Lou's lefties lift Cubs in 10th inning in Texas
Colvin's knock, back-to-back pinch-hits spark club in extras
ARLINGTON -- The Cubs won Saturday night's game in the 10th inning on three straight clutch hits by Tyler Colvin, Kosuke Fukudome and Mike Fontenot, but the only reason they had a chance was because of Randy Wells.
Colvin doubled to lead off the 10th and scored the tie-breaking run on Fontenot's pinch-hit RBI single to lift the Cubs to a 5-4 Interleague victory over the Texas Rangers. By that time, Wells was a spectator.
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"I didn't want to [come out]," said Wells, who went 8 1/3 innings, his longest outing of the season. "It's cool -- I'm starting to figure this thing out, I'm starting to pitch deeper in ballgames and give myself a chance to win. As long as we win, I don't care what happens. We fought and battled."
With the game tied at 3 in the 10th, Colvin, who entered in the ninth as a defensive replacement, doubled down the right-field line off Darren O'Day (1-2) and advanced on Fukudome's pinch-hit single. Fontenot, the third straight lefty to face O'Day, then singled to right.
Coincidence? Entering the game, right-handers were batting .125 off O'Day, while lefties were hitting .333. After going 3-for-3, lefties now are hitting .429 off O'Day.
"I brought in the best guy I had, and they got us," Rangers manager Ron Washington said. "They threw three left-handers in a row at me and they all came through. You usually don't see that: three guys and they all delivered."
O'Day was pulled, and one out later, Dustin Nippert intentionally walked rookie Starlin Castro to face Derrek Lee. The Cubs first baseman hit into a fielder's choice, Castro was forced at second and Fukudome scored.
Colvin, who is forcing the Cubs to find a spot for him in the regular lineup, provided the spark. He's getting used to coming off the bench.
"What [hitting coach] Rudy [Jaramillo] stresses is put your foot down so you can see it all the way," Colvin said of his approach with O'Day, who has a funky sidearm delivery. "Coming off the bench, I can't do the leg kick. I've had to get rid of it. It's helped in my last at-bats."
Fontenot credited some in-game cage work just before the 10th for the string of hits. How many pitchers like O'Day has he seen?
"You see a few -- not a whole bunch," Fontenot said. "I was just trying to get a good pitch to hit. That was my whole frame of mind."
A submariner like O'Day is a little easier to pick up from the opposite side, Piniella said, because the hitter gets a better view.
Walking Castro, whose big league career is two weeks old, to get to Lee didn't shock Piniella. The Rangers were hoping for a double play.
"They keep doing that, Lee will burn them," Piniella said.
Lee didn't seethe.
"That's what they want you to do is get upset, right?" Lee said. "So you have to keep your composure.
"No matter what the situation, you're trying to get a hit, get the runs in," he said. "That's the goal."
Sean Marshall (4-1) replaced Wells in the ninth and picked up the win, pitching two-thirds of an inning. Carlos Marmol got the save, his eighth, although he gave up an RBI single to Ian Kinsler in the 10th.
"You feel pretty good with a two-run lead when you bring Carlos into the ballgame," Piniella said. "Now, if we can just keep from walking the first hitter."
Maybe now Piniella will shave. The Cubs manager could challenge any NHL player with his beard, which seemed to grow at a record pace as the game went on.
"I haven't had the energy to shave," he said before the game, played in front of 46,180 -- the second-largest crowd at the Ballpark in Arlington this season.
Maybe the "W" will help.
"I think it's pretty sweet," Wells said of Piniella's beard. "I might put a little 'Just for Men' in his locker tomorrow."
Wells could afford to laugh. He made two mistakes all night -- both in the fourth, as Vladimir Guerrero and Nelson Cruz hit solo homers. After Cruz's blast, Wells walked Justin Smoak, then retired the next 12 in a row. It should've been 13. First-base umpire Jerry Meals called Michael Young safe on a close throw from Castro to Lee with two outs in the eighth. Piniella argued, but Meals didn't budge.
Since his two-inning start in Pittsburgh on May 6, Wells has averaged nearly eight innings in his last three games. The key: quick outs.
"Throw the sinker and hope for the best," Wells said. "I'm not messing around trying to go deep. I had four three-ball counts for 8 1/3 [innings]. They hit some balls right at people. I missed my location on two, and they made me pay. Other than that, I was pleased."
Alfonso Soriano got the Cubs going with a two-run homer in the second, and Castro hit his second in the third inning, but this game had both pitching and key hits. The latter has been rare this year for the Cubs.
"We played four good games on the road and we're 2-2," Piniella said of the current trip, which started with two games in Philadelphia. "We've had a chance to win all four, probably more of a chance to win all four than lose all four. We start getting those hits when it's opportune, it makes things a whole lot easier, believe me."
Carrie Muskat is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.