Game Eleven – Cubs 2 Astros 11
WP – Brett Myers (1-0) LP – James Russell (1-1) Save – None
When the Cubs announced James Russell and the bullpen would face Brett Myers in the second game of the series in Houston, the writing was on the wall that it would be a long night … and it was.
The Cubs were horrible in every aspect of the game. James Russell, with help from the Cubs so-called defense, was knocked out in the second inning after allowing five runs, four earned, on seven hits. Russell recorded only five outs and while the Astros didn’t exactly hit the cover off the ball, seven of the 12 batters Russell faced reached base with a hit.
Alfonso Soriano and Darwin Barney committed errors on the same play that allowed the Astros to score two runs on a routine single to left. Barney missed a tag on Bill Hall, who actually ran out of the baseline.
Jeff Samardzija actually had a decent outing. Samardzija threw strikes and saved the pen. Samardzija allowed two runs on three hits with two strikeouts and only one walk in three innings.
Jeff Stevens made his first appearance of the season and put together a decent outing. Stevens gave up a hit and struck out a batter in a 1 1/3 inning of work.
Marcos Mateo continued to impress. Mateo struck out the side in the seventh.
The Astros other four runs came off John Grabow and the so-called defense in the eighth.
Tyler Colvin, Marlon Byrd and Starlin Castro supplied the only highlights from the Cubs offense. Colvin hit his second home run of the season in the seventh off Brett Myers and doubled to left in the ninth.
Marlon Byrd was a perfect 3-for-3 on the night before leaving in the seventh inning. Starlin Castro added another multi-hit game (2-for-5) and drove in the Cubs second run with a fielder’s choice groundout to third in the ninth.
The Cubs offense had plenty of chances all night. Q’s squad pounded out 11 hits but only one walk (Koyie Hill in the ninth) and finished the game 1-for-15 with RISP. The Cubs left 10 on base.
The Cubs are a miserable 3-for-32 in their last two losses with runners in scoring position.
With Tuesday’s embarrassment in Houston, the Cubs dropped to 5-6 on the season … back below the mediocre mark. The Cubs had a chance in the first inning to give James Russell a little breathing room … but once again the Cubs could not hit with runners on base.
Starlin Castro led off with a single to left. Darwin Barney hit into a 5-4 force for the first out of the inning. Marlon Byrd extended his hitting streak to nine games with a single to right. Aramis Ramirez flied out to deep center and Brett Myers struck out Carlos Pena to end the inning.
The Astros took advantage of James Russell right off the bat. Michael Bourn reached on a bunt single to start the game. Angel Sanchez followed with another bunt single. Russell was late covering the bag and found himself in a ton of trouble.
Hunter Pence singled to left on a 2-2 pitch. Bourn scored easily … 1-0 Astros.
Russell seemed to settle down. He struck out Carlos Lee swinging for the first out … and retired Jason Michaels on a fly out to left. With runners on first and second with two outs, Bill Hall hit a lazy single into left on a 2-2 pitch. The ball got under Soriano’s legs which allowed Pence to run to third … and that is when it got ugly.
The Cubs caught Bill Hall in a run down between first and second. Darwin Barney failed to tag Hall as he appeared to step out of the baseline. Pence scored … 3-0 Astros. The Cubs were credited with two errors on one lazy single to left. Chris Johnson flied out to right to end the inning.
James Russell threw 31 pitches in the first inning, 22 for strikes.
Brett Myers settled in and dominated the Cubs in the second.
The Astros went back to work against Russell in the second. Humberto Quintero led off with a double to right on a ball Tyler Colvin lost in the lights. Brett Myers then blooped a single into right on a 0-2 pitch … the sixth hit off Russell by the first nine batters.
With runners on first and third with no outs, Michael Bourn hit a grounder up the middle. Russell deflected the ball, Castro dove back toward third, fielded the ball and forced Myers at second. Quintero scored … 4-0 Astros.
Michael Bourn then stole second and third on consecutive pitches. Angel Sanchez popped out to second but Hunter Pence reached on an infield single. Bourn scored … 5-0 Astros.
Mike Quade went to the pen and brought in Jeff Samardzija.
James Russell was able to record only five outs on 55 pitches, 40 for strikes. Russell allowed five runs, four earned, on seven hits with a strikeouts in 1 2/3 innings. The Cubs horrible defense did not help him but Russell is not a starting pitcher at the big league level. The Cubs did not put him in the right situation and it cost them a game.
Samardzija retired Carlos Lee to end the second.
Samardzija retired the Astros in order in the third … but walked Humberto Quintero to start the fourth. Brett Myers bunted the ball too hard to Pena who threw to second to force Quintero. Samardzija jumped out 0-2 on Michael Bourn before throwing three straight out of the zone. Bourn doubled down the left field line on a 3-2 pitch.
With runners on second and third with one out, Angel Sanchez singled to right center. Myers and Bourn scored … 7-0 Astros.
Hunter Pence hit a grounder to Barney, Sanchez was forced at second and Lee tapped back to the mound to end the inning.
The Cubs kept hitting the ball after the fourth … and kept putting runners on base but could not hit with runners on base.
Jeff Stevens and Marcos Mateo put together solid efforts Tuesday night. Mateo struck out the side in the bottom of the seventh … and he appears to be gaining confidence with every outing.
Brett Myers left after seven innings with a comfortable 7-1 lead.
John Grabow was lit up in the eighth. The Astros took batting practice against Grabow and while the Cubs defense not help, Grabow did not help himself either.
The Astros scored four runs, three earned, on five hits and a Blake DeWitt error off Grabow.
Brett Myers beat the Cubs for the ninth straight time dating back to 2005 (11-3 in his career).
Tuesday was an extremely ugly game with only a few positives …
Carlos Zambrano against Wandy Rodriguez in the rubber game Wednesday night.