Cubs 7, Giants 0

Box Score / Highlights / Condensed Game

The Cubs used the long ball to support Randy Wells and hang a loss on two-time Cy Young Award winner Tim Lincecum.  Is this the same sorry squad that got swept in Milwaukee?

WHAT WENT RIGHT

  • Randy Wells turned in his first complete game. He featured an outstanding changeup and kept the Giants hitters off balance all night.
  • Starlin Castro had two impressive at bats, lining a pair of opposite-field doubles off Tim Lincecum.
  • Carlos Pena walked three times against Lincecum. Sadly, he was stranded each time.
  • Alfonso Soriano put the Cubs on the board with a solo shot in the 5th inning.
  • Geo Soto broke out of his slump and gave the Cubs a 2-0 lead with a solo homer in the 7th.
  • Three batters later, Blake DeWitt sent Lincecum to the showers with a three-run bomb down the RF line.
  • Pena greeted Giants reliever Steve Edlefsen with a home run the other way.
  • Marlon Byrd drove home a 9th-inning run to make it 7-0.

WHAT WENT WRONG

  • The Cubs defensive woes continued with a bad throw by Aramis Ramirez. Fortunately, he made up for his error with a nice diving catch in the 5th.
  • Tyler Colvin is lost at the plate. After going 0-5 on Monday, Colvin checks in at .147/.200/.311.
  • The huge Chicken McNuggets sign behind home plate made me extremely hungry for junk food.

ONE AND DONE

I can’t watch a Cubs-Giants game without recalling the one-game playoff from 1998. In case you don’t remember, the Cubs hosted the Giants for a one-and-done contest to determine the N.L. wild card winner. The Giants started veteran righty Mark Gardner, and the Cubs countered with Steve Trachsel. I was already an “assume-the-worst” Cubs fan back then, so I figured Barry Bonds and the Giants would absolutely clobber Trachsel.

To my astonishment Trachsel held the Giants scoreless for six-plus innings. Meanwhile, the Cubs put five runs on the board against Gardner and reliever Jose Mesa. The Cubs took a 5-0 lead into the final frame and then decided to make us sweat.

The Giants scored three runs and had the tying run at the plate against rubber-armed closer Rod Beck. But “The Shooter” came through again, retiring Joe Carter and propelling the Cubs into the postseason. We won’t talk about what happened in the following playoff series vs. Atlanta.

A few random thoughts about that heart-stopping 1998 contest against the Giants:

  • Gary Gaetti hit a big two-run homer off Gardner.
  • Matt Karchner and Felix Heredia actually got someone out.
  • Barry Bonds went hitless and walkless.
  • The Cubs pitching staff racked up 169 pitches to the Giants 128.
  • Orlando Merced pinch hit for the Northsiders. I completely forgot that he was part of that team.
  • Do you remember the Cubs total attendance figure for the 1998 season (with an extra game tossed in)? 2.62 million. Do you know the Cubs attendance number through August 28, 2011? 2.57 million.

Stars of the Game
Base on Win Probability Added (WPA)

1st Star – Randy Wells (.368 WPA)

2nd Star – Starlin Castro (.126 WPA)

3rd Star – Carlos Pena  (.109 WPA)

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