The Chicago Cubs swept the three game series from the New York Mets, winning the final game Thursday night by a score of 7-4.
After climbing out of a 4-0 hole, the Mets bullpen could not hold the 4-4 tie, allowing the last three runs in the seventh and eighth innings. Right-handed reliever Justin Grimm picked up his second win for the Cubs, evening his record to 2-2, while hard throwing Mets reliever Vic Black took his first loss of the season, dropping to 1-1. Cubs starter Travis Wood was the star of the game. The veteran right-hander pitched 5+ innings, gave up 2 runs on 4 hits while walking 5 batters. Wood also went 1-2 at the plate with 3 RBI’s, hitting a 2 run homer in the bottom of the second.
Before the game a moment of silence was observed to honor former Cubs manager Don Zimmer who died at the age of 83 Wednesday night.
Both teams did not score in the first inning and the Mets failed to bring in a run in the top of the second. Third baseman Luis Valbuena hit a double to center, and right fielder Nate Schierholtz followed with a walk. Second baseman Darwin Barney then grounded into a fielder’s choice; Schierholtz was forced out at second, and Barney just barely beat the relay to first. Valbuena advanced to third on the play. Catcher Eli Whiteside then flied out to left. Mets leftfielder Andrew Brown then unleashed a strike to home plate as Valbuena began his feet first slide into home plate. Catcher Travis d’Arnaud slapped the tag on Valbuena for the double play. The Cubs challenged the call, and upon further review, Valbuena was called safe as the tag was too late and Chicago took a 1-0 lead. Pitcher Travis Wood then launched a home run to left center making it 3-0 Cubs. Left fielder Junior Lake ended the inning with a fly out to right. Neither team scored in the third inning and the Mets did not bring home a run in the top of the fourth.
In the bottom of the fourth, Darwin Barney led off with a double to left. Eli Whiteside then grounded out to short, but Barney moved to third on the play. Travis Wood then grounded into a fielder’s choice at short. Mets shortstop Ruben Tejada threw home, but Barney beat the throw to extend the Cubs lead to 4-0. Junior Lake then popped out to second, and centerfielder Justin Ruggiano hit a pop-up in foul ground that Mets second baseman Wilmer Flores caught to end the inning. Both teams failed to score in the fifth inning.
Andrew Brown led off the top of the sixth with a walk. Wilmer Flores then singled through the hole between short and third. Ruben Tejada followed by blooping a single into left, scoring Brown to put the Mets on the board, 4-1 Chicago. That would end Travis Wood’s night, and in came reliever Brian Schlitter. Travis d’Arnaud then flied out to right, but Flores advanced to third on the play. Infielder Daniel Murphy then pinch-hit for Mets starting pitcher Jacob deGrom and struck out swinging. Centerfielder Chris Young then singled up the middle scoring Flores to make it 4-2 Cubs, moving Tejada over to third. Curtis Granderson then popped out to third to retire the side. The Cubs did not score in the bottom of the sixth.
After third baseman David Wright grounded out to second to start the top of the seventh, first baseman Eric Campbell singled to left. Andrew Brown then blasted a shot to right center to tie the game 4-4. Wilmer Flores flew out to right and Ruben Tejada also hit a lazy fly ball to right to retire the side.
Justin Ruggiano struck out looking leading off the bottom half of the seventh. Anthony Rizzo then crushed a pitch off Vic Black, now in his second inning of relief, to right center re-taking the lead for the Cubs 5-4. Starlin Castro then struck out swinging but that would be it for Black. Lefty reliever Josh Edgin then struck out Luis Valbuena to end the inning. The Mets did not score in the top of the eighth.
Mets closer Jenrry Mejia entered as part of a double-switch in the bottom of the eighth. Eric Campbell shifted over to third, taking over for David Wright, Anthony Recker came in to catch, and Lucas Duda entered to play first base. Nate Schierholtz led off with a strikeout swinging. Darwin Barney then doubled to left. Eli Whiteside then popped out to short for the second out. Utility player Emilio Bonifacio pinch-hit for Pedro Strop, who pitched a scoreless top of the eighth for the Cubs, and was intentionally walked. Junior Lake then lined a shot into the corner in right. Both Barney and Bonifacio scored making it 7-4 Chicago. Lake was then thrown out trying to stretch it to an inside the park home run. The Mets were retired in order to end the game.
The Mets travel to face the San Francisco Giants, current holders of the best record in baseball, tomorrow night. Lefty ace Jonathon Niese toes the rubber for the Mets against Giants veteran right-hander Matt Cain.
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