Game Seventy-Seven – Cubs 3 Royals 6
WP – Luke Hochevar (5-8) LP – Randy Wells (1-2) Save – Joakim Soria (13)
The embarrassment that is the 2011 Chicago Cubs was on full display Sunday afternoon. After dropping the first game of the series Friday night, the Royals had lost six games in a row but Kansas City took care of business, and advantage of the Cubs in the final two games. The Royals posted their second straight win and took the series from Q’s squad.
The Cubs fell to 1-11 on Sundays after a horrible outing from Randy Wells. The Royals rattled off five straight hits, sent eight to the plate in the first and scored four runs to pretty much put the game away. Eight minutes into the game the Royals had already scored two against the sluggish Wells. Couple that with the pathetic offense and the game was basically over in the first inning.
The Cubs tried to make it interesting Sunday afternoon thanks to one of Geovany Soto’s best offensive games of the year (3-for-3 with a home run, a double, a walk and two RBI). Q’s squad cut the Royals lead to 4-3 in the fourth but the Royals scored two more off Wells in the bottom of the fourth and put the game away. Wells did not fool any of the Royals early and it could have been worse … two of the Royals first nine outs were made on the bases.
Q’s offense had a chance in the sixth but D.J. LeMahieu (0-for-4, three strikeouts, six left on base) was called out on a check swing to end the inning.
The Cubs offense pounded out eight hits, worked four walks and finished 2-for-4 with RISP, eight left on base.
Randy Wells pitched into the seventh, did not record an out and ended up allowing six runs on 10 hits with two walks and two strikeouts in six-plus innings. Wells threw 96 pitches, 60 for strikes.
James Russell and Chris Carpenter did their job and combined for two scoreless innings in relief of Wells.
Starlin Castro (1-for-4) extended his hitting streak to 10 games with a first inning single.
With another loss in Interleague play (4-8, dropped last seven Interleague series), the Cubs dropped to a season-low 15 games under .500 with a 31-46 record … After Luke Hochevar faced the minimum on just nine pitches in the first inning, the Royals came out swinging against Randy Wells.
The first six Royals reached base and eight minutes into the game the Cubs found themselves in a hole. Melky Cabrera dropped down a bunt towards third on Wells’ first pitch. DeWitt and Wells did not communicate, Wells tried to pick and make a throw but was well off line and Cabrera was given a single.
Eric Hosmer singled to left on a 0-1 pitch and Billy Butler ripped a 1-0 pitch into left center. Cabrera scored … 1-0 Royals. With runners on first and third with no outs, Alex Gordon extended his hitting streak to 13 games with a hustle double. Gordon ripped a 0-1 pitch back up the middle that Castro dove for but the ball went off his glove into shallow center. By the time Johnson got to the ball, Hosmer scored and the Royals had runners on second and third with no outs.
Jeff Francoeur recorded the Royals fifth straight hit and drove in their third run with a single to right. Butler scored and Gordon held at third. Wells walked Mike Moustakas to load the bases … with no outs.
Matt Treanor made the first out of the inning. The Royals catcher lined out to Soriano in left, Gordon tagged and scored 4-0 Royals.
With runners at first and second with one out, Alcides Escobar swung and missed a 1-2 pitch well out of the strike zone. Soto threw a strike to DeWitt at third that cut down Francoeur to end the inning.
Randy Wells labored through a 24-pitch first inning. Looked very sluggish and did not fool any of the Royals hitters.
Wells settled down and sat down the Royals in order in the second.
The Cubs started chipping away at the 4-0 hole in the third. Geovany Soto led off the inning with a solo shot to left, his second homer in as many days. After LeMahieu struck out swinging, Fukudome worked a walk but was erased when Castro grounded into a 5-4-3 double play.
Randy Wells wiggled out of trouble in the bottom of the third … thanks to the wind and a gift from homeplate umpire Mark Ripperger. Alex Gordon reached on a single to left and Francoeur followed with a single to left … the Royals’ ninth hit of the game.
Mike Moustakas hit a deep fly to right that backed Fukudome all the way to the wall. The wind kept the ball in the park. Gordon tagged and advanced to third. With runners on first and third with two outs, Francoeur broke for second on a 3-1 pitch to Treanor. Treanor swung and missed, Soto threw to second as Gordon took off for the plate. LeMahieu stepped in front of the bag and threw home, Soto blocked Gordon off the plate and tagged him out to end the inning … replays showed the Cubs caught a break.
The offense tried to make a game of it in the fourth. After back-to-back pop ups to Matt Treanor by Ramirez and Pena, Reed Johnson hit a double off the top of the wall in left. DeWitt followed with a single to center. Johnson scored … 4-2 Royals. Alfonso Soriano walked on four pitches.
Geovany Soto placed a 0-1 pitch just fair down the right field line. DeWitt scored but Soriano was held at third on Soto’s double. LeMahieu hit a rocket to second on Hochevar’s first pitch to end the inning.
The Cubs cut the Royals lead to 4-3 but Randy Wells gave the two runs right back.
Randy Wells walked the .218 hitting Matt Treanor to start the bottom of the fourth. Alcides Escobar tried to bunt for a hit but was credited with a sacrifice after DeWitt threw him out at first for the first out of the inning.
With Treanor at second, Chris Getz hit a 2-2 pitch back up the middle. The ball hit off the mound, then off of Castro’s glove. Treanor scored … 5-3 Royals. Melky Cabrera flied out to left for the second out.
Eric Hosmer stepped in and ripped a 2-2 pitch into right center. Getz scored … 6-3 Royals. Billy Butler grounded out to third to end the inning.
Hard to mount a comeback and keep the momentum in a game with performances like the one Randy Wells turned in Sunday afternoon.
The Cubs did nothing against Luke Hochevar in the fifth … and Wells retired the Royals in order in the bottom of the fifth.
The Cubs had a chance to put a dent in the Royals lead in the top of the sixth but they came away empty.
Carlos Pena led off with a single and advanced all the way to third after Eric Hosmer hit him in the back with the ball. Reed Johnson struck out for the first out of the inning. DeWitt then hit a grounder to first. Hosmer fielded the ball, stepped on the bag and tried to throw out Pena at second. The ball hit Pena in the back and he took third on the error.
Alfonso Soriano worked his second walk of the day to chase Hochevar from the game. Louis Coleman replaced Hochevar and walked Soto on four pitches to load the bases.
D.J. LeMahieu was called out on a check swing to end the inning.
The Cubs offense managed only one hit off the Royals pen over the final three innings of the game. The players refuse to take pitches … Aaron Crow sat down the Cubs in order in the eighth on 10 pitches, eight for strikes.
Chris Carpenter pitched around three singles and a two-out walk in the eighth that loaded the bases without allowing any runs. Geovany Soto threw out his second runner of the day and Melky Cabrera lined out to Reed Johnson in left center to end the inning.
Geovany Soto led off the ninth with a single. After LeMahieu struck out for the third time, Soto was erased on a 5-4-3 double play off the bat of Kosuke Fukudome to end the game.
While the Royals and their fan base have a lot to look forward to, the Cubs fan base is just hoping for the day that the Cubs have a competitive team again.
The Cubs and Rockies will make up the ‘dry-out‘ from April 27 on Monday afternoon. Matt Garza will face the Rockies for the third time this season and Jim Tracy will send Jhoulys Chacin to the hill.