Cubs shut out GIants, knocking them into second place
CHICAGO – Trying to stay on top in a tight NL West race, the San Francisco Giants’ hitters are giving the pitching staff little room for error.
Randy Wells pitched 7 2-3 innings and Kosuke Fukudome homered to lead the Chicago Cubs to a 2-0 victory over the Giants on Wednesday night.
The loss, coupled with San Diego’s 3-1 win over Los Angeles and Arizona’s 8-4 win over Colorado, the Giants dropped out of first place in the NL West. The Padres are one-half game in front of the Giants with Colorado three games back.
The Giants were shut out for the fourth time in their last five losses. It was the eighth time in 11 games they scored two runs or fewer.
The Giants spoiled another impressive outing by starter Jonathan Sanchez.
“We can’t just rely on pitching. We’re going to have to start swinging and get some runs,” Giants manager Bruce Bochy said. “Pretty nice effort he (Sanchez) gave us. Again, we’ve just got to get these bats going.”
The Cubs have won seven of their last eight games, the lone loss 1-0 on Tuesday to the Giants on Buster Posey’s home run.
After Wells walked Travis Ishikawa and allowed a double to Cody Ross with two outs in the eighth, Cubs closer Carlos Marmol struck out Freddy Sanchez to end the inning. Marmol struck out the side in the ninth for his 34th save in 39 chances.
The Cubs have allowed 15 runs in their last 11 games, throwing four shutouts during that span.
“You like to challenge yourself and you like to compete with guys. You never want to be the guy that’s getting beat up while the rest of the guys are throwing good,” Wells said. “We try to concentrate and work hard, keep the rhythm going.”
Wells (8-13) scattered six hits and struck out six with one walk. In his last start at St. Louis on Sept. 14, Wells allowed one run, five hits and no walks in eight innings of a 7-2 victory. Wells has won just three times in his 10 starts.
“We’re playing some good ball right now, everybody is loose, everybody is having fun. We wish it wasn’t too late, but we’re trying to build for next year and everybody is responding pretty well,” Wells said.
Sanchez (11-9) allowed two runs, one earned, in 5 2-3 innings. He struck out six and walked two, but also had a costly wild pitch in the fifth inning, resulting in a run. In his last five starts, the left-hander has only allowed three earned runs in 32 2-3 innings.
“It’s one of those things when you’re not scoring a lot of runs. Maybe we’ll come back tomorrow and score 10. We didn’t score any tonight, but that’s baseball. That’s how it goes,” Sanchez said.
With numerous reports circulating that Cubs general manager Jim Hendry is interviewing potential candidates to take over as manager in 2011, interim manager Mike Quade is putting on a good showing. He is 18-8 since taking over.
“I think he is doing a pretty good job. If he doesn’t get it … it’s not the players’ choice. I feel like he’s given it a pretty good effort. The guys in the clubhouse enjoy playing for him,” Chicago’s Koyie Hill said. “Again, it’s Jim and this organization’s decision. We just play. When it comes down to it we’re just fortunate we get to play for anybody and that’s how I think we kind of look at it. We wish everybody the best.”
Fukudome led off the third inning with his 13th home run for a 1-0 lead.
Sanchez allowed a leadoff double to Hill in the fifth inning. With Wells trying to put down a sacrifice bunt, Sanchez threw a wild pitch and Posey thought he had a chance at throwing out Hill at third, but his throw was wild and the ball rolled into foul territory allowing Hill to score without a throw to make it 2-0.
“When I saw it squib away from me, I just tried to get back to it as quick as I could,” Posey said. “I didn’t know if he was going to go or not.”
After allowing a leadoff double to Jose Guillen in the second inning, Wells retired the next 13 batters. Wells left Guillen stranded by getting Pablo Sandoval to ground out and Juan Uribe and Sanchez to fly out.
Notes: Giants CF Andres Torres, who had an appendectomy on Sept. 12, could be ready to play this weekend at Colorado according to Bochy. … Giants INF Edgar Renteria missed his third straight game with a sore right elbow. He is listed day-to-day and Bochy said he will be reevaluated before Thursday’s game. … Cubs OF Tyler Colvin was released from a Miami hospital on Wednesday, three days after part of a broken bat punctured his chest. Team spokesman Peter Chase said Colvin will return to his home in South Carolina.