On Thursday, Kosuke Fukudome’s game-winning single in the bottom of ninth gave the Cubs a 3-2 victory over the A’s and sealed the first series win for the Cubs since May 27th against the Dodgers. It was the league-leading 25th one-run game for the Cubs who have a 10-15 record in those contests. Carlos Marmol (2-1, 1.76 ERA) recorded the win but Randy Wells (3-5, 4.92 ERA) was the story on the hill for the Cubs. He threw seven strong and struck out six while allowing just two earned. It was a marked improvement for Wells who had lost each of his past five starts.
After being held down for the majority of the game–just three hits from the second to the seventh inning–the Cubs were able to load the bases twice in the final two frames. Xavier Nady’s sacrifice fly to right drove in the tying run but Alfonso Soriano was unable to add on as he struck out to end the inning with men on first and third. Geovany Soto set the tone with a lead off walk in the ninth against A’s reliever Jerry Blevins. Koyie Hill took an intentional walk and Ryan Theriot completed the trifecta with a third base-on-balls before Fukudome delivered the knockout blow.
As for Wells, he attributed his turnaround to a phone call to Gregg Maddux and a video session with pitching coach Larry Rothschild. “I tried to, throughout all this, just keep going back to my strengths and when that wasn’t working that’s when I finally sought some advice,” Wells said. “I felt I was pounding the strike zone, throwing strikes, wasn’t walking a lot of guys, wasn’t giving up a lot of home runs… just… was getting beat to death with a lot of singles and a couple doubles here and there. When that keeps happening you kind of reach out to people.”
“You know, I called [Greg] Maddux and just asked for some friendly advice,” Wells went on, “then I went to Larry with what I had talked to Greg about. Before I could even get a word out of my mouth he took me in the video room and said, ‘Hey, this is what’s happening. Your fastballs are flat, your ball is not sinking, you’re spiking change-ups, all that comes from falling towards the plate and not getting over the rubber.”
Wells went on to say it was a simple adjustment but obviously a needed one that helped the Cubs get a win.