Once again Jason Hammel was brilliant in six innings of work for the Cubs as they held on to beat the Marlins 3-2. Hammel thought he could have went longer, which is usually the case as he only threw 80 pitches before being lifted for Miguel Montero in the bottom of the 6th (Montero failed). The strike zone was getting worn out by Hammel who finished the night throwing 52 strikes, and just 28 balls. Joe Maddon felt it necessary to pull Hammel in favor of Montero to try and capitalize on a scoring chance against Jose Fernandez, it didn’t work out.
Pedro Strop was ineffective but his stuff was pretty darn good to this uneducated baseball watcher. Strop gave up two runs, only one of them was earned as he was charged with an error on a botched double play ball. It looked like there was a lack of communication between Zobrist and Russell on the play, shortly after that a ball ricocheted off of Strop and into right field for single to score the second run, just odd. Hector Rondon and Aroldis Chapman shut the door in the eighth and the ninth to secure the victory. Dexter Fowler was in the middle of it all as usual at the plate, he went 3-for-4 with a triple, an RBI, and two runs scored. Willson Contreras also had a stellar night against one of the best in Fernandez, he went 2-for-3 with a walk, and an RBI. The Cubs will go for the sweep tomorrow behind John Lackey, and the Cardinals lost so the NL Central lead swells to nine games.
Two games into his Cubs career, Jason Hammel is 2-0, both wins coming against the NL Central rival Pirates. Hammel was brilliant once again, as he worked seven strong innings, giving up three runs on three hits (all solo HR’s, more on that later), while walking one, and striking out six. Pedro Strop made things interesting in the ninth as he gave up two more solo home runs to make things closer than they needed to be. The Pirates had six hits tonight, five of which left the ballpark, and the Cubs still won, baseball.
More good signs from the Cubs offense in this one as well, the Cubs scored seven times on fourteen hits in the win. (Insert Emilio Bonifacio had two hits sentence). Anthony Rizzo is scorching hot right now, he went 4-for-5 with two doubles, an RBI, and two runs scored, he’s now hitting .375 on the season. Mike Olt, finally getting a start, responded in a big way, he went 2-for-5 with his second home run of the season, three RBI’s, and a run scored. Same goes for Junior Lake, as he went 1-for-4 with his first home run of the season, two RBI’s, and a run scored.
** PHOTO CREDIT: BRIAN KERSEY/GETTY IMAGES
One day after the Cubs rallied in the ninth inning to tie the game and win in extra innings the Cardinals did the same thing. After trailing for the majority of the game today the Cubs broke through in the 6th inning, scoring three times to take a 4-3 lead. The Cubs pen held strong into the ninth, that’s when Carlos Marmol blew his first save in his last 20 chances by giving up a one out solo homer to Carlos Beltran to tie the game at four. Jaye Chapman took over in the 10th for the Cubs and after retiring the first two hitters he walked the next two guys which is all the Cardinals needed to take advantage. Jon Jay, who was 0-for-the series ripped a two out double down the right field line to put the Cardinals up for good. For the second straight day a Cubs starter struggled with pitch count, today it was Travis Wood. Wood went five innings giving up three runs on six hits while walking two and striking out seven, he settled for a no decision. Offensively the Cubs couldn’t get much strung together against Adam Wainwright. David DeJesus blasted his 8th home run of the season as he continues to haunt the Cardinals. Dave Sappelt had the biggest hit of the afternoon, an RBI single in the sixth inning to put the Cubs up 4-3, he finished 1-for-3 with a walk. The rubber game of the series will be tomorrow afternoon, which is also Kerry Wood appreciation day.
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This is how the Cubs will lineup today against the Oakland A’s. Game starts at 2:05 PM Central, and will be broadcast on WGN radio in the Chicagoland area, tune in! A’s scheduled to send Bartolo Colon to the mound, while the Cubs will counter with Ryan Dempster.
Recap following the game this evening.