Game Seventy-Six – Cubs 2, Mets 0 – 11 innings
WP – Jason Motte (6-1) LP –Carlos Torres (2-4) Save – Justin Grimm (1)
Starlin Castro and Miguel Montero delivered two out singles in the 11th inning. And Jon Lester and the bullpen combined on a seven-hit shutout as the Cubs topped the Mets in 11 innings on Wednesday night at Citi Field.
Starlin Castro (2-for-5 with a double and a RBI) stepped to the plate with runners on the corners and two outs in the 11th inning of a scoreless game. Castro bounced a 1-2 pitch toward third. Daniel Murphy fielded the weakly hit ball and fired to first as Castro hustled down the line. Castro beat the throw, Anthony Rizzo (1-for-5 with a double) scored and the Cubs took a 1-0 lead. After Mike Baxter (1-for-4 with a walk) walked to load the bases, Miguel Montero (1-for-3 with a RBI) singled to right and plated Chris Coghlan (1-for-4 with a walk and a run scored) with an all-important insurance run.
Joe Maddon used James Russell to get the first two outs in the bottom of the 11th inning. Darrell Ceciliani singled to left and Maddon went to his pen. Wanting to stay away from Neil Ramirez, Maddon called on Justin Grimm to get the last out. Grimm walked Wilmer Flores on five pitches.
After a visit from Chris Bosio and with the tying runs on base, Justin Grimm caught Kevin Plawecki looking at a 2-2 slider to end the game.
It was not a pretty game. The Cubs found a way to win and improve to 9-4 in extra innings this season.
Neither team could buy a hit with runners in scoring position over the first 10 innings. The Cubs (3-for-12 with RISP, nine runners left on base) and the Mets (1-for-11 with RISP, 10 runners left on base) had chances to plate runs throughout the game.
Jon Lester had a good outing against a not-so-good offense. Lester struggled with his command at times and was not as sharp as he’s been at points this season. Lester pitched around a leadoff double by Daniel Murphy in the second. The Mets loaded the bases with one out in the second. Lester wiggled out of the jam by retiring Bartolo Colon on a pop out to right center and Curtis Granderson on a flyout to center.
Lester pitched clean innings in the third and fourth innings. And Lester kept the Mets off the board in the fifth after giving up a leadoff, ground rule double to Juan Lagares. The Mets managed a Daniel Murphy single with one out in the sixth.
Jon Lester finished his outing by pitching to Miguel Montero in the seventh … the first inning this season Lester did not throw to David Ross. Lester issued a two-out walk to pinch-hitter Eric Campbell in the seventh. After Campbell swiped second base, Curtis Granderson grounded out to Rizzo for the third out.
Pedro Strop, with a lot of help from the Mets, pitched a scoreless eighth inning. Ruben Tejada reached on a Starlin Castro error to start the inning. Daniel Murphy doubled to left with one out. Tejada was held at third. Terry Collins called for a squeeze bunt. Darrell Ceciliani missed the outside pitch with Tejada coming down the line. Montero ran Tejada back toward the bag as Murphy occupied the base. Tejada ran through third and off the base. Montero tagged Tejada and Murphy, seemingly turning a double play. After the umps met, it was ruled that Murphy was not out because he did not pass Tejada on the bases. With the go ahead run on third, Strop struck out Ceciliani swinging (1-2 pitch) to end the inning.
Hector Rondon pitched a 1-2-3 ninth inning and Jason Motte set down the Mets in order in the 10th inning.
Justin Grimm picked up the first save of his professional career when he caught Kevin Plawecki looking to end the game.
With Wednesday’s win, the Cubs improved to 41-35 on the season.
Jake Arrieta faces Jacob deGrom in the series and season series finale with the Mets on Thursday afternoon (12:10pm CDT).