Game Ten – Cubs 4, Giants 3
WP – Kyuji Fujikawa (1-0, BS 1) LP – Sergio Romo (0-1, BS 1) Save – None
The Cubs had dropped eight of nine against the Giants entering play on Friday afternoon. On another cold day at Wrigley Field, the Cubs jumped out to a lead that the bullpen could not hold. Carlos Villanueva pitched 7 2/3 innings of shutout ball and the Cubs took a 2-0 lead into the ninth. Kyuji Fujikawa struggled with his command again and gave up three runs in the ninth.
Dioner Navarro led off the ninth with a pinch-hit home run off Sergio Romo that tied the game at three … the first pinch hit homer of Navarro’s career.
David DeJesus (3-for-5 with a home run, a double and two runs scored) reached on a two-out bloop single. Starlin Castro (2-for-5 with a home run, a double and two RBI) drove in DeJesus with the game winner, a double off the wall in center on a 2-1 pitch.
The Cubs came from behind against one of the better closers in the game … and walked off with a win against the Giants.
Carlos Villanueva shut down the Giants for 7 1/3 innings on Friday afternoon. Villanueva was excellent again and limited the Giants to three singles and a walk. Only one runner reached second base while he was on the mound. Villanueva left in line for the victory but for the second time in as many starts, the bullpen could not preserve the win. Villanueva’s final line: no runs, three hits, one walk and three strikeouts in 7 1/3 innings on 93 pitches, 55 for strikes.
James Russell recorded the last two outs in the eighth and turned the 2-0 lead over to Kyuji Fujikawa.
The Cubs’ closer had little to no command on Friday and blew his first save of the season. Kyuji Fujikawa gave up three runs on three hits with a hit batsman in the ninth on 30 pitches, 15 for strikes.
The Cubs offense used the conditions at Wrigley to their advantage on Friday. The Cubs first three runs came via windblown home runs. David DeJesus (third inning), Starlin Castro (fifth inning) and Dioner Navarro (ninth inning) each hit their first longballs of the season.
Welington Castillo (2-for-4) extended his hitting streak to six games while continuing to impress behind the plate. Luis Valbuena (1-for-2 with two walks) walked for the sixth straight game and Nate Schierholtz (1-for-4 with a double) collected another hit.
While the Cubs still have not beaten Matt Cain since July of 2007, for once Dale Sveum’s team figured out how to be on the right side of a one-run decision against the Giants.
Angel Pagan led off the game with a single to right on a 0-2 pitch. Welington Castillo then threw him out trying to steal second on a 0-1 pitch to Marco Scutaro. After Castillo picked up his pitcher, Carlos Villanueva went into cruise control. Villanueva did not allow another hit until one out in the fifth … a single to left off the bat of Hunter Pence. Villanueva kept his pitch count down. After four innings, Villanueva had thrown only 42 pitches.
The Cubs offense managed only two runs, solo home runs by David DeJesus in the third and Starlin Castro in the fifth against Matt Cain. While the offense pounded out seven hits and two walks against the Giants’ ace, Carlos Villanueva could not help his own cause at the plate. Villanueva ended three different innings while leaving two runners on base each time (six left on base) … so the 0-for-8 with RISP and eight left on base stats are a little misleading.
Carlos Villanueva took a 2-0 lead into the eighth inning. Villanueva needed only 83 pitches, 49 for strikes, to complete seven innings. Villanueva retired Brandon Belt on a deep fly to left center for the first out. Gregor Blanco singled to right on a 1-2 pitch … just the third hit and fourth baserunner of the day off Villanueva. Dale Sveum made the slow walk and went to his pen for James Russell.
Brandon Crawford greeted Russell with a single to center (1-2 pitch). Blanco ended up at third with one down … the first time all afternoon the Giants had two runners on base and a runner on third. Andres Torres hit for Matt Cain and rapped into a 5-4-3 double play to end the inning.
The Cubs did nothing in the eighth against George Kontos … and the game went to the ninth with the Cubs clinging to a 2-0 lead.
Kyuji Fujikawa struggled with his command and fell behind Angel Pagan 3-0. Pagan flied out to left on a 3-1 offering for the first out. Marco Scutaro lined a 1-1 pitch into the gap in left center. The ball rolled all the way to the vines … and Scutaro ended up at second with the Giants’ first extra basehit of the game. Fujikawa uncorked a wild pitch on a 1-1 pitch to Sandoval. Scutaro advanced to third. Pablo Sandoval blooped the next pitch into right. Schierholtz was playing no-doubles and had to play it on a bounce. Scutaro scored and cut the Cubs lead to 2-1. Bruce Bochy sent Joaquin Arias into run for Sandoval at first.
Fujikawa continued to struggle with his command and hit Buster Posey with a 2-2 pitch. Hunter Pence stepped in with runners on first and second with one down. Pence bounced a 2-2 pitch out to short. Castro fielded the ball cleanly, underhanded to Gonzalez at second but Pence beat the throw to first.
Brandon Belt stepped in and pulled a 2-1 pitch into the right field corner. Arias trotted home to tie the game then Pence was sent and slid in just ahead of Castillo’s tag … and the Giants took a 3-2 lead. Blanco grounded out to second to end the inning.
Sergio Romo took the hill a perfect 15-for-15 in save opportunities since taking over as the Giants’ closer. Dioner Navarro hit for Alberto Gonzalez and ended his streak.
Navarro hit the Cubs third home run of the game into the bleachers in right on a 0-1 pitch … and tied the game at three. Luis Valbuena and Brent Lillibridge struck out.
David DeJesus collected his third hit of the day, a bloop single to center on a 2-1 pitch. Pagan tried to make a diving catch but came up short. DeJesus stopped at first with two down.
Sergio Romo made Castro look very bad in the ninth inning of Thursday’s game … but the Cubs’ shortstop made the right adjustment 24 hours later.
Starlin Castro drove a 2-1 pitch to deep center. The ball hit off the vines, DeJesus scored and the Cubs pulled out the victory.
Jeff Samardzija is scheduled to face Madison Bumgarner on Saturday afternoon.