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Friday, April 12, 2013
Cubs pick up Fujikawa after 1st blown save

By Bruce Levine

CHICAGO -- What looked like another disaster for the Chicago Cubs bullpen ultimately turned out well for closer Kyuji Fujikawa and his teammates on Friday.

Kyuji Fujikawa
Kyuji Fujikawa gave up three earned runs on three hits and blew his first save Friday against the Giants.
After Fujikawa blew his first save, allowing the Giants to take a 3-2 lead with three runs in the ninth inning, Cubs shortstop Starlin Castro hit a walkoff RBI double to give the Cubs a 4-3 victory.

Starting pitcher Carlos Villanueva was in line for his first win after throwing 7 1/3 shutout innings before the Fujikawa meltdown.

"I told him (through Fujikawa's translator) I believe in him; we all believe in him and think he is going to be fine," Villanueva said. "He was very apologetic and felt bad. We need him."

Fujikawa took over the closer role from Carlos Marmol but has struggled despite picking up two saves. He has a 12.46 ERA in five appearances.

Dioner Navarro tied the game at 3-3 with a pinch-hit home run, and David DeJesus scored the winning run after doubling in the ninth ahead of Castro.

"It was great we came back today," DeJesus said. "Villanueva was great throwing strikes all over the place and keeping them off-balance. It just stinks that he didn’t get the win but Fuji got his first one. It is awesome to get your first one over here. We are excited for him."

Fujikawa, who had 220 saves in Japan before signing a two-year contract with the Cubs last fall, was not happy about his performance despite the victory.

"I really appreciate that (teammates support) so I really need to get my confidence (back) by continue pitching (Saturday)," Fujikawa said through his translator. "It is my first time pitching in this league. It is definitely a tough job."

A beer shower by his teammates helped ease the pain of his first blown save.

"I appreciate my teammates having my back," he said. "I just need to go back out there tomorrow."