BOSTON — A tense pitchers’ duel didn’t provide nearly as much suspense for the Chicago Cubs as a game-ending replay that validated their 2-1 win over the Boston Red Sox.
“It was nerve-wracking, especially with Papi (David Ortiz) coming up,” Anthony Rizzo said.
A challenge by Red Sox manager John Farrell confirmed that third baseman Luis Valbuena threw out Dustin Pedroia with the tying run on base to clinch the Cubs’ first regular-season series victory at Fenway Park since a four-game sweep of the Boston Braves in 1915.
Aside from the final play, the Cubs collectively provided contributions that fueled their confidence.
“It’s just nice to come (and win) in this atmosphere,” said Rizzo, who started a ninth-inning rally with a single off Koji Uehara to snap an 0-for-13 skid. “We know we can compete with anyone. This is a big confidence builder for everyone on our team.”
For Edwin Jackson, it was a marked difference from his previous starts as he worked out of a bases-loaded jam in the fifth and left after six innings of one-run ball with help from his defense to post his first quality start since May 17.
Hector Rondon earned his second save in as many nights. And the threesome of Rizzo, Starlin Castro (who hit a double that moved Rizzo to third) and Valbuena (who hit a game-winning sacrifice fly off Uehara) continued to carry the offense, which has scored only six runs in its last four games.
“Go give those guys some love,” manager Rick Renteria said and smiled.
Jackson, who made his major league debut at 20 in 2003 with the same type of hype as Rizzo and Castro, sees plenty of progress in his teammates.
“They’re just coming into their own,” Jackson said. “Experience comes into play. The more they get a chance to play, the more they get to discover themselves and realize what they’re able to do.
“They’re All-Star-caliber players, and (when) they realize that and take the field with that kind of attitude, it shows in their play.”
The continued struggles of Junior Lake didn’t dampen Renteria’s spirits. Lake was summoned to hit for Nate Schierholtz to face left-handed reliever Andrew Miller with the go-ahead run in scoring position but struck out on three pitches.
Lake is 1-for-14 as a pinch hitter, and he is hitless in his last 15 at-bats with six consecutive strikeouts.
Renteria said pinch hitting in the majors as a 24-year-old is understandably difficult for Lake.
“I give him credit because he doesn’t get down,” Renteria said. “He stays positive, and he keeps working.”
©2014 Chicago Tribune
Distributed by MCT Information Services