The White Sox coaxed single tallies in the second and third innings off Cubs starter Matt Garza for an early 2-0 lead, including a home run to Paul Konerko. But other than that, Garza pitched an ok game before the violent storms in the Chicago area put a halt on the game for almost two hours. Due to the lengthy delay, Jeff Samardzija was brought in to relieve for the sixth inning and he cruised through that frame.
Unfortunately he could not do the same in the seventh. He got batter Alexei Ramirez to whiff on two good sliders, Samardzija left one hanging over the plate that Ramirez drilled for a double. The Cubs pitcher followed up by allowing a single to put himself in a first and third jam with no outs. He did get the struggling Alex Rios to pop one over the infield, but Samardzija gave up a sac fly to Brent Morel that ended up being the ball game.
John Grabow chipped in a clean 2/3 of an inning to help the Cubs get through the eighth inning. His ERA is still high, sitting at 4.94, but hopefully he can build off of this outing and boost his trade value. Left handed pitchers are a luxury and there will be plenty of suitors if Grabow can pitch a little better from now until the end of July. The best case scenario would be to have the other team in the trade take on the remainder of Grabow’s salary while sending back a mid level prospect in return.
Carlos Pena got the Cubs on the board with a solo shot in the fifth inning off Mark Buehrle, whom he is very familiar with from his time in the American League. It is his second home run in the series in as many days and his fourth homer in his last six games. His slow start in the power department and well documented poor batting average had many Cubs fans moaning early, myself included, but Pena has definitely showed his worth to a Cubs team that desperately needed a first baseman with his recent power surge and the Gold Glove caliber glove he has flashed at first base all season long.
The Cubs had actually gotten runners on first and third with one out in the top of the sixth before the heavens poured down on US Cellular Field. Aramis Ramirez did not waste time tying the ball game once play resumed, thanks to his sac fly. But the Cubs offense could do no further damage against the Sox pen and the Cubs dropped the tight ball game to allow the South Siders to even up the series.
Considering that Starlin Castro has taken some heat for all his throwing errors, he should also be given credit when credit is due. The sophomore short stop made two excellent bare handed plays at short last night that were highlight reel worthy.