Game Forty-Nine – Cubs 2 Pirates 4
WP – Kevin Correia (7-4) LP – Doug Davis (0-3) Save – Joel Hanrahan (14)
From September 21, 2007 through September 29, 2009 the Cubs were 27-6 against the Pittsburgh Pirates, since the Cubs are just 6-15 versus Pittsburgh after Friday’s loss.
Q’s squad played another mistake filled game and the Cubs had just as much to do with the Pirates posting a win as the Bucs did. Doug Davis could not find the strike zone and labored through his 4 2/3 innings of work. Davis allowed only four hits but walked six batters and hit another … add in two errors, one by Davis, and 13 of the 27 batters he faced reached base. Not too many teams will win games with that kind of starting pitching.
The Cubs defense actually had more errors on the board at one point than the offense had hits off Kevin Correia.
The Cubs offense did nothing against Kevin Correia Friday afternoon. Correia threw less pitches (108, 66 for strikes) in his seven and a third shutout innings than Davis did in nearly three fewer frames (111 for Davis, 65 for strikes). The Cubs managed only four hits and two walks (seven total baserunners) against Correia and nine total baserunners through the first eight innings.
Alfonso Soriano provided the Cubs only offensive highlight. Soriano extended his hitting streak to eight games with his 12th homer of the year, a two-run shot in the ninth that cut the Pirates lead in half to 4-2. Soriano and Carlos Pena (2-for-3 with a walk and a run scored) recorded four of the Cubs’ five hits on the afternoon.
Aramis Ramirez continued his struggles at the plate and in the field. Ramirez’s third credited miscue of the season gave the Pirates a run in the second. Ramirez was 0-for-3 at the plate with a walk … and three left on base. Ramirez popped out to Neil Walker with the bases loaded in the eighth to end the inning. Ramirez is 1-for-22 with two outs and runners in scoring position this season. When asked about Ramirez remaining in the clean-up spot following Friday’s loss, Mike Quade said he is not thinking about moving Ramirez from his spot in the lineup.
In another close game, the Cubs committed two errors, which led to two unearned runs and they finished the game 0-for-5 with runners in scoring position … and seven left on base.
With Friday’s loss, the Cubs slipped back to five game under .500 with a 22-27 record, fifth place in the NL Central … The Cubs dodged a bullet in the first inning after the Pirates put two on with no outs. The writing was on the wall early that it was going to be another one of those games against the Battlin’ Bucs.
Jose Tabata led off the game with a single to left and swiped second with Steve Pearce at the plate. Davis struck out Pearce but gave up a single to Andrew McCutchen. Tabata held at third then tried to score on a grounder to Ramirez off the bat of Neil Walker. Ramirez threw out Tabata at the plate.
Matt Diaz grounded out to second to end the inning.
The Cubs put two on with two out in the first (Kosuke reached on an error and Ramirez worked a two-out walk) but came away empty after Carlos Pena grounded out to second to end the inning.
Pittsburgh pretty much put the game away in the second inning … thanks to two errors by the Cubs.
Doug Davis walked Chris Snyder to start the inning. Lyle Overbay followed with a single to right. With runners on first and third with no outs, Ronny Cedeno tried to sacrifice Overbay to second. Cedeno bunted the ball back to Davis, who bobbled the ball. Kevin Correia stepped in with the bases loaded and no outs.
Correia hit a grounder to Ramirez at third. The ball went off his glove and Snyder scored on the Cubs second consecutive error. Davis struck out Tabata looking but Steve Pearce hit a sac fly into left. Overbay tagged and scored … 2-0 Pirates. Andrew McCutchen flied out to left center to end the inning.
The Pirates scored two runs in the second … on a hit, a walk, a sac fly and two Cubs’ errors.
Kevin Correia settled in and that point and threw strikes. Correia retired the Cubs in order in the second and third and did not allow his first hit until the start of the fourth … by that time he had a 4-0 lead.
Doug Davis labored through a 33-pitch fourth inning and gave up two runs on three walks, a hit batsman and one hit … and infield single by Neil Walker.
The free-swinging Ronny Cedeno worked a one out walk. Kevin Correia then sacrificed Cedeno to second. Jose Tabata walked ahead of Davis plunking Pearce on a 0-2 pitch to load the bases.
Davis walked Andrew McCutchen with the bases loaded to force in the Pirates third run. Neil Walker then ripped Davis’ first offering down the third base line. Ramirez made a nice diving stop then dove for third trying to beat the hustling Steve Pearce. Pearce slid in headfirst and just beat Ramirez to the bag. Tabata scored on the play … 4-0 Pirates.
With the bases loaded and two outs, Matt Diaz flied out to short right to end the inning.
The Cubs put two runners on in the bottom of the fourth … and came away empty.
The Cubs pen shutdown the Mighty Pirates after Davis was lifted with two outs in the fifth. Davis issued his sixth walk of the game (Kevin Correia) and at that point Quade decided that was enough. With two on and two out, Casey Coleman came in and retired Jose Tabata on a ground out to short.
Jeff Samardzija, Scott Maine and John Grabow kept the Pirates off the board over the last four innings … but the Cubs offense could not get anything going.
The Cubs best scoring chance came in the bottom of the eighth after Koyie Hill led off with a soft single to center, at the time just the Cubs’ fourth hit of the game.
Jeff Baker hit for Maine and flied out to right but Kosuke Fukudome walked and chased Correia from the game. Jose Veras retired Barney on a fly out to center for the second out.
Starlin Castro worked a walk to load the bases with two outs.
Aramis Ramirez popped out to Neil Walker in shallow right to end the inning.
Carlos Pena led off the ninth. With his team down 4-0, Pena worked a walk against the lefty Joe Beimel. Alfonso Soriano launched a 1-1 offering from Beimel into the bleachers in left … 4-2 Pirates. At that point, Clint Hurdle decided he’d seen enough and he brought in Joel Hanrahan.
The Pirates’ closer struck out Tony Campana, Koyie Hill and Blake DeWitt to end the game.
Sloppy defense, poor starting pitching and no patience at the plate … It’s a Way of Life.
Casey Coleman was optioned down to Triple-A Iowa following Friday’s game to make room for Randy Wells on the active roster. Wells will make his first big league start since the fourth game of the season. Wells will face lefty Paul Maholm in game two Saturday afternoon.