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Blake DeWitt, Carlos Pena and Kosuke Fukudome come up big for Cubs

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Who saw that headline coming a month ago?

Blake DeWitt, who was on the bench for 30 of the Cubs’ previous 31 games this year, homered and scored the winning run.

Carlos Pena, who was hitting .159 and slugging .175 at the end of April, hit a game-tying homer in the ninth.

Kosuke Fukudome, who entered the day in a 2-for-25 slump and had just two RBI in 71 at-bats for the season, delivered the game-winning hit.

And the Cubs did it against the Reds, who have become famous for their late-game heroics, as Francisco Cordero blew a save for the first time this year.

The Cubs ended up winning 3-2 after Pena’s leadoff homer off Cordero and Fukudome’s RBI single.  They caught a terrible break with two outs in the ninth, when Jeff Baker’s fly to deep right center took a big bounce off the warning track and jumped into the stands, preventing DeWitt from scoring from first. Fukudome, though, followed that with a liner up the middle, finishing the game.

The most positive development for the Cubs has to be Pena’s power surge.  He has three homers in four games after going a month without one.

Because Pena and Fukudome are now playing well enough to hold down regular jobs, the Cubs need to seriously consider demoting Tyler Colvin to Triple-A.  Last year’s rookie surprise is batting just .121 after going 0-for-4 with two strikeouts today.  The Cubs would be better off getting him regular at-bats in the minors and giving him his playing time to Reed Johnson.

Josh Johnson retires from baseball

PEORIA, AZ - FEBRUARY 21: Josh Johnson #55 of the San Diego Padres poses during Picture Day on February 21, 2014 at the Peoria Sports Complex in Peoria, Arizona. (Photo by Mike McGinnis/Getty Images)
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Oft-injured pitcher Josh Johnson is retiring from baseball, ESPN’s Jerry Crasnick is reporting.

Johnson, 32, hasn’t pitched in the majors since 2013. The right-hander underwent his third Tommy John surgery in September 2015 but wasn’t able to bounce back.

Johnson spent most of his career with the Marlins, but also pitched for the Blue Jays in the big leagues, as well as the Padres in the minors. He retires with a career 3.40 ERA, 915 strikeouts across 998 innings in the majors, and two All-Star nominations. Johnson led the National League with a 2.30 ERA in 2010, finishing fifth in NL Cy Young Award balloting. One wonders what he could have accomplished if he was able to stay healthy.

Report: Angels close to a multi-year deal with Luis Valbuena

HOUSTON, TX - JULY 08:  Luis Valbuena #18 of the Houston Astros hits a three run walkoff home run in the ninth inning to defeat the Oakland Athletics 10-9 at Minute Maid Park on July 8, 2016 in Houston, Texas.  (Photo by Bob Levey/Getty Images)
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The Angels are nearing a multi-year deal with free agent third baseman Luis Valbuena, Jeff Fletcher of the Orange County Register reports. It’s believed to be a two-year contract with a third-year option.

Valbuena, 31, hit .260/.357/.459 with 13 home runs and 40 RBI in 342 plate appearances in 2016. He missed most of the second half with a hamstring injury, for which he underwent surgery in late August.

Valbuena has played a majority of his career at third base, but also has extensive experience at second base and has racked up innings at first base and shortstop as well. He won’t play every day for the Angels, as Yunel Escobar lays claim to third base and C.J. Cron first base, but he will give them flexibility and a left-handed bat off the bench.