Game Sixty-Six – Cubs 5, Mets 2
WP – Scott Feldman (6-5) LP – Jon Niese (3-6) Save – Kevin Gregg (9)
The Cubs beat the Mets for the second time in 24 hours on Saturday afternoon behind a good outing from Scott Feldman … and another run scoring hit from the big right hander. The Cubs offense had numerous chances but ended up doing just enough as the Cubs posted their first road series victory since taking two of three from the Nationals in Washington (May 10-12).
Scott Feldman was very good once again and limited the Mets to one run on two hits. Feldman retired the last 12 batters he faced after giving up a run on back-to-back doubles by Daniel Murphy and David Wright in the fourth inning. Feldman issued only one walk and struck out six batters on 106 pitches, 64 for strikes. Feldman completed seven innings of work for the first time since May 6.
Scott Feldman delivered what turned out to be the game winning hit in the fourth inning. Feldman hit a soft single to center that broke up a scoreless tie and his two-out, two-run single gave him all of the runs he would need while he was on the mound. Feldman has driven in a league leading eight runs this season.
Carlos Villanueva survived a shaky eighth inning by allowing only one run after giving up three hits. Villanueva struck out David Wright swinging with two on to end the inning.
Kevin Gregg picked up his ninth save in as many chances in his fourth straight day of work. The Mets brought the tying run to the plate in the ninth before Gregg retired Juan Lagares on a flyout to right on a 3-2 pitch
The Cubs walked a season-high nine times on Saturday, three intentional, and pulled away in the eighth on a bases loaded walk by Cody Ransom (2-for-4 with a RBI and two walks) and Starlin Castro’s first hit of the series, a two-run ground rule double to left. Starlin Castro (1-for-6 with a double, two RBI, three strikeouts and nine left on base) had another frustrating game but was able to deliver in the eighth with his 16th double of the season.
The Cubs had runners on base all afternoon and really allowed the Mets to stay in the game. The Cubs loaded the bases three times, scored runs only once in three chances, and finished the game 3-for-18 with runners in scoring position while leaving 16 men on base.
Anthony Rizzo (0-for-2 with a run scored and three walks) walked three times, two intentionally, and Ryan Sweeney (2-for-4 with two doubles and a sac bunt) continued getting on base. Darwin Barney (2-for-6 with a run scored) notched a couple of hits while Welington Castillo (2-for-4 with a walk and a run scored) showed more improvement at the plate.
The Cubs posted their third straight victory and with Saturday’s win improved to 28-38 on the season.
The Cubs wasted scoring chances in the first three innings. Jon Niese struggled with his command but the Cubs could not take advantage. After three innings the Cubs were 0-for-4 with runners in scoring position and left four runners on base while Scott Feldman did not allow a hit over the first three frames. Feldman walked just one batter and needed only 44 pitches, 27 for strikes, to complete his first three innings on Saturday afternoon.
Anthony Rizzo walked to start the fourth. A 3-0 pitch to Hairston got away from Anthony Recker, but not far enough. Rizzo started for second, stopped and used Daniel Murphy’s inexperience at first base to get back to the bag without being picked off. Scott Hairston walked and the Cubs had runners on first and second with no outs.
Jon Niese struck out Welington Castillo swinging and retired Sweeney on a grounder to first. Sweeney’s productive out put runners on second and third with two down for Feldman.
Scott Feldman helped his own cause with a soft single to center (0-1 pitch). Rizzo and Hairston scored, 2-0 Cubs, on Feldman’s seventh and eighth RBI of the season. Darwin Barney followed with a bloop single to right. Feldman rounded second and headed for third. Feldman reached safely with a dangerous headfirst slide. Cody Ransom walked to load the bases with two outs.
Starlin Castro stepped in and struck out for the third time in as many at bats on the afternoon. Castro’s frustrations could be seen as he dropped the bat and tossed his helmet. After four at bats, the Cubs were 1-for-8 with RISP and left seven men on base.
The Mets took advantage of a tired Scott Feldman in the bottom of the fourth. Daniel Murphy led off the inning with the Mets’ first hit, a double off the wall in left. David Wright followed and drove a 0-2 pitch high off the wall in right. Scott Hairston made an effort to make the catch at the wall, came up empty and Murphy scored on Wright’s double. Feldman settled down and struck out Marlon Byrd swinging. Lucas Duda popped out to shallow left and Justin Turner grounded out to short on a 3-2 pitch to end the inning. Feldman survived a long, shaky fourth inning and threw 69 pitches, 42 for strikes, over the first four innings.
After four complete, the Cubs led 2-1.
The Cubs could not take advantage of a one out double by Ryan Sweeney in the sixth. Scott Feldman settled down after the fourth and retired nine in a row through six innings. Feldman dodged a bullet as David Wright flied out to a leaping Soriano at the wall in left to end the sixth.
The Cubs could not take advantage of a LaTroy Hawkins error in the seventh and left two more runners on base after Scott Hairston grounded out to third to end the inning.
Scott Feldman set down the side in order in the seventh, 12 in a row retired by Feldman at that point.
At the end of seven, the Cubs led 2-1.
Former Cubs’ farmhand, Scott Rice, started the eighth for the Mets. Welington Castillo blooped a single into right to start the inning. Ryan Sweeney bunted Castillo into scoring position. Nate Schierholtz hit for Feldman and worked a walk against the lefty Rice. With runners on first and second, Terry Collins went to his pen for Brandon Lyon. Darwin Barney singled to center to load the bases for Cody Ransom.
Dale Sveum left Ransom into hit and he put together a very good at bat that ended with a walk. Ransom’s free pass forced in Castillo with the Cubs’ third run.
Starlin Castro stepped in and drove a 1-2 pitch over Duda’s head in left. Castro ended up with a two-run, ground rule double … and a much-needed hit. Castro’s two-bagger gave the Cubs a 5-1 lead. Soriano popped out to Turner in shallow center for the second out and Lyon intentionally walked Rizzo. With the bags reloaded, Hairston popped out to Murphy to end the inning.
Carlos Villanueva took over for Feldman in the eighth and struck out Anthony Recker swinging to start the inning. Juan Lagares and pinch-hitter Kirk Nieuwenhuis reached on back-to-back singles to right. With runners on first and third with one down, Jordany Valdespin blooped a single into right. Lagares scored and cut the Cubs lead to 5-2. With runners on first and second with one down, Murphy hit a routine grounder to first. Rizzo thought about second, but got the sure out at first by tossing to Villanueva.
David Wright stepped in with runners on second and third with two down. Villanueva got Wright to chase a 2-2 slider out of the zone to end the inning.
At the end of eight, the Cubs led 5-2.
The Cubs had a chance to break the game wide open in the ninth after loading the bases with no outs. Castillo singled off Greg Burke to start the inning. Ryan Sweeney followed with his second double to right. Burke walked Schierholtz intentionally to load the bases.
Darwin Barney hit a sinking liner into center (0-2 pitch). Lagares tried to sell it that he made a catch, it was ruled a no catch and confusion ensued. The Mets threw the ball around trying to turn a triple play but they did not throw home first. Schierholtz jogged from second after Barney took over at first base. The Mets got one out, Schierholtz, and the bases remained loaded for Ransom, who struck out swinging for the second out. Castro then fouled out to Daniel Murphy … and the game went to the ninth with the Cubs leading by just three runs.
Kevin Gregg took the hill for the fourth straight day and gave up a leadoff single to Marlon Byrd. But Lucas Duda bailed Gregg out by popping a 3-1 pitch to third base. Justin Turner hit a roller toward third, the ball took a bad hop and instead of a game ending double play, the Mets brought the tying run to the plate on Ransom’s error. John Buck hit for Recker and popped out to Castro in shallow left center. Juan Lagares worked a full count before he flied out to right to end the game.
Matt Garza faces Jeremy Hefner in the series and season finale with the Mets on Sunday afternoon.