No walk-off required: Cubs earn sweep
Fox drives in three as Wells get first win in Majors
CHICAGO -- When Randy Wells was on the mound Sunday, the game seemed as if it was in fast-forward mode. Lifted in the seventh inning, the rookie Cubs pitcher took refuge in the weight room to wait and see if Sunday was the day he would finally pick up his first Major League win.
And then the game went really, really slow.
"It was pretty nerve-wracking," Wells said. "I tried to stay in the weight room for most of it. I wanted to be out there for the last out if it did happen. They made it interesting, but we came out and it was pretty special."
Special enough that Wells received the traditional celebratory shaving cream pie in the face as well as a beer shower for his first big league win.
The Cubs didn't need any walk-off magic, as Jake Fox drove in three runs and Geovany Soto knocked in two, including one on a solo homer, to back Wells in the Cubs' 6-2 Interleague victory over the Cleveland Indians.
It was the Cubs' fourth straight win, the first time they've done that since May 10-16, and first three-game sweep since they beat the San Diego Padres on May 12-14.
Wells (1-3) finally got some run support. The Cubs had scored three or less in six of his previous seven starts. On Sunday, the right-hander gave up five hits over 6 2/3 innings, including a triple by Jamey Carroll in the sixth. Carroll scored on Mark DeRosa's sacrifice fly. Wells' ERA now is a pretty-impressive 2.57.
"He should've had his first win a long, long time ago," Cubs manager Lou Piniella said.
"It's a great feeling," Wells said, shaving cream still in his ear. "You dream about it as a kid -- I don't know about the beer shower, I don't know if you know about that until you get up here -- but you dream about it all the way through the Minor Leagues. It's been a long time coming but it's really special and on Father's Day, I couldn't ask for anyting better."
However, he wasn't sure if his father caught the game on the TV.
"I think he played golf today," Wells said.
Soto, who caught Wells for most of his Minor League games, hit his fifth home run with one out in the second inning off Jeremy Sowers (1-5).
"I'm just trying to have good at-bats and swing at good pitches," Soto said. "I just put good wood on the ball today, and it went out."
Fox hit a sacrifice fly in the fourth, and Chicago loaded the bases with one out in the fifth before Derrek Lee extended his hitting streak to 18 games with a RBI single to left. The streak matches Lee's career high, set April 17-May 5, 2005.
The inning continued as Sowers walked Soto to force in a run and make it 4-0. Fox followed with a double to right-center to drive in two and chase the Tribe lefty.
Fox can relate to Wells' wait. He hasn't been given much of a chance in the big leagues because no one has found a position for him. The Cubs had to; Fox was leading the Pacific Coast League in home runs, RBIs and batting average.
"Fox looks like Brooks Robinson over there at third base," Piniella said. "He's getting the job done. He's catching it and throwing it across the infield accurately and doing a real nice job."
Fox is honored just to be on the field, and gave coaches Alan Trammell and Ivan DeJesus credit for making him into a decent infielder as the Cubs try to fill the vacancy created by Aramis Ramirez's shoulder injury.
"When we first started this back in Spring Training, you could tell there were a lot of people who were real iffy about it, including myself," Fox said about playing third. "I didn't know if I could do it. I proved to them and proved to myself I can go out and play pretty solid defense. Does that mean I'm not going to make mistakes? Absolutely not. It's knowing I'm going out there and giving them every chance I've got."
That's what Wells has been trying to do, too.
"I'm pretty confident that everything takes care of itself," Wells said. "If you keep pitching well, good things will happen. The offense put up some runs today. I did my part for the most part."
And he finally got to celebrate.
Carrie Muskat is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.