Game Seventy-Three – Cubs 6, Mets 1
WP – Travis Wood (2-3) LP – Johan Santana (5-4) Save – None
On a bizarre night at Wrigley Field, Travis Wood ended the Cubs’ four-game losing streak. The Cubs beat Johan Santana for the first time and improved to 4-16 against left-handers this season. Joe Mather’s first home run since May 19 gave the Cubs a 2-0 lead in the fourth and the Cubs scored four runs in the seventh on one hit, one walk and three Mets’ errors.
Travis Wood outpitched Johan Santana on Monday night at the old ballyard and beat a former Cy Young Award winner for the second time in as many starts. Wood tossed seven innings of shutout ball in what was clearly his best outing in a Cubs’ uniform. Wood allowed five hits with a walk and six strikeouts on 93 pitches, 70 for strikes. The Mets did not put two runners on base against Wood until the seventh and Wood allowed only one runner to reach third.
Shawn Camp pitched a scoreless eighth and James Russell allowed the only run of the night, a solo home run by Ike Davis with two-outs in the ninth.
The Cubs offense was not only patient on Monday night but their hustle set the tone in the seventh and it led to four unearned runs.
While the highlights from Monday’s game will focus on Travis Wood’s outing, Joe Mather’s home run and the Mets’ miscues, it was a two-out walk by Geovany Soto in the fourth that changed the game.
Geovany Soto (0-for-3 with a run scored and a walk) took what Santana gave him, which wasn’t much. Soto walked on five pitches ahead of Joe Mather’s two-run home run. Mather changed his number from 16 to 21 prior to Monday’s game and his fourth home run of the year 19 gave Travis Wood all of the runs he would need. Mather finished the night 1-for-3 with a home run, two RBI and an intentional walk.
The Cubs managed only seven hits but walked four times and took advantage of three errors by the Mets in the seventh. Adrian Cardenas, who was optioned down to Iowa following the game to make room on the active roster for Anthony Rizzo, hit for Travis Wood to start the seventh. Cardenas popped up a 1-1 pitch from Jon Rauch that the wind caught before David Wright did. Cardenas ended up at third after hitting a ball about two feet. Cardenas scored on the Mets’ second three-base error of the inning, a ball off the bat of Darwin Barney (0-for-5 with a run scored) that Lucas Duda dropped in shallow right.
Jeff Baker (2-for-4 with a double and a RBI) recorded the Cubs’ only hit in the seventh inning, a RBI single to right. Alfonso Soriano had another good night at the dish. Soriano walked in the seventh, scored and finished the game 2-for-3 with a walk and a run scored. Both of Soriano’s hits came off Johan Santana and ended a 0-for-13 career mark against southpaw.
With Monday’s win, the Cubs improved to 25-48 on the season …
Johan Santana started his outing by striking out Reed Johnson (2-2 pitch). Darwin Barney hit a routine grounder to short for the second out. Starlin Castro then put together a very patient at bat that ended with his first walk since June 2. Alfonso Soriano stepped in and singled to center (2-0 pitch). Soriano’s first career hit off Johan Santana put runners on first and second with two outs. Jeff Baker hit a soft liner to Ronny Cedeno (1-0 pitch) to end the inning. Santana threw 18 pitches in the first, 10 for strikes.
Travis Wood made quick work of Scott Hairston (groundout to first) and Lucas Duda (flyout to left) to start the second. Ronny Cedeno notched the Mets’ first hit, a double to left center on a 0-1 pitch … but Ike Davis grounded out to short on Wood’s first pitch to end the inning. Wood threw 22 pitches in the first two innings, 18 for strikes.
Geovany Soto grounded out to David Wright and Joe Mather hit a routine fly to center to start the Cubs’ second. Luis Valbuena ripped a 0-2 pitch into left center for a double. Travis Wood cranked a 1-0 pitch to deep left, the ball went foul and Santana struck out Wood two pitches later to end the inning … 32 pitches for Santana after two, 21 for strikes.
The game was nothing-nothing after two … and the Cubs were 0-for-2 with RISP and left three on base.
Mike Nickeas struck out swinging to start the third. Santana hit a chopper to the first base side of the mound. Wood picked the ball up and ran to first (one unassisted) for the second out. Wood ended up walking Andres Torres. Torres took off for second on the first pitch to Ruben Tejada. Torres made it easily but was stranded when Tejada grounded out to Valbuena to end the inning. Wood threw 39 pitches in the first three innings, 28 for strikes.
The Cubs did nothing in the third (47 pitches for Santana, 32 strikes).
Travis Wood retired the Mets in order in the fourth … 47 pitches for Wood after four, 35 for strikes.
Alfonso Soriano struck out swinging to start the fourth. Jeff Baker made another routine out with a fly out to center. Geovany Soto worked a two-out walk to extend the inning for Joe Mather.
Joe Mather squared up a 1-1 pitch, drove it through the wind and into the first row of the bleachers in left center. The Cubs took a 2-0 lead on Mather’s first homer since May 19. Santana retired Valbuena on chopper back to the mound to end the inning (65 pitches for Santana, 41 strikes).
After four, the Cubs led 2-0.
Wood struck out Ronny Cedeno swinging and Ike Davis looking to begin the fifth. Mike Nickeas pulled a 1-1 pitch off the ivy in left for a two-out double. Wood’s first pitch to Santana got away from Soto. Nickeas advanced to third on the passed ball. Santana ended up grounding out to first to end the inning.
The Cubs did nothing in the fifth … 84 pitches for Santana after five, 55 for strikes.
Travis Wood kept throwing strikes in the sixth. Wood retired Torres on a groundout to third then struck out Tejada swinging. David Wright ripped a 1-1 pitch into left, the Mets’ third hit of the game. Scott Hairston popped out to Barney in short right to end the sixth. Wood needed just 79 pitches, 59 for strikes, to get through six innings.
The Cubs wasted a chance to tack on in the sixth. Castro struck out to begin the frame. Alfonso Soriano drove Santana’s first pitch through the hole in the right side of the infield. Jeff Baker ripped a double into the right field corner. Pat Listach held Soriano at third with one out.
With runners on second and third, one out and the infield in, Geovany Soto looked at a 3-2 pitch from Santana for the second out. Mather was intentionally walked to load the bases for Luis Valbuena … Valbuena grounded out to second to end the inning.
After six, the Cubs led 2-0 and were 0-for-4 with runners in scoring position and left six on base.
Travis Wood got through the seventh but was obviously tiring … even the outs were loud and the Mets put two runners on base for the first time.
Lucas Duda lined out to left for the first out. Ronny Cedeno recorded his second hit, a single to left on Wood’s first pitch. Wood struck out Ike Davis swinging with one of his best sliders of the night (2-2 pitch). Mike Nickeas singled to left, his second hit of the game. With two on for the first time, Wood focused and retired pinch-hitter Justin Turner on a fly out to center.
The bottom of the seventh was one of the most bizarre innings of the season … and the Cubs were the benefactors of the errors, instead of the other way around.
To the Cubs credit, they ran everything out. If they did not, like many of the Cubs’ teams of the past, the inning would not have been as prosperous as it turned out. The Cubs ended up scoring four runs on one hit, one walk and three Mets’ errors.
Jon Rauch replaced Johan Santana in the seventh with the Cubs up 2-0 … and Rauch ended up on the wrong end of three miscues.
Adrian Cardenas hit for Travis Wood to start the seventh. Cardenas popped a 1-1 pitch straight up. David Wright came in to make the catch but the wind kept pushing the ball. Wright was obviously having trouble and the ball hit off his glove and rolled behind homeplate to the bricks. Cardenas ran out of the box. After momentarily slowing down between first and second, Cardenas kicked it into gear and slid in headfirst at third.
Terry Collins brought his infield in. Reed Johnson could not deliver and struck out swinging. Darwin Barney then hit a 1-1 pitch into shallow right. Lucas Duda raced in and tried to make a sliding catch. The ball hit off his glove, Cardenas scored and Barney ended up at third on the Mets’ second three-base error of the inning.
With the infield still in, Starlin Castro fell behind 0-2 before working the count full. Castro hit a rocket back up the middle. Ronny Cedeno tried to play the short-hop off to his side. The ball went off his glove and into center. Barney scored and the Cubs took a 4-0 lead on the Mets’ third error of the inning.
Alfonso Soriano walked and Collins went to his pen for right-hander Ramon Ramirez. Jeff Baker scorched a single into right, the first hit of the inning. Castro scored and Soriano ended up at third with one out. Geovany Soto put a 2-1 pitch into play. Soto hit a weak chopper to the third base side of the mound. Wright fielded the ball but his only play was to first. Soriano scored, 6-0 Cubs, and Baker advanced to second base. Mather grounded out to third to end the inning.
After seven, the Cubs led 6-0.
Shawn Camp retired three of the four batters he faced in the eighth. Ruben Tejada reached on a throwing error by Luis Valbuena but that was it.
Lefty Justin Hampson retired Valbuena on a grounder to second to start the eighth. Bryan LaHair hit for Camp and struck out swinging (3-2 pitch) for the second out. Reed Johnson drove a 1-0 pitch into the gap in right center. The ball rolled to the wall and Johnson ended up at third with a standing triple. As a ball got away from the Cubs’ pen, Darwin Barney grounded out to short to end the eighth.
The Cubs went to the ninth up 6-0.
James Russell retired Lucas Duda (pop out to short) and struck out Ronny Cedeno swinging. Ike Davis crushed Russell’s first pitch. The ball ended up in the bleachers in right center. With the shutout gone, Mike Nickeas grounded out to third … game over.
Randy Wells is scheduled to face Dillon Gee under the lights on Tuesday night.
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