Game Fifty-Six: Cubs 5, Mets 4
WP – Edwin Jackson (4-5) LP – Dana Eveland (0-1) Save – Hector Rondon (7)
The Cubs fought back from an early deficit, tied the game at four on a two-run single by Starlin Castro in the fifth and Anthony Rizzo scored the would be winning run on a wild pitch as the Cubs posted back-to-back wins over the New York Mets. And it is rather fitting that the difference in a long, poorly pitched game by both starters would end up being a wild pitch.
Starlin Castro (3-for-4 with a double and three RBI) had a big hand in Wednesday’s game. Castro had a rough first inning in the field and his error opened the door for the Mets to take an early 3-0 lead. To Castro’s credit, he drove in three of the Cubs’ five runs and tied the game at four in the fifth with a two-run single.
Starlin Castro singled in Justin Ruggiano (1-for-2 with a double, two runs scored and three walks) with the Cubs first run and Anthony Rizzo (1-for-2 with two runs scored and two walks) crossed the plate with the Cubs second run on a groundout off the bat of Nate Schierholtz (0-for-4 with a RBI) in the first inning. The Cubs scored three runs in the fifth inning. After Daisuke Matsuzaka gave up a single to Emilio Bonifacio (1-for-5 with a run scored) and walked Justin Ruggiano, Terry Collins went to his pen for lefty Dana Eveland. Anthony Rizzo singled to load the bases and Starlin Castro delivered the two-run single that tied the game. After Terry Collins’ second pitching change of the inning, Anthony Rizzo scored the go ahead run on a wild pitch by Jeurys Familia.
Edwin Jackson, Daisuke Matsuzaka and the Mets’ pen had a rough night. The Cubs and Mets walked a combined 15 batters and struck out a combined 16 batters on Wednesday. In the end, it was the Cubs’ pen that was the difference in the game.
Carlos Villanueva, Wesley Wright, James Russell, Justin Grimm, Pedro Strop and Hector Rondon kept the Mets off the board over the last four innings while allowing two hits and issuing two free passes. Over the first two games of the series, the Cubs’ bullpen has tossed 8 1/3 innings of shutout ball.
Edwin Jackson struggled with his command once again and barely made it through five innings on Wednesday night. In Jackson’s defense, two miscues and a charged error by Starlin Castro in the first inning helped run up his pitch count. Jackson needed 33 pitches to get through one inning and it was that kind of night for Jackson.
The Mets scored three unearned runs in the first inning off Jackson and Reuben Tejada hit a solo shot off Jackson in the fourth. The Mets worked the count against the inconsistent Jackson and he issued five walks, including one to Daisuke Matsuzaka.
Edwin Jackson turned the game over to the bullpen after allowing four runs, one earned, on five hits with five walks and four strikeouts. Jackson threw 110 pitches, 63 for strikes, in five long innings.
Rick Renteria was ejected during the third inning of Wednesday’s game, the fourth ejection of the season for the Cubs’ skipper. Renteria was barking at homeplate umpire Todd Tichenor from the dugout about balls and strikes. And Tichenor could not take it any longer and tossed him out. Both the Cubs and Mets were not happy with Tichenor’s inconsistent strike zone throughout the game.
With Wednesday’s victory, the Cubs improved to 22-34 on the season.
Edwin Jackson struck out Matt den Dekker swinging (3-2 pitch) to start the game. Daniel Murphy reached on an infield single to the hole at short. Jackson jumped ahead of Wright 1-2 before walking him and putting two on with one down. Curtis Granderson pulled a 0-2 pitch toward second. Bonifacio fielded the ball and flipped to Castro. Starlin Castro’s throw was high to first as he jumped in the air to avoid Wright. With runners on the corners and two out, Bobby Abreu hit a routine grounder back up the middle. Castro was in the shift and appeared to look up to see where Abreu was before he secured the ball. Castro bobbled, Murphy scored and the Mets took a 1-0 lead. Jackson jumped ahead of Lucas Duda 1-2. Jackson’s next pitch was belt-high and out, over the plate. Duda drove the ball to left. Granderson and Abreu scored, 3-0 Mets. Jackson retired Anthony Recker lined out to center to end the inning.
The Mets scored three unearned runs in the first inning and it took Edwin Jackson 33 pitches, 21 for strikes, to complete one inning of work.
The Cubs got back in the game in the bottom of the first. Bonifacio grounded out to short on a 3-2 pitch for the first out. Justin Ruggiano doubled to left. Anthony Rizzo walked and the Cubs had two on with one out. Starlin Castro singled to right. Ruggiano scored, Rizzo advanced to third and the Cubs were down 3-1 with runners on the corners and one out. Nate Schierholtz pulled a 3-2 pitch to first. Duda blocked the ball but did not field it cleanly. Rizzo scored, Castro ended up at second with two outs and the Cubs were down 3-2. Coghlan hit a soft liner to Murphy at second to end the inning.
After one inning, that took 37 minutes to play, the Cubs were down 3-2.
The game remained 3-2 until the fourth inning as Jackson and Dice-K ran up their pitch counts.
Edwin Jackson retired Anthony Recker on a grounder to first to start the fourth inning. Jackson fell behind Ruben Tejada 2-0 before he served one in. Tejada launched his second home run of the year into the bleachers in left and the Mets took a 4-2 lead. Jackson struck out Matsuzaka and den Dekker grounded out to first to end the inning. Jackson needed 86 pitches to complete four innings, 48 for strikes.
The Cubs could not chip into the Mets lead in the home-half of the fourth. Chris Coghlan tripled to right with out and Mike Olt walked. With runners on the corners and one out, John Baker smacked a grounder back up the middle that Matsuzaka appeared to kick right to Tejada at short … 6-4-3 inning ending double play.
At the end of four, the Cubs trailed 4-2.
Edwin Jackson wiggled out of a bases loaded jam in the fifth after getting Anthony Recker to foul out to Rizzo on a 3-1 pitch to end the inning.
Emilio Bonifacio reached on a one-out single in the fifth. Matsuzaka walked Justin Ruggiano. With runners on first and second with one down, Terry Collins went to his pen and replaced Matsuzaka with lefty Dana Eveland. Anthony Rizzo singled to right. But he hit the ball too hard. Abreu caught the one-hopper and the Cubs had the bases loaded with one out. Starlin Castro singled to center. Bonifacio and Ruggiano scored, game tied at four. With two on and one down, Schierholtz grounded out to first. Rizzo and Castro moved up ninety feet. Chris Coghlan walked to load the bases with two outs. And Terry Collins went back to his pen. Jeurys Familia replaced Eveland and his second pitch to Mike Olt short-hopped Recker, the ball skipped away and Rizzo scored standing … 5-4 Cubs. With runners on second and third, Olt grounded out to short to end the inning.
After five complete, the Cubs led 5-4.
The Cubs held onto the one-run lead through the sixth, seventh and eighth innings.
Hector Rondon took the hill in the ninth with the Cubs clinging to a one-run lead. Rondon struck out Daniel Murphy and David Wright swinging. Curtis Granderson reached with a single to right center. But Rondon retired Bobby Abreu on a grounder to second to end the game.
Travis Wood and Jacob deGrom wrap up the series on Thursday night (6:05pm CDT).