CHICAGO (CBS/AP) — Pinch-hitter Geovany Soto’s three-run homer capped a four-run rally with two outs in the 13th inning and sent the Chicago Cubs to a wild 5-2 victory over the San Francisco Giants on Thursday.
Soto’s drive finished off an eventful day for the Cubs. Starter Carlos Zambrano left in the second inning because of soreness in his lower back, then Aramis Ramirez hit a tying home run in the ninth off San Francisco closer Brian Wilson.
The Giants were leading 2-1 after a solo shot by Pablo Sandoval in the top of the 13th off John Grabow (1-0), but the Cubs struck back in the bottom half against Ramon Ramirez (2-1).
Jeff Baker doubled with two outs and scored the tying run on a single by Darwin Barney. Ramirez then intentionally walked Starlin Castro and Soto, batting for Grabow, launched a 3-2 pitch over the left-field wall to give the Cubs the win and the series split.
They’ll take that after dropping a day-night doubleheader before pulling out a 2-1 win on Wednesday. The Cubs will try for their first three-game winning streak this season when they open a weekend series against the White Sox on Friday.
The Giants managed just five hits and wasted another dominant start by Matt Cain. Even so, they were in line to win this one.
But Ramirez, whose pinch-hit single in the ninth gave the Cubs their victory a day earlier, came up big again with the Cubs trailing 1-0 in the ninth and Wilson going for his major league-leading 25th save. He drove a 3-1 pitch out to left for his 299th career homer and 10th this season.
The Cubs had runners on first and second with one out in the 10th after infield singles by Tony Campana and Reed Johnson against Santiago Casilla, but Javier Lopez got pinch-hitter Jeff Baker to ground into a double play.
The Giants loaded the bases against Grabow in the 12th on walks to Nate Schierholtz and Cody Ross to start the inning and an intentional pass to Miguel Tejada with one out. But they came away with nothing when pinch-hitter Aubrey Huff flied to shallow center and Aaron Rowand lined to right.
Cain pitched four-hit ball over seven scoreless innings for his second straight start. He also struck out six and walked one, just as he did in his previous outing against Cleveland.
For the Cubs, it was a disappointing sight to see Zambrano leaving early. He had just thrown a ball to Eli Whiteside after an RBI single by Tejada when he began stretching his back.
Trainer Mark O’Neal and pitching coach Mark Riggins rushed out and manager Mike Quade followed. Marcos Mateo then relieved with the Giants leading Chicago 1-0. That was all for Zambrano, who got booed as he walked off the mound.
Zambrano has struggled at times this season but had been pitching well of late, going at least seven innings in his previous two starts against the White Sox and Kansas City.
NOTES: Cubs reliever Kerry Wood, out with a blister on his right index finger, expects to come off the DL in time for this weekend’s series against the White Sox. … Cubs OF Marlon Byrd could will likely rejoin the team Monday in Washington. He’s been out since May 21 with facial fractures sustained when he was beaned by Boston’s Alfredo Aceves. … Giants manager Bruce Bochy was waiting until after the game to announce his starter for Saturday at Detroit. One possibility is Barry Zito or Ryan Vogelsong pitching on three days’ rest, with the other going on Sunday. … 2B Emmanuel Burriss robbed Castro twice, diving to his left to snag grounders on the outfield grass in the sixth and 11th.
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