Game Fifty-Eight – Cubs 2 Reds 8
WP – Mike Leake (5-2) LP – Matt Garza (2-5) Save – None
The Cubs freefall continued Monday night in Cincinnati. Q’s squad lost their seventh game in a row due to poor pitching, poor defense, and zero power … and even less patience at the plate. The Cubs overly aggressive offense did not work the count against Mike Leake and managed only one free pass against the pitching staff that issues more walks than any other in the league.
The Cubs pounded out 10 hits but Kosuke Fukudome (3-for-5 with a run scored and a double) and Blake DeWitt (3-for-4 with a double) combined for six of the 10 hits and both extra base knocks. Both Cubs runs scored on a pair of sacrifice flies … one by Carlos Pena in the first and the other off the bat of Starlin Castro in the fifth.
The Cubs offense finished the game 2-for-6 with runners in scoring position and left eight on base. The Cubs allowed Mike Leake and Bill Bray to throw only 133 pitches (86 for strikes) in nine innings … while four Cubs’ pitchers threw 150 pitches (99 for strikes) in eight innings of work.
Mike Leake had his best outing of the year by far. Leake allowed two runs on 10 hits with a walk and three strikeouts in eight innings.
Matt Garza returned the mound and was ineffective against the Reds again. Garza pitched from behind in the count and missed up in the strike zone. Garza ran up his pitch count and left after four innings of work. Garza allowed four runs on six hits with three walks and three strikeouts on 81 pitches, 51 for strikes.
Jeff Samardzija had a bad fifth inning and a solid sixth inning. Samardzija was wild in his first inning of work and served up a three-run shot to Jonny Gomes that put the game well out of reach.
Aramis Ramirez’s fifth credited error of the season led to an unearned run in the seventh.
The Cubs dropped their seventh game in a row after another sloppy effort. With Monday’s loss, the Cubs are just 5-17 over the last two seasons against the Reds (1-5 this year) and are 7-20 versus the central division. Q’s squad is now a season-low 12 games under .500 with a 23-35 record … The Cubs scored the first run Monday night in the Queen City. Kosuke Fukudome led off the game with a single to right center. Darwin Barney grounded into a 3-6 fielder’s choice. With Barney at first, Starlin Castro blooped a single into right center. Barney advanced to third and scored on a sac fly to left off the bat of Carlos Pena.
Aramis Ramirez flied out to right to end the inning.
Matt Garza started his night on a very positive note … but it did not last long. Garza retired the Reds in order in the first with a pair of strikeouts (Stubbs and Votto).
Mike Leake faced the minimum in the second after Geovany Soto hit into a 5-4-3 double play and Tyler Colvin grounded out to short.
The Reds tied the game in the home half of the second after a leadoff double by Jay Bruce. The Reds’ right fielder ripped a 2-1 pitch into right and scored on a single to center by Jonny Gomes on a 1-2 pitch. Bruce and Gomes continue enjoying hitting against Cubs pitching.
Miguel Cairo grounded into a 6-4-3 double play but Garza walked Ryan Hanigan to prolong the inning. Paul Janish grounded out to short to end the inning.
The Cubs wasted a big scoring chance in the top of the third. Kosuke Fukudome reached on a single and advanced to second when Mike Leake plunked Darwin Barney. Starlin Castro looked at strike three for the second out of the inning.
Carlos Pena hit a 3-1 pitch into right. Ivan DeJesus put up the stop sign for Kosuke as Bruce threw to the plate. Pena rounded first and was caught in no man’s land. Pena was thrown out (9-2-4) by Hanigan to end the inning. Instead of bases loaded and two outs, the Cubs were unable to score or put any pressure on Mike Leake.
The Reds took the lead for good in the bottom of the third. After Mike Leake struck out swinging to start the inning, Drew Stubbs launched a 1-1 pitch over the wall in right. Stubbs’ ninth longball of the year gave the Reds a 2-1 lead.
Garza got out of the third after allowing a two-out single to Joey Votto … but the writing was on the wall for another Cubs’ loss.
After the Cubs failed to capitalize on a one-out double by Blake DeWitt in the top of the fourth, Matt Garza lost the strike zone in the bottom of the fourth … and barely made it through the inning.
Garza retired Gomes on a lineout to short but walked Miguel Cairo on four pitches. Ryan Hanigan singled to left and Garza walked Paul Janish to load the bases with one out.
Mike Leake singled to right on a 1-2 pitch. Cairo scored … 3-1 Reds. Drew Stubbs then hit a grounder to short. Castro flipped to Barney to force Leake but the speedy Stubbs beat Barney’s throw to first. Hanigan scored the Reds’ fourth run of the game.
Garza retired Brandon Phillips on a lineout to second to end the inning.
The Cubs got a run back in the top of the fifth … the first time in five games the Cubs scored in more than one inning in a game.
Kosuke Fukudome hit a one-out double off the wall in right. Darwin Barney reached on an infield single to first. With Kosuke at third, Starlin Castro flied out to right on first pitch. Fukudome tagged and scored … 4-2 Reds.
Carlos Pena worked the Cubs only walk of the game but with runners on first and second with two outs, Aramis Ramirez grounded out to second to end the inning.
Jeff Samardzija replaced Garza in the fifth … and the Reds put the game out of reach.
Samardzija hit Joey Votto to start the inning. Jay Bruce hit a 2-2 pitch into left that turned Blake DeWitt every way possible. DeWitt ended up getting a glove on the ball but could not haul it in. DeWitt’s miscue allowed Bruce to reach second with his second double of the game … and the Reds were in business with runners on second and third with no outs.
Jonny Gomes hit a mile high fly into the stands in left and trotted around the bases with a three-run homer. Gomes’ shot gave the Reds a 7-2 lead.
Samardzija gave up a one-out single to Ryan Hanigan but no more runs in the fifth … and he retired the Reds in order in the sixth.
James Russell took over in the bottom of the seventh … and predictably struggled against all of the Reds’ right-handed hitters. When will Mike Quade start using James Russell as the lefty specialist he is?
Jay Bruce led off the seventh with a single to right. Russell then hit Gomes on a 0-2 pitch. After Miguel Cairo flied out to left, Russell walked Hanigan to load the bases.
Paul Janish hit a 0-2 pitch to Ramirez at third. Ramirez bobbled the ball and Bruce scored the Reds’ eighth run. Mike Leake hit into a 5-2-3 double play to end the inning.
John Grabow retired the Reds in order in the eighth … just the third inning the Reds did not score.
Too many pitches, too many errors, not any patience at the plate … and another loss for the Chicago Cubs.
Doug Davis will face Edinson Volquez in game two Tuesday night.