Cubs Strike-Out with a Walk-Off Win over the Rays – Cubs 3, Rays 2

Game One Hundred Sixteen: Cubs 3, Rays 2 – 12 innings

WP – Carlos Villanueva (5-6) LP – Cesar Ramos (2-4) Save – None

wflag-pub2014Anthony Rizzo delivered the game winner in the 12th inning as the Cubs salvaged the finale of the weekend series against the Rays. The Cubs played free baseball for the sixth time in 12 games and improved to 7-9 in 16 extra innings with Sunday’s victory.

Ryan Sweeney (2-for-3 with a double and two runs scored) led off the 12th with a single to left center. Chris Coghlan (1-for-5 with a triple, a RBI and a sac bunt) bunted Sweeney to second base. Javier Baez (2-for-6 with a RBI) swung at and missed a 3-2 pitch in the dirt. The ball skipped over Curt Casali and not only allowed Sweeney to advance to third but for Baez to reach first base. After another wild pitch that moved Baez to second, Anthony Rizzo (2-for-6 with a RBI) pulled a 1-0 pitch to deep right. The ball one-hopped the wall, and Sweeney scored the game winner.

PrintThe Cubs found a way to win a game in which the offense struck out 17 times with only one walk. In the three-game series against the Rays, the Cubs struck out 44 times (12 on Friday, 15 on Saturday and 17 on Sunday) and walked only two times.

Javier Baez drove in Travis Wood (1-for-2 with a run scored) with the Cubs first run in the fifth inning and Chris Coghlan tripled in Ryan Sweeney with the tying run in the seventh inning.

The Cubs scored three runs on 13 hits with one walk and 17 strikeouts … 3-for-9 with RISP and 11 men left on base.

Travis Wood put together his best outing since June 15 in Philadelphia. Wood gave up one unearned run on four hits with three walks and five strikeouts in six innings (93 pitches, 57 for strikes). Wood found a rhythm and for the most part threw strikes. Wood surrendered just one hit on 56 pitches, 33 for strikes, through the first four innings.

The Rays did not record their second hit until the fifth and Wood made the pitches he needed to in order to get out of the inning, but Javier Baez was charged with his second error in as many games. And his throwing miscue allowed the Rays to score the game’s first run.

Neil Ramirez struggled with his command in the seventh in his first game back from the DL and gave up a run. But other than Ramirez, the bullpen was very good once again. Justin Grimm, Hector Rondon, Pedro Strop, Wesley Wright and Carlos Villanueva kept the Rays off the board over the last five innings of the game.

With Sunday’s win (6-12 on Sunday in 2014), the Cubs improved to 50-66 on the season.

Curt Casali led off the fifth inning of the scoreless game with a double to left center, just the second hit of the day off Travis Wood. Alex Cobb failed to bunt him to third and struck out swinging on a fouled bunt attempt. Wood did not get the call on a 2-2 pitch and walked Logan Forsythe. With runners on first and second with one out, Desmond Jennings hit a slow roller toward second. Javier Baez charged, fielded the ball and threw across his body to first. The side-arm throw was on the right field side of the bag, Rizzo could not stop the ball from skipping past him. Casali scored on Baez’s throwing error, 1-0 Rays. With runners on the corners and one out, Wood caught Ben Zobrist looking at a 2-2 pitch for the second out. Evan Longoria flied out to Alcantara in center for the third out. Wood threw 82 pitches, 50 for strikes, through five innings.

After Valaika popped out to Loney for the first out in the fifth inning, Travis Wood singled to left center. Coghlan grounded out to second (3-2 pitch) but his productive out advanced Wood to second. Javier Baez smoked a 2-1 pitch through the shift and into left. Wood scored and Baez advanced to second on the throw. With the game tied at one, Rizzo grounded out to first to end the inning.

At the end of five innings, the game was tied at one.

Travis Wood warmed up to start the seventh inning after throwing 93 pitches, 57 for strikes, in six innings. Once Brandon Guyer was announced as the pinch-hitter for Alex Cobb, Rick Renteria went to his pen for Neil Ramirez. Guyer worked a full count before ripping a single by Rizzo and into right field. Matt Joyce hit for Logan Forsythe. Guyer swiped second on a 1-1 offering to Joyce. Ramirez continued having issues with his command. Matt Joyce pulled a 3-2 pitch to Rizzo, who tossed to Ramirez covering first for the out. Guyer advanced to third on the play. With the infield in, Desmond Jennings pulled a hanging breaking ball into the gap in left center. Guyer scored, 2-1 Rays, and Jennings stopped at second with a double. Ramirez walked Ben Zobrist. Evan Longoria flied out to left on a 0-2 pitch and Renteria went to his pen for Justin Grimm. With runners on first and second with two down, Sean Rodriguez flied out to deep left to end the inning … on any other day, the ball would have been on Waveland but with the wind blowing in, Coghlan caught the ball for the third out.

Grant Balfour replaced Cobb for the seventh inning with the Rays up 2-1. Balfour retired Castillo (pop out to left) and Valaika (grounder to third) to start the inning. Ryan Sweeney, who came in as part of the double-switch in the top half, doubled to left center. Chris Coghlan pulled a 3-2 pitch into the right field corner. Sweeney scored and tied the game at two. Coghlan ended up at third with a triple and Joe Maddon went to his pen for Kirby Yates. Javier Baez broke his bat on a 1-0 pitch and flied out to Jennings in right center to end the inning.

The game was knotted up at two after seven innings.

Neither the Cubs nor the Rays could push across a run in the eighth or ninth inning, so the two teams played extra innings for the second time in the series.

Pedro Strop pitched a scoreless 10th inning, Wesley Wright put a zero on the board in the 11th and Carlos Villanueva retired the Rays in order in the 12th … and Ryan Sweeney led off the bottom of the 12th against Cesar Ramos.

Sweeney collected his second hit of the game, a single to left center. Chris Coghlan bunted him to second and gave Baez a chance to win the game. Baez worked a full count before he struck out swinging at a ball in the dirt. Curt Casali could not keep it in front of him. Baez reached first and Sweeney advanced to third with one out. Joe Maddon pulled in a fifth infielder with the winning run on third. The first pitch to Rizzo got past Casali, but not far enough for Sweeney to score. But Baez went to second and took away the double play. Anthony Rizzo pulled Ramos’ first pitch to deep right. The ball one-hopped the wall, Sweeney scored … Cubs win.

The Cubs open a four-game series against the Brewers under the lights Monday night (7:05pm CDT) at Wrigley Field. Jake Arrieta is scheduled to face Yovani Gallardo in the opener.

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