Wild Woody and the Cubs Pen – Cubs 4 Nationals 5

Game Eighty-Six – Cubs 4 Nationals 5 – 10 innings
WP – Henry Rodriguez (3-1) LP – Marcos Mateo (1-2) Save – None

Q’s squad keeps finding ways to lose ballgames … and the Cubs did it again on the 4th of July. Jayson Werth scored the winning run in the 10th inning on a wild pitch from Carlos Marmol.

The Nationals tried to give the Cubs the game on Monday afternoon … but the Cubs pen could not hold what Washington had given them through the first six innings.

Casey Coleman put together a very good outing considering the situation and falling into a 2-0 hole in the first inning. Coleman settled down and allowed only one more run in 5 1/3 innings. Coleman was in line for the victory after surrendering three runs, two earned, on five hits with a walk and three strikeouts on 79 pitches, 52 for strikes.

The Cubs took a 4-2 lead into the bottom of the sixth. After a one-out triple by Laynce Nix that ended Coleman’s day, Mike Quade went to his pen for Jeff Samardzija. Jayson Werth grounded out to first to plate Nix with the Nats’ third run. The Cubs got out of the sixth without allowing another run but Kerry Wood could not find the strike zone in the seventh and allowed the Nationals to tie the game without putting a ball in play.

Sean Marshall gave up an infield single to Ian Desmond and after a sac bunt and a strikeout, Quade brought in Kerry Wood to face pinch-hitter Ryan Zimmerman. Wood then walked Zimmerman, hit Danny Espinosa to load the bases and walked Laynce Nix to force in the tying run.

Kerry Wood faced seven batters in his inning of work … three walks, hit a batter and struck out three.

The game remained tied at four into the bottom of the 10th. Marcos Mateo started the inning and walked Jayson Werth to start the inning. Livan Hernandez pinch-hit for Henry Rodriguez and sacrificed Werth to second. Mateo appeared to hurt his elbow and left the game.

Carlos Marmol replaced Mateo and forgot about Werth at second. Werth stole third on Marmol’s first pitch to Ivan Rodriguez and scored the winning run on a wild pitch.

The Nationals last two runs scored without a hit … a bases loaded walk and a wild pitch.

Q’s offense once again out hit the other team in a losing effort. The Cubs pounded out 10 hits but not one from the top three spots in the lineup (0-for-15). Aramis Ramirez (2-for-4 with a double and two runs scored), Carlos Pena (3-for-4 with a triple and a run scored), Marlon Byrd (2-for-3 with a walk, a run scored and a RBI) and Geovany Soto (2-for-4 with a RBI) led the offense. Alfonso Soriano was the benefactor of a gift single in the fourth that drove in two.

The Cubs lost for the third time in eight extra inning games (5-3, 1-3 on the road) and the Nationals improved to 9-5 in extra innings this season.

With Monday’s loss, the Cubs slipped back to 16 under .500 on the season with a 35-51 record …

After the Cubs went in order to start the game, the Nationals took advantage of a Carlos Pena error and poor pitching by Casey Coleman in the bottom of the first.

Roger Bernadina reached on an error by Carlos Pena to start the inning. Pena misplayed the short-hop and the ball rolled under his glove. Coleman jammed Alex Cora on a 2-2 pitch and retired the veteran infielder on a pop out to short.

Danny Espinosa ripped a 0-2 pitch into left center. Bernadina ended up at third and scored on a single to right by Laynce Nix. Espinosa held at third and scored on a broken bat single to right by Jayson Werth. At this point everything Coleman was throwing was up in the strike zone.

After a visit from Mark Riggins, Casey struck out Matt Stairs swinging on a 2-2 pitch. With runners on first and second, Ivan Rodriguez looked at strike three to end the inning.

The Cubs chipped into the Nationals 2-0 lead in the top of the second. Carlos Pena recorded the Cubs first hit, a triple to center. Pena’s first triple since the 2009 season was really a gift. Roger Bernadina ranged back to the centerfield wall but mistimed an unnecessary leap. The ball went off his glove and Pena ended up at third.

Marlon Byrd singled to center on a 1-2 pitch, Pena scored … 2-1 Nationals.

Alfonso Soriano and Geovany Soto struck out swinging. Jordan Zimmermann actually struck out the side in the second … and five of the first eight Cubs he faced Monday afternoon.

Casey Coleman settled down and retired the bottom of the Nationals order in the second … and the Cubs went down in order in the top of the third.

Casey Coleman continued throwing strikes and kept the ball down in the bottom of the third. Casey retired the Nationals in order on just 10 pitches.

The Cubs took the lead in the top of the fourth on with a lot of help from the Nationals outfield.

Aramis Ramirez reached on a one-out single to the hole at short. Carlos Pena hit a soft liner into right center. Ramirez ended up at third and held when Marlon Byrd hit a little humpback liner to Espinosa. The Nationals second baseman dropped the ball but forced Pena at second base.

With runners on first and third with two outs, Alfonso Soriano swung at and popped Zimmermann’s first pitch into right center. Bernadina and Werth did not communicate and let the routine fly ball fall untouched.

Ramirez and Byrd scored … 3-2 Cubs.

Soriano ended up at second but was stranded when Soto flied out to left center to end the inning.

Casey Coleman walked Jayson Werth to start the bottom of the fourth … but Werth was erased on a strike ’em out, throw ’em out. Matt Stairs swung at and missed a 3-2 offering and Soto threw a strike to Castro to cut down Werth. Ivan Rodriguez grounded out to first to end the inning.

The Cubs went down in order in the fifth.

After Casey Coleman was able to work around a one-out single by Jordan Zimmermann in the bottom of the fifth (fourth hit allowed by Coleman), the Cubs tacked on a run in the top of the sixth … and it should have been more.

Starlin Castro popped out to right to start the sixth. Aramis Ramirez appeared to foul out to Rodriguez on a 2-2 pitch. Rodriguez could not catch the ball against the netting and gave Ramirez another shot. Aramis ripped Zimmermann’s next pitch into the left field corner for a double.

Carlos Pena followed with a rocket into right center just out of the reach of a leaping Danny Espinoza. Ramirez had to hold at third. Marlon Byrd walked to load the bases with one out. Alfonso Soriano popped a 2-2 pitch into shallow center. The runners held and Soto stepped in with two outs.

Geovany Soto singled to right on a 0-1 pitch. Ramirez scored easily but Werth threw out Pena at the plate to end the inning. Pena beat the throw but left his leg up as he slid across the plate, which allowed Rodriguez to tag him to end the inning.

Laynce Nix has always been a thorn in the Cubs’ side and was once again Monday afternoon. Nix tripled off the wall in right center with one out in the sixth … and chased Casey Coleman from the game.

Jeff Samardzija came in (along with Reed Johnson on a double switch for Soriano in left) and retired Jayson Werth on a ground out to first … but Nix scored and cut the Cubs lead to 4-3. Samardzija walked Stairs but retired Rodriguez on a ground out to first to end the inning.

The Cubs did nothing against Ryan Mattheus in the top of the seventh.

Sean Marshall and Kerry Wood gave the lead away in the bottom of the seventh. After Marshall did not get the call on a 1-2 breaking ball that appeared to be strike three, Ian Desmond reached on an infield single to the hole at short. Rick Ankiel dropped a bunt to the right side of the mound, Desmond advanced to second with one out.

Marshall struck out Roger Bernadina looking for the second out.

Davey Johnson went to his bench and sent up Ryan Zimmerman to hit for Alex Cora. Quade countered and went to his pen for Kerry Wood and another double switch (Campana in left, Johnson moved to right). Desmond advanced to third on a 2-2 pitch in the dirt but it would not matter, Wood walked Zimmerman.

Brian Bixler ran for Zimmerman and stole second on a 1-2 pitch to Danny Espinoza. Wood continued to struggle with his command and hit Espinoza to load the bases.

Kerry Wood could not find the strike zone and walked Laynce Nix on five pitches to force in Desmond with the tying run. Wood temporarily righted the ship and struck out Jayson Werth swinging to end the inning.

The Cubs went quickly and quietly against Tyler Clippard in the top of the eighth.

Jason Marquis hit for Clippard to start the bottom of the eighth. Marquis helped out his old teammate by swinging at several balls out of the strike zone before looking at strike three. Wood then walked Ivan Rodriguez before striking out Desmond swinging.

Quade went to his pen and brought in James Russell to face Rick Ankiel.

Ankiel reached on an infield single to third. Ankiel hit a cue shot off the end of the bat. With runners on first and second with two out, Roger Bernadina grounded out to second on a 1-2 pitch to end the inning.

The Cubs appeared to have a good start to the ninth after Marlon Byrd led off with a single to center … but the un-fundamental Cubs struck again. Byrd’s single ended a string of eight in a row retired by the Nationals bullpen.

Tony Campana failed to get the bunt down and grounded into a 4-6-3 double play on a 3-2 pitch from Drew Storen. Campana has to get the bunt down … but Byrd has to break up the double play. Geovany Soto reached on bloop single to center and Reed Johnson grounded out to short on a 3-2 pitch to end the inning.

James Russell retired the Nationals in order in the bottom of the ninth to send the game into extra innings.

The Cubs went down in order against Henry Rodriguez in the top of the 10th (DeWitt fly out, Barney ground out and Castro strikeout).

Marcos Mateo took the hill in the bottom of the 10th and predictably walked Jayson Werth to start the inning. Davey Johnson went to his bench and sent up Livan Hernandez to hit for Henry Rodriguez.

Hernandez dropped down a bunt to the right of the mound. Pena fielded the sacrifice and threw out a jogging Hernandez. Werth advanced to second with one out.

The training staff went out at that point to check on Marcos Mateo. The focus was on his elbow and he was lifted with the winning run in scoring position.

Quade brought in Carlos Marmol to face Ivan Rodriguez.

Marmol forgot all about Werth and he swiped third on Marmol’s first pitch to Rodriguez. Marmol then uncorked a wild pitch on a 2-2 offering to Rodriguez … Werth scored, game over.

It’s A Way of Life …

Box Score from Yahoo Sports

Ramon Ortiz will make his 2011 and Cubs debut on Tuesday night. The Nationals are expected to send Ross Detwiler to the hill.

Quote of the Day

"Logic will get you from A to B. Imagination will take you everywhere." - Albert Einstein