Jeff Samardzija was brilliant once again. There was pomp and circumstance, birthday wishes and all the stars were out under the chilly Chicago sun. Forget all the years of bad baseball. Today belonged to the Cubs as we all said “happy birthday” to their venerable home, Wrigley Field.
Nobody passed that along to the Arizona Diamondbacks.
On a day when the Diamondbacks (6-19) looked nothing like themselves – literally – they scored five runs in the ninth inning to comeback for a 7-5 win over the Cubs. Dressed in the throwback 1914 uniforms of the Kansas City Packers, Arizona crashed the birthday party like an unwanted, drunk uncle.
The Cubs – or the Federals, whose 1914 uniforms the Cubs donned – led 5-2 headed into the ninth inning and Pedro Strop was given the chance to close it out. At that point it was Jim Deshaies who said it best, “What’s a birthday party without some drama?”
Ironically, on a day when we celebrated the 100th birthday of Wrigley Field, the ninth inning turned into a microcosm of the last century for the Cubs. It started with a leadoff walk to Chris Owings. Former Cub Tony Campana then hit what appeared to be a tailor-made double play ball to Starlin Castro that he booted, bringing up the tying run. Strop was able to come back and strike out Gerardo Parra after walking Eric Chavez to load the bases.
Martin then hit a grounder up the middle that Darwin Barney had a bead on. The ball hit the bag and deflected into right field and two runs scored to make it 5-4 before Paul Goldschmidt struck out. James Russell faced Miguel Montero and gave up a line drive single that momentarily looked like it may be caught by Justin Ruggiano. He couldn’t get there and the game was tied at five.
Justin Grimm gave up a bloop triple to right field to Aaron Hill that gave Arizona a 7-5 lead. Addison Reed retired the Cubs in order in the ninth to pick up the save. Strop (0-2) took the loss.
Between the Castro error, the ball bouncing off the second base bag, the misplay in right and losing Ruggiano to an injury on the game-winning hit – Cub fans got to see a quick snipet of life over the last century at Wrigley Field. After the game-tying hit, WGN cameras caught a young boy crying and yelling, “No!” It would had been fitting if an adult would have whispered in his ear, “Get used to it, kid.”
Samardzija was the hard-luck starter for the fifth time this season. He went seven-plus innings and gave up only two earned runs, lowering his ERA to 1.53. That’s among the league leaders, but he still is looking for his first win.
In addition, Justin Ruggiano will have an MRI for an apparent hamstring injury suffered on the game-winning hit in the ninth inning.
The Cubs will try again to win the series tomorrow afternoon in the series finale. Edwin Jackson (1-1, 5.40) will take the mound for the Cubs while Mike Bolsinger (0-1, 10..29) will start for the Diamondbacks. First pitch is set for 1:20 CST, it will be televised by WGN-TV and broadcast on WGN Radio 720 AM.
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