4/12 Cubs 4, Giants 3
What is it about those last three outs? Carlos Villanueva may want to take Kyuji Fujikawa, Carlos Marmol and the rest of the Cubs bullpen out to dinner. Perhaps if Villanueva butters them up, he’ll get a win. For the second straight start, Villanueva missed a potential “W” because the bullpen imploded. But the Cubs rallied this time as pinch-hitter Dioner Navarro hit a game-tying home run leading off the ninth and Starlin Castro smacked a walk-off RBI double to score David DeJesus from first and lift the Cubs to a 4-3 come-from-behind victory over the Giants.
“I’m happy just getting the [team] ‘W,’” Villanueva said. “The atmosphere in our clubhouse right now, I wouldn’t change that for the world.”
The right-hander shut down the Giants for 7 1/3 innings, but they took a 3-2 lead in the ninth against Fujikawa on an RBI single by Pablo Sandoval and a two-run double by Brandon Belt. It was Fujikawa’s second save situation since taking over the closer’s duties from Marmol, and he’s now 1-for-2.
“[It was his] command again,” manager Dale Sveum said of Fujikawa. “He’s not getting the swings and misses with his split. I thought he threw some good splits and they were laying off of them. The command and life of the fastball wasn’t there again. He couldn’t get strike one.”
Said Fujikawa: “As you can see, [my command] wasn’t too good.”
The Cubs rallied in the ninth against Giants star closer Sergio Romo. What is it about the ninth inning?
“Guys lock in,” DeJesus said. “Those are the situations where you want to shine your best. That’s why that closer role is such an important job and it’s a tough job because these guys are going up there with the purpose of trying to win the ballgame.”
Last Saturday, Marmol served up game-tying and walk-off home runs to the Upton brothers in Atlanta and lost his job as the Cubs closer. Now, Fujikawa struggled.
“I told Ryo [Shinkawa], his interpreter, to tell him that I believe in him, and we believe in him and he’ll be fine,” Villanueva said. “[Fujikawa] is very apologetic and he feels bad, and we can tell. We need him, and as long as we communicate that to him, times when things aren’t going well, that’s why we’re teammates and we’re a team. We love ‘Fuji’ and we know he’ll do well.”
– Carrie Muskat