After a rough loss to close their series with the Nationals, the Cubs looked to rebound Monday playing the last place Giants. Unlike Sunday, the Chicago bullpen was strong and was able to close out a win.
The Cubs opened the scoring in the top of the 2nd with a bang. Jason Heyward singled and Javy Baez followed with a drive deep to right. The ball caromed off the wall and past right fielder Carlos Moncrief. Javy blazed for home and just beat the throw for a two-run inside-the-park home run.
In the 3rd inning the Cubs added another run. Jon Jay singled and advanced on a Matt Moore wild pitch. Kris Bryant was hit by a pitch and Jay tagged on a long fly-out by Anthony Rizzo. The Chicago left fielder came home on a wild pitch strike out of Willson Contreras.
Jake Arrieta allowed a lot of scoring opportunities, but stranded runners at third in the 1st and the 4th innings.
Jay singled again in the top of the 5th inning, and moved to second on another wild pitch. Rizzo singled to right field and Jay scrambled home with the Cubs fourth run. Anthony then stole second and scored when Albert Almora Jr. singled to center.
In the 6th inning, Jon Jay appeared to lose a Pablo Sandoval fly-ball in the lights that dropped in for a double. Two batters later first baseman Ryder Jones hit his first career homer just over the right-field wall.
The Giants cut further into the lead in the 7th on a surprising and rare play. Jason Heyward dropped a Denard Span fly-ball for a two-base error. Span would then score on a Joe Panik single to make it a 5-3 Cubs lead. Pedro Strop relieved Arrieta and escaped the inning with no further damage.
The Cubs had several more opportunities to score in the game. They got a leadoff triple from Bryant in the 7th and loaded the bases in the 8th. Again in the 9th, they had runners on the corners with one out. All three times San Francisco was able to escape with no runs scoring.
Brian Duensing came on in the 8th and pitched a one-two-three inning. Wade Davis came on for a save and got a double-play to close out the 5-3 Cubs win.
Stats That Matter
- Jon Jay had two more hits and scored two more runs on Monday. Jay is starting to solidify himself in the top spot in the order.
- Albert Almora had two hits including his RBI single. He also made a very nice catch up against the wall in the 6th.
- Jake Arrieta was solid if not spectacular in his start: 6.1 IP, 3 R, 2 ER, 9 H, 5 K, 0 BB, HR.
- The Cubs have had tons of trouble in the 8th inning, it was nice to see Brian Duensing have such a smooth outing. Wouldn’t mind seeing more of Duensing in high-leverage situations.
It was nice to see the bullpen close out a tight game with no real trouble. The cubs offense had plenty of chances to add to their lead late but couldn’t get it done. That’s something you’d like to see less of. In the end, it was a solid start to the Northsiders west coast trip and something to build on.
Game two of the series is Tuesday night at 9:15 CT. It’s a battle of lefties as Jose Quintana takes on Ty Blach, the game airs on MLB Network (out of market) and CSN-C.