Game One Hundred Ten: Cubs 7, Dodgers 3
WP – Edwin Jackson (6-11) LP – Josh Beckett (6-6) Save – None
The Cubs played one of their better games of the season Sunday afternoon at Dodger Stadium. Edwin Jackson limited the Dodgers to two runs in six innings. Chris Coghlan had a huge day that included a two-run homer in the fifth that gave the Cubs the lead for good. Starlin Castro delivered a two-out, two-run pinch-hit single in the eighth that broke the game open as the Cubs took two of three from the Dodgers.
The Cubs won their first series at Dodger Stadium since May 2-4, 2011 and have won five of the last seven games.
Edwin Jackson had a good day. Jackson completed six innings of work for the first time since July 7 and his first win since June 20. The Cubs defense stepped up behind Jackson in the first inning after he loaded the bases with no outs. Arismendy Alcantara (1-for-5) showed off his range Sunday with three excellent defensive plays and he started the 4-6-3 double play that helped Jackson limit the damage in the first inning.
Jackson still labored and averaged 20 pitches per inning over the first four frames. The Dodgers were 2-for-10 with RISP while leaving four men on base in four innings. But Sunday was a step forward from the way he’s pitched over the past two-plus months … and a majority of his Cubs career.
Edwin Jackson allowed two runs on seven hits with no walks and six strikeouts. Jackson threw 104 pitches, 63 for strikes, in six innings and he collected two hits at the plate. Jackson was 2-for-2 on Sunday afternoon with a double and a run scored. Edwin Jackson led off the fifth with a booming double and was on board for Coghlan’s two-run shot.
Chris Coghlan (2-for-3 with a double, a home run, two RBI, two walks and two runs scored) was in the middle of just about everything Sunday. Coghlan doubled to start the game and scored on an Anthony Rizzo (1-for-4 with a double and a RBI) double. Coghlan untied the game in the fifth with his sixth home run and was on base four times in five plate appearances.
Starlin Castro (1-for-1 with two RBI) did not start for the first time this season but came off the bench and delivered a big two-out, two-run single that turned a two-run Cubs lead into a four-run advantage. Castro collected the only hit in the Cubs’ three-run eighth inning.
Luis Valbuena (1-for-3 with a home run and two walks) launched his tenth longball of the season in the ninth that capped the scoring.
The Cubs outhit the Dodgers 10-9 but used nine walks to their advantage. While only two of the nine free passes scored, the patience kept the line moving.
Arismendy Alcantara and Anthony Rizzo made four game changing plays Sunday afternoon. Alcantara showed off his range to both his left and right as well as his strong arm and Rizzo made a leaping catch in the seventh and started the 3-6 double play to end the inning.
Pedro Strop surrendered a run in the eighth and Hector Rondon closed out the game on just nine pitches.
With Sunday’s win (5-12 on Sunday in 2014), the Cubs improved to 47-63 on the season.
Chris Coghlan led off the game with a double to right center on a 3-1 offering from Josh Beckett. A passed ball with Alcantara at bat allowed Coghlan to move up ninety feet. Beckett struck out Alcantara for the first out. Anthony Rizzo blooped a double down the left line, Coghlan scored and gave the Cubs a 1-0 lead. Beckett retired Valbuena and Sweeney on strikeouts to end the inning. And Beckett ended up striking out the side to start his afternoon.
Edwin Jackson took the hill with a 1-0 lead that quickly disappeared. Justin Turner led off with a double to right. Yasiel Puig reached on an infield single to the hole at short. Valbuena made an excellent diving stop and quick accurate throw to first but he could not throw out Puig. With runners on first and second and no outs, the Cubs caught a break when Adrian Gonzalez smoked a 0-1 pitch over Schierholtz’s head in right that banged off the wall. Turner misread the flight of the ball and went back to second to tag. Turner had to stop at third. Hanley Ramirez stepped in with the bases loaded and no outs. Ramirez hit a grounder back up the middle that Alcantara grabbed, flipped to Valaika and the Cubs turned a 4-6-3 double play. Turner scored on the play and tied the game at one. With Puig at third and two outs, Kemp grounded out to third to end the inning. Jackson threw 17 pitches, 11 for strikes, in the first inning.
After the first inning, the game was tied at one.
Edwin Jackson and Josh Beckett sloshed through the second, third and fourth innings. The Cubs and Dodgers could not push across any runs in the three innings.
Edwin Jackson led off the fifth inning, with the game still tied at one, and pulled a 1-1 pitch to deep left center. The ball hit off the base of the wall and Jackson ended up at second with his second double of the year. Chris Coghlan followed and drove a 3-1 pitch into the stands in left center. Coghlan’s two-run shot, his sixth of the year, gave the Cubs a 3-1 lead. Arismendy Alcantara ripped a single into right and Don Mattingly decided that was enough for Beckett. Mattingly replaced Beckett with Paco Rodriguez and with Rizzo at the plate, Rodriguez picked off Alcantara for the first out. Rizzo grounded out to short and Valbuena was caught looking at a 1-2 pitch to end the inning.
Edwin Jackson set down the Dodgers in order in the bottom of the fifth. Jackson threw only 10 pitches in the fifth and was up to 90 pitches for the game, 54 for strikes.
The Cubs led 3-1 after five innings.
The Cubs did nothing against Paco Rodriguez in the sixth and Edwin Jackson made quick work of Gonzalez (fly out to left) and Ramirez (pop out to Rizzo in foul territory) for the first two outs in the sixth. Matt Kemp crushed a 2-1 pitch and the ball ended up in the stands in left center … 3-2 Cubs. Jackson caught Scott Van Slyke looking at a 3-2 pitch to end the inning.
After six innings, the Cubs led 3-2.
The Cubs could not cash in first and second with one out in the seventh after Justin Ruggiano reached with a pinch-hit double with one out and Chris Coghlan walked. Alcantara grounded into a 6-4 fielder’s choice and Rizzo flied out to left center to end the inning.
Carlos Villanueva replaced Jackson for the seventh and gave up a ground rule double with one out to Drew Butera. The ball hit on the track in left and hopped into the stands. Carl Crawford lined a 1-1 pitch that looked like a run scoring double. But Anthony Rizzo made a leaping catch at the top of his reach and threw to Valaika at second to double off Butera and end the inning.
The Cubs were clinging to a 3-2 lead after seven innings.
Brandon League started the eighth for the Dodgers and could not throw strikes. League walked Valbuena on four pitches and Sweeney on five pitches. Chris Valaika tried to bunt, but League would not throw him a strike. League walked Valaika on four pitches to load the bases with no outs. Schierholtz hit a grounder to first that Gonzalez fielded and threw home to force Valbuena for the first out. With the bases still loaded and the infield back, John Baker rolled one toward second. The ball was not hit hard enough to turn two. Baker was thrown out at first as Sweeney scored, 4-2 Cubs. With runners on second and third with two down, Rick Renteria went to his bench for Castro. Starlin Castro, getting his first day off of the season, hit for Villanueva and smacked a single into center. Valaika and Schierholtz scored, 6-2 Cubs. Don Mattingly went to his pen for Chris Perez. Chris Coghlan walked but Alcantara struck out swinging to end the inning.
Pedro Strop started the eighth inning by hitting Justin Turner. Yasiel Puig blooped a single down the right field line. With runners on the corners and no outs, Gonzalez pulled a grounder to the hole at second. Alcantara showed of his range again, made a nice pick, spun and threw to Valaika. Puig was forced and the Cubs almost turned two. Turner scored on the play and cut the Cubs lead to 6-3. Hanley Ramirez rolled into a 6-3 double play to end the inning.
At the end of eight innings, the Cubs led 6-3.
Anthony Rizzo just missed a home run off Chris Perez leading off the ninth. Puig made a nice running catch just before the wall in center for the first out … but Luis Valbuena didn’t miss and launched a solo homer to center, and Valbuena’s tenth dinger of the season put the Cubs up 7-3. Sweeney followed with a single. Valaika lined out to short for the second out. After Schierholtz walked and Sweeney moved up ninety feet, Baker flied out to right for the third out.
And the game went to the bottom of the ninth with the Cubs leading 7-3.
Hector Rondon picked up three outs on nine pitches to end the game and series.
Monday is an off-day … the Cubs open a three-game series against the Rockies in Denver on Tuesday night (7:40pm CDT). Travis Wood is scheduled to face Brett Anderson in the opener.