Game One Hundred Seven – Cubs 5, Giants 4
WP – Justin Grimm (2-3) LP – Chris Heston (11-6) Save – Hector Rondon (17)
Jorge Soler’s two-out, two-run single in the first put the Cubs on the board. Kyle Schwarber gave his team a 5-0 lead with a three-run smash in the second inning. After the Giants cut the lead to 5-4 in the sixth, the bullpen retired 10 of the last 11 batters they faced as the Cubs took the opener of the four-game series on Thursday night.
The Cubs made Chris Heston work in the first two innings and the discipline paid off. After the Cubs loaded the bases with two outs in the first inning, Jorge Soler (2-for-4 with two RBI) singled to left and drove in Kyle Schwarber (1-for-3 with a home run, a walk, three RBI and two runs scored) and Anthony Rizzo (2-for-2 with a walk, a HBP and a run scored).
Jason Hammel (1-for-2 with a run scored) and Addison Russell (1-for-4 with a run scored) started the second with back-to-back singles and Kyle Schwarber turned the volume up at Wrigley. Schwarber hit his first longball at Wrigley through the wind and into the bleachers in right center. Schwarber’s blast gave the Cubs a 5-0 lead.
The Giants started chipping away in the fourth inning. A two-run opposite field shot by Brandon Belt made it a 5-2 game. And Brandon Crawford took Tommy Hunter out to left in the sixth and his two-run homer cut the Cubs’ lead to 5-4.
Jason Motte, Pedro Strop and Hector Rondon allowed just one batter to reach over the last three innings and the Cubs held off the Giants in a game both skippers managed like it was the playoffs.
Jason Hammel was in total control until two down in the fourth inning. Hammel threw first pitch strikes, appeared to be in a good rhythm and allowed just a first inning single to Matt Duffy through three innings. Hammel retired nine in a row before Hunter Pence doubled with two outs in the fourth. Hammel lost his command and could not get it back after Pence’s two-basehit.
Jason Hammel served up a two-run homer to Brandon Belt before he could record the third out in the fourth inning. Hammel started the fifth by issuing back-to-back walks and Joe Maddon was forced to go to his bullpen. It took a while but a shaky Justin Grimm cleaned up Hammel’s mess in the fifth without allowing any runs.
Jason Hammel allowed two runs on three hits with two walks and four strikeouts. Hammel made 76 pitches, 41 for strikes, in four-plus innings.
Tommy Hunter was touched up for two runs on a Brandon Crawford opposite field homer in the seventh.
Jason Motte set the Giants down in order in the seventh. And Pedro Strop pitched around Hunter Pence in the eighth. Strop retired three of the four batters he faced.
Hector Rondon nailed down the win with a 1-2-3 ninth inning.
The Cubs managed five runs on eight hits, four walks and a HBP but were unable to tack on against the Giants’ pen and finished the night 3-for-8 with RISP while leaving eight men on base.
With Thursday’s win, the Cubs improved to 59-48 on the season and moved a half-game ahead of the Giants for the second NL Wild Card.
Jason Hammel was effective in the first inning. Angel Pagan lined out to center on a 3-2 pitch for the first out. Fowler made a good adjustment to haul in the ball. Nori Aoki struck out swinging. Matt Duffy ripped a 2-2 pitch back up the middle and into center. Duffy’s two-out single kept the inning going for Pence. A wild pitch on a 0-1 offering allowed Duffy to take second base. Hunter Pence flied out to deep right to end the inning. Hammel threw 20 pitches, 12 for strikes, in the first inning.
Dexter Fowler worked a full count before he flied out to center in the bottom of the first. Kyle Schwarber put together an excellent at bat that ended with a walk. And Schwarber seemed to take Chris Heston out of his game.
Chris Coghlan just missed a two-run homer. Coghlan cranked a 1-2 pitch to the wall in right center that Pence caught backed up to the ivy. Heston plunked Anthony Rizzo in the left knee. Rizzo was in pain but shuck off being hit by a pitch for the 22nd time on the season. Bryant stepped in with runners on first and second with two down.
Kris Bryant did not chase the breaking stuff and his patience resulted in a walk. And the Cubs loaded the bases in the first inning.
Jorge Soler looked a three straight out of the zone. Soler punched a 3-2 pitch into left. Schwarber and Rizzo scored, 2-0 Cubs. Starlin Castro worked a full count before grounding out to second to end the inning.
The Cubs made Chris Heston work in the first inning (38 pitches, 19 for strikes) and after one complete, the Cubs had a 2-0 lead.
Jason Hammel set the Giants down in order in the second inning (37 pitches, 22 strikes) and led off the home-half with a single to left. Addison Russell singled to left and put two on with no outs for the top of the lineup. Fowler struck out swinging for the first out.
Kyle Schwarber smoked a 1-0 pitch through the wind and into the bleachers in right center. Schwarber’s first homer at Wrigley, a three-run smash gave the Cubs a 5-0 lead.
Chris Coghlan lined out to short for the second out. Anthony Rizzo blooped a single into center but Bryant hit a one-hopper to short to end the inning. Heston made 62 pitches, 32 for strikes, in two innings.
The Cubs had a 5-0 lead after two complete.
After retiring the Giants in order in the third, Hammel got the first two outs in the fourth. Aoki and Duffy grounded out to short. Hammel was cruising at that point.
Hunter Pence changed the game when he drove a 1-0 pitch to deep right center. Pence ended up with a double and Hammel wasn’t the same from that point forward.
Brandon Belt got the Giants right back in the game. Belt homered to left center, 5-2 Cubs. Brandon Crawford flied out to deep left center to end the inning. Hammel made 67 pitches, 40 for strikes, in four innings.
Chris Heston set the Cubs down in order in the fourth.
The Cubs had a 5-2 lead after four innings.
Jason Hammel could not find the strike zone in the fifth inning. Hammel issued back-to-back walks to Ehire Adrianza and Hector Sanchez, the bottom of the Giants order, to start the inning. As soon as Gregor Blanco was announced for Heston, Joe Maddon made the slow walk and took the ball from a not-to-happy Jason Hammel.
Justin Grimm replaced Hammel and really struggled with his command. But Grimm got the job done. Blanco popped out to center (2-0 pitch). Pagan popped out to left (3-1 pitch) and Aoki grounded out to second (3-2 pitch) to end the inning.
The Cubs were unable to add to their lead in the bottom of the fifth against Jeremy Affeldt.
Rizzo worked a one out walk. Bryant struck out swinging (1-2 pitch). With Soler at the plate, Rizzo stole second base. Jorge Soler pulled a 2-0 pitch into left … the ball was hit too hard for Rizzo to score. Gary Jones held Rizzo at third with two outs. Starlin Castro bounced out to third on the first pitch to end the inning.
The Cubs led 5-2 after five innings.
Tommy Hunter made his first appearance at Wrigley since the trade and Hunter Pence got on base in front of another longball. Pence singled to right with one out. Belt flied out to right.
Brandon Crawford worked a 3-1 count. Pence stole second and trotted home when Crawford went to the opposite field with a 3-2 pitch. Crawford’s two-run shot made it a 5-4 game. Adrianza grounded back to Hunter to end the inning.
Maddon sent up Chris Denorfia to hit for Tommy Hunter to start the sixth. As soon as Denorfia was announced Bruce Bochy replaced Affeldt with right hander George Kontos. Denorfia flied out to center on a 3-2 pitch for the first out. Russell could not check his swing on a 1-2 offering and was out number two. Dexter Fowler walked, extended his on-base streak to 20 games and forced Bochy to use lefty Javier Lopez for Schwarber. Kyle Schwarber popped a 3-1 pitch into shallow left that Duffy caught to end the inning.
The Cubs took a 5-4 lead into the seventh inning.
Jason Motte pitched a three-up, three-down seventh and the offense wasted a chance to tack on in the bottom of the inning. Rizzo singled to left with one out. Bochy replaced Javier Lopez with Hunter Strickland. Kris Bryant greeted him with a single to left and the Cubs had runners on first and second with one out.
Jorge Soler had one of his better at bats of the year. Soler did not chase and worked a full count. Soler flied out to deep right for the second out. Rizzo tagged and went to third. Castro popped out to right to end the inning.
The Cubs led 5-4 after seven innings.
Pedro Strop issued a two-out walk to Hunter Pence in the eighth, but that was all. Sergio Romo struck out the Cubs in order in the bottom of the eighth. And Hector Rondon made his way in for the final inning with Buster Posey still available.
Hector Rondon made quick work of the Giants. Buster Posey flied out to deep left for the second out. And Rondon set the Giants down in order on 12 pitches to end the game.
Jon Lester takes on Ryan Vogelsong in game two with the Giants on Friday afternoon (3:05pm CDT).