Game Sixty-Eight – Cubs 2 Blue Jays 3
WP – A.J. Burnett (6-6) LP – Sean Gallagher (3-3) Save – B.J. Ryan (14)
Lou Piniella’s crew dropped their first series opener since May 5th after leaving 11 on base and in the process snapped their 4-game winning streak. The Cubs loaded the bases in two separate innings and came away with only 1 run, a RBI single by Eric Patterson in the 6th inning. Jim Edmonds drove in the Cubs first run with a double off the top of the wall in right in the 4th inning that just missed leaving the park. Kosuke Fukudome scored both of the Cubs’ runs and finished the night 2-for-3 with a walk.
Sean Gallagher pitched a good game but had one bad inning. Former Cub, Matt Stairs put the Blue Jays on the board with a 2-run homer in the 3rd and former Cardinal, Scott Rolen followed with his third long ball of the year. Gallagher lasted 5+ innings and gave up 3 runs on 7 hits with 5 strikeouts and 2 walks.
Eric Patterson helped keep the Blue Jays off the board in the 6th. He threw out Rob Barajas at the plate to end the inning. Scott Eyre did not allow a run in his inning of relief and ran his scoreless appearance streak to 33.
The Cubs appeared to be mounting a comeback in the top of the 6th but another strange call on the road changed the momentum of the inning. Kosuke Fukudome led off with a single to left and Geovany Soto walked to chase A.J. Burnett from the game. Jim Edmonds greeted Brian Wolfe with a single to center on his first offering. Fukudome scored but the ball was ruled dead as it hit 2nd base umpire Jeff Nelson. Fukudome had to return to 3rd and the Cubs managed only 1 run after loading the bases with no outs.
The Cubs dropped another game to the Blue Jays. After winning only twice in their first two series of Interleague play in 2003 and 2005, the loss on Friday dropped the Cubs to only 2-5 all-time against Toronto. The Cubs offense could not cash in North of the border. They had plenty of chances but A.J. Burnett took advantage of the Cubs’ young hitters. Micah Hoffpauir had a rough night at the plate (0-for-3 with 3 strikeouts) and Ryan Theriot went hitless for the second game in a row (0-for-4 with a walk) without Alfonso Soriano hitting in front of him. Theriot hit into the inning ending double play in the 6th with the tying run on 3rd. Mark DeRosa also struck out 3 times and on the night, Blue Jays’ pitchers totaled 13 k’s.
Sean Gallagher did an adequate job and was the victim of no run support for the second outing in row.
The Cubs offense must execute better on the road and do the little things it takes to plate runs. Sacrifice flies are always good, hitting behind runners and advancing runners to third with less than 2 outs are all fundamentals the Cubs excel at when playing at the Friendly Confines….but struggle with away from home. The road has not been as kind so far this season.
Jason Marquis is slated to start game two against one of the best in the American League….Roy Halladay. If the Cubs’ offense thought A.J. Burnett was difficult to plate runs against.