Cubs' bats heat up in nick of time
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How's this for some crazy stuff?
Cubs starting pitcher Travis Wood ran his pitch count to 48 after 2 innings, thanks to some shaky defense, but recovered to go 61⁄3 and seemingly picked up strength as Tuesday night went on.
A Cubs team that entered 6-for-44 with runners in scoring position froze up in the 39-degree weather until late in the game before de-icing and getting 2 big two-out hits to drive in runs in the seventh and eighth innings.
And to top it all off, exiled closer Carlos Marmol picked up the win in the Cubs' 6-3 victory over the Milwaukee Brewers, working a 1-hit eighth and then watching as his replacement, Kyuji Fujikawa, earned the save.
"I feel great," said Marmol. "I'm glad he (manager Dale Sveum) gave me that situation. It got the people happy."
Marmol did hear boos from the announced crowd of 30,065 (there were far fewer than that in the park), but looked like an absolute stopper compared with the miserable-looking Brewers bullpen, which suffered a blown save and a loss on a night when runs should have been hard to come by.
The Cubs did little with Milwaukee starter Wily Peralta, but they scored twice in the seventh to tie the game at 3-3 and then three times in the eighth.
An RBI double by Anthony Rizzo evened things in the seventh. Pinch hitter Scott Hairston hit a sacrifice fly in the eighth to put the Cubs ahead. David DeJesus, who had gotten off to a slow start, capped a 3-for-5 night with a 2-run single.
"Late once again," said Sveum, referencing Monday's comeback that felt short. "We didn't do much off Peralta. Later in the game, we came through. ... Some really good at-bats late in the game."
Wood pitched well enough to get the victory. He gave up 3 runs (2 earned) in the second inning, as Cubs catcher Welington Castillo and shortstop Starlin Castro each made throwing errors.
Castro redeemed himself later, both with an RBI groundout and a diving stop on an a groundout with a man on third in the eighth. Gripping the ball seemed to be a chore, as Brewers third baseman Alex Gonzalez also threw one away.
"Oh, unbelievable," Castro said. "I've never been cold like that. In Pittsburgh, it was cold, but not windy, like here. It's tough, real tough."
As he did last week in Pittsburgh, Wood had good command of his fastball on both sides of the plate. Of the Cubs' 4 quality starts in the early going, he has 2 of them, and a 1.46 ERA.
"Pitches were working," he said. "I was able to throw a lot of strikes tonight and keep the team in a little bit. We scuffled a little bit in the second inning. We came back strong late in the game and ended up pulling it out."
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