Game Eighty – Cubs 3 Giants 6
WP – Barry Zito (1-1) LP – Rodrigo Lopez (0-2) Save – Brian Wilson (24)
Tuesday was a long and frustrating day for the Chicago Cubs. The Giants swept the Cubs in the day-night doubleheader and dropped Q’s squad to a season-low 16 games under .500.
After being pounded in game one 13-7, the Cubs took a 2-1 lead into the top of the fifth inning. Luis Montanez hit his first homer of the season, a two-run shot in the third that turned a one-run deficit into a one-run lead.
After four very serviceable innings, Mike Quade sent Rodrigo Lopez out to start the fifth. Lopez allowed only one run and had already thrown 79 pitches, 47 for strikes. Lopez gave up a leadoff single to Andres Torres. After a stolen base and a ground out, Torres stood at third with one out representing the tying run.
Pablo Sandoval hit a broken bat fly ball to short center that Reed Johnson charged and made a perfect throw to Geovany Soto. Soto blocked the plate and appeared to tag out Torres to end the inning. Tim McClelland called Torres out but changed his call after the ball fell out of Soto’s glove. Soto appeared to be taking his mask off but the ball came out. The umpires huddled, the call was upheld … and the game quickly got away from the Chicago Cubs.
Rodrigo Lopez gave up two more hits before Mike Quade finally went to his pen. Lopez turned the game over to John Grabow … and before Grabow could record the final out, the Giants scored four runs and put the game away.
All five of the Giants runs in the fifth scored with two outs … the Giants scored five runs in the fifth inning in both games Tuesday.
Rodrigo Lopez pitched better than his final line indicates. Lopez was charged with four runs, one earned, on eight hits with two walks and a strikeout in 4 2/3 innings. Lopez threw 96 pitches, 60 for strikes.
As for John Grabow, he is a waste of a roster space and proved it once again Tuesday night. Grabow was brought into a tie game with two on and two outs in the fifth. Grabow’s job was to retire the lefty Nate Schierholtz and get his team out of the inning.
Nate Schierholtz singled in the go ahead run on Grabow’s first pitch and another lefty, Brandon Crawford, doubled in two more runs. To make matters worse, Eli Whiteside recorded the third straight hit off Grabow and drove in the Giants’ fifth run of the inning. Grabow then walked Barry Zito before retiring Andres Torres to end the inning.
Rodrigo Lopez should have not been sent out to start the fifth … and John Grabow should no longer be on the Cubs’ roster.
While the Giants took batting practice at Wrigley on Tuesday (Giants scored 19 runs on 30 hits in Tuesday’s doubleheader), the Cubs offense managed only three runs on five hits in the nightcap. Luis Montanez (1-for-3 with a home run and two RBI) drove in the Cubs first two runs with his first homer of the season in the third … and Aramis Ramirez added a solo shot in the ninth, his ninth longball of the season.
With the sweep at the hands of the Giants, the Cubs find themselves a season-low 16 games under the mediocre mark with a 32-48 record … Rodrigo Lopez did not allow a run in the first inning Tuesday night. Emmanuel Burriss doubled down the first base line with two outs but Lopez struck out Sandoval and retired Huff on a groundout to short to end the inning.
After the Cubs went quickly in the bottom of the first, the Giants pushed across the first run of the game in the second.
Cody Ross doubled off the wall in left and scored on a single to center off the bat of Nate Schierholtz. The light-hitting Brandon Crawford singled to right on a 2-2 pitch and the Giants had runners on first and second with no outs. Eli Whiteside grounded into a 4-6-3 double play on a 3-2 pitch. Huff ended up at third but was stranded when Zito tapped back to the mound to end the inning.
Barry Zito retired the Cubs in order in the bottom of the second … six up, six down for Zito.
The Cubs defense stepped up in the third. Andres Torres tried to bunt his way on but Lopez fielded the ball and made a glove to glove toss to just nip Torres at first. Burriss grounded out to second and Sandoval grounded out to first to end the inning.
Alfonso Soriano led off the third with the Cubs’ first hit of the game. Luis Montanez then launched a 0-1 pitch into the bleachers in left center. Montanez’s first homer as a Cub gave his team a 2-1 lead.
Lopez and Johnson flied out to center ahead of a triple to right off the bat of Starlin Castro. Aramis Ramirez was then robbed of a single to left by Brandon Crawford. Crawford made a sensational diving stop in short left and threw out Ramirez at first to end the inning.
Rodrigo Lopez worked his way in and out of trouble in the fourth. After Lopez appeared to hurt himself covering first on a grounder to Pena by Aubrey Huff, Cody Ross walked and advanced to second on another hit by Nate Schierholtz. Brandon Crawford hit a grounder up the middle that Baker stopped and made a nice behind the back toss to Castro to nail Schierholtz. Crawford just beat the throw to first to extend the inning.
Lopez walked Whiteside on four pitches to load the bases. After falling behind Zito 2-0, Lopez induced a grounder to second off Zito’s bat to end the inning.
After four inning, Lopez had thrown 79 pitches, 49 for strikes.
The Cubs could not tack on in the bottom of the fourth … and Lopez was sent out to start the fifth.
Andres Torres led off the fifth with a bloop single to left on a 0-2 pitch. Torres stole second with Burriss at the plate. Burriss then grounded out to first and Torres advanced to third with one out.
Pablo Sandoval broke his bat and hit a fly into shallow center. Reed Johnson caught the ball and made a strong throw to the plate. Soto blocked the plate and tagged out Torres to end the inning … and that’s when the game changed.
Tim McClelland called Torres out but when Soto went to remove his mask the ball came out of his glove. McClelland changed his call to safe and the game was tied at two. Soto and Quade argued, the umpires discussed the play but the call was upheld … and the game quickly got out of hand.
Aubrey Huff reached on a two-out single to right on a 3-2 pitch. Cody Ross followed with a single to left center … and Quade finally decided after 96 pitches that he’d seen enough from Rodrigo Lopez.
John Grabow came in and allowed the game to get out of reach. One of the worst signings of Jim Hendry’s career served up a fastball to Nate Schierholtz. The Giants’ right fielder ripped the ball into center. Huff scored the go ahead run … 3-2 Giants. Reed Johnson bobbled the ball and that allowed Ross to advance to third on the play.
With Brandon Crawford at the plate, Schierholtz stole second on a 1-2 offering. Crawford worked the count to 3-2 before launching a double into left center. Ross and Schierholtz scored … 5-2 Giants.
Eli Whiteside ripped a 2-2 pitch into center that plated Crawford with the Giants’ sixth run. Grabow then walked Barry Zito to put runners on first and second with two outs.
Andres Torres, the 10th man to bat in the inning, popped out to Castro to end the inning.
The Cubs managed two other hits after the fifth inning … a two out single by Reed Johnson in the sixth and a solo homer by Aramis Ramirez in the ninth.
Just when you think the Cubs cannot play any worse the umpire yells “Play Ball!”
Ryan Dempster will face Tim Lincecum on Wednesday night.