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Giants 7, Cubs 6

The SportsXchange

CHICAGO -- The San Francisco Giants erased an early 5-0 deficit with two big mid-game innings on the way to a 7-6 victory over the Chicago Cubs on Thursday.

The Giants scored four runs in the fourth and added three in the fifth in the opener of a four-game series before a sparse crowd at cold and wet Wrigley Field. It was the biggest come-from-behind victory for the Giants since 2008.

Chicago jumped to a big early lead on a two-run Anthony Rizzo homer while Brent Lillibridge added two RBIs with his first hit of the season.

But starting pitcher Scott Feldman (0-2) couldn't hold the lead, surrendering four runs in a difficult fourth inning and left in the fifth with two Giants runners on base.

San Francisco right-hander Ryan Vogelsong (1-1) worked six full innings for the win. He allowed four earned runs on eight hits, struck out five and walked just one.

The win was the fourth straight and seventh in the Giants' last nine games. The Cubs have now dropped four of their last five.

Rizzo's home run, his third of the season, came with Starlin Castro on base and gave the Cubs a 3-0 lead in the third off Giants starter Ryan Vogelsong.

The Giants then loaded the bases for Lillibridge who collected his first hit of the season -- a single to center that scored Welington Castillo and Luis Valbuena for a short-lived 5-0 lead.

The Giants replied with four runs in the fourth after two outs, including a bases-loaded double by Pablo Sandoval as they sent nine men to the plate. Hunter Pence and Nick Noonan each reached on singles, with Pence scoring when Vogelsong reached base on a Castro throwing error. Noonan came home on Angel Pagan's base hit and Brandon Crawford loaded the bases when he was hit by Feldman, setting the stage for Sandoval's two-run double to deep left center.

Feldman departed in the fifth inning with one out and two. Left-handed reliever Hisanori Takahashi promptly loaded the bases, giving up a single to Noonan, who had a team-high three hits on the day.

Takahashi walked Vogelsong and forced home Belt to tie game at 5-5 and claimed a 6-5 lead as Pagan's sacrifice fly scored Blanco.

The Cub reliever continued to struggle, surrendering an RBI single to Crawford and again loaded the bases by walking Sandoval. He got Buster Posey to strike out to finally end the inning.

The Cubs got one run back in the eight with runners at first and third and none out. But Giants reliever Santiago Casilla coaxed Castillo into a double play that scored Soriano, who had a leadoff double.

It was a good thing since Valbuena, the next batter, doubled to deep center. Left-handed pinch hitter Steve Clevenger then struck out looking.

DeJesus doubled down the right field line with one out in the ninth on reliever Sergio Romo, who ended the game by striking out Rizzo for his sixth save.

Chicago threatened in the first with Castro on third with one out. But the Cubs shortstop was stranded after Rizzo struck out and Alfonso Soriano grounded to short.

Feldman worked out of a jam in the second after the Giants put Noonan and Gregor Blanco on the second and third, respectively. The Cubs' right-hander struck out Pagan to close the inning.

The Cubs pushed one run across in the bottom of the inning as Nate Schierholtz and Castillo reached on back-to-back singles. Schierholtz advanced to third as Lillibridge grounded into a fielder's choice that forced Castillo at second

Schierholtz scored on a subsequent poor throw to first by Giants' shortstop Brandon Crawford.

Feldman, the first of five Cubs pitchers, gave up six runs, including two earned. He also allowed seven hits while striking out three and walking three.

NOTES: An unidentified man delivered a severed goat's head to Wrigley Field on Wednesday with no message but a clear allusion to a curse placed on the team when a local bar owner was prohibited from entering Wrigley Field with his goat during the 1945 World Series. The package was addressed to Cubs chairman Tom Ricketts and police are investigating. ... The real curse continued to be weather conditions, with Wednesday's game against the Brewers postponed and slightly better conditions Thursday with morning rain and temperatures in the 40s. Rain stopped around noon and the game with the Giants began at 1:20 p.m. as scheduled. ...Cubs infielder Darwin Barney was scheduled to have stitches removed from a knee and report to Iowa for rehab games before returning to the Cubs next week. ... The Giants visit to Chicago was their earliest ever and only trip they'll make this season. The previous earliest game came on April 13, 1963. ... San Francisco reliever Sergio Romo leads the majors with saves after working the ninth and has allowed only two base runners in six appearances. ... The Giants six won 13 consecutive games started by left hander Barry Zito, who pitched seven scoreless innings in Wednesday's 10-0 win over the Rockies. He's not scheduled to pitch in this series.
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