Game Ninety-Two: Cubs 5, Braves 4
WP – Hector Rondon (2-3, BS 3) LP – Jordan Walden (0-1) Save – None
What looked like was going to be a disappointing loss turned into an exciting walk-off victory as the Cubs took game one of the series with the Braves. After the Braves tied the game at four in the ninth, Arismendy Alcantara reached on a two-out single to right, stole second and scored the game-winner on a Justin Ruggiano single to left.
Arismendy Alcantara (1-for-4 with a walk, a stolen base and a run scored) had a hand in the Cubs winning a ballgame for the second day in a row.
Jake Arrieta put together another good outing. Arrieta threw strikes, for the most part, and was rather efficient. Arrieta issued three walks, one was intentional, and the other two were to Jordan Schafer. For whatever reason, Arrieta had issues with the Braves leadoff man Friday afternoon. Arrieta faced the minimum the first time through the lineup on 36 pitches, 27 for strikes. And the Braves first two runs scored after a walk, a double and two groundouts.
Jake Arrieta limited the Braves to just four hits over 7 2/3 innings. Arrieta gave up three runs with six strikeouts and gave his team more than a quality start. Arrieta turned the game over to Neil Ramirez with two on and two outs in the eighth. With the Cubs up by a run, Neil Ramirez blew a 94 mph fastball past Justin Upton to end the inning.
Jake Arrieta’s final line: three runs, four hits, three walks, six strikeouts, 98 pitches, 61 strikes, 7 2/3 innings. And Jake Arrieta went 0-for-1 at the plate with a RBI and two sacrifice bunts. Arrieta and Chris Coghlan pulled off a safety squeeze in the third that led to the Cubs first run.
Hector Rondon had a rough ninth inning and was charged with his third blown save of the year. While the other two blown saves were products of bloop hits, the Braves squared Rondon up rather well Friday afternoon. Rondon gave up one run on two hits with one strikeout. And both of the outs on balls in play were not weakly hit.
Justin Ruggiano (2-for-5 with two RBI) and Chris Coghlan (2-for-3 with a double, a RBI, a run scored and a stolen base) led the Cubs offense Friday afternoon. Coghlan doubled, stole third and scored the Cubs first run on a safety squeeze by Jake Arrieta. Coghlan stepped up with the bases loaded in the sixth and singled in Anthony Rizzo (1-for-4 with a double and a run scored) with the tying run. Ruggiano drove in Mike Olt (0-for-1 with a walk and a run scored) with the Cubs’ second run and delivered the game winner.
Starlin Castro (1-for-4 with a run scored) singled and scored the Cubs’ fourth run in the sixth after Luis Valbuena (0-for-1 with a walk and a RBI) hit for Mike Olt with the bases loaded and walked to force in Castro.
The Cubs scored five runs on seven hits with four walks and were 4-for-9 with RISP and left seven men on base.
With Friday victory, the Cubs improved to 40-52 on the season.
Chris Coghlan led off the bottom of the third of a scoreless game and ripped a double off the vines just to the right of straight away center. After collecting the Cubs’ first hit, Coghlan swiped third on a 1-0 pitch to Mike Olt. Alex Wood walked Olt and put runners on the corners with no outs. Jake Arrieta pushed a bunt toward the first baseline. Coghlan broke from third and slid in headfirst at the plate with the game’s first run. Olt took second and held when Arismendy Alcantara struck out swinging on a 2-2 pitch. Justin Ruggiano ripped a 2-2 pitch into center. Olt scored and the Cubs took a 2-0 lead. Anthony Rizzo popped out to Schafer in center for the third out. The Cubs made Alex Wood work. The Braves’ southpaw threw 45 pitches, 27 for strikes, in three innings.
After three complete, the Cubs led 2-0.
Jake Arrieta took the hill for the fourth inning with a 2-0 lead after throwing 36 pitches, 27 for strikes, in the first three innings. Arrieta issued a five-pitch walk to Jordan Schafer to start the fourth. Schafer stole second with Simmons at the plate. Andrelton Simmons doubled to right, but Schafer misread the ball and ended up at third. With runners on second and third with no outs, Freddie Freeman grounded a 1-0 pitch to Alcantara. Schafer scored, 2-1 Cubs. Simmons advanced to third and scored when Justin Upton hit a dribbler to the first base side of the mound that Arrieta fielded but had no play at the plate … game tied at two. Jason Heyward grounded out to second for the third out. Jake Arrieta threw 52 pitches, 34 for strikes, over the first four innings.
The Cubs did nothing in the fourth and the game went to the fifth tied at two.
Alex Wood led off the sixth and bunted his way on base. Wood bunted to the third base side of the mound. Arrieta fielded the ball but slipped as he was throwing to first as rain began to fall at Wrigley prior to the top of the inning. The ball hit Wood and he advanced to second when Schafer tried to bunt his way on. Simmons grounded out to short for the second out. With Alex Wood at second, Freddie Freeman drove a 1-0 pitch off the wall in center. Wood scored and the Braves took a 3-2 lead. Justin Upton grounded out to third to end the inning. Arrieta threw 70 pitches, 46 for strikes, over the first six innings.
Anthony Rizzo led off the Cubs’ sixth with a double into the right field corner (3-1 pitch). Starlin Castro smoked Alex Wood’s pitch toward third. The ball went off Chris Johnson’s glove to the hole at short. Rizzo held as Castro reached on an infield single. Wood hit Welington Castillo with a 0-2 pitch to load the bases. Junior Lake stepped in with the bags loaded and no outs. Lake struck out swinging on a 2-2 pitch and broke the bat over his knee. Chris Coghlan picked up Lake with a single to right on a 0-1 pitch. Rizzo scored and tied the game at three. Fredi Gonzalez decided that was enough for Wood and went to his pen for righty Shae Simmons. Rick Renteria countered and sent up Luis Valbuena to hit for Mike Olt. Valbuena took a four-pitch, Castro trotted in and the Cubs took a 4-3 lead. With the bases still loaded, Jake Arrieta struck out swinging for the second out. Arismendy Alcantara lined a 1-2 pitch into center to end the inning.
At the end of six, the Cubs led 4-3.
Hector Rondon took the hill for the ninth with the Cubs clinging to a 4-3 lead. Rondon did not throw strikes. Jason Heyward drove a 3-1 pitch to the gap in left center. Junior Lake tried to make a diving catch on the track, but he came up short and Heyward ended up at second with a leadoff double. Chris Johnson lined out to short and Tommy La Stella grounded out to first. Heyward advanced to third with two outs. Christian Bethancourt smoked Rondon’s first pitch back up the middle and into center. Heyward trotted in and the game was tied at four. Rondon refocused and struck out pinch-hitter Ramiro Pena to end the inning.
Jordan Walden retired Luis Valbuena (tap back to the mound) and pinch-hitter Ryan Sweeney (fly out to left) for the first two outs in the ninth. Arismendy Alcantara pulled a 1-0 pitch past a diving Le Stella and into right field. Alcantara took off for second on a 1-0 pitch to Ruggiano and slid in headfirst with his first stolen base in the big leagues. Justin Ruggiano pulled a 2-1 pitch past a diving Simmons and into left field. Alcantara scored easily, game over … Cubs win.
Edwin Jackson faces lefty Mike Minor in game two with the Braves on Saturday afternoon (3:05pm CDT).