(Thursday, April 11th)
Final Score: San Francisco 7, Chicago 6
Chicago, IL (Sports Network) - Pablo Sandoval and Angel Pagan each drove in a pair of runs to help the San Francisco Giants to a 7-6 come-from-behind decision over the Chicago Cubs in the opener of a four-game series.
Nick Noonan went 3-for-5 with two runs scored in his first major league start for San Francisco, which rallied from a 5-0 deficit after three innings at a chilly and soggy Wrigley Field to register a fourth straight victory.
"I can't say enough about what these guys did today," Giants manager Bruce Bochy said afterward. "That's a tough travel day, it was cold and raining out there, we got little sleep and you get down five runs. It was easy to lay down at that point, but they fought back hard and that's a great comeback for us."
Ryan Vogelsong (1-1) rebounded from a shaky showing early on to notch his first win of 2013, while Sergio Romo earned his MLB-leading sixth save by protecting the Giants' one-run lead in the ninth.
Vogelsong surrendered five runs -- four earned -- on eight hits in six innings of work, but struck out five batters and held the Cubs scoreless over his final three frames.
Cubs starter Scott Feldman (0-2) took the loss after permitting six runs -- though just two were earned due to an error by Cubs shortstop Starlin Castro that opened the floodgates in a four-run top of the fourth -- in 4 1/3 innings.
Anthony Rizzo had a two-run homer and Brent Lillibridge added a two-RBI single in the loss, Chicago's fifth in six games, while ex-Giant Nate Schierholtz finished 3-for-4 with a pair of runs scored against his former team.
Chicago reached Vogelsong for four runs in the bottom of the third to put the Giants at a sizeable deficit, but San Francisco struck four times in the fourth before moving in front with a three-run fifth.
The comeback began when Castro booted Vogelsong's two-out grounder to short to let in the Giants' first run and extend the top of the fourth. Pagan followed with an infield single that brought home Noonan, and after Feldman hit Brandon Crawford to load the bases, Sandoval delivered an opposite-field double into the gap in left center that plated two runs and pulled San Francisco within 5-4.
Feldman departed after walking Gregor Blanco following a one-out single by Brandon Belt in the fifth, with Noonan greeting Hisanori Takahashi with a base hit before the Chicago reliever issued a free pass to Vogelsong to force in the tying run. A sac fly off the bat of Pagan gave the Giants the lead, and Crawford made it a 7-5 game with a single to left that knocked in Noonan.
Vogelsong settled down to keep the Cubs off the board over the remainder of his stint, but Chicago threatened against the Giants' bullpen in the eighth after an Alfonso Soriano double off Jeremy Affeldt and Schierholtz's infield hit put runners at the corners with none out.
Santiago Casilla then relieved Affeldt and induced a double-play grounder from Welington Castillo that brought the Cubs within a run, but prevented any further damage. Romo surrendered a one-out double to David DeJesus that placed the potential tying run in scoring position in the ninth, but fanned Castro and Rizzo in succession to preserve the win.
"I just tried to make quality pitches," Romo said. "[Rizzo's] a good hitter, he's a dangerous guy. "He's in a position where he could have possibly won the game for his team."
After Crawford's throwing error with two on in the top of the second enabled the Cubs to score the game's first run, Chicago hit Vogelsong hard in the third to build a seemingly comfortable 5-0 advantage.
Rizzo followed a Castro double by socking a first-pitch changeup into the left-field bleachers to put the Cubs up by a 3-0 count.
"You go up there looking for a pitch to hit and just being selectively aggressive," Rizzo said of the blast. "Hopefully they keep throwing me first- pitch strikes."
Chicago later loaded the bases on singles by Schierholtz and Castillo along with a walk, and Lillibridge snapped an 0-for-18 skid to start the season with a bloop base hit to right that led to another two runs.
After scoring a total of 19 runs in their first seven games of the season, the Giants have totaled 26 in their last three victories ... Vogelsong has now won each of his last three starts at Wrigley Field and improved to 4-1 over his last five overall encounters with the Cubs ... Feldman fell to 0-4 in five lifetime appearances (three starts) against San Francisco ... Schierholtz, who spent six seasons with the Giants before being dealt to Philadelphia last July, faced his ex-club for the first time since the trade.
04/11 20:51:59 ET