Game Seventy-Five – Cubs 6 Royals 4
WP – Sean Marshall (4-2) LP – Aaron Crow (2-1) Save – Carlos Marmol (16)
The Cubs might have played one of their worst games of the season Friday night in Kansas City … but somehow Q’s squad pulled out a win. As Pat Hughes said, “The Cubs got the minimum out of the maximum.” Friday night’s game was very difficult to watch.
The Cubs scored six runs on 15 hits and committed four baserunning mistakes … three of the Cubs first 12 outs were made on the bases. The Cubs ran themselves out of the first and fourth inning in a game that should have been put away well before the ninth inning. Starlin Castro and Geovany Soto were both thrown out at third, Alfonso Soriano was cut down at the plate to end the fourth and Aramis Ramirez was thrown out at second in the sixth. The Cubs had three runners thrown out on the bases in a seven batter stretch between the fourth and sixth.
Starlin Castro (3-for-5 with a RBI) had a big night at the plate and was solid in the field. Castro recorded his 100th hit of the season with a single to center in the first inning. Aramis Ramirez also tallied three hits and scored two of the Cubs six runs. Carlos Pena finished the game 2-for-4 with a double, a RBI and two runs scored. Pena scored the tying run in the seventh.
D.J. LeMahieu continued his impressive play. LeMahieu was 2-for-4 with a run scored and it was his single in the ninth that put Tony Campana on third with the eventual winning run. LeMahieu was solid again in the field and was one of the few players that ran the bases the right way on Friday night.
Ryan Dempster had another rough start and received a no decision after allowing four runs, two earned, on nine hits in six innings of work. Dempster struck out four, issued a free pass and uncorked a wild pitch that led to one of the Royals four runs. After a nine-pitch first inning, Dempster threw 108 on the night, 70 for strikes.
James Russell and Chris Carpenter kept the Royals from tacking on in the seventh and Sean Marshall pitched a perfect eighth … and was awarded with a win.
The Royals put the tying runs in scoring position in the ninth against Carlos Marmol but Marmol retired Alex Gordon on a grounder to short to end the game.
With Friday’s win, the Cubs improved to 31-44 on the season, 13 games below the mediocre mark … The Cubs jumped on Bruce Chen in the first inning but due to the first baserunning blunder of the night, the Cubs scored only one run. Starlin Castro reached on a one-out single to center … Castro’s 100th hit of the season. Aramis Ramirez followed with a single to center and the Cubs were in business with runners on first and second with one out.
With Jeff Baker at the plate, Castro took off for third on a 0-2 pitch. Brayan Pena threw Castro at third for the second out of the inning, the first time Castro has been caught stealing this season (10-for-11). Baker ripped Chen’s next pitch over Francoeur’s head in right. Ramirez scored on Baker’s first triple of the season. Geovany Soto struck out swinging to end the inning.
Ryan Dempster retired the Royals in order on nine pitches, five for strikes, in the bottom of the first.
After the Cubs went in order in the second, the Royals tied the game in the bottom of the second.
Alex Gordon extended his hitting streak to 11 games with a single to right to start the second. Francoeur flied out to left but Mike Moustakas blooped a single into center. With runners on first and second with one-out, Dempster uncorked a wild pitch to Brayan Pena on a 1-2 offering. Both Gordon and Moustakas advanced on the play.
Pena worked the count to 3-2 before hitting a fly to Soriano in left. Gordon tagged and scored … game tied at one. Starlin Castro took a RBI single from Alcides Escobar and Pena cleaned up his throw in the dirt to end the inning.
The Cubs had a chance to put four or five runs up in the fourth but they ran themselves out of a possible big inning. It is hard to have a bad inning when two runs are scored … but the Cubs found a way Friday night.
After Ryan Dempster wiggled his way out of trouble in the bottom of the third, thanks to bad baserunning from the Royals, Aramis Ramirez led off the fourth with a double off the top of the wall in left center. Ramirez just missed a home run. Baker grounded out to third for the first out of the inning.
Geovany Soto walked on four pitches that gave Pena a chance to hit with two on and one out. Pena singled to right center. Ramirez scored but Soto was gunned down at third by Jeff Francoeur. Pena took second on the Cubs second baserunning blunder of the night.
After Soriano worked the count to 3-1, Chen issued ball four intentionally. With two outs and runners on first and second, Luis Montanez launched a 0-1 pitch off the wall in left. Pena scored but Soriano was thrown out at the plate to end the inning.
The Cubs took a 3-1 lead but it should have been more. Three of the Cubs first 12 outs were made on the bases … two at third and one at the plate.
Alex Gordon led off the bottom of the fourth and dropped a bunt to the third base side of the bag on Dempster’s first pitch. Dempster barehanded the ball … and threw it away. Gordon reached on the throwing error and scored two pitches later.
Jeff Francoeur launched a 0-1 offering from Dempster over the wall in left and tied the game at three … it was Francoeur’s first longball since May 22.
Dempster settled down and retired Moustakas and Pena but issued a two-out walk to Alcides Escobar. Chris Getz followed with a single to right center. Escobar advanced to third and scored the Royals’ fourth run on a single by Melky Cabrera.
With runners on first and second with two outs, Eric Hosmer grounded out to third to end the inning.
Aramis Ramirez committed the Cubs’ fourth baserunning blunder in the sixth. Ramirez ripped Chen’s first pitch down the left field line. Alex Gordon hustled to the ball and threw a strike to Getz at second base … Ramirez was out by a mile.
The game remained 4-3 until the seventh. The Cubs tied the game and scored one run on five hits in the inning.
Carlos Pena led off the seventh with a double off the wall in right. Ned Yost went to his pen and replaced Bruce Chen with Blake Wood.
Alfonso Soriano blooped Wood’s first pitch into right. Pena advanced to third on the play. Mike Quade sent Blake DeWitt up to hit for Luis Montanez. DeWitt grounded into a 4-6-3 double play, Pena scored and tied the game at four.
D.J. LeMahieu ripped a 1-1 pitch down the first baseline. The ball hit the bag and bounced high into the air. Hosmer fielded the ball in shallow right and almost threw out LeMahieu at first. Fukudome followed with a single to center.
With runners on first and second with two outs, Starlin Castro singled to right on a 2-1 pitch. Ivan DeJesus held LeMahieu at third. Aramis Ramirez struck out swinging with the bases loaded to end the inning.
James Russell retired the first two batters he faced in the bottom of the seventh then handed the ball to Mike Quade. Chris Carpenter walked the first two batters he faced (Butler and Gordon) before retiring Francoeur on a comebacker to the mound to end the inning.
Sean Marshall retired the Royals in order in the bottom of the eighth.
The Cubs caught a break with one out in the ninth. Tony Campana bunted the ball toward third. Mike Moustakas appeared to make a shoestring catch but it was ruled he trapped the ball. Moustakas made the mistake of showing the homeplate umpire the ball and the delay cost him a chance of making sure of the out at first.
D.J. LeMahieu looked at three straight out of the zone from Aaron Crow. Campana took off for second on a 3-1 pitch. LeMahieu hit the ball right through the vacated hole at second. Campana motored around second and made it to third on LeMahieu’s single to right.
With runners on first and third and the infield at halfway, Kosuke Fukudome hit a tailor made double play grounder to Chris Getz but Getz took his eye off the ball and booted it. Campana scored the go ahead run and LeMahieu advanced to third on the play.
Starlin Castro made it 6-4 Cubs with his third hit of the night. Castro singled to center and plated LeMahieu with the all-important insurance run. Aramis Ramirez hit into a 4-6-3 double play to end the inning.
Carlos Marmol made his first appearance since Monday and struggled with his command. Marmol walked Getz to start the inning. Cabrera looked at a 3-2 offering for the first out of the inning. Eric Hosmer was called out on a check swing but Billy Butler ripped a double into right. Getz held at third. Yost sent Jarrod Dyson to run for Butler … the would-be tying run.
Alex Gordon grounded out to short to end the game.
Ugly really does not describe the Cubs performance Friday night in Kansas City.
Carlos Zambrano will face rookie Danny Duffy Saturday night in game two.