Bumgarner struggles, Giants lose to Cubs 5-4


Bumgarner struggles, Giants lose to Cubs 5-4

SCOTTSDALE -- The sizzle of Carlos Zambrano finally fizzled in Chicago, and that caused the Cubs to try to find another starting pitcher.Enter Chris Volstad, acquired in a trade with the Miami Marlins in January for the more temperamental right-hander.Volstad describes himself as a laid-back guy who digs time on the beach back home in Florida and likes to dig his cleats into the mound and let the ball fly. From early indications this spring, the 6-foot-8 Volstad is fitting in nicely with the Cubs.On Tuesday, for the second time in as many spring starts, Volstad pitched three shutout innings and started a two-run inning by leading off the third with a single. The Cubs went on to hold off the San Francisco Giants 5-4."I felt good out there," Volstad said. "I was able to attack down in the zone, pound the strike zone, get ahead of guys and to let the sinker work for me."Told that his demeanor appears to be the opposite of the man for whom he was traded, Volstad said, "Yeah, that's what I hear. I still can get upset if things don't go my way. When that happens, you still have to make pitches and move on as best you can."RELATED: Posey hitless through three gamesThe 25-year-old Volstad pitched a combined 499 2-3 innings over the last three seasons, going 26-35. He is working on refining a four-seam fastball with new Cubs pitching coach Chris Bosio and appears to be satisfied with his progress."Just continue to work and locate my pitches," Volstad said. "The infield did a great job for me today. If you can throw a quality pitch and get a ground ball, that's what you want."Another new Cubs player, right fielder David DeJesus, did a good job with the bat and his arm.DeJesus, who signed with Chicago as a free agent after spending the 2011 season with Oakland, doubled in the third to send Volstad to third, setting up a run-scoring groundout by Darwin Barney and an RBI single by Starlin Castro.In the second, DeJesus hustled over toward the corner to retrieve the ball, spun and threw to second, holding Ryan Theriot to a single.The Giants' pitching was not as effective. Left-hander Madison Bumgarner started and was inconsistent, giving up three runs on seven hits in four innings. Setup man Sergio Romo gave up a two-run homer to Anthony Rizzo in the seventh.EXTRAS: Plans for Posey, Wilson; spring roster whittled down
The Giants scored three times in the eighth and had the tying run at third with two outs in the ninth, but right-hander Alberto Cabrera got Gregor Blanco to fly out to end it."(Bumgarner) has been throwing the ball well, but he was a bit wild in the strike zone today, made too many mistakes," Giants manager Bruce Bochy said.Bochy was a bit more upbeat when talking about center fielder Angel Pagan, who is expected to be the Giants' leadoff man after being acquired in a trade with the New York Mets for center fielder Andres Torres and reliever Ramon Ramirez.Pagan had a double and triple and drove in a run, and made a tumbling catch in left-center to rob Steve Clevenger of a hit in the second inning."He had a great game, swung the bat well. That's why he's the leadoff hitter. He can put the pressure on opposing teams," Bochy said.Bochy said Pagan likely would not play over the next few days as he recovers from surgery to remove a wisdom tooth.NOTES: Giants C Buster Posey caught four innings and likely will increase that six starting next week, Bochy said. Posey, with just five at-bats, is expected to be the DH against Cleveland on Wednesday. Bochy wants to get him about 50 at-bats by the end of the spring . ... Brandon Belt played right field against the Cubs, but Bochy said he likely would also try him in left, with Melky Cabrera moving to right.

No Indians first pitch for 'Wild Thing' in World Series


No Indians first pitch for 'Wild Thing' in World Series

CLEVELAND -- Wild Thing will have to stay in the bullpen during the World Series.

While actor Charlie Sheen, who played Ricky "Wild Thing" Vaughn in the movie "Major League" offered to throw out the ceremonial first pitch before one of this year's World Series games, Major League Baseball said the choices have already been made.

A spokesman told the AP on Friday that MLB has worked with the Indians to identify "former franchise greats" to throw out the first pitch for the games in Cleveland. An announcement is expected early next week.

The Indians host Games 1 and 2 on Tuesday and Wednesday. If necessary, Cleveland will host Games 6 and 7 on Nov. 1-2.

There had been a movement by fans on social media for Sheen to throw the first pitch and be part of the pregame festivities.

Sheen got wind of the buzz and responded on Twitter, posting a photo of himself as Vaughn in his Indians uniform and wrote, "Major League continues to be the gift that keeps on giving! if called upon, I'd be honored."

Sheen made an appearance during the playoffs at Dodger Stadium on Wednesday when the Chicago Cubs beat Los Angeles in Game 4 of the NL Championship Series.

Released in 1989, "Major League" is a fictional account of the Indians finishing in first place with an unconventional group of players including Vaughn, who struggled to find the strike zone and warmed up to "Wild Thing," a No. 1 hit song in 1966 by The Troggs.

The real Cleveland Indians, who overcame injuries to win the AL Central, before knocking off Boston and Toronto in the playoffs, took a page from "Major League" this season.

Slugger Mike Napoli and second baseman Jason Kipnis constructed a shrine in an empty clubhouse stall between their lockers like one in the movie. In the film, character Pedro Cerrano practices Voodoo and prays to an idol named, "Jobu" to help him hit curveballs.

Like Cerrano, Napoli and Kipnis have their own "Jobu" and have left gifts, including small bottles of rum and cigars, to keep them out of hitting slumps.

Cubs homer twice in win over Dodgers; tie NLCS 2-2


Cubs homer twice in win over Dodgers; tie NLCS 2-2


LOS ANGELES -- Anthony Rizzo, Addison Russell and the rest of the Chicago Cubs' bats broke out in a big way.

Rizzo homered and ended a postseason slump with three RBIs, Russell's two-run drive highlighted a four-run fourth that stopped Chicago's 21-inning scoreless streak, and the Cubs routed the Los Angeles Dodgers 10-2 on Wednesday to even the NL Championship Series at 2-all.

Kenta Maeda is set to pitch for the Dodgers in Game 5 on Thursday against Jon Lester. Before the game, manager Dave Roberts said he will not start Clayton Kershaw on short rest after the Los Angeles ace threw a bullpen session Wednesday.

Chicago ensured the NLCS will return to Wrigley Field for Game 6 Saturday.

To break out of his prolonged slump, Rizzo used teammate Matt Szczur's bat.

"I know Szczur's bat has a lot of hits in it," Rizzo said. "I've done it a few times this year, just switching up the bat, switching up the mindset."

Following consecutive shutout losses, the Cubs rapped out 13 hits on an 80-degree night with the warm Santa Ana winds fluttering the flags in center field.

Rizzo and Russell had three hits each. Chicago's 3-4-5 hitters - a combined 2 for 32 in the first three games - busted out. Every Cubs starter got at least one hit except Kris Bryant, who walked twice.

"Today was a must-win for us," Ben Zobrist said.

Los Angeles was limited to six hits and made four errors in a game that dragged on for 3 hours, 58 minutes.

Mike Montgomery won in relief of John Lackey, who was chased after consecutive walks opening the fifth. Four days shy of his 38th birthday, Lackey allowed two runs, three hits and three walks.

Julio Urias, at 20 years, 68 days the youngest postseason starting pitcher in major league history, gave up four runs and four hits in 3 2/3 innings. He was the third consecutive left-hander to start the series for Los Angeles.

Chicago rattled off three straight hits to open the fourth, sparked by Zobrist's leadoff bunt single to third.

"With the way that our bats were swinging it at the beginning of the game, we just had to do anything we could. That was my thought process," Zobrist said. "I felt like if he threw a strike, I could get one down in a good spot and was able to do it.

He took second on Javier Baez's single to left, and Willson Contreras followed with a single to nearly the same spot in shallow left, scoring Zobrist.

Baez moved up to third and Contreras took second on left fielder Andrew Toles' errant throw to the plate that skidded all the way to the backstop.

Jayson Heyward hit a run-scoring groundout, and Russell followed with his first extra-base hit since Sept. 30 and his first homer since Sept. 19. He jubilantly pumped an arm as he rounded the bases on his two-run drive, which put the Cubs ahead 4-0.

Rizzo homered off Pedro Baez leading off the fifth, snapping his 0-for-11 skid in the series. Rizzo had entered 2 for 26 in the postseason.

Los Angeles closed to 5-2 in the fifth. With the bases loaded and one out, Justin Turner's likely double-play grounder caromed off Montgomery's outstretched glove and Russell, who scrambled on all fours at shortstop as the ball went into left-center field for a two-run single.

Chicago tacked on five runs in the sixth off relievers Ross Stripling and Luis Avilan. Dexter Fowler singled in the first run, Rizzo added two more on a bases-loaded single and Javier Baez hit a sacrifice fly, with a second run scoring on an error by center fielder Joc Pederson.


Dodgers first baseman Adrian Gonzalez was tagged out at home to end the second. A sliding Gonzalez stretched his left hand toward the tip of the plate as catcher Contreras applied the tag with his left hand near Gonzalez's upper left arm.

The Dodgers challenged Angel Hernandez's call, which was upheld on video review. That drew online scorn from Washington star Bryce Harper.

"He was safe! Replay system still broke..Same thing all year long! (hashtag)DontMessItUp," Harper tweeted.


Hall of Fame broadcaster Vin Scully will attend Thursday's game, his first time back at Dodger Stadium since calling his last home game on Sept. 25. The 88-year-old ended his 67-year career this month with the regular-season finale at San Francisco.


Cubs reliever Carl Edwards Jr. left in the seventh because of left hamstring tightness.


Ashton Kutcher and wife Mila Kunis announced the Dodgers' starting lineup. Also on hand were Rob Lowe, Charlie Sheen, George Lopez, Larry King and Mary Hart.


Lester allowed one run in six innings of Game 1 in the series, getting a no-decision in Chicago's 8-4 victory. ... Maeda has a 9.00 ERA in two postseason appearances. He allowed three runs and four hits in four innings of the NLCS opener and didn't factor in the decision.