John Baker Takes Home the Win in the Longest Game in Cubs History – Cubs 4, Rockies 3

Game One Hundred-Five: Cubs 4, Rockies 3 – 16 innings

WP – John Baker (1-0) LP – Tyler Matzek (2-5) Save – None

wflag-pub2014In what turned out to be the longest game in franchise history, John Baker faced the minimum in the 16th inning, walked to lead off the home half and scored the winning run on a sacrifice fly off the bat of Starlin Castro as the Cubs beat the Rockies in the second game of the series.

The Cubs walked off with the victory in surprising fashion after John Baker was forced to pitch. Baker was the first Cubs position player to pitch in a game since Joe Mather on Aug. 27, 2012. Baker issued a one-out walk to Drew Stubbs before inducing an inning ending double play.

John Baker walked to start the 16th inning. After Emilio Bonifacio bunted Baker to second, Arismendy Alcantara was hit by a pitch. Anthony Rizzo blooped a single into left that loaded the bases for Starlin Castro. Castro drove a 2-1 pitch into right, Baker tagged and slid in safe with the winning run.

According to Elias, John Baker is the first position player in Cubs history to be the winning pitcher in a regular season game.

Tuesday’s game, that ended Wednesday morning, lasted six hours and 27 minutes, and became the longest game, in terms of time, in franchise history surpassing a 21-inning game against the Dodgers that the Cubs lost 2-1 on Aug. 17-18, 1982 that lasted six hours and 10 minutes.

John Baker was called on due to another short outing from Edwin Jackson. Rick Renteria emptied his bullpen and bench with the exception of Hector Rondon, who was unavailable.

Edwin Jackson had another long, short outing Tuesday night. Jackson gave up three runs in a laborious first inning in which he threw 35 pitches, 22 for strikes. Jackson did not give up another run after the first but his pitch count kept climbing due to deep counts and the inability to put batters away. It took Jackson 64 pitches to complete two innings and by the time he recorded 12 outs on Tuesday night he had thrown 105 pitches.

Edwin Jackson had very little command and when he missed his spots, it was by feet and not inches. Jackson kept Welington Castillo moving Tuesday night

Edwin Jackson turned the game over to the bullpen after allowing three runs on six hits with three walks and four strikeouts. Jackson threw 105 pitches, 64 for strikes, in four innings … just over 26 pitches per inning.

Carlos Villanueva was able to give Rick Renteria 2 2/3 scoreless innings. Villanueva was sharp in relief of Jackson and struck out four batters without giving up a hit or walking a batter. Wesley Wright picked up the last out in the seventh inning.

Justin Grimm put together one of his best outings in quite a while. Grimm retired all three batters he faced in the eighth with two strikeouts. Brian Schlitter tossed a scoreless ninth before the game went into extra innings.

Rick Renteria was forced to use Blake Parker for two innings. Parker wiggled out of a jam in the tenth when D.J. LeMahieu bunted through a squeeze attempt then struck out swinging to end the inning. Parker set down the side in order in the 11th inning.

James Russell was very sharp in his two innings of work. Russell gave up one hit and struck out three while pounding the strike zone. Russell threw fewer pitches in two innings (26 pitches, 19 strikes) than Edwin Jackson threw in the first inning of Tuesday’s marathon.

Pedro Strop threw two scoreless innings on a night he was not supposed to be available.

The Cubs bullpen pitched 12 shutout innings and gave up three hits with five walks and 14 strikeouts.

The offense had chances to put runs on the board, but the Rockies defense made several plays to take away hits and keep the Cubs off the board.

Emilio Bonifacio (4-for-7 with a home run, two runs scored, two RBI and a sac bunt) had a huge night at the plate. Bonifacio doubled in the first inning and scored on a single from Anthony Rizzo (2-for-7 with a RBI and a stolen base). Bonifacio tied the game at three in the fourth inning with a two-run homer, his second longball of the season.

Starlin Castro (2-for-7 with a SF RBI) drove in John Baker with the game winner in the 16th inning.

Arismendy Alcantara (1-for-4 with two walks and two HBP) reached base five times and Luis Valbuena (1-for-2) picked up one of the Cubs’ 12 hits on the night.

With the marathon win, the Cubs improved to 44-61 on the season.

It took 10 pitches, but Edwin Jackson retired Charlie Blackmon on a flyout to center to start the game. Corey Dickerson followed with a single to right center. Nolan Arenado launched a 1-0 pitch to deep center. The ball hit at the base of the wall just to the left of center. Blackmon scored, 1-0 Rockies, and Arenado ended up at second with a long double. Jackson jumped ahead of Carlos Gonzalez before walking him and putting runners on first and second for Justin Morneau. Jackson did not throw his first pitch low enough in the zone and Morneau drove the mistake to deep left center. The ball hit high off the wall, Arenado and Gonzalez scored and Morneau ended up at third when Justin Ruggiano overran the ball. Morneau’s double gave the Rockies a 3-0 lead. Jackson continued to labor through the inning but was able to strikeout Wilin Rosario and Charlie Culberson to end the inning.

Edwin Jackson threw 35 pitches in the first inning, 22 for strikes.

The Cubs started chipping into the Rockies lead in the bottom of the first … and it could have been more. Emilio Bonifacio led off the inning with a double into the left field corner. Arismendy Alcantara followed with a single to left. Bonifacio held at third with no outs. Anthony Rizzo singled to right, Bonifacio scored and Alcantara ended up at third … 3-1 Rockies. Starlin Castro fouled out to Morneau (2-2 pitch) for the first out. Justin Ruggiano worked a full count before he struck out swinging. Rizzo ran on a 3-2 pitch and took second without a throw. With runners on second and third with two down, Welington Castillo lined a 2-2 pitch into shallow center. Charlie Blackmon made a diving catch running toward the infield to end the inning … and robbed Castillo of a single and a couple of RBI. The Cubs made Jorge De La Rosa work. The Rockies’ southpaw threw 27 pitches, 16 for strikes, in the first inning.

After a 40-minute first inning, the Cubs trailed 3-1.

Edwin Jackson labored through the second inning, but the Rockies did not tack onto their lead. Jackson threw 64 pitches, 39 for strikes, in the first two innings. And the Cubs could not cut into the Rockies lead in the bottom of the second after loading the bases.

The Cubs were down by two after two innings.

Edwin Jackson kept the Rockies from adding onto their lead despite constant traffic on the bases, deep counts and long innings. Jackson threw 105 pitches, 64 for strikes, in four innings and the game went to the bottom of the fourth with the Cubs down 3-1.

Junior Lake led off the fourth and De La Rosa plunked him with a 1-1 offering. Nate Schierholtz grounded into a 4-6 fielder’s choice and took over for Lake at first. Rick Renteria sent up Travis Wood to hit for Edwin Jackson and Wood just missed tying the game. Wood flied out to deep left for the second out. Emilio Bonifacio pulled a 1-1 pitch into the bleachers in left. Bonifacio’s two-run homer, his second longball of the season, tied the game at three. Alcantara walked but Rizzo popped out to second to end the inning.

At the end of four innings, the game was tied at three.

The game remained tied at three until the 16th inning. John Baker replaced Pedro Strop after he threw two scoreless innings. Baker retired Charlie Culberson on a pop up in foul ground to Anthony Rizzo. Baker walked Drew Stubbs on a 3-2 pitch, but Cristhian Adames rolled into a 4-6-3 double play. And the game went to the bottom of the 16th still tied at three.

Tyler Matzek, the Rockies scheduled starter for Thursday’s game, took the hill and walked John Baker. Emilio Bonifacio bunted Baker to second. After Arismendy Alcantara was plunked, Anthony Rizzo blooped a single into left center. And Starlin Castro drove a 2-1 pitch into right. Baker tagged and scored, game over …

Travis Wood is scheduled to face Brett Anderson on Wednesday night (7:05pm CDT).

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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