Cubs rally in ninth, capture victory on 11th-inning walk

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Cubs rally in ninth, capture victory on 11th-inning walk

David DeJesus drew a bases-loaded walk in the bottom of the 11th inning to lift the Chicago Cubs to a 4-3 victory over the Los Angeles Dodgers on Sunday.The win came after the teams waited out a 2-hour, 41-minute rain delay, and a ninth-inning comeback by the Cubs.Darwin Barney led off the 11th with a double. Wellington Castillo was intentionally walked and pinch-hitter Jeff Samardzija was hit by a pitch to load the bases. On a 3-2 pitch, DeJesus drew the game-winning walk.With the Cubs trailing 3-2 in the bottom of the ninth, pinch-hitter Ian Stewart singled, and Dodgers closer Javy Guerra walked David DeJesus. Tony Campana hit a tying double, but DeJesus, who would have been the winning run, was thrown out at home.It was Guerra's third blown save in 11 chances. Rafael Dolis (2-2) got the win, while Jamey Wright (1-2) took the loss.

Dodgers slugging center fielder Matt Kemp was a late scratch due to tightness in his left hamstring. He pinch hit in the seventh inning and flew out to right field.The Dodgers were in position early to win, thanks to Juan Rivera's two-run homer in the third inning and a quality start from Aaron Harang. Rivera's second homer of the year into the left-field bleachers gave the Dodgers a 3-0 lead that held up - until the ninth.Harang posted his best start of the season, going six innings and allowing two runs. He outdueled the Cubs' Travis Wood, who allowed three runs in six innings in his first start of the season. Wood was called up from Triple-A Iowa to fill in for Matt Garza, who was suffering from the flu.The Dodgers scored first in the second inning. Jerry Hairston reached on an infield single and A.J. Ellis and Tony Gwynn Jr. drew back-to-back walks, before Harang drove in a run on a forceout.The Cubs cut the lead to 3-2 in the bottom of the third when Wood led off with a double, DeJesus walked and Starlin Castro hit a two-out, two-run single.The Cubs had chances to tie it before the ninth, but could not deliver a clutch two-out hit. Chicago left runners in scoring position in the fifth, sixth, seventh, and eighth - twice by Castro.The bullpens combined to allow two runs in nine-plus innings. The Cubs bullpen allowed just three hits in five innings.Cubs first baseman Bryan LaHair continued his torrid start to the season, going 3 for 4 and raising his batting average to .390.Notes: The Cubs designated Blake DeWitt for assignment before the game to make room for Wood. The Cubs host Atlanta on Monday with Samardzija taking on Tommy Hanson.
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Marcus Kruger 'pretty close' to returning for Blackhawks

Marcus Kruger 'pretty close' to returning for Blackhawks

Marcus Kruger has been sidelined a little longer than the originally expected three weeks with his right hand injury. Not that any missed time is enjoyable.

"I wanted to get back there probably a few weeks ago but unfortunately I couldn't," said Kruger, who suffered his injury on Dec. 30 against the Carolina Hurricanes. "I tried to listen to the doctors and do everything I can instead to be ready when I get cleared. That's my mindset."

Kruger is close, but not quite there, as the Blackhawks prepared for Sunday night's game against the Vancouver Canucks. Kruger skated with his teammates for the first time since being injured but wasn't among the line rushes. The center took faceoffs on his own at the end of practice. Kruger pronounced himself, "pretty close," to returning. Coach Joel Quenneville said the Blackhawks will see how Kruger is over the next few days. The Blackhawks play again Tuesday and Thursday before heading into the All-Star break this weekend.

The Blackhawks have missed Kruger's versatility and especially his play on the penalty kill. The Blackhawks' kill has been fine through Kruger's absence but he nevertheless is a big part of it when he's healthy.

"We have a lot of options and when he's out everyone gets a more important role, whether starting or faceoffs. And we have a rotation of five guys who are in there most of the time. But he definitely absorbs the most responsibility when he's playing in that area," Quenneville said of Kruger. "So it's nice you get to try some other guys and you get deeper as you go along."

[SHOP: Gear up, Blackhawks fans!]

One of the players who's emerged in Kruger's absence is Tanner Kero, who filled his third-line center void. Kero and linemates Vinnie Hinostroza and Marian Hossa clicked on the dads trip, coming up with big plays and points in the Blackhawks' victories over Colorado and Boston. As of now, Kero appears to have the hold on third-line center.

"I don't see too many things that would change his positioning because he really helped himself," Quenneville said.

Kruger said he's fine if that means returning to fourth-line center duties. Regardless, he'll help bolster the Blackhawks' forward lines. The last step is likely contact, which Kruger got a little of – outside of faceoffs – in Sunday's skate. Kruger's had to wait a little longer than expected on his injury but he's getting there.

Cubs, White Sox react to tragic deaths of Yordano Ventura and Andy Marte

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AP

Cubs, White Sox react to tragic deaths of Yordano Ventura and Andy Marte

The sports world woke up to some tragic news on Sunday morning.

Former major leaguer Andy Marte and Kansas City Royals pitcher Yordano Ventura were both killed in separate car accidents in the Dominican Republic within an hour of each other, according to multiple reports. A Royals representative confirmed the death of 25-year-old Ventura.

The Cubs and White Sox took to Twitter to give their condolences:

Ventura was a member of the Royals from 2013-16 and won a World Series title in 2015 with Ben Zobrist and Wade Davis, who the Cubs acquired this offseason for Jorge Soler. Ventura also played with White Sox pitcher James Shields in 2013-14.

Marte, 33, played a majority of his seven-year career with the Cleveland Indians. He was teammates with Todd Hollandsworth (Atlanta 2005), Kerry Wood (Cleveland 2009-10), and Miguel Montero (Arizona 2014).