Game One Hundred Forty-Eight – Cubs 5, Cardinals 4
WP – Trevor Cahill (1-3) LP – Michael Wacha (16-6) Save – Pedro Strop (3)
The Cubs took a 5-1 lead into the ninth inning. Kris Bryant and Jorge Soler went back-to-back in the fifth after scoring the Cubs first two runs in the opening inning. Tommy La Stella added a pinch-hit RBI single in the sixth and the Cubs were on the way to consecutive victories over the Cardinals.
Hector Rondon was ejected from the game for hitting Greg Garcia to start the ninth. Benches had been warned after Fernando Rodney plunked Kolten Wong in the eighth. After Rondon and Joe Maddon were asked to leave the game, the ninth inning went south in a hurry. Matt Carpenter smacked a two-run homer off Zac Rosscup and Dave Martinez had to call on Pedro Strop with runners on the corners and no outs.
Pedro Strop struck out Jhonny Peralta for the first out. After a Yadier Molina sac fly made it 5-4, Stephen Piscotty ripped Strop’s first pitch back up the middle. The ball was ticketed for center field, before Addison Russell made a sensational diving stop and flipped to Javier Baez at second to end the game. And the Cubs held on to beat the Cardinals on Saturday afternoon at the old ballyard.
The Cubs executed the game plan to perfection against Michael Wacha. The Cubs knocked Wacha out of the game after five innings but his elevated pitch count caught up to him in the fifth inning. Wacha threw 104 pitches, 62 for strikes.
Kris Bryant (2-for-3 with a home run, a double, two RBI and two runs scored) and Jorge Soler (1-for-2 with a home run, a walk and two runs scored) gave the Cubs the early lead. After Soler walked with one out in the first inning, Bryant doubled into the left field corner. Soler scored from first base. Anthony Rizzo (2-for-4) moved Bryant to third with a grounder to second. And Starlin Castro (2-for-4 with a RBI) delivered a two-out single to left that plated Bryant.
Jorge Soler led off the fifth with a rocket into the bleachers in left. Kris Bryant followed with a mammoth shot to left that almost ended up on Waveland on a day the wind was blowing in. The back-to-back jacks in the fifth gave the Cubs a 4-1 lead.
The Cubs tacked on in the sixth. Chris Denorfia (1-for-4 with a run scored) reached on a bloop single to right. David Ross (0-for-2 with a walk and a SAC) bunted him to second. Tommy La Stella (1-for-1 with a walk) came off the bench and drove in Denorfia with a single to center.
The Cubs scored five runs on nine hits and five walks. The Cubs’ two, three, four and five hitters (Soler, Bryant, Rizzo and Castro) were a combined 7-for-13 with two home runs, a walk, four RBI and four runs scored.
Travis Wood had a good start and came within a David Ross dropped ball of putting together another scoreless outing. Wood pitched into the third inning and really executed each pitch he made. If he made a mistake it was on the pitch Jhonny Peralta shot into the left field corner that ended up as a double. Peralta tagged and scored in the second on a sac fly off the bat of Kolten Wong. Chris Denorfia made a good throw. David Ross wasn’t able to hold onto ball.
Travis Wood allowed one run on two hits with two walks and three strikeouts on 46 pitches, 26 for strikes, in 2 2/3 innings.
Trevor Cahill put together a tremendous outing. Cahill kept the Cardinals off the board for 3 1/3 innings and allowed just four batters to reach. Cahill pitched out of a first and second no out jam in the fifth with the Cubs clinging to a 2-1 lead at the time.
Trevor Cahill picked up his first win after allowing two hits, one walk and a HBP while striking out three on 48 pitches, 28 for strikes.
Clayton Richard and Justin Grimm combined on a scoreless seventh and Fernando Rodney let just one runner reach base in the eighth. Rodney hit Kolten Wong with a 1-2 pitch and two outs in the eighth that led to both benches being warned.
The Cubs defense was outstanding again Saturday. Outside of another web gem and incredible play from Addison Russell, Kris Bryant turned in several excellent plays at third base and Austin Jackson made a game-changing catch down the right field line in the sixth inning.
With Saturday’s win, the Cubs improved to a season-high 26 games over .500 with a 87-61 record.
Travis Wood completed a quick 1-2-3 first inning. Wood threw seven pitches, six for strikes, in the first inning.
After Austin Jackson lined out to Heyward down the right field line, Jorge Soler had an excellent plate appearance that ended with a walk (3-2 pitch). Kris Bryant pulled Wacha’s first pitch down the left field line. The ball landed fair and skipped into the corner. Gary Jones waived in Soler, 1-0 Cubs. Rizzo grounded out to Wong in the hole, Bryant went to third with two outs.
Starlin Castro rapped a 3-1 pitch into left. Bryant scored and the Cubs took a 2-0 lead. Baez struck out swinging to end the inning. Michael Wacha needed 22 pitches, 12 for strikes, to complete the first inning.
The Cubs had a 2-0 lead after one inning.
Jhonny Peralta started the second inning with a double to left. Peralta at second with a leadoff two-bagger enhanced the Cardinals chance of cutting into the Cubs lead. Molina popped out to Rizzo. Stephen Piscotty reached on a swinging bunt to the third base side of the mound. Wood picked up the ball, but had no play. Peralta went to third. Kolten Wong popped a 2-1 pitch into shallow left center. Denorfia caught the ball and made a strong throw to the plate. He was off line, a little up the first baseline. David Ross could not hang on to the ball as he tried a slap tag on Peralta … 2-1 Cubs. Wood intentionally walked Mark Reynolds. With two on and two down, Wood struck out Wacha looking to end the inning. Wood made 30 pitches, 18 for strikes, in his first two innings of work.
The Cubs managed a one-out walk by David Ross in the second, but that was all. Wood and Jackson struck out swinging to end the inning … 43 pitches for Wacha after two, 24 for strikes.
It was 2-1 Cubs after two innings.
Travis Wood and Trevor Cahill kept the Cardinals off the board in the third, fourth and fifth innings while the offense ran up Michael Wacha’s pitch count (84 pitches, 49 for strikes, through four innings). Cahill pitched out of a first and second no out jam in the fifth. Cahill retired Pham (pop out to right), Heyward (swinging strikeout) and Peralta (swinging strikeout) to end the fifth.
Jorge Soler started the fifth by lining Wacha’s first pitch into the bleachers in left. Soler crushed the ball, it got out of Wrigley in a hurry … 3-1 Cubs.
Kris Bryant launched a 1-1 pitch from Michael Wacha. Bryant’s 25th homer of the season landed in the back of the bleachers in left … and the back-to-back jacks from Soler an Bryant gave the Cubs a 4-1 lead.
Anthony Rizzo singled to left. Castro struck out swinging. Rizzo took off early for second before a 1-1 pitch to Baez. Wacha stepped off the mound and threw out Rizzo at second. Baez grounded out to Wong for the third out.
Trevor Cahill stayed in for the sixth inning. Jackson moved to right, Dexter Fowler took over in center and Soler left the game. And the changes Maddon made defensively paid off.
After Molina grounded out to short for the first out of the sixth, Stephen Piscotty hit a ball to deep right. The wind pushed the ball into the corner. Austin Jackson made a difficult catch look rather routine as he ran toward the side wall and made the catch for the second out. Cahill hit Wong with a 2-2 pitch. Matt Adams batted for Mark Reynolds and grounded out to Bryant in the shift to end the inning.
Jonathan Broxton replaced Wacha for the sixth inning. Chris Denorfia led off with a bloop single to right. David Ross bunted Denorfia to second with one out. Maddon went to his bench and sent up La Stella to hit for Cahill.
Tommy La Stella singled to center. Denorfia scored, 5-1 Cubs. Jackson flied out to right and Fowler struck out swinging to end the inning.
The Cubs led 5-1 after six innings.
Clayton Richard and Justin Grimm pitched around an Anthony Rizzo error and hung a zero on the board in the seventh. Fernando Rodney pitched a scoreless eighth. Rodney hit Kolten Wong with two outs in the eighth on a 1-2 pitch. Wong was plunked for the second time on the day and both benches were warned. Rodney struck out Matt Adams swinging to end the inning, but the hit by pitch would loom large in the ninth.
The Cubs could not add to the lead in the eighth. And the game went to the ninth inning with the Cubs leading 5-1.
Hector Rondon started the ninth and he hit Greg Garcia with a 1-2 pitch. Garcia did absolutely nothing to get out of the way of the pitch and actually leaned into it. Mike Matheny hopped up, marched on the field and Rondon was ejected.
By rule it was the right call. The umpires have to notice the player leaning into the pitch and not eject the player. Joe Maddon argued, but to no avail and by rule was also ejected.
Zac Rosscup replaced Rondon and Matt Carpenter launched a 1-2 pitch to deep right … and made it a 5-3 game. Tommy Pham singled to center (2-1 pitch) and went to third on a Jason Heyward single to center (2-2 pitch). With runners on the corners and no outs, Dave Martinez went to his pen for Pedro Strop.
Pedro Strop caught Jhonny Peralta looking at a 0-2 pitch for the first out. Yadier Molina lifted a 0-2 pitch into right center. Pham tagged and scored after Austin Jackson hauled in the second out of the inning.
Stephen Piscotty smoked Strop’s first pitch back up the middle … that Addison Russell somehow got to and flipped to Javier Baez to end the ball. Game Over.
Jon Lester faces Carlos Martinez in the series finale on Sunday afternoon (1:20pm CDT).