Game Ninety-Five – Cubs 3 Marlins 13
WP – Javier Vazquez (6-8) LP – Carlos Zambrano (6-5) Save – None
Carlos Zambrano came off the disabled list prior to Saturday’s game against Florida and he simply did not have anything. Z’s velocity was down early and the Marlins scored three runs in the first inning. Zambrano rebounded slightly but still pitched from behind in the count for a majority of his short outing. Zambrano issued four walks and three of them came around to score.
Zambrano ended up allowing eight runs on seven hits with four walks and six strikeouts in 4 2/3 innings. Zambrano threw 94 pitches in less than five innings, 58 for strikes.
Mike Quade left Zambrano in one batter too long and Mike Stanton’s second opposite field homer of the game off Zambrano turned a 5-0 deficit into an 8-0 embarrassment. Mike Stanton finished the game 3-for-5 with two home runs and four RBI and Hanley Ramirez recorded three doubles (3-for-4 with three runs scored) and drove in two runs.
Ramon Ortiz, who should no longer be in the Major Leagues, picked up where Zambrano left off and gave up three runs on three hits with a strikeout in 1 1/3 innings. Ortiz served up the third opposite field home run of the game to Logan Morrison in the sixth inning.
John Grabow and James Russell kept the Marlins from adding to the blowout but Jeff Samardzija was hit pretty hard in the ninth and surrendered two unearned runs.
Eight of the Marlins’ 13 runs scored on Saturday afternoon scored with two outs.
The Cubs offense was pretty much non-existent on Saturday afternoon. Q’s squad managed just four hits off Javier Vazquez and three of those came in the bottom of the sixth. The Cubs had a total of five baserunners on the afternoon and walked only once (Blake DeWitt in the ninth) and struck out 11 times.
The Cubs had only one hit in the first 5 2/3 innings and allowed Javier Vazquez to record his first four outs on 10 pitches. Vazquez struck out a season-high 10 batters and retired the Cubs in order in five of his seven innings.
Chris Hatcher made his big league pitching debut on Saturday afternoon. Hatcher was the Marlins’ backup catcher a year ago and he retired the Cubs in order in the bottom of the eighth on just 14 pitches, nine for strikes.
Aramis Ramirez drove in the Cubs only runs on Saturday. Ramirez hit his 16th longball of the season, a three-run shot that plated Kosuke Fukudome and Starlin Castro. The Cubs have scored a total of eight runs in the first three games of the series … four RBI on home runs by Marlon Byrd and Aramis Ramirez and one RBI when Darwin Barney was hit by a pitch on Thursday night. The other three runs have scored on a passed ball and an error by Omar Infante.
The Cubs defense was charged with two more errors and ran their league-worst total to 81 on the season. The 2010 Chicago Cubs did not commit their 80th error until the 106th game.
On another offensive day at Wrigley, the roster Jim Hendry assembled managed only three runs on four hits and was pounded by the visiting team. The Cubs are now 4-9 in July and have gone from a team that cannot win three in a row to a group of players that cannot put together back-to-back victories.
With Saturday’s loss, the Cubs slipped back to 19 below .500 with a 38-57 record … The inconsistency of the Chicago Cubs was on full display Saturday afternoon. After receiving tremendous starts from Matt Garza and Ryan Dempster, Big Z lasted just 4 2/3 innings and should have been lifted before he was on Saturday.
Carlos Zambrano labored through a long 29-pitch first inning and the Marlins took advantage of his lack of command. Z walked two batters in the opening frame and both came around to score.
Z walked Emilio Bonifacio on five pitches to start the game. Zambrano struck out Infante on three pitches. Bonifacio then took second on a delayed steal on the first pitch to Logan Morrison. Morrison ended up walking on a borderline call on a 3-2 pitch.
With runners on first and second and one down, Hanley Ramirez ripped a 0-1 pitch over Fukudome’s head in right. Bonifacio scored … 1-0 Marlins. With runners on second and third with one out, Gaby Sanchez reached out and poked a 1-2 pitch into right. Sanchez drove in two with the opposite field single past Pena and pretty much ended the game at that point.
Zambrano struck out Stanton and Peterson to end the inning.
Carlos Zambrano allowed three runs on two hits with two walks and three strikeouts (29 pitches, 18 strikes) in the first inning.
The Cubs did nothing against Javier Vazquez in the first and Marlon Byrd recorded the Cubs only hit in the first four innings in the second. Carlos Zambrano put together the best at bat against Vazquez … and was the only Cub to square one up against Vazquez until the sixth inning.
After two decent innings from Zambrano in the second and third, the Marlins started tacking on in the fourth inning.
Mike Stanton hit a 1-2 pitch to the back of the bleachers in right … the monster, opposite field bomb gave the Marlins a 4-0 lead.
Zambrano retired the next three batters in the fourth but it was clear that Z did not have anything on Saturday afternoon.
Javier Vazquez retired the Cubs in order for the third time in the bottom of the fourth.
The Marlins put the game well out of reach in the fifth and chased Zambrano before he could finish the inning.
Omar Infante singled to center on a 3-1 pitch with one out in the fifth. Logan Morrison popped out to center for the second out. Z fell behind Hanley Ramirez 3-1 and Ramirez ripped his next pitch over Soriano’s head in left. The ball one-hopped the wall and Infante scored … 5-0 Marlins.
Zambrano then issued his fourth walk of the game to Gaby Sanchez. With runners on first and second with two outs, Mike Stanton launched a 2-0 pitch into the bleachers just to the right of straight away center. The Marlins took a 8-0 lead and chased Zambrano from the game.
Ramon Ortiz retired Peterson on a flyout to right center to end the inning.
All four runs allowed by Z in the fifth came with two outs.
The Cubs went down in order for the fourth time in the fifth inning.
Ramon Ortiz took the hill in the top of the sixth and turned an 8-0 deficit into an 11-0 embarrassment. Javier Vazquez singled to right center with one out and advanced to second on a throwing error by Marlon Byrd … the Cubs 80th charged error of the season. Emilio Bonifacio popped out to first but Omar Infante reached on an infield single to third. Aramis Ramirez made a nice diving stop on a ball ticketed for the left field corner and made a strong throw from his knees … but Infante just beat the throw.
Logan Morrison got just enough of a 1-0 pitch to deposit the ball in the basket in left center … the Marlins’ third opposite field homer of the game put them up 11-0. Ortiz struck out Hanley Ramirez to end the sixth.
The Cubs finally got on the board in the bottom of the sixth after back-to-back two out singles by Kosuke Fukudome (bloop single to center) and Starlin Castro (swinging bunt up the third baseline).
Aramis Ramirez lined Vazquez’s first pitch into the first row of the bleachers in left center … 11-3 Marlins on Ramirez’s 16th homer of the season. Pena struck out swinging to end the inning.
The Marlins did not add to their lead against John Grabow in the seventh … and the Cubs went down in order for the fifth time against Vazquez in the bottom of the seventh.
James Russell worked around a infield single by Emilio Bonifacio in the top of the eighth as Quade and McKeon started emptying their benches.
The Cubs went down in order against former catcher Chris Hatcher in the eighth inning. Hatcher was the Marlins’ backup catcher a year ago and made his big league debut as a pitcher on Saturday afternoon.
The Marlins tacked on two much-needed insurance runs against Jeff Samardzija in the top of the ninth. Hanley Ramirez doubled for the third time on Saturday. Gaby Sanchez shattered his bat, hit a grounder to third and reached on the Cubs second error of the game … a throwing error by Blake DeWitt. Hanley ended up at third and scored on a sac fly to left off the bat of Bryan Petersen.
Brett Hayes then doubled to left. Sanchez scored and completed the scoring for the Marlins … 13-3. Dewayne Wise flied out to deep left to end the inning.
Blake DeWitt reached on a one-out walk in the bottom of the ninth … the Cubs first walk of the game. Carlos Pena hit into a 4-6-3 double play to end the game.
Another day and another embarrassing loss … It’s a Way of Life
Randy Wells against Chris Volstad in the series finale on Sunday afternoon.