Game Forty-Three – Cubs 1 Rangers 2
WP – Colby Lewis (4-2) LP – Ted Lilly (1-4) Save – Neftali Feliz (12)
For the second game in a row, Lou Piniella’s crew left the tying run on third in the ninth inning. The Cubs lost their second one-run game in as many days and they are just 8-16 on the year in games decided by two runs or less.
One run on eight hits says it all. The Cubs had plenty of chances once again … especially early in the game. The Cubs put the leadoff hitter on in the first three innings but managed only one run. The offense left nine on base and was a pathetic 1-for-8 with runners in scoring position … in a one-run loss.
The Cubs lone run scored on a 6-4-3 double play off the bat of Geovany Soto … so no RBI on the night for Lou Piniella’s offense. Even with an extra bat in the lineup, the result was the same.
Ted Lilly put together his best outing since his season debut against the Brewers. Lilly allowed two runs on six hits in 6 2/3 innings. Lilly threw a season-high 111 pitches (34 in the first inning), walked three and struck out four. The Rangers scored both of their runs in the fourth inning … with a little help from two Cub errors.
The Cubs ugly defense returned Friday night. Two errors on the same play, one each by Mike Fontenot and Ryan Theriot, helped the Rangers tie the game. Ian Kinsler hit a slow roller up the third base line. Mike Fontenot, who proved last season cannot play the position, charged and then threw the ball away. An accurate throw and Kinsler was out.
Ryan Theriot backed up the play and picked up the ball as Kinsler broke for second. Theriot’s throw ended up in left and Kinsler advanced to third as Alfonso Soriano got the ball back into the infield.
Vladimir Guerrero doubled in Kinsler with the tying run. After the first sacrifice bunt of Josh Hamilton’s career advanced Guerrero to third, Kosuke Fukudome misplayed a fly ball by Nelson Cruz into a double … Guerrero scored the eventual winning run.
Carlos Zambrano replaced Lilly and did his job. Zambrano kept it a one-run game and gave his team a chance against the Rangers’ pen. Zambrano allowed one-hit, a double by Josh Hamilton that was misplayed by Alfonso Soriano.
After several errorless games in a row and showing a lot of improvement in the field, the Cubs defense took a big step back Friday night.
With the one-run loss to the Rangers, Lou Piniella’s crew slipped back to five game under .500 with 19-24 record … There is nothing clutch about these Cubs. Once again the Cubs had plenty of opportunities to win a ballgame … but could not get a hit with the game on the line.
Mike Fontenot led off the second with a bloop double to left. Xavier Nady followed with a single to left. Mike Quade held Fontenot at third. Geovany Soto worked the count to 3-2 before grounding into a 6-4-3 double play. Fontenot scored what turned out to be their only run of the night.
After Soto’s double play cleared the bases, Starlin Castro reached on a infield single up the middle off of Colby Lewis’ glove. The ball trickled behind the mound and Lewis tried to throw Castro out at first. The ball ended up in the dugout and Castro advanced to second. Kosuke Fukudome grounded out to second on the first pitch … inning over.
After failing to take advantage early on against Colby Lewis, the Cubs had a chance in the eighth against Frank Francisco.
Alfonso Soriano and Marlon Byrd reached on two-out singles past Michael Young. Young was guarding the line against a double and had his foot on the line. Both Soriano and Byrd singled to left just past Young.
Mike Fontenot fell behind 0-2 (foul, called second strike) then Francisco uncorked a wild pitch. Soriano and Byrd advanced to second and third. Fontenot fouled off Francisco’s next offering then looked at strike three to end the inning.
In the ninth, Xavier Nady grounded out to second to start the inning. Lou Piniella sent Tyler Colvin up to pinch-hit for Geovany Soto and the risk paid off. Lefties had managed only four hits in 41 at bats against Neftali Feliz.
Tyler Colvin doubled to right on a 1-2 pitch from Feliz. Starlin Castro got ahead in the count 3-0 before looking at a strike. Castro then fouled out to deep right … Nelson Cruz made a good catch and caught the ball as he crashed into the side wall. Colvin tagged and advanced to third. Kosuke Fukudome worked the count to 3-2 before popping out to short to end the game.
Lou Piniella keeps running out the same old offense expecting different results …
Randy Wells will face Derek Holland Saturday night.