Cubs hold on to top Mariners

Scott Johnson, The Sports Xchange
The SportsXchange

SEATTLE -- After splitting extra-inning games Friday and Saturday, the Chicago Cubs and Seattle Mariners took another game down to the final at-bat, with Chicago holding on for a 7-6 victory in the rubber match of the three-game series.
Chicago (35-45) built a six-run lead after four innings and held on despite three Seattle home runs in the seventh and eighth innings, during which the Mariners (35-47) scored four runs to pull within a run.
"An ugly win is better than a pretty loss any day," said Cubs starter Edwin Jackson, who snapped a two-start losing streak after allowing three runs off seven hits in six innings of work Sunday. "When they came back and scored those runs, we were still winning -- that's the important thing."
Cubs reliever Kevin Gregg bounced back from a blown save the previous day by pitching a perfect ninth inning Sunday, including a game-ending strikeout of Seattle's Kendrys Morales with the bases empty.
"Coming off the blown save (Saturday), I wanted to get right back out there," said Gregg, who is now 13-for-14 in save opportunities.
The Cubs had six doubles over the first four innings, during which they built a 7-1 lead. Anthony Rizzo drove in runs during the three-run second inning and the four-run fourth to help end a streak of four consecutive solid starts for Seattle's Jeremy Bonderman.
Bonderman (1-2) didn't make it out of the fourth inning, having allowed six runs -- four of them earned -- off six hits. Five of the hits were doubles, while Bonderman walked two and hit a batter.
"He left a few breaking pitches up today," said Chicago's Darwin Barney, who went 2-for-4 with a pair of doubles Sunday. "I think we hit him mostly on his breaking stuff."
The early lead appeared to be enough for Jackson (4-10), who earned his first win since June 14, but the Cubs didn't make it easy on themselves.
After the sixth inning, Seattle hit three home runs, including Raul Ibanez's 19th of the season on a solo shot in the eighth.
Jason Bay's leadoff homer in the bottom of the seventh pulled Seattle to within 7-3, and Jackson lasted only one more batter before Shawn Camp came on in relief. Camp got Jackson and the Cubs out of a jam with three consecutive outs to end the seventh, but he gave up three straight hits to open the eighth, including home runs by Ibanez and Kyle Seager. The latter home run, which ended an 0-for-19 slump for Seager, was a two-run shot that cut the Chicago lead to 7-6 with no one out.
But right-hander Hector Rondon came on to get the final two outs, setting up Gregg's save opportunity in the ninth.
"Our guys did a great job of fighting back there," Wedge said. "... We had our opportunities, but it wasn't enough."
Four of the first five Chicago batters in the top of the second inning doubled off Bonderman, accounting for three runs as the Cubs jumped out to a 3-0 lead.
"He never really got it going today," Wedge said. "... He's a battler, he kept trying to battle and get through it, but ultimately we had to get him out of there."
After Seattle got one run back on a Nick Franklin RBI in the bottom of the third, Chicago's Barney started up the doubles parade again by leading off the fourth with a double down the left-field line. He came around to score on the next at-bat, this time a two-bagger of the other variety when Mariners third baseman Seager let a Welington Castillo ground ball get through his legs to bring home Barney for a 4-1 Cubs lead.
Two batters later, Starlin Castro drove Castillo home with a single to give Chicago a 5-1 lead and end Bonderman's outing after just 3 1/3 innings.
Alfonso Soriano and Anthony Rizzo had RBI hits off reliever Blake Beavan as Chicago took a 7-1 lead into the bottom of the fourth.
Beavan went 4 2/3 innings, his longest stint as a reliever, and allowed just one run while giving the Mariners a chance to get back in the game.
Seattle's Franklin followed teammate Brad Miller's first major league hit with a two-out, RBI single off Jackson in the fifth.
The Mariners chased Jackson in the seventh, when Bay led off with a solo homer and Miller doubled before reliever Camp retired three consecutive batters to maintain Chicago's 7-3 lead.
NOTES: Cubs starter Jackson had six strikeouts Sunday, but his catcher had trouble finishing off half of them. Castillo failed to come up with the ball on three of Jackson's third strikes and had to throw the batter out at first base. ... Seattle's Bay hit his second home run of the series, and his 10th of the season, Sunday. All 10 of his homers this year have been solo shots. ... Mariners OF Dustin Ackley (thumb) sat out Sunday's game but could be available as soon as Tuesday, manager Eric Wedge said before the game. ... Before Sunday's game, the Mariners traded OF Eric Thames to Baltimore for IF Ty Kelly. The 26-year-old Thames was hitting .297 in 57 games at Triple-A Tacoma but lost his spot on the 40-man roster when Seattle activated OF Franklin Gutierrez from the 60-day disabled list on June 22.

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