Cubs overcome blown lead to beat Giants 4-3
BY TONI GINNETTI firstname.lastname@example.org April 12, 2013 4:31PM
Chicago Cubs second baseman Alberto Gonzalez, left, celebrates after forcing out San Francisco Giants' Brandon Crawford, right, during the eighth inning of a baseball game in Chicago, Friday, April 12, 2013. Giants' Andres Torres was out at first. (AP Photo/Nam Y. Huh)
Updated: April 12, 2013 8:50PM
The Cubs wasted a steller pitching performance Friday from starter Carlos Villanueva against the San Francisco Giants, blowing a 2-0 lead in the ninth, then falling behind 3-2 before Dioner Navarro’s first career pinch hit homer and an RBI double by Starlin Castro won it, 4-3, in the bottom of the ninth.
The Giants rallied for three runs in the ninth off closer Kyuji Fujikawa (1-0), who still ended up with the victory after the late ninth inning heroics.
Villanueva had out-dueled the Giants Matt Cain, holding the Giants without a run into the eighth. The Cubs led 2-0 going into the ninth when Fujikawa entered. He retired Angel Pagan but Marco Scutaro doubled and took third on a wild pitch, then scored on Pablo Sandoval’s single.
Fujikawa hit the next batter, Buster Posey, prompting a visit from pitching coach Chris Bosio and Japanese interpretor Ryo Shinkawa. Hunter Pence then hit a slow roller to short, with the Cubs unable to turn the inning ending double play.
The Giants took the lead on Brandon Belt’s two-run double before the inning ended.
Solo home runs by David DeJesus in the third and Starlin Castro in the fifth—the first of the season for each player—were the only Cubs runs before Navarro’s pinch hit homer off Sergio Romo (0-1) in the ninth.
The Cubs had chances to add to the lead but were 0-for-8 with runners in scoring position through nine innings. Twice they had men lead off innings with doubles but failed to score.
Villanueva worked 7 1/3 innings of shutout ball, allowing only three hits, walking one and striking out three.