Sunday, April 3, 2011

Garza's debut spoiled by Cubs' late collapse

CHICAGO -- Carlos Marmol made the pitch he wanted but Pedro Alvarez hit the game-winning single in the right spot.
Alvarez hit a strategically placed two-run infield single off Marmol in the ninth to lift the Pirates to a 5-4 victory on Sunday over the Cubs and spoil Matt Garza's Wrigley Field debut.
Marmol, vying for his second save in as many days, walked Garrett Jones to open the ninth, and Jones reached second on Neil Walker's single. Both advanced on Lyle Overbay's sacrifice bunt. Alvarez then bounced a single to the right of a diving Marmol. Shortstop Starlin Castro made a barehanded grab and threw up the line to first baseman Carlos Pena, who did a great job snaring the ball. Pirates third base coach Nick Leyva waved Walker home, and Pena's throw was late.
Walker didn't hesitate.
"As soon as I saw it, my goal was just to score," Walker said. "I knew [Castro] had a tough play. He comes up and picks it up clean and makes the throw to first, he's still got to make a really good throw to home to get me. Good piece of hitting by Pedro just to put the ball in play."
"It's a single in the books, right?" Alvarez said.
It is, and the win gave the Pirates the series and made Cubs manager Mike Quade's head spin. He wanted to watch the replay because even if Castro made a good throw, it didn't seem as if the shortstop had a chance to get Alvarez.

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