Skip to content

Cubs blow ninth-inning lead then rally to beat Giants

Apr 12, 2013, 6:20 PM EDT

San Francisco Giants v Chicago Cubs Getty Images

Starlin Castro homered in the fifth and played hero in the ninth, delivering a game-winning double as the Cubs avoided what would have been an ugly loss and defeated the Giants 4-3.

The Giants scored all three of their runs off new Cubs closer Kyuji Fujikawa in the ninth, taking Matt Cain off the hook and erasing a strong outing from Carlos Villanueva.

However, Sergio Romo, who was a perfect 6-for-6 in save chances this year, couldn’t hold the lead. He surrendered a rare homer to switch-hitter Dioner Navarro — just the fourth homer he’s ever allowed to a left-handed hitter — and then gave up two more hits, including Castro’s game-ender.

Some thoughts:

- Villanueva is the game’s unluckiest pitcher 12 days in. He left with a 5-1 lead over the Braves in his first start, only to see that blown. Today, his relievers needed to get just five outs, but still couldn’t hold a 2-0 lead. That’s left Villanueva 0-0 despite a 0.64 ERA.

- Castro could have ended the game 20 minutes earlier if he wanted. Hunter Pence hit what appeared to be a rally-killing double play ball Castro’s way in the top of the ninth, but Castro, even though he was as close to third as he was to second, went with an underhand toss to Alberto Gonzalez. The relay ended up being a bit slow, allowing Pence to barely beat it out.

- Castro also chose not to run on his game-ending double to the wall in center, thinking it was a homer. It didn’t matter a whole lot — the runner at first base was the one that mattered — but the game’s outcome would have still been in doubt had David DeJesus not come all of the way around to score.

- The homer hit by Navarro was an incredible oddity. Romo had allowed just three homers in 290 at-bats against left-handers previously, and the switch-hitting Navarro had homered off righties once every 65 at-bats, compared to once every 29 at-bats versus lefties.

- Before he became a closer, Romo was really more of a righty specialist in the San Francisco pen, often sharing innings with Jeremy Affeldt and Javier Lopez. His numbers against lefties were still terrific, but part of that is because he wasn’t typically getting to face the good ones. That’s changing now that the ninth inning is his alone, so it will be interesting to see if he proves more vulnerable to lefties.

  1. nineroutsider - Apr 12, 2013 at 6:34 PM

    The homer hit by Navarro was an incredible oddity. Romo had allowed just three homers in 290 at-bats against left-handers previously, and the switch-hitting Navarro had homered off righties once every 65 at-bats, compared to once every 29 at-bats versus lefties.
    ————————————————————————————-
    The wind carried his home run and the one hit by DeJesus in the 3rd; they would’ve been high pop-outs if it wasn’t for the wind. I mean serious wind; it was like hitting it into the jet stream if it was hit high enough, which those 2 pop-flys were.

    Good win for the Cubs though; it would’ve been maddening for their fans to lose 2 games back-to-back like that. Their starter dazzled the Giants hitters and he deserved a win, even though Cain pitched well too. Wow, the wind there was insane though; you just don’t see that much carry too often.

    • manchestermiracle - Apr 13, 2013 at 8:32 AM

      I’ve seen a breezy game or two played by the bay, although the effects at AT&T are much less than it ever was at Candlestick.

      • dcarroll73 - Apr 13, 2013 at 10:48 AM

        The wind giveth and the wind taketh away. I was once watching a game at Candlestick on TV. Willie McCovey hit four fair balls far over the fence, but unfortunately he only had 3 homeruns. That other ball was hovering about forty feet beyond the fence, and some kids were running in the parking lot to catch the ball. Suddenly all the kids starting running toward the fence, and I said,”Nooo!!!” Sure enough it was blown all the way back. McCovey, not a speedster at best and in a homerun trot, was held, I believe, to a double.

  2. sleepyirv - Apr 12, 2013 at 6:37 PM

    Cubs have some really ugly losts already and it’s not even mid-April. Coming back today is a real nice pick-me-up

  3. earpaniac - Apr 12, 2013 at 11:37 PM

    I wonder if Castro will ever stop playing like his head is in the clouds. Such a talent, but damn he can be infuriating to watch.

  4. moogro - Apr 12, 2013 at 11:44 PM

    Castro.

Leave Comment

You must be logged in to leave a comment. Not a member? Register now!

Featured video

Angels' 2011 overhaul finally paying off?
Top 10 MLB Player Searches
  1. R. Castillo (3275)
  2. G. Stanton (2558)
  3. A. Rizzo (2331)
  4. H. Ryu (2091)
  5. J. Hamilton (2057)
  1. N. Arenado (2028)
  2. M. Trout (2015)
  3. E. Gattis (1921)
  4. D. Ortiz (1831)
  5. A. Pujols (1790)