress.com/ Theboardrider

      Strop has been pretty good lately but I don’t want him as the closer. Rondon isn’t a real closer either. I agree about Ramirez.

      We may not have a bonifide closer on the team now. There are very few real ones out there and sometimes they are lightning in a bottle and it’s year to year. But it would be great to finally have one of those Chapman or Rivera/Hoffman types where you know that when he comes in with a lead, the game is pretty much over.

      Could be Ramirez. His stuff is great and he seems to be fearless.

  • John G

    Next time you hear someone complain about replays, watch this golden oldie blast from the past.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qAhzFOBKrE8&feature=player_embedded

    It’s a bit long but well worth the watch. It’s a classic too. And great hearing Harry’s call of it.

    • jtrain23

      Great share, John. This was truly Harry at his best for the Cubs. As his health declined, so did the quality of his commentary, unfortunately. You could never question the man’s passion for the game, however. When he was at his best, few equaled his quality of work.

      I was too young the ever see/hear him live when he was “younger”, but watching old video and listening to audio (even Cardinal broadcasts), he was amazing when he was in his prime.

    • SuzyS

      John, Thanks for sharing…It gave me great pleasure watching and remembering the magical summer of ’84. Listening to Harry and Steve
      again brought back a flood of fond memories.
      My most poignant memory of Harry @ this time was running into him at a bar called “Four Farthings” after a Cards game. He was with a group of his St. Louis “cronies”…and the girls were all over him in the bar. He wasn’t a “Bud Man” that night…He was a really fun guy.
      Thanks again for the great memories.

  • Tom U

    INF/OF Emilio Bonifacio playing in his first game for the AZL Cubs tonight.

    Funny how that happens after Arismendy Alcantara gets his major league career off to a hot start.

    • triple

      I agree. Now if we can just get a couple other guys traded, there would be space for both Alcantara and Bonifacio to play. And if we’re lucky, Bonifacio will get off to a hot start when he comes back and some GM will be willing to give up a low level prospect for him. I think he is even a good candidate for an August waiver deal. And if not, I wouldn’t mind seeing a lineup of Bonifacio (CF), Alcantara (2B), Rizzo, Castro, Ruggiano (RF), Coghlan (LF), Olt/Valbuena, Castillo.

      • http://theboardridersuite.wordpress.com/ Theboardrider

        That’s a pretty decent lineup if Ruggiano and Coghlan keep it up. Which I think they will for the most part.

        I had totally forgotten about Bonifacio! Alcantara and the emergence of Coghlan/Ruggiano had made me forget.

        I wouldn’t e surprised if we went on a run here. Or at least won more than we lose. I think our lineup right now is better than it’s been in 3 years. And if Bonifacio can get going all the better.

        I’d love to get a deal for Ruggiano. But I would like to keep Coghlan for next season. He’s been a great player before and seems to be getting on track. He could really help hold things down until the rookies all get ready. And if he can finish like this and play well next season, we’d have another trade option or keep him.

        • Eugene Debs

          To me, there is not enough room on the roster for Bonifacio, Barney, and Alcantara. One has to go.

          We also need to start thinking hard about what the future without Junior Lake and Mike Olt will look like. They look lost.

          • http://theboardridersuite.wordpress.com/ Theboardrider

            I agree on Lake. Olt barely plays. Tough to crown him anything.

            But it does appear that we have answers for this spots. Bryant at 3rd and for now Ruggiano and Coghlan in the corners.

        • triple

          I agree on Coghlan. He’s not young anymore, but he’s got 3 arbitration years ahead of him and makes for a good fill-in guy and eventual bench player (4th or 5th OF) with some speed and pop in his bat. And I’m pretty sure that was Coghlan right next to Rizzo in the dugout yelling out at Chapman along with him and getting all hot and excited over that situation. I liked that.

        • triple

          I agree on Coghlan. He’s not young anymore, but he’s got 3 arbitration years ahead of him and makes for a good fill-in guy and eventual bench player (4th or 5th OF) with some speed and pop in his bat. And I’m pretty sure that was Coghlan right next to Rizzo in the dugout yelling out at Chapman along with him and getting all hot and excited over that situation. I liked that.

  • triple

    Great game today for the Cubs. They still have the same heart and fight they’ve exhibited over the last 2 months. I don’t think the trades really matter to these players. They have a great attitude and are playing loose and picking each other up, much unlike the last many terrible seasons we’ve seen from our beloved team.

    • http://theboardridersuite.wordpress.com/ Theboardrider

      The bad okay immediately after the trade was inevitable. Especially with how well we were playing. It ha to be deflating. But now were confident again. And I think He sticks will help take a spot without much drop off and we ne’er won Sharks starts anyway. Just got to figure out a way to win EJax’s games. And Wood hasn’t been very good of late either.

  • mutantbeast

    Coghlan is beginning to look like maybe hes a keeper. And AA is showing evidence of being an impact talent.