For the second straight day a Cubs pitcher took the mound for maybe the last time as a Cub, and for the second time the Cubs got a great starting performance and a win. Today it was Matt Garza’s turn and he was very good for the Cubs as he went seven strong innings giving up no runs on five hits while walking one and striking out seven. The one walk was key, as Garza has been getting into trouble with long innings and walks, today he avoided both for the most part as the Cubs completed the three game sweep with a 3-1 win over the D-Backs. The Cubs jumped out in front early, after a wild pitch moved DeJesus to second, Anthony Rizzo laced a line drive base hit to right to score him and make it 1-0. Darwin Barney came through with the game winning hit in the second as he hit a line drive two-run homer off of Trevor Cahill to give the Cubs a 3-0 lead, and that was all Garza needed. Barney finished the day 1-for-3 with his fourth home run of the season and two RBI’s. Carlos Marmol came in and nailed down the save for the second straight day, he also made it interesting, again. James Russell got the first out in the ninth before Marmol came in, he proceeded to walk the first hitter he faced, then gave up a base hit to put the game tying run on base. He got Geoff Blum to strike out on a pitch in the dirt, and retired Gerardo Parra on a ferocious line drive that almost put Marmol into the center field bleachers, Marmol recovered and got the out and the save. Full box score and highlights after the jump.
Judging by today’s performance I’m going out on a limb and saying the four-day all-star break was the most beneficial for Alfonso Soriano. Soriano led the charge for the Cubs as they opened the second half much like they finished the first half, blowing out an opponent. The Diamondbacks jumped on top of the Cubs in the first inning after a three-hour and forty minute rain delay, plating a single run on two hits off of Maholm, that was the only run Maholm would surrender as he was stellar again. After the Cubs tied the game at one in the second they went off against starter Ian Kennedy while dodging rain drops. The Cubs scored in the fourth, fifth, sixth, and seventh inning on their way to an 8-1 blow out. As I mentioned, Soriano led the way, he finished the day 4-for-4 with two doubles, two home runs, five RBI’s and three runs scored, probably Soriano’s best game since the 2007-2008 seasons. He wasn’t alone in his destruction of D-Backs pitching as Anthony Rizzo also had a good day finishing 2-for-4 with two runs scored. The offense didn’t need eight runs, though it was nice to see, because Maholm was on top of his game. Maholm secured his seventh victory of the season by going seven strong innings giving up one run on six hits while walking one and striking out five. After today’s effort Maholm’s ERA dropped to 4.33 on the season. The Cubs are putting it all together right now, they are 7-3 in their last ten, and have raised their home record to .500 on the season. Full box score and highlights after the jump.
Another lefty on the mound and another loss for the Cubs in what is shaping up to be a historically bad season. The Cubs record against left-handed pitchers dropped to 3-16 on the season after Wade Miley shut the door in a 5-1 victory for the Diamondbacks. The Cubs did nothing all day, which is a shame because Matt Garza had one of, if not his best road outing of the season. Garza went seven strong innings giving up three runs on five hits while walking one and striking out seven. The loss drops Garza to 3-6 on the season with a 4.06 ERA. As I said, the Cubs did nothing at the plate, Alfonso Soriano hit his 14th home run of the season in the seventh inning to bring the Cubs to within one run. That was as close as they would get as the Diamondbacks tacked on one in seventh and two more in the eighth to make it 5-1. The Cubs did threaten however in the 8th inning, and just missed tying the game on a Darwin Barney double that hit the yellow line at the top of the left field wall. With 2nd and 3rd and nobody out, and down 3-1, Joe Mather stuck out, Luis Valbuena lined out to short, and David DeJesus grounded back to Miley to end the threat with no runs scoring. Soriano and Darwin Barney were the only Cubs with hits, each getting two in the defeat. Full box score and highlights after the jump.