Game Seventy-One – Cubs 1 Mariners 8
WP – Cliff Lee (6-3) LP – Randy Wells (3-6) Save – None
The Chicago Cubs reached a new season low Wednesday night in Seattle. For the first time this year and for the first time since June 2, 2007 (22-31), the Cubs are nine games under .500. Lou’s crew continued to hit the ball but not when it counts. The Cubs lone run came off a solo homer by Tyler Colvin in the second inning. Colvin hit only third longball of the year off of Cliff Lee.
The Cubs offense put the leadoff hitter on in five of the nine innings Wednesday night. Three times the Cubs put the first two runners on with no outs and came away empty. The Cubs hit into three double plays, two by Xavier Nady. They finished the game 1-for-10 with RISP, no RBI, and left six on base. The Cubs pulled off a rarity as well, Geovany Soto and Alfonso Soriano reached on back-to-back doubles to start the seventh and they did not score a run … It’s a Way of Life.
Cliff Lee picked up his fourth complete game of the year and once again did not issue a walk. Lee pitched his way in and out of trouble and was not as sharp as previous outings. The Cubs had more than their fare share of chances but simply cannot hit with runners on base. The entire lineup refuses to change their approach at the plate.
Randy Wells returned to form and it was a four-pitch walk to the ninth place hitter in the Mariners’ lineup that plated the go-ahead run in the fourth. Wells gave up four straight hits in the fourth that tied the game … then issued a bases loaded walk to Michael Saunders that accounted for the Mariners’ second run.
Ichiro Suzuki ended the game with a bases loaded single in the fourth that gave the Mariners a 4-1 lead. The bottom of the Mariners’ lineup torched Cubs’ pitching. Casey Kotchman (1-for-3 with a walk, a run scored and a RBI), Rob Johnson (1-for-3 with a walk and two runs scored) and Michael Saunders (2-for-3 with a double, a two-run homer, two runs scored, a walk, and four RBI) accounted for four of the Mariners’ 11 hits, five runs and five RBI.
Randy Wells tied season-highs in runs allowed (6) and hits surrendered (10) and just imploded during the fourth inning. Wells has not won a game since April 30 … and has looked bad in just about every outing since his last victory.
Sean Marshall had a rare bad outing and surrendered the final two runs in the eighth. Saunders completed his career night with the two-run dinger off of Marshall … the first homer served up by the Cubs’ lefty this season.
The Cubs’ defense committed two more errors … and a big mental one by Jeff Baker in the fourth.
For such a simple game, the Cubs continue to make it look harder and harder each time they take the field. With the latest loss, the Cubs are now 31-40 on the season. The Cubs’ lone highlight came in the second inning when Tyler Colvin gave the Cubs a 1-0 lead. Colvin launched a 1-1 pitch from Cliff Lee over the wall in right center. Just the third longball allowed by Cliff Lee this season … Adrian Gonzalez and Michael Cuddyer hit the other two.
Randy Wells looked very strong over the first three innings. Wells picked off Josh Wilson from first to end the second inning … and worked around Jeff Baker’s error in the third. But the wheels came off in the fourth.
Wells struck out Milton Bradley (0-for-4 with a strikeout) to start the inning. Jose Lopez singled to center, just the Mariners’ second hit at the time. Franklin Gutierrez then reached on an infield single to the hole at short. Josh Wilson chopped Wells’ first pitch down the third base line. Baker let the ball hit and it appeared to hit the corner of the bag. Third base umpire Bill Miller signaled foul then fair and the Mariners’ loaded the bases with one out. Replays showed the ball hit in front of the bag. Whatever the case, Baker should have charged the ball, stepped on third and thrown to first … not wait for the ruling.
Casey Kotchman then punched a single into left and tied the game at one … the Mariners’ fourth straight hit.
Randy Wells struck out Rob Johnson for the second out. But with the bases still loaded, he decided to pitch from the windup … and not from the stretch. Wells threw four straight out of the strike zone. The bases loaded walk gave the Mariners a 2-1 lead and brought Ichiro to the plate.
Suzuki singled to center and drove in Wilson and Kotchman. 4-1 Mariners and with Cliff Lee on the mound, the game was over.
Chone Figgins grounded out to second to end the inning.
Rob Johnson singled to right with one out in the sixth and advanced to second when Tyler Colvin misplayed the ball. Michael Saunders doubled to right and drove in the Mariners’ fifth run. Ichiro reached on a bunt single to the third base side of the mound. Wells made a low throw that Xavier Nady could not haul in. Chone Figgins grounded out to third on a 1-1 pitch. But Baker could not start the around the horn double play … Saunders scored 6-1 Mariners.
It is back to the drawing board for Randy Wells.
The seventh inning was a microcosm of the Cubs’ season. Geovany Soto doubled to left center to start the inning. Alfonso Soriano then blooped a base hit into shallow center. Soto had to hold, advanced to third when the ball fell in and Soriano hustled to second with a double. Back-to-back doubles … no runs.
Tyler Colvin popped out to left on the first pitch. Starlin Castro struck out looking and Ryan Theriot tapped back to the mound on a 1-0 pitch to end the inning. Second and third, no outs and no runs.
How does the speech from Bull Durham go?
Ted Lilly will square off against Felix Hernandez in the series finale Thursday afternoon.