Ninth-inning rally earns Garza first win with Cubs

459035.jpg

Ninth-inning rally earns Garza first win with Cubs

Saturday, April 30, 2011
Posted: 9:50 p.m. Updated: 11:15 p.m.

By Drew Silverman
CSNChicago.com Contributor

It was, in every sense, a night of firsts at Chase Field.

The first win for Matt Garza as a member of the Cubs. The first ejection for Mike Quade as Cubs skipper. The first 10-homer April for any Cubs player. And the first month of the season ending on a high note thanks to, of course, a first-year starter.

Darwin Barney delivered a two-out, go-ahead single in the ninth inning, helping Garza earn his first win of the season with a 5-3 victory over the Arizona Diamondbacks on Saturday night.

The decisive rally came compliments of some shaky defense by the Diamondbacks. Included in the ninth-inning sequence was a controversial call at second base that led to Quades early dismissal.

Following the ejection, two of Quade's youngest players came up with big hits. With runners on the corners and two down, Barney laced a single up the middle off J.J. Putz (0-1) to put the Cubs ahead 4-3. Starlin Castro followed with a base hit through the left side to make it a two-run game.

He knows what hes doing, Barney said of Quade. He can get us riled up any time he wants. It was a good time for it.

Carlos Marmol worked around a walk in the bottom of the ninth for his seventh save. The Cubs have now won two straight games after suffering an 11-2 defeat in the series opener.

Whoever coined the phrase 'Pitching is 90 percent of the game' either was really smart or was stating the obvious, Quade said. Its about setting the tone and keeping your club in the game. We feel like we have the guys in place in the rotation.

Making his sixth start with the Cubs, Garza (1-3) truly deserved to win the ballgame. He worked eight innings and struck out 10 his most since striking out 12 Pirates in his season debut. The right-hander allowed just six hits and two walks and finished his night in style, striking out the side in the eighth inning.

After posting a 6.27 ERA through his first three starts for the Cubs, Garza has a sparkling 1.80 ERA in his last three outings.

I dont have to win every game - as long as we win every game I throw, Garza said.

Garza did put the Cubs in a 1-0 hole in the first inning, when Justin Upton doubled with two outs and came around to score on a base hit by Stephen Drew.

However, the red-hot Alfonso Soriano answered in the Cubs next at-bat, belting a first-pitch fastball from Ian Kennedy off the batters eye in straightaway center for his third homer in the last two nights. The mammoth home run was Sorianos 10th of the season, setting a new team record for the month of April.

Soriano wasnt done, though. In the fourth, he delivered a two-out RBI single to put the visitors ahead 2-1. The base hit gave Soriano six RBIs in his last four games after he managed a total of two RBIs in his previous seven contests.

Aramis Ramirezs RBI double in the fifth gave the Cubs a 3-1 edge, but Garza gave the lead back in the sixth.

The Cubs righty walked Chris Young to open the inning. (Note: Young has walked three times in the last two games against the Cubs after walking a total of three times in his first 24 games.) Gerardo Parra followed with an RBI triple to make it 3-2. Garza recovered to strike out Upton, but Drew followed with a base hit to forge a 3-3 tie.

That's the way things stood until the decisive ninth inning, when Marlon Byrd led off with a single. Geovany Soto then bunted to Putz, whose wild throw nearly pulled Drew off the bag at second. Replays showed that the Arizona shortstop held the bag barely but Quade argued ferociously, to no avail of course.

Lets start with that, Quade said. Im very angry. And Im very wrong. (Umpire Dan Bellino) got it right. I was mad at everything and couldnt believe Drew kept his foot on the bag.

A walk to Tyler Colvin then put two runners on before Kosuke Fukudome hit a comebacker to Putz that should have been an inning-ending double play. Putz made a good throw to second base this time, but Drew had trouble getting the ball out of his glove and Fukudome beat the relay to first.

Stephen did everything he could and (first baseman Russell Branyan) had a good stretch, but he just beat it, Putz said. It was just me not making a good pitch with two strikes on a guy, getting ahead but just not being able to finish.

Barney and Castro followed with their base hits, Marmol did his thing in the ninth, and Garza had his first win for the Cubs.

Everyones battling, Barney said. This team doesnt give up. Were just trying to enjoy it, thrive on it, and keep winning.

Notes
Chicago first baseman Jeff Baker was injured running out a grounder in the eighth inning. He was replaced by Carlos Pena after suffering what the team called left shoulder soreness. Cubs pitchers have allowed 11 first-inning runs over their last four games. Chicago matched a season high by homering for a fifth straight game. With his 10 strikeouts, Garza set the franchise record for punchouts in the month of April with 51, surpassing Kerry Wood (46 in 2001). He also temporarily took over the NL lead in the category, passing Giants ace Tim Lincecum, who has 45 strikeouts on the season.

Up next

Casey Coleman (1-1, 7.42) squares off against Daniel Hudson (1-4, 5.64) in Sundays series finale. As was the case with Garza, Coleman will be facing the Diamondbacks for the first time in his career. Likewise, Hudson the former White Sox right-hander has never faced the Cubs before. First pitch is at 3:10 p.m. on WGN.

Box Score

Morning Update: Theo Epstein gets big extension, White Sox win fifth straight

Morning Update: Theo Epstein gets big extension, White Sox win fifth straight

Preview: Jose Quintana, White Sox look to win sixth straight game on CSN

Clubhouse frustration bubbling up for Cubs and Jake Arrieta

White Sox manager Robin Ventura declines to discuss future amid speculation about return

Five more years: Theo Epstein signs massive contract extension with Cubs

Blackhawks goalie Scott Darling taking advantage of No. 1 reps

Making adjustments nothing new for new Bulls star Dwyane Wade

Fire shut out in loss at streaking Seattle

Bears defensive problems vs. Cowboys not complicated (unfortunately)

Notre Dame players react to the firing of Brian VanGorder

New tone set in Bulls training camp marked by role adjustments

Clubhouse frustration bubbling up for Cubs and Jake Arrieta

Clubhouse frustration bubbling up for Cubs and Jake Arrieta

PITTSBURGH — We interrupt your regularly scheduled coverage of The Plan and that wacky, fun-loving Cubs team to bring you a snapshot of clubhouse frustration.

Jake Arrieta sounded defensive while talking to reporters after Wednesday night’s 8-4 loss to the Pittsburgh Pirates at PNC Park, standing in front of his locker and second-guessing manager Joe Maddon. On the other side of the room, veteran catcher Miguel Montero questioned the way the Cubs are preparing for the playoffs with Cactus League scripts.

The postgame questions started with Arrieta’s first-inning issues with umpire Chris Guccione’s strike zone. When reporters mentioned Maddon’s positive spin on a seven-run outing, Arrieta dismissed those happy-talk answers about his stuff — “it just wasn’t crisp” — and then wondered why he went from throwing to Montero to rookie Willson Contreras.

“The feeling of the game, from the first pitch, just wasn’t there,” Arrieta said. “Switching catchers just felt like we were trying to do a little too much instead of win a ballgame. But I didn’t throw well, no way around it.”

Montero went with a similar passive-aggressive tone, riffing on how the Cubs will maintain their edge almost two weeks after clinching the National League Central title and nine days before their first playoff game at Wrigley Field.

“Did it feel like spring training?” Montero said. “I do believe that. And that’s not a good feeling for a pitcher, for a player, to go into a game knowing that you’re going to play just four innings or five innings or whatever it is.

“This game is still important for all the players. It’s still important for every single guy. I don’t want to go out there not caring about winning or losing. That’s not my mentality. My mentality is going out there because I want to win, regardless.

“We have to trick our mind. Because if that’s how we’re going to go the rest of the way, I guess we need to trick ourselves.”

[SHOP CUBS: Get your NL Central champions gear right here]

Unprompted, Montero brought up the Pirates scoring three runs in the ninth inning on Tuesday night before the Cubs hung on for a 6-4 victory — without using Aroldis Chapman — as Maddon tries to keep the bullpen fresh for the playoffs.

“We didn’t have our closer warming up,” Montero said. “That’s something I take personally because I’m catching and I want to win.

“It’s hard. I understand (Joe’s) point. And I understand the organization’s point. I respect it. I can only control what I can control. It is what it is.”

OK then, the Cubs are still a 101-win team and the NL’s No. 1 seed. But this became a sharp contrast to all the backslapping after the pregame announcement of Theo Epstein’s monster contract extension. And Arrieta didn’t look like a reigning Cy Young Award winner, giving up 10 hits while John Jaso — who does look like a Pirate — lined a curveball into the right-field seats for a three-run homer in the fourth inning and hit for the cycle.

“We’re moving on,” Arrieta said. “We’ll prepare for the next one. I don’t like giving up seven runs. I’m pissed about that. But moving forward, everything’s fine.”

With Jon Lester and Kyle Hendricks lined up at the front of the playoff rotation, Arrieta’s next start is almost two weeks away.

“It doesn’t matter,” Arrieta said. “I’ll throw sides. I’ll prepare. And whoever I face first round — they’re going to be in trouble.”

After burning through 103 pitches in five innings, Arrieta’s regular-season odometer is now at 197 1/3 innings, but he has zero interest in a gimmick that would get him to 200 this weekend against the Cincinnati Reds at Great American Ball Park.

“Listen, I want to pitch on a schedule,” Arrieta said. “I don’t want to throw an inning in a game. I’m not trying to do anything different. Let’s just prepare like we normally do and go out and try to win games. I’m not trying to throw a bullpen in a game.”

Look, if this isn’t trouble in paradise, then it’s obvious that the Cubs are a hyper-competitive group that knows what’s at stake in October and has some independent thinkers and strong personalities. And that Arrieta’s unreal 2015 season created impossible standards for this year that couldn’t be met with an 18-8 record and a 3.10 ERA, the type of numbers that still get pitchers $200 million contracts.

“I don’t think you know how hard this game is unless you play it,” Arrieta said. “I feel I can have another season like that. People have done it before. Why can’t I do it? I can do it again. So, yeah, I appreciate it. But at the same time, that’s what you strive for. That’s why you work hard. You go out and you try to perform that way.”