Left-hander James Russell did exactly what the Cubs wanted him to do in the second game of Wednesday’s doubleheader.
Manager Mike Quade penciled in 70 pitches for the emergency starter. Russell delivered upon expectations, throwing 74 pitches in four innings. He allowed four runs, including three home runs.
The Cubs’ reliever had a quote right out of the movie “Bull Durham” after taking the 5-4 loss.
“For the most part all my pitches felt great,” Russell said. “It was that 0-1 curveball to [Ryan] Ludwig and I was right there with [Geovany Soto] on it. I made a good pitch and he it hit it out. I got behind [Cameron] Maybin in a fastball count. I threw him a fastball away and he barreled it. That’s just how it goes. Some days they hit it right at some guy. Some days they hit it out of the park.”
Russell was the first Cubs pitchers to give up three homers in a game since Tom Gorzelanny did it against the Reds on Aug. 27, 2010.
Although the Cubs split the doubleheader, the day belonged to extra outfielder Reed Johnson, who won the first game with a walkoff homer in the 11th inning. The Cubs’ fifth outfielder also had three hits in Game 2.
“It’s good we were able to win the series today,” Johnson said. “We were able to do that with the first win. We’re not going to lay down [the second game]. You saw that in the last couple of innings where we were able to comeback. There’s something special about this team. We’ve done that a couple different times and come up short. The more times you’re knocking at the door, the more chances we have to succeed in those situations.”
At 9-9 the Cubs ended the day with a split in a day-night doubleheader. They also ended it in a tie for first place with the Reds, Brewers and Cardinals. Lastly, the North Siders set a strange franchise record for being at .500 nine different times in 18 games.
“It’s like the old-school National League West,” Johnson said. “It used to be one of those teams at .500 was leading the division, but that’s not going to be the case for us because there is too many good teams in our division.”