Game Forty-Five – Cubs 5 Rangers 4
WP – Carlos Silva (6-0) LP – C.J. Wilson (3-2) Save – Carlos Marmol (9)
Carlos Silva improved to 6-0 with another solid start in Arlington Sunday afternoon. With the Cubs holding on and scratching out the win, Silva became the first Cubs’ pitcher to begin the season 6-0 since Ken Holtzman in 1967. No one could have predicted Silva’s start after posting a 5-18 the last two years in Seattle.
The Cubs are 8-1 in Carlos Silva’s nine starts.
The Cubs offense jumped on C.J. Wilson in the first inning. Ryan Theriot started the game with a single to left then Starlin Castro reached on a bunt single. After Derrek Lee drove in Theriot with a single to left. Marlon Byrd hit into a 6-3 fielder’s choice that plated Castro with the Cubs’ second run.
Alfonso Soriano ripped a 0-2 offering from Wilson over the wall in left. Soriano’s two-run shot, his ninth longball of the year, gave the Cubs a 4-0 lead.
The Rangers kept chipping away as C.J. Wilson settled in. The Rangers scored a pair in the third on a two-run shot by Michael Young. Then made it a 4-3 game in the third on a two-out RBI single by Juilo Borbon.
Koyie Hill drove in a big insurance run in the sixth on the Cubs’ seventh and last hit of the game. Hill singled to right with two outs on the first pitch from C.J. Wilson. Nelson Cruz threw a strike to the plate but Xavier Nady snuck his left hand in under Matt Treanor and touched the plate before Treanor could apply the tag.
Lou Piniella went to his pen rather early in the sixth. Silva was lifted after he retired Vladimir Guerrero to start the inning. Silva departed after 81 pitches and with a 5-3 lead … and the decision almost cost Piniella another win.
John Grabow retired two of the three batters he faced to end the sixth. But Piniella left him in to start the seventh. Grabow struggled, as he’s done all season, and gave up a walk and a single to the first two batters in the seventh.
Bobby Howry made his first appearance in a Cubs’ uniform since 2008. Howry promptly gave up a ringing double to Michael Young. The Rangers cut the lead to 5-4.
Bobby Howry retired Ian Kinsler on a pop out to Derrek Lee for the second out. Howry intentionally walked Vladimir Guerrero to load the bases. Piniella brought in Sean Marshall to face Josh Hamilton with the game on the line.
Hamilton lined out weakly to Ryan Theriot to end the inning. Where would the Chicago Cubs be without Sean Marshall?
Carlos Marmol made it interesting again in the ninth … but ended up striking out three of the four batters he faced. Senor Nasty caught Vladdy looking to end the game.
The Cubs improved to 6-0 when Starlin Castro hits in the second spot of Lou Piniella’s lineup.
With Sunday’s victory, the Cubs completed a very difficult trip to Philadelphia and Texas with a 3-2 record. Lou Piniella’s crew won their second road trip of the season (Milwaukee, April 23 – April 25) and are 6-2 in their last eight games … The Chicago Cubs completed their best week of the season Sunday afternoon in Arlington … a 3-2 trip against the Phillies and Rangers, and with two to three clutch hits, they could have won all five.
The Cubs set the tone in the first inning, then just held on.
Ryan Theriot led off the game with a single to left on a 0-2 pitch from C.J. Wilson. Starlin Castro appeared to drop a sacrifice bunt but Wilson took too long and Castro beat out the throw.
Wilson got ahead of Derrek Lee 0-2 but he singled to left and drove in Theriot with the game’s first run. Josh Hamilton airmailed the throw to the plate and the runners ended up at second and third with no outs.
Marlon Byrd put the ball in play. He hit into a 6-3 fielder’s choice but plated Castro with the Cubs’ second run. Lee advanced to third and trotted home on Alfonso Soriano’s two-run homer.
Wilson got ahead of Soriano 0-2, his third 0-2 count of the inning. Soriano then ripped Wilson’s next pitch over the wall in left … 4-0 Cubs on Soriano’s ninth of the year. Alfonso Soriano leads the team with nine home runs and 27 RBI.
Carlos Silva worked out of a two-out jam in the first inning and kept the Rangers off the board in the second. Silva allowed three of his six hits in the first two innings.
The Rangers got on the board in the third. Elvis Andrus led off the inning with a single to right on a 2-2 pitch. Michael Young ripped Silva’s next pitch over the wall in center … just to the left of straight away out of the reach of a leaping Marlon Byrd.
Texas hit two other balls rather hard in the third but solid plays by Alfonso Soriano (Vladimir Guerrero) and Marlon Byrd (Josh Hamilton) helped Silva retire the last three in the inning.
Carlos Silva’s only walk of the game came around to score in the fourth. Nelson Cruz walked to start the inning. Ron Washington played hit and run and Cruz advanced to second on a ground out to first by Justin Smoak. Matt Treanor grounded out to third. Jeff Baker threw out Treanor at first but Cruz took third on the play.
Julio Borbon singled to left on a 3-2 offering from Silva … 4-3 Cubs.
Koyie Hill threw out Borbon at second to end the inning.
Carlos Silva retired the Rangers in order on seven pitches in the fifth.
Alfonso Soriano led off the sixth with a walk. Xavier Nady blooped a single into right field. With runners on first and second with no outs, Jeff Baker flied out to right center. Geovany Soto then hit into a 6-5 fielder’s choice. Andrus got to the ball in the hole and threw out Soriano at third.
With two outs, Koyie Hill singled to right on Wilson’s first pitch. Cruz made a perfect throw to the plate but Nady crashed into Treanor and touched home with his left hand before Treanor could apply the tag … 5-3 Cubs after five and a half.
After John Grabow flirted with giving up a run in the bottom of the sixth, Lou Piniella sent him out to start the seventh … and it cost him a run. The Cubs must not use John Grabow in games they want to win. A trip to the DL with insert injury here is what should be in Grabow’s future.
Grabow gave up a bloop single to Julio Borbon and walked Elvis Andrus. Piniella made the slow walk and brought in Bobby Howry. Howry missed on his first offering to Michael Young then left one out over the plate. Young doubled to left center and if not for a good play by Soriano in left center the game would have been tied. Soriano cut the ball off before it rolled to the wall … but the Rangers were in business. Runners on second and third with one out.
Down by just a single run, Ian Kinsler looked at two straight out of the zone from Howry. Howry then jammed Kinsler and got the Rangers’ second baseman to pop out to Derrek Lee. Piniella had Howry intentionally walk Vladimir Guerrero.
Sean Marshall was summoned to face Josh Hamilton with the bases loaded. Hamilton hit a soft liner to Theriot on a 2-2 pitch to end the inning.
The Cubs could not tack on in the eighth or ninth …
Carlos Marmol struck out Elvis Andrus and Michael Young to start the inning … but walked Ian Kinsler with two outs. Vladdy stepped in and worked the count to 2-2. With Kinsler at second, Vladdy looked at strike three to end the game.
Six of eight for the Chicago Cubs …
Monday is an off day for Lou Piniella’s crew. The Cubs open a big six-game homestand against the Dodgers and Cardinals Tuesday night. Ryan Dempster will face Clayton Kershaw in the first of three against L.A.