The Giants spent the final four innings Saturday with their hearts racing and jerseys soaked with sweat, but it was all worth it.
Madison Bumgarner did heavy lifting early and the bullpen held on for three tense innings at Wrigley Field, clinching a needed 3-2 win over Jake Arrieta and the Cubs. The Cubs repeatedly put the tying run on base, including in the ninth. But Anthony Rizzo was caught too far off second on a sacrifice bunt and Santiago Casilla held on for the save.
The Giants jumped ahead in one of the best pitching matchups of the year. Angel Pagan doubled in the first and scored on Tommy La Stella’s two-out throwing error. Eduardo Nuñez made it 2-0 in the fourth with a single to right that brought Joe Panik in.
Bumgarner needed just 55 pitches to get through four, but Javier Baez, the exciting young Cubs infielder, got to him in the fifth. Baez hit a single and stole second, and he alertly scored on Arrieta’s infield single. Arrieta tapped a roller to third and Nuñez tried to barehand it. The ball ticked off his hand and Baez never stopped running, sliding safely into home ahead of Brandon Crawford’s throw.
Crawford got the run back with his own heads-up play in the top of the sixth. He stole second after a one-out single and then alertly took third when the Cubs went into the shift on Brandon Belt. The move paid off right away; Crawford raced home on a wild pitch.
The Cubs got back within one with a sacrifice fly, but Bumgarner held the lead by striking Matt Szczur out with two on. The lead held up through a bases-loaded jam in the seventh when Addison Russell lined out to right. Will Smith struck Jason Heyward out to strand a runner in the eighth.
Starting pitching report: Bumgarner has made two starts against the Cubs this season and allowed just eight hits and two runs in 13 2/3 innings, with two walks and 16 strikeouts.
Bullpen report: Sergio Romo tumbled into first for the second time in a week, but it got him a big out (with replay overturning the original call). Romo recorded the first two outs of the eighth.
At the plate: Crawford is now six-for-six on stolen base attempts this season. His good friend, noted speedster Buster Posey, is also perfect in six attempts.
In the field: Russell made an incredible play to momentarily keep Crawford from reaching third in the sixth inning, coming out of nowhere to knock down a wayward throw. Crawford is going to win another Gold Glove this year, but Russell should give him a good run in future years.
Attendance: The Cubs announced a crowd of 41,250 human beings. It was probably the loudest crowd the Giants have seen since Game 7 of the 2014 World Series.
Up next: Johnny Cueto, the former Red, returns to Wrigley. He’ll face John Lackey.