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updated: 7/28/2014 11:16 PM

Cubs' Wada earns first big-league win

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  • Cubs starting pitcher Tsuyoshi Wada earned his first major-league win Monday night, stopping the Rockies on 5 hits over 7 innings.

      Cubs starting pitcher Tsuyoshi Wada earned his first major-league win Monday night, stopping the Rockies on 5 hits over 7 innings.
    Associated Press

 
 

The talk the last couple of days around Wrigley Field has been about all the left-handers the Cubs are going to face in the near future.

They'll look at four this week against the Colorado Rockies.

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But the Cubs have a couple of lefties of their own, and one of them did quite well Monday night in a 4-1 victory.

Tsuyoshi Wada earned his first major-league victory as he worked 7 innings of 5-hit, 1-run ball. The 33-year-old veteran of Japanese baseball pitched in the minor leagues the past two seasons in the Baltimore organization before signing a minor-league deal with the Cubs last winter.

"Pretty cool; it's pretty awesome," said Cubs manager Rick Renteria. "He was close to getting it in Cincinnati. Today, he really did a nice job. He kept us in the game the whole way."

Wada (1-1) pitched creditably in his major-league debut July 8 against the Reds, getting a no-decision. He had a poor outing last week against the Padres, lasting only 4 innings.

"First, I appreciate that the Cubs actually used me again after that outing I had when I wasn't very good against San Diego," Wada said through a translator. "Obviously, I'm happy about getting the first win."

Although not a traditional prospect, Wada does provide the Cubs with an intriguing possibility, at least for the short term.

With the July 4 trade of pitchers Jeff Samardzija and Jason Hammel to Oakland, two vacancies in the rotation were created. Rookie Kyle Hendricks has been good in filling one. Wada could keep the other spot for the rest of the year and who knows how far beyond that.

"It's not looking at the future, it's more game by game how I pitch to win that game," Wada said. "It's not like I'm looking at the big picture right now. I'm just going game by game."

The Cubs went with a mostly right-handed hitting lineup against Rockies lefty Yohan Flande. They scored 2 in the fourth and 2 in the eighth. Renteria went with switch hitters Emilio Bonifacio and Arismendy Alcantara at the top of the lineup. Bonifacio was 2-for-4 with 2 runs and a double. Alcantara was 1-for-3 with a run, a double and a walk.

However, the Cubs may have to make a decision soon on the right-handed hitting Junior Lake, who is getting an opportunity against this streak of left-handed pitching. Lake went 0-for-2, as his season average fell to .212. He went into the game with a July hitting line of .094/.094/.156 with no walks and 11 strikeouts.

The Cubs recently demoted third baseman Mike Olt to the minor leagues for similar struggles.

"He's going to have a nice opportunity here to get into a lot of ballgames, and we're hoping that he'll have some good ballgames and something to build on and maybe build his confidence," Renteria said. "We know that he has skill. Maybe this will allow him to go out there and have some good performances.

"I know that we've tried to concentrate more recently on him cleaning up his mechanics a little bit, his direction of the ball. But on top of that, make sure that his mental approach is one that does not worry too much about the results.

"Even though it's a performance-based game, you have to worry about the at-bat, the process of your at-bat. I think we've tried to hammer that a little bit more lately, especially since he hasn't been playing very much."

bmiles@dailyherald.com

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