Saving the good stuff for late
April 9, 2013 11:24PM
Chicago Cubs' Nate Schierholtz beats the tag by the Milwaukee Brewers' Jonathan Lucroy (20) and scores on a sacrifice fly by Scott Hairston during the eighth inning of a baseball game Tuesday, April 9, 2013, in Chicago. (AP Photo/Jim Prisching)
Updated: April 12, 2013 6:52PM
Wrigley Field was a cold, quiet place in the winter when Kyuji Fujikawa made his first visits from Japan before signing with the Cubs.
It was still very cold Tuesday when he entered in the ninth inning for the first time — but the atmosphere was different.
‘‘With the fans and the enthusiasm of the crowd, it was much better than when I came and it was empty,’’ he said through his translator.
The sparse remains of an announced crowd of 30,065 warmed Fujikawa and the Cubs after a come-from-behind 6-3 victory over the Milwaukee Brewers and a second save for the new closer.
Fujikawa saved it for the pitcher he replaced, Carlos Marmol. That’s the first irony for the Cubs’ pitching staff, which got another stellar outing from Travis Wood. The left-hander didn’t get the victory but was saved from a loss when his teammates rallied to tie the game at 3 in the seventh and win it with a three-run eighth.
Wood noted he had a high pitch count after a long second inning, when two errors and four hits accounted for all the Brewers’ scoring.
‘‘But I got us to the seventh, and then the hitters did their jobs in the end and pulled it out,’’ he said.
A long day Monday for right-handed reliever Shawn Camp meant he was unavailable Tuesday, leaving Marmol as manager Dale Sveum’s option to work the eighth. He got two quick outs before the crowd found another reason to boo him when Jean Segura tripled.
But Yuniesky Betancourt grounded out to end the inning, leaving Marmol (1-1) as the pitcher of record for the Cubs’ three-run rally in the bottom of the inning.
‘‘I’m glad he gave me that situation,’’ Marmol said of Sveum.
It was one of several positives for Sveum, who before the game had lamented the lack of timely hitting with runners in scoring position. The Cubs showed signs of coming out of it in the ninth inning Monday, but their rally fell short in a 7-4 loss.
‘‘We didn’t do much early, but later in the game we came through,’’ Sveum said of ending a four-game losing streak. ‘‘We had some really good at-bats late in the game. When they’re down, it’s good to see them battling back.’’
It came from all sectors, including David DeJesus (3-for-5 with a double and two RBI), Nate Schierholtz (double leading off the eighth) and bench players Steve Clevenger (pinch-hit single and run scored) and Scott Hairston (sacrifice fly with the bases loaded to break the 3-3 tie).
‘‘Keep playing like that every day,’’ said shortstop Starlin Castro, a victim of a 31-degree wind chill in the second when he committed one of the Cubs’ three errors.
‘‘It was so cold and you can’t feel the ball,’’ he said.
Castro made some good plays, too, including diving for the grounder that ended the eighth.