Game Fifty-Three – Cubs 3 Astros 7
WP – Fernando Rodriguez (1-0) LP – Carlos Marmol (1-2, BS 3) Save – None
Tuesday night was arguably the Cubs worst loss of the season. The Cubs offense was non-existent for the first seven innings of the game. Q’s squad swung at everything Jordan Lyles threw up and made it very easy on the 20-year old making his big league debut. Lyles entered the eighth with a 1-0 lead and was working on a four-hit shutout. Lyles had thrown a Maholm-esque 84 pitches in the first seven innings.
The Cubs scratched out three runs in the eighth after a leadoff double by Geovany Soto, an error by Jordan Lyles and RBI doubles by Darwin Barney and Aramis Ramirez. The Cubs took a 3-1 lead into the ninth and for all of the problems this team has, the Cubs were 19-1 before Tuesday when going into the ninth with a lead.
Carlos Marmol gave up six runs on five hits with a walk in a third of an inning. The only out he recorded was on a sacrifice bunt by Angel Sanchez.
The bottom of the Astros order fought back against Marmol. Brett Wallace started the inning with a single and ended up at third after a double by Chris Johnson. Matt Downs pinch hit for Robinson Cancel and tied the game with a double to left. Following the sac bunt by Sanchez, Michael Bourn knocked in the eventual winning run with a single to left center.
After a walk to Clint Barmes, the only free pass of the inning, Hunter Pence put an exclamation point on the comeback with a three-run homer to left center … the first longball hit off Marmol in over a year (May 15, 2010).
Sean Marshall was finally summoned from the pen and retired two of the three batters he faced to end the inning.
Carlos Marmol’s worst outing as a reliever came at a horrible time for the Cubs. The last time Carlos Marmol allowed six runs in an outing was on August 13, 2006 when he was a starter in Dusty Baker’s rotation.
The Cubs lost their 30th game of the season Tuesday night and finished May with an 11-16 record. The Cubs are now a season-low seven games under .500 with a 23-30 record … The Chicago Cubs offense made it very easy on the 20-year old Jordan Lyles, they swung at everything he threw near the plate. Not to take too much away from the rookie, but when will the Cubs stop tipping their cap and start looking in the mirror? Every once in a while a big league team is going to have a bad night against a pitcher they are unfamiliar with but when it seemingly happens on a regular basis it is time to make changes and acknowledge it is not the opposition.
The Cubs managed only four hits in the first seven innings … three went for extra bases and two were leadoff doubles, but Q’s squad could not push across a single run against Jordan Lyles. The main reason is because they did not allow him to work. Once they put pressure on Lyles, he reacted like a rookie … too bad they waited until the eighth inning.
Tuesday night was a pitcher’s duel until the eighth inning. Carlos Zambrano made only one mistake … a solo homer by Brett Wallace leading off the fourth inning.
Carlos Zambrano was very sharp and was in line for the win after the Cubs scored three runs in the bottom of the eighth.
With the Cubs down 1-0, Geovany Soto led off the eighth with a double, the third time the Cubs led off an inning with a double. Mike Quade went to his bench and sent Brad Snyder to run for Soto. Tyler Colvin pinch-hit for Carlos Zambrano and dropped a bunt to the third base side of the mound. Jordan Lyles picked up the ball and made an ill-advised throw to third.
The ball was high and went off of Chris Johnson’s glove into left. Snyder scampered home and tied the game at one. Brad Mills went to the mound to talk to Lyles before going to the pen for Sergio Escalona. Kosuke Fukudome sacrificed Colvin to third.
With one out, the go ahead run at third and the game tied at one, Brad Mills went back to his pen and brought in Wilton Lopez to face Darwin Barney.
Darwin Barney ripped a 2-0 pitch into left center. The ball hit off the top of the vines and just missed ending up in the basket. Colvin scored the go ahead run and the Cubs were up 2-1. Starlin Castro struck out swinging for the second out.
The Astros intentionally walked Carlos Pena to face Aramis Ramirez with two on and two outs and Ramirez ripped the first pitch he saw into left. Barney scored and gave the Cubs a 3-1 lead.
With runners on second and third with two outs, Brad Mills went back to his pen for Fernando Rodriguez. Blake DeWitt grounded out to second to end the inning.
The Cubs entered the ninth with a 3-1 lead and were 19-1 this season when taking a lead into the ninth inning.
Carlos Marmol was not right from his first pitch … it was obvious to anyone watching the game.
Brett Wallace led off the inning with a sharp single to right. Marmol fell behind Chris Johnson before evening the count to 2-2. Marmol hung a slider that Johnson deposited down the right field line. The ball landed just inside the line and the Astros had the tying runs in scoring position with no outs.
Matt Downs hit for Robinson Cancel and tied the game with a double to left. Angel Sanchez hit for Rodriquez and sacrificed Downs to third. Sean Marshall began loosening up at that point … what was Mike Quade waiting for?
Michael Bourn ripped a 1-1 pitch into left center to drive in Downs with the go ahead run.
Clint Barmes worked a walk and with two on and one out, Hunter Pence completed the onslaught against Carlos Marmol. Pence launched a 0-1 pitch into the bleachers in left center … 7-3 Astros. Houston’s second home run of the game and sixth of the series.
Pence’s home run was the first hit off Marmol since May 15, 2010.
Sean Marshall finally made his way in from the pen and retired two of the three batters he faced to end the inning.
The free-swinging Cubs went down in order in the ninth on just seven pitches. The bottom of Q’s lineup did not put up a fight.
The Cubs keep finding ways to lose …
It is up to Doug Davis to salvage the final game of the series and of the homestand. Davis will face Brett Myers on Wednesday afternoon.