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Saturday, May 21, 2011
Comeback win only good news for Cubs

By Bruce Levine

BOSTON -- The come-from-behind victory was a bright spot for the Chicago Cubs on Saturday night, after they possibly lost their third player to injury in the past five days.

An eight-run, eighth-inning outburst for a 9-3 win over the Boston Red Sox at Fenway Park was just what the doctor ordered for the beat-up North siders.

The bad news began on Friday when the Cubs confirmed that starter Andrew Cashner would get a second opinion on his sore right shoulder. Then prior to Saturday’s game, the Cubs revealed that Sunday’s scheduled starter Matt Garza had been scratched due to elbow tightness.

Marlon Byrd
Cubs centerfielder Marlon Byrd was hit in the face by a pitch in the second inning on Saturday in Boston.
And the news got even worse in the second inning when Marlon Byrd was beaned by Red Sox starter Alfredo Aceves, causing a deep laceration under his left eye and excessive swelling.

It only seemed right that the Cubs had one coming somewhere down the line. Reed Johnson, Byrd’s replacement, once again picked the team up, contributing a two-run double in the eighth inning as the Cubs sent 12 men to the plate.

Johnson’s thoughts, like everyone’s in the Cubs’ clubhouse, were centered around Byrd’s well-being.

“It looked like he was in panic mode,” Johnson said of Byrd’s reaction to getting hit. “He was trying to scramble and get up and see if adrenaline could make him feel OK. Everyone saw it and it didn’t look too good.”

The Cubs said that Byrd would stay overnight in a local medical center for a battery of tests and observation. One report said the gash under Byrd’s eye was closed with stitches, although that was not confirmed by the Cubs.

The winning clubhouse was subdued after the win, mostly due to the unknown status of their teammate.

“I don’t know what they do. MRIs? Or brain stuff?” manager Mike Quade said. “I just know talking to [Cubs trainer] Mark O’Neil that nothing was definitive. He’s probably going to stay overnight for observation, just to be sure. I know he took it pretty flush. It’s something that is dangerous enough that they’ll take a real good look at it.”

Byrd was hit for the fifth time since May 11. It was the sixth time in his career that he was hit by a pitch in consecutive games. Byrd was hit by a pitch twice on Friday night.

Carlos Zambrano made his first-ever start at Fenway, taking a no-decision. Zambrano pitched 5 2/3 innings of three-run ball. After the game he was also, first and foremost, concerned about Byrd.

“It was tough,” Zambrano said. “But I don’t think Aceves hit him on purpose. It’s a part of the game. We all feel bad for [Byrd]. But we turned this game around in our favor. We won this game, which is very important for us.”

Zambrano’s only mistake was a gopher ball he threw to David Ortiz in the bottom of the fourth inning which gave the Red Sox a 2-1 lead. It was Ortiz’s 300th home run as a Red Sox player.

Saturday’s win was the Cubs third in four games and their first against the Red Sox in Fenway since Game 5 of the 1918 World Series. The Cubs scored five-plus runs in one inning for the eighth time this season, which leads the major leagues.