Tsuyoshi Wada has made quite a statement since coming up to the Cubs from Class AAA Iowa.
He made another big one Sunday, tossing 6⅓ innings of 1-hit, 1-run ball as the Cubs beat the Baltimore Orioles 2-1 to sweep the three-game series at Wrigley Field.
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Wada had a no-hitter going through 6 innings before Steve Pearce led off the top of the seventh with a home run that cut a 2-0 Cubs lead to 2-1. Adam Jones popped out, but manager Rick Renteria went out and got Wada, whose pitch count was 92.
Would Renteria have removed Wada with a no-hitter if the pitch count got too high?
"For me? In my heart I would tell you no," the manager said. "He was going to stay out there until he got through it. I'm telling you that right now after the fact. My mind was he was going to keep throwing until someone got a hit. He gave us a great outing."
Wada got a standing ovation from the crowd of 32,744 (including many Orioles fans) as he exited.
"It was right after I allowed the home run, so I feel appreciated that they honored me even after I allowed that home run," Wada said through a translator.
Wada, a 33-year-old lefty, went to spring training with the Cubs as a nonroster player and began the season at Class AAA Iowa. In two stints with the big club, he is 4-1 with a 2.56 ERA.
"I know it's not an easy world out there," he said of his early success in the big leagues. "I'm just trying to concentrate on that. Nothing's easy, and I'm not taking anything for granted."
Wada pitched in Japan from 2003-2011 and went to spring training with the Orioles in 2012. However, he underwent Tommy John surgery in May of that year and pitched only for the Baltimore's Triple-A Norfolk club 1 game in 2012 and 19 last year.
"I know a lot of players on their team, and I feel I let people down not being able to be a factor on the team," he said.
Cubs relievers Neil Ramirez, Pedro Strop and Hector Rondon (21st save) held the Orioles hitless the rest of the way.
Swing away, kid:
Rookie slugger Javier Baez raised some eyebrows when he bunted into a popout in the sixth inning after Chris Coghlan led off with a double.
"I spoke to Javy," Rick Renteria said. "He's not your prototypical No. 2-type hitter. Would I rather him swing the bat? Of course. But I will say this: He's thinking the game.
"Everybody talks about young players not thinking, but he was thinking about trying to do something productive for his team, not necessarily something that I would want him to do in that moment. He knows. You have to explain it to them. His mind was in baseball mode."
Castro set to return:
Shortstop Starlin Castro will come off the bereavement list Tuesday in Cincinnati. Castro missed five games as he went back to the Dominican Republic after a relative of Castro's and three close friends were killed in a car crash.
After Sunday's game, the Cubs optioned infielder Logan Watkins back to Iowa.
This and that:
The Cubs activated reliever Brian Schlitter off the disabled list and optioned him to Iowa. Schlitter had been on the DL since Aug. 9 with right-shoulder inflammation. … Arismendy Alcantara homered in the fifth inning, his fourth of the year. He had multiple hits and a stolen base in each of his last two games. … The last time Cubs pitching held a team to 1 hit was June 13, 2010, in a 1-0 victory over the White Sox.