Game Eighty-Six – Cubs 2 Dodgers 3
WP – Clayton Kershaw (9-4) LP – Randy Wells (4-7) Save – Jonathan Broxton (19)
Lou Piniella’s crew simply cannot win close ballgames. The Cubs lost their 20th one-run game Thursday night in Los Angeles (11-20) … after Rafael Furcal stuck it to the Cubs once again. The free agent that got away five years ago was once again the difference for the Dodgers. Furcal hit a two-out, two-run homer off of Randy Wells in the seventh inning that gave the Dodgers the 3-2 advantage. And this was after Furcal doubled and scored the first run of the game in the opening inning.
Randy Wells pitched a good game. He appeared confident once again, found a groove after allowing a run in the first inning and took a 2-1 lead into the seventh. Russell Martin led off the bottom of the seventh with a single to left center past a diving Starlin Castro and was on board for Furcal’s homer.
Wells was once the again a victim of no-run support against the Dodgers. Wells dropped to 0-3 in his career versus Los Angeles. Wells’ three losses have been by a total of three runs … 2-1, 2-1 and 3-2 Thursday night.
The Dodgers scored all three runs off Randy Wells with two outs.
Alfonso Soriano tied the game at one in the second with his 15th homer of the season. Soriano’s solo blast was a welcome sight for a team that struggles to score runs at Dodger Stadium.
The Cubs ran themselves out of a possible big inning in the third. Clayton Kershaw picked off Ryan Theriot and Marlon Byrd took too wide of a turn on a bloop single to right. Byrd was caught in a rundown and eventually tagged out by James Loney. It is rare to see a team record two singles, leave no runners on base at the end of the inning and score zero runs … It’s a Way of Life.
Geovany Soto (1-for-3 with a RBI) and Aramis Ramirez (2-for-4 with a double and a runs scored) picked up where they left off in Arizona. Ramirez doubled and scored on a single to left center in the fourth by Soto. Soto’s knock gave the Cubs a 2-1 lead that Wells made hold up until the seventh.
Clayton Kershaw came within one strikeout of tying a career high Thursday night. Kershaw stuck out 12 and did not walk a batter. The Cubs’ aggressiveness hurt them once again. Lou’s offense out hit the Dodgers, 8-6, but could not plate more than two runs once again. The Cubs grounded into two big double plays and finished the game 1-for-2 with RISP … they left three on base.
Marlon Byrd was ejected in the ninth for arguing balls and strikes. Jonathan Broxton got the outside calls by homeplate umpire Brian Runge, who had a liberal strike zone all night. Hunter Wendelstedt tossed Byrd for voicing his displeasure on a check swing. Wendelstedt then got an ear full from Lou Piniella.
With Thursday’s loss, the Cubs slipped back to 10 games under the mediocre mark at 38-48 on the season … Randy Wells got off to a rough start and it appeared Thursday was going to be another frustrating game for Mr. Wells. Rafael Furcal doubled to right center to start the home half of the first. Wells then walked Matt Kemp to put runners on first and second with no outs.
Andre Ethier hit into a 3-6-1 double play that Wells broke quickly on to receive the throw from Starlin Castro. Wells gave up a two-out single to James Loney that plated Furcal but after the double play, Wells settled down.
Wells notched a quality start … three runs on six hits in seven innings. Wells walked one and struck out seven on 106 pitches, 66 for strikes.
But the Dodgers ability to hit and plate runs with two outs was the difference.
Any other season, Thursday night would have been just a loss a team suffers during a 162-game campaign, but the lack of offense and wasting another quality start just added to the frustration that is the 2010 Chicago Cubs.
Ted Lilly will square off against Chad Billingsley Friday night.