Tuesday, July 29, 2014
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Cubs' Wada beats Rockies for first victory

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[July 29, 2014]  CHICAGO -- Unlike many of the players making their way from the minor leagues to the Chicago Cubs, Tsuyoshi Wada is no youngster.

At 33, he is the second-oldest player on the Cubs' active roster, but picking up a first major league win is special at any age.

Wada pitched seven strong innings in his third career start to help the Cubs snap a two-game losing streak with a 4-1 victory over the Colorado Rockies on Monday.

He received the customary postgame beer shower.

"I very much appreciate that the Cubs used me again after that outing I had against San Diego; it wasn't very good," Wada said through a translator. "Obviously, I'm happy about the first win."

Wada (1-1) allowed just one run on five hits and a walk while striking out six. He gave up the run in the sixth -- on an single by third baseman Nolan Arenado -- but then came back to work a scoreless seventh.

It was a far cry from his outing last Wednesday, when he allowed five runs on five hits and four walks in four-plus innings.

"He commanded the zone," Chicago manager Rick Renteria said. "He executed pitches and got some big outs when he needed to. He did a nice job and gave us some innings.

"I thought he had a really good mix of pitches. He was using his fastball effectively, obviously, and his secondary pitches were working well."

The left-hander exited with a 2-1 lead before the Cubs added two insurance runs in the eighth inning.

Cubs first baseman Anthony Rizzo went 1-for-4 with two runs batted in, and third baseman/center fielder Emilio Bonifacio added two hits and two runs.

Hector Rondon pitched the ninth to pick up his 13th save in 16 opportunities.

Colorado starter Yohan Flande (0-3) gave up two runs on four hits in 6 2/3 innings. The left-hander struck out eight and walked just one, but it wasn't enough for the Rockies to avoid a second straight loss.

"He got us deep in the game, and that's what we needed tonight," Rockies manager Walt Weiss said. "We needed some length from him because the bullpen is a little beat up right now. He did his part. He did a heck of a job."

The Cubs have not faced many left-handers this season, and Flande kept them off balance and off the bases through the first three innings.

Bonifacio led off the fourth inning with a single. Second baseman Arismendy Alcantara followed with a double to put runners at second and third.

Rizzo hit a soft grounder to second with the infield back, scoring Bonifacio for the game's first run. After shortstop Starlin Castro was walked intentionally, right fielder Justin Ruggiano hit a sacrifice fly to right that was deep enough to score the speedy Alcantara for a 2-0 lead.

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Wada, meanwhile, cruised through the first four innings. He struck out the side in the first inning and allowed just one baserunner before center fielder Junior Lake lost a routine fly ball by left fielder Brandon Barnes in the twilight sky for a gift double with one out in the fifth.

Wada, though, got out of the inning without further damage.

"Because it was the second time in Wrigley Field, I was more comfortable," he said.

Due to his age, Wada isn't likely to be in the Cubs' plans going forward. Then again, the organization isn't in a position to turn away effective pitchers, so he was asked if he thinks he has a future in Chicago.

"It's not like I'm looking at the big picture right now," he said. "I'm taking it game by game and not thinking about too far ahead."

Wada pitched in Japan's Pacific League from 2003-11, going 107-61 with a 3.13 ERA in 210 games (207 starts). He underwent Tommy John surgery in 2012, then spent 2013 with the Baltimore Orioles' Triple-A Norfolk affiliate.

NOTES: Rockies SS Troy Tulowitzki was in Philadelphia on Monday for a dry needling procedure on his left hip. Basically, tiny needles are stuck into the area of the injury to spark light blood flow and (the hope is) promote healing. How effective it was won't be known for some time, so Tulowitzki's return date is uncertain. "I don't think that picture's any clearer," manager Walt Weiss said. ... INF Josh Rutledge was in the Rockies' original lineup but was scratched when he became ill. ... The Cubs sent INF Darwin Barney, who was designated for assignment last week, to the Los Angeles Dodgers for a player to be named. ... Rockies 1B Justin Morneau (neck strain) made a rehab start Monday for Triple-A Colorado Springs, and he will be eligible to come off the disabled list Tuesday. "It's possible that he could be with us tomorrow," Weiss said before the game. "It just depends on how it goes tonight."

[ 2014 Thomson Reuters. All rights reserved.]

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