Game One Hundred Thirty-Nine – Cubs 3 Astros 7
WP – Nelson Figueroa (5-2) LP – Carlos Silva (10-6) Save – None
Carlos Silva made his return to the rotation Tuesday night … and unfortunately for his teammates, he did not miss many bats. Silva gave up four runs on five hits to the first eight hitters before somewhat settling down. The Astros tagged him for two more in the fifth to end his night.
Silva lasted just five innings and surrendered six runs on nine hits with a walk and four strikeouts. Silva threw 87 pitches, 54 for strikes. The Astros hit the ball extremely hard in the five innings Carlos Silva was on the mound.
The top of the Astros lineup set the table Tuesday night. Michael Bourn and Jeff Keppinger (2-for-5 with a run scored and two RBI) combined on a 5-for-9 night that included three runs scored and five RBI.
Michael Bourn took batting practice Tuesday night. Bourn was a home run short of the cycle and drove in three of the Astros’ runs. Not only did Bourn finish the game 3-for-4 with a double, a triple, a sacrifice fly and a stolen base but he also scored a pair of runs. One of these years, the Cubs will change the way they pitch to players that have had a lot of success against them.
Ron Santo named Tyler Colvin the Chevrolet Player of the Game after a 2-for-4 night that included a triple and two RBI. The other half of the Cubs’ offense was Kosuke Fukudome. Kosuke doubled, singled and walked in five trips to the plate. Fukudome scored one of the Cubs’ three runs.
Jeff Baker and Koyie Hill had bad nights at the plate … and in the field. Baker and Hill killed two scoring chances early in the game and both committed errors on Tuesday night. Baker (0-for-3 with a walk and two strikeouts) and Hill (0-for-4 with a strikeout) left a combined eight runners on base.
The Cubs finished the game 2-for-9 with RISP and left eight on base.
Nelson Figueroa picked up his second career win against the Cubs (2-5) after allowing three runs on six hits with three walks and five strikeouts in five innings. Figueroa did just enough against a Cubs’ offense that had three automatic outs in the lineup.
Brad Snyder made his Major League debut Tuesday night … and struck out in his only plate appearance against the southpaw, Tim Byrdak.
With their ninth loss of the year to Houston (5-9, 3-5 at Wrigley), the Cubs slipped back to 19 under .500 with a 60-79 record …
Michael Bourn continued pounding Cubs’ pitching Tuesday night. Bourn led off the game with a triple to right center on a 2-1 pitch. Jeff Keppinger singled to center and plated Bourn with the game’s first run.
Silva struck out Hunter Pence then induced a 6-4-3- double play (Barney to DeWitt to Hoffpauir) to end the inning … not exactly the infield the Cubs thought they would be fielding back in Spring Training.
Kosuke Fukudome led off the bottom of the first with a double to left center. After Blake DeWitt grounded out to short and advancing Fukudome to third, Marlon Byrd singled to center and tied the game at one.
Micah Hoffpauir singled to right and Byrd advanced to third. Tyler Colvin hit a grounder to first that Brett Wallace fielded and threw to second. Hoffpauir was forced but Colvin beat the return throw … Byrd scored, 2-1 Cubs. After Jeff Baker walked, Koyie Hill struck out swinging to end the inning.
The Astros took the lead for good in the second. Brett Wallace tied the game at two with his first homer in the big leagues … a bomb to center on a 2-1 pitch.
Tommy Manzella singled to center and advanced to second on a single to right by Jason Castro. Nelson Figueroa advanced both runners with a sac bunt and the Astros took a 4-2 lead with a double to left center by Michael Bourn. Keppinger grounded out to third to end the inning.
The Cubs made it 4-3 in the third … and it should have been more. Micah Hoffpauir worked a one out walk and scored on a triple to right by Tyler Colvin. Baker (struck out) and Hill grounded out to end the inning … a scenario that would repeat itself all night.
The Astros put the game away in the fifth. Michael Bourn led off with an infield single to first. Micah Hoffpauir made a beautiful diving pick to the hole but Bourn slid in headfirst just ahead of Carlos Silva.
Bourn stole second on the first pitch to Keppinger then scored on a single to left by the Astros’ second baseman … 5-3 Astros.
Hunter Pence then double to the corner in right, Keppinger scored … 6-3 Astros.
Carlos Silva retired the last three batters he faced in the fifth to end his night.
The Cubs had a chance again in the bottom of the fifth … but Baker and Hill could not get the job done. Marlon Byrd reached on an error by Chris Johnson at third. Micah Hoffpauir fouled out to a sliding Jason Castro. With Colvin at the plate, Figueroa and Castro got crossed up. Byrd ended up at second on the passed ball and advanced to third on a single to right by Colvin.
Jeff Baker struck out swinging for the second out. After Colvin stole second, Koyie Hill was thrown out to first on a swinging bunt to the Astros’ catcher.
Scott Maine took over in the sixth and was the victim of more pathetic defense. Jason Castro reached on an infield single to third … that should have been ruled an error. Not only did Baker have trouble hitting the ball, he couldn’t catch it either on Tuesday night.
Matt Downs hit for Figueroa and singled to right center on a 3-1 pitch. Castro advanced to third and score on a sacrifice fly to right center off the bat of Michael Bourn … 7-3 Astros.
Thomas Diamond bounced back from his bad outing on Sunday and pitched two perfect innings of relief. The only runner that reached against Diamond was in the top of the ninth on catcher’s interference.
James Russell pitched a scoreless ninth.
Tuesday was all about getting Carlos Silva back on the mound … and the Astros were glad he took the ball.
Randy Wells will face Brett Myers in the series finale Wednesday night.