Cubs Offense Not Worth a Schlitter – Cubs 3 Cardinals 4

Game Ninety-Nine – Cubs 3 Cardinals 4 – 11 innings
WP – Ryan Franklin (5-1) LP – Brian Schlitter (0-1) Save – Dennys Reyes (1)

The Cubs lost their 22nd one-run game of the year Sunday night in front of the largest crowd of the season at Wrigley (41,406) … and once again they had plenty off opportunities. The Cubs pathetic offense put runners in scoring position in the ninth, tenth and eleventh innings and came away with Schlitter.

Lou’s offense pounded out 12 hits but not when it counted late in the game. The Cubs finished the game 2-for-13 with RISP and left nine on basethree in the 10th alone.

Felipe Lopez’s sixth homer of the season in the top of the 11th was the difference. Lopez launched a 3-2 pitch from Brian Schlitter over the wall in right … and flipped his bat in celebration of the dinger.

While the Cubs slipped to 13-22 in one run games and 4-5 in extra innings, the Cardinals improved to 39-9 in games they score first.

Ryan Dempster struggled early in the game with his command. Dempster had several three-ball counts in the first three innings that ran up his pitch count. Dempster ended up going seven innings but after three his pitch count was at 53 (29 for strikes) and it was obvious he was not going to be around for long.

The Cubs finally gave Dempster a lead in the fifth but he gave it right back to the first batter he faced in the sixth. With the Cubs up 3-2, Dempster fell behind Albert Pujols 3-1. Pujols launched Dempster’s next pitch over the wall in left. Pujols’ first hit of the series tied the game at three. Dempster served up another longball, 19th of the year, and the third in two games by Albert Pujols off Ryan Dempster.

Ryan Dempster allowed three runs on nine hits with four walks and four strikeouts on 103 pitches in seven innings.

Marlon Byrd drove in a run on two hits Sunday night and played solid defense in the field once again. Byrd threw out Skip Schumaker at the plate to end the sixth and preserve the tie.

Starlin Castro and Tyler Colvin went a combined 2-for-9 with a RBI Sunday night. Castro gave the Cubs a brief 3-2 lead with a two-out single off Chris Carpenter.

The play of the game came in the sixth inning. With the game tied at three, Marlon Byrd reached on a one-out single to right. Alfonso Soriano then blooped a single into right. Ryan Ludwick bobbled the ball and gave Soriano plenty of time to make it to second. But instead Soriano did not hustle out of the box and stopped at first as Byrd motored to third. Geovany Soto hit into an inning ending 6-4-3 double play. If Soriano is at second, like he should have been …

If the Cubs would have just hit a little bit, they would have finished the 10-game homestand 9-1 instead of 6-4 … but that is the story of the entire season. With the loss, Lou’s crew slipped to 45-54 on the year … back to nine games under the mediocre mark.

The Cubs were in position to sweep the Cardinals but they still won the series … isn’t that what all second place, or lower teams, say? This homestand summed up the Cubs season. Couldn’t hit when they needed to. Couldn’t catch the ball when they needed to … and couldn’t pitch when they needed to.

The Cardinals threatened in the first but Matt Holliday and Ryan Ludwick ran them out of the inning … but they took the lead in the second.

Jon Jay led off with a triple to right center on a 1-0 offering from Dempster. Marlon Byrd appeared to lose the ball in the sun, over ran it and fell down trying to go back and make the catch. Skip Schumaker then blooped a single into center on a 0-1 pitch. Jay scored … 1-0 Cardinals.

Dempster struck out Yadier Molina and Chris Carpenter dropped down a sac bunt to Derrek Lee. Schumaker advanced and scored on another hit by Brendan Ryan … a single to center. Ryan came into the weekend hitting a buck eighty-something. The Cardinals took a 2-0 lead on Ryan’s 19th RBI of the year.

Felipe Lopez walked to but Dempster struck out Ryan Ludwick on a 3-2 pitch to end the inning.

The Cubs finally got on the board in the fourth inning. Derrek Lee led off with a double down the left field line. After Aramis Ramirez grounded out to third, Chris Carpenter made a mistake on a 0-2 pitch to Marlon Byrd. Byrd ripped a single into left center and drove in Lee … 2-1 Cardinals.

The Cubs took a brief 3-2 lead in the bottom of the fifth. Geovany Soto walked on a close 3-2 pitch to start the inning … the fifth straight inning the Cubs put the leadoff man on. Carpenter did not like the call, barked at Balkin’ Bob Davidson and Tony LaRussa had to step in between to keep Carpenter from being kicked out of the game.

Ryan Theriot followed and ripped a 2-1 pitch into right center. Jon Jay dove and missed. Soto scored the tying run on Theriot’s second triple of the season … Theriot’s 20th RBI of the year.

Ryan Dempster grounded out to third and Tyler Colvin looked at strike three but Starlin Castro delivered. Castro ripped a 1-1 pitch into left center and Theriot trotted home with the Cubs’ third run. Castro’s 31st RBI of the year gave the Cubs a 3-2 lead.

Albert Pujols led off the sixth with his first hit of the series. Pujols ripped a 3-1 pitch from Dempster into the bleachers in left and tied the game at three.

Skip Schumaker reached on a two-out double to left and Dempster intentionally walked Molina to put two on in the sixth for Chris Carpenter.

Carpenter ripped a 1-0 pitch from Dempster into center. Marlon Byrd charged and threw a one-hop strike to Soto … Skip Schumaker was cut down at the plate to end the inning.

The Cubs did not manage another hit from the sixth until the ninth inning. Alfonso Soriano singled to left with one out and advanced to second on wild pitch with two outs. But Ryan Theriot grounded out to first on a 1-2 pitch from Ryan Franklin to end the inning.

Brian Schlitter dodged the loss in the 10th. After retiring Albert Pujols, Matt Holliday, Jon Jay and Skip Schumaker reached on three straight hits … and if not for more bad baserunning from Matt Holliday, the Cardinals would have scored. Yadier Molina grounded into a 4-6-3 double play to end the inning.

Kosuke Fukudome led off the bottom of the 10th with a single to right. Tyler Colvin tapped back to the mound but Franklin’s throw was to the first base side of second and Ryan could not complete the double play.

Tyler Colvin stole second ahead of Starlin Castro getting hit in the ribs. With runners on first and second with one out, Derrek Lee popped out to Pujols on a 1-2 pitch. Ramirez then hit a rocket to second that ate up Schumaker. The Cubs loaded the bases on the error.

Marlon Byrd had a chance but struck out looking on a 1-2 pitch from Ryan Franklin to end the inning.

Xavier Nady led off the 11th with a bloop single to right but Geovany Soto hit a grounder to third. Lopez threw wide of second, Schumaker kept his foot on the bag. Soto was safe at first and Jeff Baker took over for Soto at first.

Ryan Theriot swung at and missed a 3-2 pitch from Kyle McClellan but Baker slid in safe at second. LaRussa went to his pen for the lefty Dennys Reyes to face Fukudome … and the predictable happened. Fukudome flailed away at a 2-2 pitch in the dirt to end the game.

It’s a Way of Life!

Box Score from Yahoo Sports

Carlos Silva is slated to face Wesley Wright in game one in Houston Monday night.

Quote of the Day

"You can’t sit on a lead and kill the clock. You’ve got to give the other man his chance. That’s why baseball is the greatest game." - Earl Weaver