Baseball / Sports

Cubs backup catch John Baker's performance picture perfect

Backup catcher John Baker couldn't resist taking a photograph of the Wrigley Field scoreboard Wednesday that still posted his jersey No. 12, indicating he was the last pitcher in the Cubs' 4-3 victory over the Rockies in 16 innings that took a franchise record 6 hours, 27 minutes to complete.

"That's the second time I've taken a picture on a field," Baker said of the photo that commemorated his record-setting moment. The other was a family picture taken recently at Wrigley.

Baker, 33, became the Cubs' first true position player to earn a victory since Fred Pfeffer in 1885, according to team historian Ed Hartig.

Pfeffer played 109 games at second base that season and posted a 2-1 record in five pitching appearances.

Baker said he received about 100 text messages after earning the victory, which he capped by drawing a leadoff walk in the 16th and scoring on Starlin Castro's sacrifice fly.

Baker was a pitcher and first baseman at De La Salle High School in Concord, Calif., but hadn't pitched in a game since 2000 for the Yarmouth-Dennis Red Sox of the Cape Cod League.

Baker credited bullpen coach Lester Strode for teaching him the grip on a sinker that helped produce an inning-ending double play.

The Cubs' triumph early Wednesday surpassed their previous record, in terms of time, of 6:10, in a 2-1 loss to the Dodgers on Aug. 17-18, 1982.

The Cubs bullpen hurled 12 shutout innings. The last time Cubs relievers threw at least 12 scoreless innings in a game occurred on Sept. 11, 1946, against the Boston Braves when they pitched 121/3 scoreless innings in a 17-inning tie game.

Because the bullpen was taxed, left-hander Chris Rusin was promoted from Triple-A Iowa. Blake Parker, who hadn't allowed a run while striking out nine in his last three outings covering six innings, was optioned to Iowa.

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