Reed Johnson became the latest hero in this series with a walk-off homerun in the bottom of the eleventh inning, leading the Cubs to a 2-1 victory over the San Diego Padres in the first game of a double-header.
Scoring runs were at a minimum this afternoon, which is nothing new for Cubs pitcher Matt Garza. Garza hasn’t been getting much run support lately nor has he been the quality pitcher that the Cubs traded for last January.
Nevertheless, Garza had his best outing of the season today. He pitched six scoreless innings, allowing six hits, three walks while striking out nine in the no-decision. Garza still has yet to pick up his first win of the year but as long as the Cubs are winning, it’s a non-issue to him.
“Wins don’t matter,” Garza said. “As long as at the end of the day we get that big one, that big ‘W’ that goes on our side.”
“I’m here to get to October, and any way we can do it, I’m all for it. If I don’t win a game all year but we win my games, it doesn’t bother me one bit.”
Padres’ pitcher Dustin Moseley wasn’t bad either but gave up an RBI single to Marlon Byrd in the bottom of the third inning. The Cubs held the 1-0 lead for most of the afternoon until the ninth when Carlos Marmol tried to shut the door on San Diego for good.
It was not to be; Marmol walked Cameron Maybin with one out and allowed a bunt single to Will Venable. Maybin stole second base during Venable’s at-bat and the bunt allowed Maybin to move to third. The next batter, Jason Bartlett, hit a sacrifice fly to center field that scored Maybin, tying the game 1-1.
The Cubs were unable to score in the bottom half of the ninth, nor in the tenth, and Jeff Samardzija was called upon to pitch the next two innings. Samardzija made things interesting in both of the innings he pitched, allowing the Padres to threaten in each.
After a wild pitch in the top of the tenth that put two runners in scoring position, Samardzija was able to get pinch hitter Alberto Gonzalez to fly out, ending the inning. In the top of the eleventh, Samardzija loaded the bases with one out but was able to the next two batters, Chase Headley and Nick Hundley, to fly out.
Reed Johnson was due to bat first to start the eleventh, getting his first at-bat of the game since replacing Kosuke Fukudome in right field the previous inning. On a 1-1 count by Padres reliever Luke Gregerson, Johnson hit a solo shot to the left field bleachers that would end send the Cubs to their second walk-off victory in three days.
The second game of the double-header started shortly after 6pm CST with Cubs pitcher James Russell facing Aaron Harang of the Padres.