Giants come back from 5 runs down to top Cubs

The SportsXchange

CHICAGO -- San Francisco Giants right hander Ryan Vogelsong said he felt out of sorts all day Thursday.

But once his team rallied from a 5-0 deficit to claim a 7-5 lead over the Chicago Cubs in the fifth inning, the San Francisco starter wasn't about to let them down.

"I just haven't been comfortable on the mound, I just don't feel like I should, like I did in spring training," said Vogelsong (1-1), who worked six innings for his first win of the season. "(But) when we put a little rally on there the last thing I wanted to do was go out and stink it up."

The Giants won the game 7-6 in the opener of a four-game series at Wrigley Field, which was their fourth straight and seventh in in their last nine games.

"I can't say enough about what these guys did today," said San Francisco manager Bruce Bochy. "Travel day, it was cold, raining out there and little sleep and you give them five runs. It's easy to lay down at that point but they fought back hard and got it done."

The Giants scored four runs in the fourth and added three in the fifth before a sparse crowd at cold and soggy Wrigley Field.

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.

Vogelsong allowed four earned runs on eight hits, struck out five and walked just one.

The Cubs struggled with fundamentals while the bottom of the order had an outsized impact as No. 8 hitter Nick Noonan was 3-for-5 with two runs scored in his first start while Vogelsong walked and scored a run.

"We couldn't cover first base twice, walked a pitcher, the eighth hitter got three hits," Cubs manager Dale Sveum said. "It was basically the ballgame, the eighth and ninth hitters."

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 Vogelsong.

The Giants then loaded the bases for Lillibridge, who singled 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 out, including a bases loaded double by Pablo Sandoval as they sent nine men to the plate.

Hunter Pence and Noonan each reached on singles, with Pence scoring when Vogelsong reached base on a Castro throwing error.

"I feel really bad because that's one of the plays you have to make," Castro said. "It's a routine play and it's the pitcher running. I feel really bad. Those things can't happen."

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.

"We put together a lot of good at-bats that inning and it paid off for us," Crawford said. "We made stuff happen."

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

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 no 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.

David DeJesus doubled down the right field line with one out in the ninth on reliever Sergio Romo, who ended the game 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.

"The offense came out and threw five up there quick for me and I would have loved to keep going," Feldman said. "But I ran into some trouble there in that one inning and threw too many pitches and they were able to claw a few across. By that point my pitch count got way out of control."

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. ... 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 April 13, 1963.
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