The Cubs finished April at 12-14 and the NL Central standings at this point in the season reflect the order that many are predicting, with St Louis, Cincinnati, and Milwaukee in contention at the top, and the Cubs trying to be the dark horse from the fourth place spot. On Saturday night, Mike Quade earned the first ejection of his MLB managerial career, and Matt Garza got his first win as a Cubs pitcher to add up to a two game winning streak for Chicago.
Matt Garza was 0-3 going into this game, but he has arguably been the best starter in the rotation so far. Against Arizona, he racked up 10 strikeouts to give him 51 total for the month of April. Garza went eight innings to help give the pen some rest, and was still looking strong in the bottom of the 8th, having struck out the side. If it were not for the tie ballgame and his batting spot due up in the 9th, Quade may have let him complete the game. Thanks to his offense, Garza was able to pick up his first win and improve to 1-3 on the year. Carlos Marmol closed out the 9th despite a walk to earn his seventh save of the season.
Alfosno Soriano was at it again, launching a home run off of the center field scoreboard in Phoenix for his tenth home run of the season, a Cubs record for the month of April. It was yet another quality home run as it tied the game at 1-1. After getting jammed and breaking his lucky home run bat in the 4th inning, an angry Soriano looped a single into center field to put the Cubs ahead 2-1, breaking another bat in the process.
It was the young duo of Starlin Castro and Darwin Barney that put the Cubs ahead in the 9th, and put Garza in line for the win. But before that, it was Tyler Colvin who had an eleven pitch at bat before drawing a walk, that made Diamondback reliever J.J. Putz look beatable. Barney and Castro provided clutch two out singles in the final frame to make the final score 5-3. Both youngsters had little fist pumps and claps on their way to first base. It is great to see these kids looking to get the base hit instead of the highlight reel home run in clutch situations.
On a down note, it appears Kosuke Fukudome’s annual disappearance after April may already be occurring. He has gone a combined 0 fo 10 in the last two days of April. If past history repeats itself, we may have to see Castro back in the lead off spot and Tyler Colvin being given some consistent time in the line up to see what he can do as a regular.