Saturday, March 16, 2013

Cubs Win Streak Reaches Nine Games

The Cubs sweep the Giants at Wrigley. After a slumbering start to the season, they have won nine in a row. The North Siders continue to pound the home run ball -- Ernie Banks now has nine big flies in May and has had two two-homer games this week. Billy Williams is also on a tear, scorching eight homers this month while hitting .313. The youngster, Kenny Holtzman, has lowered his ERA to 0.89. The Cubs move to 24-19, while the disappointing Giants drop to 17-26.

Game 1: Cubs 1, Giants 0
W: Holtzman (5-1)
L: Marichal (2-7)
S: Regan (6)
MVP: Holtzman (4)

Ernie Banks is having a great month of May.
A true classic. Holtzman and the Giants' Juan Marichal duel. Marichal pitches a no-hitter into the fifth, but "Mr. Cub," Ernie Banks, strokes a double between first and second that gets to the alley. He later advances to third and scores on a groundout. That turns out to be the game's only run. Marichal is great, only allowing three hits in a complete game. But the Giants are frustrated. Holtzman seemingly runs into jams each inning, putting at least one runner on base in seven frames, but the Giants can't capitalize, stranding nine on base and not recording an extra-base hit. Despite his record dropping to 2-7, Marichal lowers his ERA to 2.86.

Game 2: Cubs, 10, Giants 3
W: Jenkins (6-1)
L: Sadecki (3-4)
MVP: Banks (4)

The two major league strikeout leaders clash, with Fergie Jenkins getting the better of Ray Sadecki. Ernie Banks again provides the lift, hitting his ninth and 10th homers and his 14th double, while driving in five and scoring three. Williams hits his eighth. The Cubs are up 9-0 in the eighth before pinch-hitter Willie McCovey hits a three-run bomb, his 10th.

Game 3: Cubs 8, Giants 4
W: Hands (2-3)
L: McCormick (3-5)
MVP: Beckert (2)

It looked like the Cubs' winning streak would finally be snapped. San Fran has a 4-1 lead going into the bottom of the sixth, hanging four on a struggling Bill Hands. Hands also has to deal with a shoddy defense giving up three errors, including a bunted ball that catcher Randy Hundley sails into center field. Giants pitcher Mike McCormick helps his cause with a surprise home run to right on a wind-blown day at Wrigley. But then he starts falling apart in the sixth, as Williams hits his ninth to bring the Cubs within a run. The Cubs score five more in the seventh and eighth, with Glenn Beckert hitting two doubles and everyone else seeming to single off McCormick, who gave up 11 hits. Meanwhile, the Giant bats quiet down, as they can only hit one single after the sixth inning. 

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