How it happened: The Cubs won the game in the top of ninth when first baseman Anthony Rizzo's hard grounder went right through Giants' first baseman Brandon Belt, scoring two runs. Things were trending the Cubs' way early through four scoreless innings. Pitcher Edwin Jackson threw a tidy 44 pitches through four frames, while his Giants counterpart Matt Cain was up to 71 pitches thrown. The Cubs punched through in the sixth for the game's first run. Starlin Castro snuck a ground ball beneath diving second baseman Tony Abreau to score former Giant Nate Schierholtz from second. But in the seventh, Jackson unraveled, yielding a walk, a ringing double and single by Jeff Francoeur to drive in two Giants.
What it means: What kind of team is taking shape for the Cubs as they strip down their roster for the future? If this game was a hint, Schierholtz looked like a legitimate clean-up hitter against right-handed pitching. He tagged a liner to right that was caught and also doubled in the gap in left center. Budding star Junior Lake finally cooled after a hot start, which included a seven-game hitting streak. It will be interesting to see how the young Lake responds Saturday night after his first 0-for-5. Lake had a chance to the tie the game with one out in ninth and runners at first and second. He grounded into a force play for the second out.
Outside the box: Jackson was also supported by sparkling defense, particularly by second baseman Darwin Barney. He smothered a one-hop shot by Buster Posey and threw him out from his knees to start the seventh inning. Barney might be headed towards his second consecutive gold glove. He went 74 straight games at second base without committing an error dating back to last year, before making an error on consecutive games on July 7-8.
What’s next? The Cubs will face the Giants ace in All-Star lefty Madison Bumgarner on Saturday night, which will create a vexing question as to whom will bat clean-up for the Cubs. However, Chicago has hit 39 homers off lefties, tying them for most in the Majors with the A's. Left-hander Chris Rusin will pitch for the Cubs.