Young and old, Cubs starters have been pitching in to give their team a chance to win against some of the elite clubs lately.
On Sunday it was 33-year-old Tsuyoshi Wada's chance to turn away the first-place Orioles. Wada had a no-hitter through six innings before Steve Pearce jumped on a fastball for his 14th homer.
With less experienced arms eager to be tested, the question for the Cubs is whether to stick with Wada, an aging left-hander who signed a minor league deal with an invitation to spring training.
"He is pitching very, very well. There are decisions that have to be made. He certainly has put himself in a good position," manager Rick Renteria said.
Wada, who pitched nine seasons for the Fukuoka SoftBank Hawks of the Japanese Pacific League, then spent three minor league seasons in the Orioles system. He injured his left elbow in his first spring training with the Orioles and underwent Tommy John surgery on May 11, 2012.
Wada balked when asked to comment on his possible future with the Cubs.
"Right now my focus is one game at a time and hopefully I can keep the results going like the pitching I did today," Wada said through a team interpreter.
Wada (4-1, 2.56), has been impressive by hitting his spots and changing speeds.
"In my last outing, my fastball wasn't working too well, so the fastball was better this time around," Wada said.
Wada's only mistake was the pitch to Pearce.
"It was a mistake," catcher Welington Castillo said. "It was supposed to be a two-seam (fastball) down and away, off the plate. It was like up and middle in. So it was right where (Pearce) wanted it. But (Wada) threw the ball good. What can you ask for?"
Rain man: Renteria is willing to do practically anything to help out around Wrigley Field.
During Saturday's 3-hour, 9-minute rain delay, Renteria noticed a grounds crew member had fallen under the tarp as it was being drawn over the infield.
"He went down, he was underneath," Renteria said Sunday.
Renteria and bench coach Brandon Hyde immediately went to the rescue.
"I just didn't think it was good for him to be under the tarp," Renteria said. "I just reacted. Brandon went out there and we just lifted it and we got him out of there."
Returning: Starlin Castro, who had been on bereavement leave in the Dominican Republic, will return to the Cubs for Tuesday's series opener in Cincinnati. Infielder Logan Watkins has been optioned back to Triple A.
Extra innings: Cubs pitchers held the Orioles to one hit Sunday. The last time the Cubs held an opponent to one hit was June 13, 2010 vs. the White Sox. … Wada recorded his first major league hit in the third inning with an infield single.
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