Friday, September 7, 2012

Cubs bounce back and win 12-2 over Pirates; Brett Jackson's extraordinary catch

The Cubs bounced back from being swept by the Washington Nationals by winning 12-2 against the Pittsburgh Pirates at PNC Park Friday night.

Travis Wood started for the Cubs and ended his losing streak by allowing just one hit and striking out five batters and walking three over six scoreless innings.  The Pirates committed seven errors tonight.

Starlin Castro got his 500th and 501st career hits and became the 28th MLB player in history to make the accomplishment before turning 23 years old.  Castro was 3-for-5 in tonight's game.

Anthony Rizzo and Alfonso Soriano both scored against the Pirates Friday night (US Presswire photo)
However, there was a scary moment in the sixth inning when outfielder Brett Jackson crashed into the fence with his face after making an amazing catch on Andrew McCutchen's fly ball to end the inning. 

“That’s the type of player I am,” Jackson said.  “I’ve always been that way.  I’ll go through a wall for the team and that was a big moment for Travis (Wood) and for us.  We’d lost six in a row, and seven runs didn’t seem like it was enough at the time.  I don’t really have a second gear.  I’m going to go for those balls.  I’m sure people will tell me to take care of my body, but making that play was a little more important at the time.”  Gotta love BJax's ambition!

Cubs outfielder Brett Jackson's extraordinary catch in the sixth inning against the Pirates Friday night (photo from Chicago Tribune)
Thankfully Jackson was able to walk off the field and his x-rays were negative.  He does have a bruised and swollen knee, though.  Manager Dale Sveum tonight's big win was important for the team's “mental state,” and Jackson’s catch was one of the components.  “That was one heck of an effort, and at a very crucial time in the game,” he said.

Tomorrow the Cubs and Pirates will play the second game of the three-game series at 6:05pm CT.  Jeff Samardzija will start for the Cubs before being shut down for the rest of the season since he's already pitched double the amount of innings since he was converted from a relief pitcher to a starter this season.

Cubs starter Jeff Samardzija will make his last start of the season Saturday before he will be shut down to protect his arm (US Presswire photo)
"It's going to be tough watching," the "Shark" said.  "It's not something I'm accustomed to.  I'm used to playing, and I'm used to playing all the time.  You have to respect what they're planning on doing, what their plans are for the organization and for the team.  This is the right move for the right reasons."

This means that the rotation will consist of Chris Volstad (the only starter left from opening week), Travis Wood, Justin Germano, Chris Rusin and Jason Berken, who was claimed on waivers from the Baltimore Orioles Friday.  It should be an interesting rest of the season and as much as it stings to say it, I think it will be a challenge for the Cubs to not lose 100 games.

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