If the semi late West Side start time for the Cubs game in Arizona last night had you hesitating staying up for the entirety of the contest, you were probably cursing the extra innings. Or it could have been the fact that the Cubs blew a 6-0 that was cause for words and phrases that should not be repeated in print. But those that stayed faithful to the end were rewarded with an extra inning victory, compliments of Nate Schierholtz.
Wednesday night’s game marked the return of David DeJesus off of the disabled list. The Cubs starting center fielder wasted no time getting back up to MLB game speed, going 2 for 6 with two runs. He was the first run of the ballgame in the top of the fourth, when he was driven in by an Anthony Rizzo double. The aforementioned Schierholtz followed that up with a RBI single and what would be the first of several RBI for the right fielder. The hot hitting Junior Lake extended the lead to 3-0 with a double in the fifth frame, bringing home DeJesus. The rookie outfielder also continued to fuel another reason for Cubs fans to want to trade away Alfonso Soriano with his start to his MLB career.
Schierholtz capped off the scoring boom with a three run bomb to right field, but the 6-0 lead would prove short lived as the home team answered right back in the bottom half. The Diamondbacks loaded the bases for the third time in the game and this time did not let Jeff Samardzija off the hook. Unfortunately for Shark, who had wiggled his way out of runners at every sack in the first and fourth innings, it was an error by Gold Glover Darwin Barney that lead to the initial Arizona tallies. The Cubs starter got pulled in the sixth when the home squad was able to get runners on the corners with two dead. This time it was Blake Parker who could not pick up his starting pitcher, serving up a three run homer to Paul Goldschmidt.
From there manager Dale Sveum had to mix and match his bullpen unit to bridge the game from the sixth inning to the ninth. Of the trio of relievers used, special mention should go to Pedro Strop, who pitched a clean eighth with a strikeout and kept his Cub ERA at 0.00 after coming over from the Orioles with an inflated AL ERA in the Scott Feldman trade. But it was swap bait Kevin Gregg that blew the save, with the game being sent into extras with the aid of an assist from Schierholtz on a throw that prevented a potential winning run for the Diamondbacks from scoring. The Cubs closer went through a second inning of work by taking on the 10th inning, but he also had to escape a bases loaded jam, which seemed to be a theme on the night for the Cubs staff. Gregg would end the night with a Carlos Marmol like box score line, which included three walks and three hits allowed.
But the Cubs kept on battling through extras and it was Schierholtz who came through yet again, this time providing a clutch two out double for what would turn out to be the winning run in the top of the 12th. The potential trade piece would finish with a career high five RBI and went 3 for 6 while batting in the clean up spot for Soriano, who was being rested for the night and not because the Cubs had been able to trade him away. The new look line up featured Lake in the two hole, Starlin Castro batting fifth, and had Barney ahead of Welington Castillo, with the catcher hitting eighth.
Rookie Hector Rondon had a positive outing in what has been an up and down 2013 season. He too went two innings and held the home team scoreless to record the win and improve to 2-0. The visitors will go for the series win Thursday evening, with the Cubs currently up two games to one.