Game Seventeen – Cubs 3, Cardinals 2
WP – Rafael Dolis (1-1) LP – Jason Motte (1-1, BS 1) Save – None
Jaime Garcia stymied the Cubs offense for 7 2/3 innings and Dale Sveum’s team went to the bottom of the ninth trailing 2-1. Jason Motte took the mound and made quick work of Alfonso Soriano. Soriano could not catch up to a fastball and struck out swinging for the first out.
Bryan LaHair hit for Jeff Baker and put together a game changing at bat. LaHair worked the count to 3-2 then fouled off six straight fastballs in the mid to upper 90s. LaHair ended up walking on the 12th pitch of the bat. Geovany Soto walked on four pitches and the Cubs had the tying run on second base. Steve Clevenger hit for Rafael Dolis and grounded out to first. Clevenger’s productive out put the tying and winning run in scoring position.
Joe Mather (2-for-3 with two RBI and a walk) fell behind 1-2 before taking a pitch. Mather hit Motte’s next pitch into center. LaHair scored easily … and Soto slid in safe with the winning run.
Rafael Dolis was rewarded with his first big league win after pitching 1 2/3 innings of scoreless ball.
Matt Garza did everything he could to put a win on the board but he received no support from his offense. Garza struggled with his command early on before settling down and tossing seven solid innings Monday night. Garza gave up two runs on four hits with three walks, a hit batsman and five strikeouts. Garza threw 108 pitches, 65 for strikes.
Garza actually helped himself at the plate. Not only did he notch his first sacrifice bunt of the season but he also recorded the first hit by a Cubs’ pitcher … a single to right in the fifth. The Cubs could not score another run while Garza was on the hill and he turned the game over to the pen in the eighth.
James Russell had a rough outing and retired only one of the three batters he faced. Russell issued back-to-back one-out walks to Shane Robinson and Matt Holliday before Sveum brought in Rafael Dolis. Starlin Castro made a leaping catch of a soft liner off the bat of Carlos Beltran and turned it into an inning ending double play. Dolis faced the minimum in the ninth after the Cubs turned their second double play in as many innings.
Darwin Barney (2-for-3 with a run scored and a walk), Starlin Castro (1-for-4) and Tony Campana (1-for-1 with two stolen bases) provided the only highlights prior to the ninth and Barney scored the Cubs run in the first on a sac fly by Alfonso Soriano (0-for-3 with a sac fly RBI).
Starlin Castro extended his hitting streak to 11 games with a first inning infield single. Castro has reached safely in 56 of the last 57 games he’s played.
With Monday’s win, the Cubs improved to 5-12 on the season … The impatient offense almost cost the team another game. While Jaime Garcia had a good night he was also facing a lineup with too many outs. The Cubs offense made Garcia throw only 85 pitches in 7 2/3 innings, 61 for strikes, and grounded into two more double plays. Thanks to Joe Mather’s two-out, two-run single in the ninth, the Cubs finished the game 2-for-7 with RISP and left six on base.
Matt Garza made it through the first inning with allowing only a two out single to Matt Holliday but he was not sharp and threw a lot of pitches. Rafael Furcal flied out to right (3-2 pitch) for the first out. Skip Schumaker grounded out to short on a 3-2 pitch. After Holliday’s single, Carlos Beltran swung over the top of a 2-2 pitch from Garza to end the inning (23 pitches, 14 for strikes).
David DeJesus popped out to Furcal (0-1 pitch) to start the home half of the first. Darwin Barney hit a 1-2 pitch to the hole at short. David Freese picked up the ball but his throw was off and the hustling Barney beat the throw. Jaime Garcia’s first pitch to Castro got under Yadier Molina’s legs. Barney advanced to second on the wild pitch. Barney then broke for third on a 1-2 pitch to Castro.
Starlin Castro hit a grounder to Furcal but Barney running to third appeared to distract Furcal. Castro reached on an infield single … and extended his hitting streak to 11 games.
Alfonso Soriano did his job … and put a run on the board. Soriano lifted a 1-0 pitch into left. Barney tagged and scored, 1-0 Cubs. With Jeff Baker at the plate, Castro took off for second too early and was thrown out at second to end the inning (1-3-4).
Matt Garza struck out David Freese looking (2-2 pitch) to start the second. Yadier Molina grounded out to short. The ball went off Garza’s fingertips as he fell awkwardly to the ground. Garza appeared okay but walked Matt Carpenter. A 1-2 offering to Tyler Greene ended up in the dirt. Carpenter took off for second and was tagged out to end the inning. Soto’s throw was low but Barney made a nice pick and tagged Carpenter out.
The Cubs did nothing in the bottom of the second.
Matt Garza sat down the Redbirds in order in the third … after three Garza had thrown 49 pitches, 29 for strikes.
The Cubs wasted a chance to tack in the third after Joe Mather reached on a single to left (2-0 pitch) to start the inning. Matt Garza dropped down his first sac bunt of the season and advanced Mather to second. David DeJesus grounded out to second, Mather ended up at third but was stranded when Barney flied out to right center on the first pitch.
The Cardinals finally got to Garza in the fourth. Skip Schumaker pulled a 2-2 pitch to the hole between first and second. Baker dove but the ball went off his glove and Schumaker reached on an infield single. Matt Holliday placed a 0-1 pitch just inside the left field line. The ball rolled to the corner. Schumaker held at third with no outs.
With the infield back, Carlos Beltran grounded out to second, Holliday advanced to third as Schumaker scored the tying run. Garza plunked Freese on the hand to put runners on first and third with one down.
Yadier Molina hit a 1-2 pitch to Johnson in right center. Holliday tagged and scored the go ahead run. Garza then issued a two out walk to Matt Carpenter. After a 2-2 pitch got past Soto, Garza walked Tyler Greene to load the bases. Jaime Garcia flied out to right on the first pitch to end the inning.
After three and a half, the Cubs trailed 2-1 and Garza had thrown 77 pitches, 44 for strikes.
The Cubs made three quick outs in the fourth … three up, three down on eight pitches. It took Jaime Garcia only 40 pitches, 29 for strikes, to get through four innings.
Garza ended up facing the minimum in the fifth after Rafael Furcal led off the inning with a single to left. Skip Schumaker grounded into a 4-6 fielder’s choice then was caught in a rundown with Holliday at the plate (1-4-3). Holliday flied out to center on Garza’s 89th pitch (50 for strikes) of the game.
After Soto reached on a fielding error by Furcal, Reed Johnson hit the first pitch to Furcal … 6-4-3 double play. Joe Mather worked the Cubs’ first walk of the game. Matt Garza then singled to right. The first hit by a Cubs’ pitcher this season. DeJesus struck out swinging (1-2 pitch) for the third out.
Matt Garza retired the Cardinals in order in the sixth … 99 pitches, 58 for strikes, for Garza after six innings of work.
Jaime Garcia faced the minimum in the sixth after Starlin Castro grounded into the Cubs’ second double play in as many innings. After Castro’s double play erased Barney’s leadoff single, Alfonso Soriano flied out weakly to right to end the inning.
Matt Garza ended his night by sitting the bottom of the Cardinals lineup down in order … 108 pitches after seven for Garza, 65 for strikes.
The Cubs did nothing in the bottom of the seventh … just 77 pitches for Garcia after seven, 54 for strikes.
James Russell took over in the eighth and struck out Furcal swinging (3-2 pitch) before issuing back-to-back walks to pinch-hitter Shane Robinson and Matt Holliday. Dale Sveum went to his pen and brought in Rafael Dolis to face Carlos Beltran. Tony Campana took over in center for Reed Johnson on a double switch.
Starlin Castro made a leaping grab of a soft liner off the bat of Beltran … and doubled off Robinson to end the inning.
Jaime Garcia retired Joe Mather on a fly out to center (first pitch). Tony Campana hit the first pitch into right but could not advance to second before David DeJesus struck out swinging. Mike Matheny went to his pen and brought in Mitchell Boggs to face Barney.
In between a lot of throws to first base (seven times), Barney fell behind 1-2. The Cardinals pitched out and Molina’s throw beat Campana to second but Greene lost the handle on the ball. Campana took off for third on the next pitch and made it without a throw. Barney walked to put runners on first and third with two down.
Starlin Castro hit a 1-1 pitch to short. Furcal fired to first to end the inning.
Rafael Dolis faced the minimum in the ninth after David Freese reached on a swinging bunt up the third baseline to start the inning. Matheny called for a hit and run. Molina flied out to right, DeJesus threw to first and doubled off Freese to complete the double play. Matt Carpenter flied out to left (1-2 pitch) to end the inning.
The Cubs went to the bottom of the ninth down 2-1.
Jason Motte predictably struck out Alfonso Soriano swinging to start the ninth (2-2 pitch).
Bryan LaHair hit for Jeff Baker and put together a very good at bat. Motte challenged him and LaHair ended up walking on the 12th pitch of the at bat. Geovany Soto walked on four pitches to put the tying run in scoring position.
With runners on first and second with one out, Steve Clevenger hit for Rafael Dolis and grounded out to first (1-2 pitch). Both runners advanced to second and third with two outs.
Joe Mather came through and ripped a 2-2 pitch into center. LaHair scored easily and Soto rumbled around third and slid in safe as Shane Robinson’s throw was well off the mark … Cubs Win!
Jeff Samardzija and Adam Wainwright square off Tuesday night in game two.
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