Cubs’ road show continues with win over Red Sox
BY GORDON WITTENMYER Staff Reporter July 1, 2014 11:05PM
Updated: July 1, 2014 11:58PM
BOSTON — For 2 ½ months, the Cubs were the squirrel to everybody else’s Buick as soon as they went on the road.
But the way they’re playing these days, they don’t look like they’re in any hurry to return home.
Luis Valbuena’s sacrifice fly in the ninth inning drove home Anthony Rizzo to give the Cubs a 2-1 victory over the Boston Red Sox on Tuesday night at Fenway Park, assuring the Cubs their third consecutive road series victory.
That’s their longest winning streak of road series since they won their last five in 2010, the finishing kick that won Mike Quade a managing job.
Two managerial changes and a front-office regime later, the Cubs clinched their first series win at Fenway Park since they swept the Boston Braves in a four-gamer in 1915, three years after the oldest park in the majors opened.
“It’s a good win for our team, a good series win,” said Rizzo, who singled leading off the ninth and took third on Starlin Castro’s double. “We’re in line to sweep a very good team, that obviously won a World Series last year, and it’s not an easy environment to play in.
“We know we can compete with anyone. I think it’s just a big confidence-builder for everyone on our team.”
The game didn’t end without some manufactured replay-challenge drama. Dustin Pedroia was called out on a grounder to third, and the ruling was upheld on Sox manager John Farrell’s challenge.
Cubs starter Edwin Jackson allowed one run in six innings but didn’t factor into the decision. Pedro Strop, who pitched a 1-2-3 eighth, earned the victory.
Hector Rondon earned his 11th save with a scoreless ninth, allowing only a two-out, infield single to Brock Holt, setting the stage for Pedroia’s play.
The Cubs’ pitching staff has allowed just one run and 10 hits through the first two games of a three-game series that concludes Wednesday night.
The game was scoreless until the fifth, when the Sox rallied for three consecutive two-out hits, capped by Pedroia’s run-scoring single off leaping shortstop Castro’s glove.
Jackson then pitched around slugger David Ortiz, walking him to load the bases. But Jackson got Mike Napoli to ground to Valbuena at third to end the threat.
The Cubs tied it in the sixth, when Justin Ruggiano — who had led off with a double against Clay Buchholz — scored from third on Chris Coghlan’s fielder’s-choice grounder to second.
It was just the fourth time this season the Cubs won in 36 games they’ve trailed through five innings.
Cubs pitching has kept Ortiz hitless in five at-bats through three games, with two walks Tuesday.