Hey! Hey! Cubs Pull Out a Sweeney Victory Over the Cardinals – Cubs 7, Cardinals 6

Game One Hundred-One: Cubs 7, Cardinals 6

WP – Justin Grimm (3-2) LP – Kevin Siegrist (1-2) Save – Hector Rondon (12)

wflag-pub2014Friday was a typical Cubs-Cardinals game and to the Cubs credit they did not quit playing after trailing by three runs before the offense had a chance to swing the bat. The Cubs fought back two different times and held on to take the first game of the weekend series against the Cardinals.

The Cubs offense stepped up Friday and scored six runs of their seven runs on three home runs. After being down 3-0 in the first inning, Ryan Sweeney (2-for-4 with a home run and four RBI) tied the game with his second home run of the season, a three-run shot to left center off Joe Kelly in the second inning. Sweeney singled in Luis Valbuena (1-for-2 with a home run, two walks, three runs scored and two RBI) with the Cubs fourth run in the third inning. And Travis Wood (1-for-2 with a home run) hit his third longball of the season in the fourth that put the Cubs up 5-3.

After the Cardinals tied the game on a pair of solo homers by Matt Carpenter and Matt Holliday in the fifth and took the lead on a pinch-hit RBI single by Oscar Taveras in the sixth, Anthony Rizzo (1-for-3 with a run scored and two HBP) was hit by a pitch leading off the seventh. Luis Valbuena smacked a homer into the bleachers in center and his two-run shot ended up being the difference in the game.

Travis Wood could not put batters away Friday afternoon … and in his inability to do so cost him a lot of pitches. Wood gave up three unearned runs in the first inning and it took him 66 pitches to complete two innings. The first five hits he gave up came on two-strike counts. Wood settled down in the third and fourth innings and kept the Cardinals off the board. But after the Cubs took a two-run lead in the fourth, Wood gave up solo homers to Matt Carpenter and Matt Holliday in the fifth that tied the game.

Travis Wood was charged with five runs, two earned, on seven hits (two home runs) with a walk and five strikeouts. Wood threw a season-high 113 pitches, 74 for strikes, in five innings.

Travis Wood hit his third home run of the season leading off the fourth inning. Wood became the first Cubs’ pitcher with 10-plus RBI in a single season since Carlos Zambrano drove in 11 runs in 2009.

PrintWesley Wright allowed the Cardinals to take the lead in the fifth on a pair of hits and a passed ball, but Justin Grimm, Neil Ramirez and Hector Rondon did their jobs. Grimm and Ramirez muscled their way out of problems in the seventh and eighth innings and Hector Rondon allowed a one-out hit to Matt Holliday in the ninth before he retired Matt Adams and Daniel Descalso to end the game.

The Cubs defense had a rough game. Chris Coghlan and Arismendy Alcantara were charged with errors. Welington Castillo had a passed ball and the infield did a poor job of executing a rundown. Four of the Cardinals six runs on Friday afternoon were unearned.

With Friday’s win, the Cubs improved to 42-59 on the season.

Matt Carpenter led off the game with a single to center on a 1-2 pitch. Jhonny Peralta popped a 2-0 pitch up to Valbuena at third for the first out. Wood could not put away Holliday and he reached on a single to center on a 2-2 pitch. Matt Adams stepped in with runners on first and second with one out. Adams pulled a grounder toward Alcantara. The Cubs second baseman fielded the ball and threw toward second. Alcantara’s throw was high and Starlin Castro took his eyes off the ball with Holliday barreling toward the bag. The ball went off Castro’s glove and into left field. Carpenter scored, 1-0. Wood caught Allen Craig looking at a 1-2 pitch for the second out. Jon Jay stepped in and looped a 2-2 pitch down the left field line. Holliday and Adams scored and Jay ended up at third on what was scored as a double after Coghlan bobbled the ball. With the Cardinals up 3-0 and a man on third with two outs, Mark Ellis lined a 2-2 pitch to a leaping Rizzo at first to end the inning. Travis Wood threw 32 pitches in the first inning, 20 for strikes.

Arismendy Alcantara managed a bunt single in the bottom of the first, but that was all and Joe Kelly made quick work of the Cubs in the first inning, 17 pitches for Kelly, eight for strikes.

Travis Wood labored through another long inning in the second. Tony Cruz led off the second with a single to center (3-2 pitch). With Kelly at the plate, Mike Matheny called for a hit and run. Kelly missed the ball after he squared to bunt and pulled the bat back, Castillo threw out Cruz at second base and Kelly flied out to left. Matt Carpenter reached on a single to center (1-2 pitch) and jogged to second when Wood walked Peralta. Wood’s 60th pitch of the game was on ball four to Peralta. Wood received a generous call on a 3-2 pitch to Matt Holliday to end the inning. Holliday was caught looking on a ball that appeared to be down and outside the strike zone. Wood threw 66 pitches, 41 for strikes, in two innings.

Luis Valbuena led off the second with a walk and went to third when Welington Castillo ripped a single into right center. With runners on the corners and on outs, Ryan Sweeney drove a 1-2 pitch, on a line, into the bleachers in left center. And Sweeney’s second homer of the season, a three-run shot tied the game at three. Travis Wood reached on an error by Jhonny Peralta and moved to second when Coghlan grounded out to second, but Alcantara grounded out to second to end the inning.

After two complete, the game was tied at three.

Travis Wood put together a 1-2-3 third inning (81 pitches for Wood after three, 50 for strikes) and the offense went to work in the bottom of the third.

Anthony Rizzo singled to right on a 3-2 pitch. Kelly caught Castro looking at a 2-2 pitch for the first out. Either Rizzo or Valbuena missed a sign, because Rizzo took off for second on the first pitch to Luis Valbuena. Cruz threw out Rizzo for the second out. Valbuena walked and moved to second on a single to center by Welington Castillo. Ryan Sweeney singled to left, Valbuena scored and the Cubs took a 4-3. Schierholtz struck out swinging to end the inning.

The Cubs led 4-3 after three innings.

Travis Wood pitched a 1-2-3 fourth inning and he led off the bottom of the fourth. Wood launched his third homer of the season into the bleachers in left center … and the Cubs took a 5-3 lead. Joe Kelly retired Coghlan (flyout to left), Alcantara (grounder to second) and Rizzo (pop out to third) in order to end the inning.

Travis Wood took the hill for the fifth inning with a two-run lead that quickly disappeared. Matt Carpenter led off the inning with a solo homer to right, 5-4 Cubs. Wood struck out Peralta swinging (2-2 pitch) for the first out.  But Matt Holliday lifted a 2-2 pitch into the wind. The ball ended up in the bleachers in left and Holliday tied the game at five. Matt Adams flied out to right and Allen Craig flied out to deep left to end the inning.

Starlin Castro reached on an infield single to start the fifth, but Joe Kelly set down Valbuena (pop out to short) and Castillo (swinging strikeout) before Matheny went to his bullpen. Lefty Randy Choate replaced Kelly and Sweeney grounded out to second to end the inning.

Wesley Wright replaced Wood for the sixth inning and Jon Jay greeted him with a single to center. Mark Ellis tried to bunt him to second, but Wright picked up a ball and threw out Jay at second base. A passed ball with Tony Cruz allowed Ellis to move to second base. Cruz grounded out to third for the second out. Oscar Taveras, the Cardinals top prospect, hit for Choate and beat the shift with a single to center (1-1 pitch). Ellis scored and the Cardinals took a 6-5 lead. Matt Carpenter struck out swinging to end the inning.

The Cubs managed a pinch hit single by Emilio Bonifacio in the bottom of the sixth, but that was all. And after six complete, the Cubs trailed 6-5.

Justin Grimm gave up a single to Jhonny Peralta to start the seventh and issued a two-out walk to Allen Craig but Jon Jay flied out to left on a 3-1 pitch to end the inning.

Kevin Siegrist stayed in and started the seventh and the southpaw plunked Rizzo on a 3-2 pitch to start the inning. Castro struck out swinging on a 2-2 pitch for the first out. Luis Valbuena stepped in and lifted Siegrist’s first pitch to deep center. The ball ended up in the first row of the bleachers and the Cubs took a 7-6 lead on Valbuena’s seventh homer of the season. Mike Matheny went to his pen for Pat Neshek. Castillo struck out and Sweeney grounded out to second for the third out.

After seven innings, the Cubs led 7-6.

The Cubs loaded the bases with two outs in the eighth but Starlin Castro was called out on strikes on a low pitch on a 2-2 offering to end the inning.

Hector Rondon took the hill in the ninth with the Cubs clinging to a one-run lead. And Rondon retired three of the four batters he faced to close out the game … It is always a good day when the Cubs beat the Cardinals.

Jake Arrieta is scheduled to face Shelby Miller on Saturday afternoon (3:05pm CDT) at the old ballyard.

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