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Friday, July 6, 2012
Rapid Reaction: Cubs 8, Mets 7

By Brendan Murphy

Here's a look at the Cubs' series-opening win against the New York Mets on Friday night.

How it happened: Anthony Rizzo’s first career four-hit game, which included a three-run homer in the fifth inning, powered the Cubs to a win to open their series against the New York Mets on Friday. The result wasn’t without drama, however. Pitching with a four-run lead, Carlos Marmol allowed five consecutive Mets to reach base (resulting in three runs) before a miraculous double play on Lucas Duda’s line drive up the middle ended this contest. In addition to Rizzo, the Cubs benefitted from multi-hit games by Reed Johnson, Jeff Baker and Geovany Soto. Johnson went 4-for-6 and led off the game with a home run. Cubs starter Travis Wood won his fourth straight decision, pitching six innings and giving up two runs on five hits. Wood has given up just three earned runs over his past four starts.

What it means: With the win, the Cubs appear primed to climb out of the cellar in the NL Central – if scores hold and Houston losses, the Astros will be a half game back of Chicago. The club has either been tied for or held sole possession of last place in the division every day since it was 3-6 on April 14.

Outside the box: Starlin Castro’s first day off of the season didn’t hold up. Manager Dale Sveum sat his slumping All-Star to give him extra rest before the break, but Castro was inserted as part of a double-switch in the seventh frame. Castro had one hit in two plate appearance on Friday.

What’s next: Jeff Samardzija will look to build on the success of his last start, in which he allowed one run over seven innings, as the Cubs take on Mets righty Dillon Gee (5-7, 4.34 ERA).