for this game

Hernandez continues postseason success, D-Backs complete sweep

Oct 7, 2007 - 5:45 AM CHICAGO (Ticker) -- The Arizona Diamondbacks were counting on Livan Hernandez's extensive postseason experience. The Cuban righthander needed all the guile he could muster.

Hernandez escaped trouble throughout his six innings and Chris Young belted the first pitch of the game for a home run Saturday as the Diamondbacks recorded a 5-1 victory and a three-game sweep over the Chicago Cubs in their National League Division Series.

Eric Byrnes and Stephen Drew also homered for Arizona, which will play the Colorado Rockies for the right to represent the National League in the World Series. The Rockies completed a series sweep Saturday night with a 2-1 victory.

"You try not to think about it. Take it one series at a time, one game at a time," the 23-year-old Young said. "Obviously we came through and swept the Cubs, but that's not your plan. You don't come and plan on sweeping any team. You win the series any way you can and try to find a way and deal with the celebrations afterwards."

Colorado leads the series, 2-0, with a chance to sweep Philadelphia later Saturday.

Hernandez (1-0) put 11 runners on base but yielded just a run while stranding eight. He allowed five hits and five walks, hit a batter and induced three double plays.

"He's a guy that you got to have some patience with because he will have some runners on base and he will find ways to pitch himself out of it," Arizona manager Bob Melvin said. "This time of the season it can be a little bit more difficult to be patient at times, but, you know, up until a certain point in the game, unless we really look like his stuff just isn't there, we don't have better.

"He's done it so many times. He's been in this type of situation before and had an outstanding effort."

Like fellow starters Brandon Webb and Doug Davis, who pitched Arizona to victories in the first two contests of this best-of-five series, Hernandez and the bullpen continued to baffle the Cubs' big hitters.

"Starting off with a lead was big for me," said Hernandez. "Although my command wasn't great, I didn't give in to the hitters in fastball counts. They have great hitters, you must use their aggressiveness to help get ground balls."

"We did not hit in this series," Cubs left fielder Alfonso Soriano said. "Our goal was to win the World Series. We were short of that. And that makes it a season that's disappointing."

After combining for 29 homers in September, Alfonso Soriano, Derrek Lee and Aramis Ramirez failed to advance nine baserunners in this one and were a combined 6-for-38 with no RBI and 28 stranded runners for the series.

"We had numerous opportunities, numerous," Chicago manager Lou Piniella said. "What did we hit into, four double plays. ... When you don't score runs and leave a lot of runners on bases, it looks lackluster, but we gave it our all."

"You can never envision a sweep," Lee said. "We just didn't play well. They were the better team. They deserve to go on."

Ramirez was especially brutal, going 0-for-12 with five strikeouts. He hit into two double plays and stranded 12 baserunners.

"He struggled this series, but we didn't do much offensively. What did we do, scored six runs," Piniella said. "I said before the series that the key was we needed to hits against their pitchers - and we didn't."

The 32-year-old Hernandez - the 1997 World Series MVP who entered 6-2 with a 3.99 ERA in 10 career postseason games - did his best pitching in the fifth, when the Diamondbacks had a 3-1 lead.

"There's no pressure pitching in these games," Hernandez said. "I have great support from my teammates and my family. Pressure is living in Cuba trying to survive. My daughter said to me today 'Daddy, you're the man.' Things like that take you a long way."

The Cubs loaded the bases with one out and Hernandez fell behind, 3-1, in the count to Mark DeRosa. However, Hernandez got the Cubs' second baseman to roll into a double play, silencing the raucous Wrigley faithful.

"It's tough, because it was the one time all series I felt like we really put pressure on them, and one hit could have really changed the whole complexion of that game," DeRosa said. "Grounding into a double play right there, you let your teammates down, you let the fans down."

With Wrigley Field quieted, Byrnes added another nail to the Cubs' coffin when he drilled a hanging slider by Carlos Marmol into the left field seats for a 4-1 lead, virtually ending any hope the Cubs had of ending their 99-year world championship drought.

"I think most of us will walk out of here stunned," DeRosa said. "I think we had the necessary ingredients to make a run at a world championship. I'm sure the fans are disappointed. I know we're disappointed. It's going to take me awhile to get over the way this series played out."

The hard-throwing Marmol, who had a fantastic regular season, was the loser in Game One when he yielded a seventh-inning homer to Mark Reynolds.

Drew added his second blast of the series in the ninth off Kerry Wood to provide a 5-1 cushion. The rookie shortstop finished 7-for-14 in the series.

"If you want to talk about their players, start with their shortstop," Piniella said. "Drew made great plays, hit some home runs and what did he hit, over .500."

Tony Pena took over for Hernandez in the seventh and got Lee to hit into an inning-ending double play. Brandon Lyon worked a scoreless eighth and Jose Valverde closed out the ninth, sparking a wild celebration on the mound after inducing a game-ending flyout by Soriano.

Young hit the first pitch of the game - a 91 miles-per-hour fastball - from Chicago starter Rich Hill into the left field seats for a quick 1-0 lead.

"I should have known better than to throw him that for a first pitch," Hill said. "I've seen Alfonso (Soriano) do that all year to other pitchers. We've just come so far and done so well all year, it's a disappointing way to end the season."

The 23-year-old Young got the Diamondbacks off and running in Thursday's 8-4 Game Two victory with a three-run homer off Ted Lilly in the second inning that wiped out a 2-0 deficit.

After Young's blast, Drew followed with a double and scored three batters later when 19-year-old Justin Upton singled to right for a 2-0 lead.

Hill (0-1), making his first postseason start, was 3-0 with a 3.18 ERA in his last three regular-season starts but hadn't pitched since beating Cincinnati last Saturday.

"You work so hard to get where you're at," said Hill. "To watch the other team celebrate on your field, and to see them go on to the next round, it's a real empty feeling."

The lefthander needed 31 pitches to get through the first inning and was relieved after allowing the first two batters in the fourth inning to reach.

Michael Wuertz entered and walked Young before striking out Drew for the first out.

Byrnes then hit a potential double-play ball to Ramirez at third. But the hustling Byrnes just beat the relay throw from first on a very close call, allowing Miguel Montero to score for a 3-0 lead.

Hill was charged with three runs and six hits in three-plus innings.

Hernandez worked around six baserunners in the first three innings before the Cubs broke through in the fourth, when DeRosa led off with a single up the middle and advanced to third on a hit-and-run double to right-center by Jacque Jones.

DeRosa eventually scored on a groundout by Jason Kendall.






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    Diamondbacks vs. CubsNov 25 10:57 AM


  • NL
    FINAL
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 R H E
    - - - - - - - - - - - -
    ARIZONA 2 0 0 1 0 1 0 0 1 5 10 1
    CHICAGO CUBS 0 0 0 1 0 0 0 0 0 1 7 0 (FINAL)

    BATTERIES: ARI - LIVAN HERNANDEZ, TONY PENA (7TH), BRANDON LYON (8TH), JOSE
    VALVERDE (9TH) AND MIGUEL MONTERO, CHRIS SNYDER (7TH)
    CHN - RICH HILL, MIKE WUERTZ (4TH), CARLOS MA

    Oct 6 9:29 PM


  • NL
    AT CHICAGO CUBS PLAYOFFS - SCORING UPDATE
    SOLO HOME RUN BY STEPHEN DREW (2) TO RIGHT WITH 0 OUT IN
    THE 9TH OFF KERRY WOOD.
    CURRENT SCORE: ARIZONA 5, CHICAGO CUBS 1
    DUE UP FOR ARIZONA: E BYRNES (.182, 1-FOR-4, HR, 2 RBI)

    Diamondbacks vs. CubsOct 6 9:14 PM
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    Diamondbacks vs. CubsOct 6 8:49 PM


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    AT CHICAGO CUBS PLAYOFFS - SCORING UPDATE
    SOLO HOME RUN BY ERIC BYRNES (1) TO LEFT CENTER WITH 2 OUT
    IN THE 6TH OFF CARLOS MARMOL.
    CURRENT SCORE: ARIZONA 4, CHICAGO CUBS 1
    DUE UP FOR ARIZONA: C JACKSON (.143, 1-FOR-3)

    Diamondbacks vs. CubsOct 6 8:25 PM


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    AT CHICAGO CUBS PLAYOFFS - SCORING UPDATE
    GROUND OUT BY JASON KENDALL SCORED MARK DEROSA.
    SITUATION: 1 RUN IN, J JONES ON SECOND, 1 OUT
    CURRENT SCORE: ARIZONA 3
    CHICAGO CUBS 1 BOTTOM, 4TH
    DUE UP FOR CHICAGO CUBS: M WUERTZ (.000, 0 HR, 0 RBI)

    Diamondbacks vs. CubsOct 6 7:43 PM
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    Diamondbacks vs. CubsOct 6 7:41 PM


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    AT CHICAGO CUBS PLAYOFFS - SCORING UPDATE
    FIELDER'S CHOICE BY ERIC BYRNES SCORED MIGUEL MONTERO.
    SITUATION: 1 RUN IN, E BYRNES ON FIRST, L HERNANDEZ ON THIRD, 2 OUT
    CURRENT SCORE: ARIZONA 3
    CHICAGO CUBS 0 TOP, 4TH
    DUE UP FOR ARIZONA: C JACKSON (.167, 1-FOR-2)

    Diamondbacks vs. CubsOct 6 7:32 PM


  • NL
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 R H E
    - - - - - - - - - - - -
    ARIZONA 2 2 3 0
    CHICAGO CUBS 0 0 0 (BOT 1)

    CURRENT PITCHERS: ARI - LIVAN HERNANDEZ
    CHN - RICH HILL

    DUE UP FOR CHICAGO CUBS: A SORIANO (.200, 0 HR, 0 RBI)
    R THERIOT (.222, 0 HR, 1 RBI)
    D LEE (.250, 0 HR, 0 RB

    Diamondbacks vs. CubsOct 6 6:22 PM
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