Game Thirty-One – Cubs 4 Reds 5
WP – Edinson Volquez (3-1) LP – Matt Garza (1-4) Save – Francisco Cordero (5)
The Reds did everything they could to hand the Cubs a victory Friday afternoon but Q’s squad could not hit enough to win the game.
2-for-12 with runners in scoring position with eight left on base, twice the Cubs loaded the bases with no outs and they managed only one run … and to add insult to poor fundamentals, the Cubs hit and ran themselves into three double plays. The Cubs simply cannot hit with runners in scoring position (11-for-76 with RISP in the last 10 games) … or consistently for power, all seven hits Friday afternoon were singles.
Edinson Volquez, who has dominated the Cubs in the past, did not Friday afternoon … in fact he did everything he could to help out the Cubs woeful offense. Volquez walked four batters to go along with the six hits he surrendered (10 total baserunners) in five-plus innings … and he uncorked two wild pitches, one gave the Cubs their first run of the game. For as shaky as Volquez was, the Reds bullpen was the exact opposite. The Cubs managed only three base runners after Volquez departed in the sixth inning.
Matt Garza took the loss but if the Cubs offense would have done their job he could have picked up a win. Garza gave up five runs on six hits with a pair of walks (both scored) and seven strikeouts in six innings. Garza surrendered his first extra base hit of the season at Wrigley (a double by Jonny Gomes in the second) and his first home run of the year. Garza made two huge mistakes Friday afternoon … the three-run homer by Jay Bruce and the two out walk to Edgar Renteria that led to two more runs for the Reds.
The Cubs pen was very good once again. Mike Quade obviously wanted to win Friday’s game badly. Quade used Sean Marshall and Kerry Wood for the final 2 2/3 innings to keep the Reds from tacking on. Marcos Mateo, Marshall and Wood allowed only two baserunners in relief of Garza and gave the offense plenty of time to mount a comeback.
The Cubs lost to the Reds for the sixth time in seven games at Wrigley and with Friday’s loss Q’s squad slipped back to three games under the mediocre mark … The game began on a positive note. Matt Garza retired the Reds in order in the first on 10 pitches, eight for strikes. Even with Jonny Gomes recording the first extra base hit surrendered by Garza at Wrigley in the second, Garza’s pitch count was a very manageable 22, 14 for strikes, after two innings.
The Cubs first scoring chance came in the second inning. Marlon Byrd reached on an error by Paul Janish with two outs in the second. Carlos Pena worked his first of three walks on the day but Geovany Soto struck out swinging to end the inning.
Garza retired the Reds in order in the third … and led off the bottom of the third with his first big league hit.
Matt Garza singled to center on a 0-2 pitch to start the inning. Kosuke Fukudome then reached on an error by Edgar Renteria. Fukudome hit a grounder to Votto, who threw to second but Renteria dropped the ball.
Darwin Barney hit a sharp grounder up the middle that Brandon Phillips made a sensational diving stop and turned into an out (forced Fukudome at second). Barney stole second with Castro at the plate. With runners on second and third with one out, Castro grounded out to third. Both runners held and it was up to Aramis Ramirez with two outs.
Aramis Ramirez stepped in and on a 0-1 pitch, Volquez uncorked a wild pitch that allowed Garza to score … 1-0 Cubs. Barney advanced to third but Ramirez grounded out to short to end the inning.
Edgar Renteria led off the fourth with a single and advanced to second when Garza walked Joey Votto. Garza struck out Brandon Phillips for the first out. Garza threw strike one to Jay Bruce before serving up a long home run. With one swing of the bat, Bruce put the Reds up 3-1.
Garza got out of the inning but the damage had been done … and the Cubs could not tie it up or take the lead again.
Alfonso Soriano led off the bottom of the fourth with his fourth walk of the season. Marlon Byrd singled to left and with Pena at the plate, Volquez uncorked his second wild pitch of the game. Both runners advanced and Pena walked to load the bases with no outs.
Geovany Soto grounded into a 6-3 double play, Soriano scored and cut the Reds lead to 3-2 but it should have been more.
After the Cubs scratched out a run in the fourth, the Reds got it back in the fifth … plus one.
Paul Janish led off the inning with a double to left. Volquez bunted him to third. With the infield in, Drew Stubbs hit the first pitch he saw to Ramirez at third. Aramis held Janish and just nailed Stubbs at first with the second out.
Edgar Renteria worked a two out walk that prolonged the inning for Votto and Phillips … and it cost Garza two runs.
Votto singled to center on a 1-1 pitch and Phillips singled to right. Janish and Renteria scored the Reds final two runs of the game.
Matt Garza struck out Jay Bruce swinging to end the inning … 5-2 Reds.
The Cubs made it 5-3 in the bottom of the fifth after back-to-back-to-back one out singles by Darwin Barney (right field), Starlin Castro (right field) and Aramis Ramirez (left field). Barney scored but Soriano lined out Phillips who doubled off Castro at second to end the inning.
The Cubs made it 5-4 in the sixth but could not push across the tying run after loading the bases with no outs.
Marlon Byrd singled to left and Pena worked his third walk of the day. Dusty Baker made his way to the mound and brought in Sam LeCure to face Soto with two on and no outs.
Soto singled to left. Byrd scored and Pena took third on the play … on a smart baserunning play. Reed Johnson pinch hit for Matt Garza and LeCure plunked him on a 2-2 pitch to load the bases … with no outs.
Kosuke Fukudome struck out looking … Darwin Barney fouled out to Ramon Hernandez on a 2-0 pitch … Starlin Castro grounded out to short on a 2-2 pitch. Inning over.
The Cubs did not manage another baserunner until the ninth. Kosuke worked a lead off walk but was doubled off first base when Darwin Barney hit a soft liner back up the middle that did not get past Francisco Cordero. Starlin Castro flied out to right to end the game.
Poor fundamentals and no clutch hitting … It’s a Way of Life!
Casey Coleman against Bronson Arroyo in game two Saturday afternoon.