Game Eighty-Seven – Cubs 2 Nationals 3
WP – Ross Detwiler (1-0) LP – Ramon Ortiz (0-1) Save – Drew Storen (21)
After a shaky start and an error by Jeff Baker, Ramon Ortiz put together a decent outing and gave his new team every chance to win the game. The Nationals scored all three of their runs in the bottom of the first without hitting a ball out of the infield.
Ramon Ortiz gave up three straight hits to start the game before inducing a grounder off the bat of Laynce Nix that could have limited the damage … but the Cubs defense committed another error and gave the Nationals two extra outs in the opening inning. The Nationals first two runs scored on a botched tailor made double-play grounder and the third came on an infield single to Aramis Ramirez.
The Nationals did not manage another run off Ortiz and the Cubs pen. Ortiz allowed three runs, two earned, on seven hits with three walks and seven strikeouts in his first big league start of the season. Ortiz threw 96 pitches (34 in the first), 62 for strikes.
The Cubs league worst defense struck again and cost them another game. The Cubs have been charged with the most errors in the National League … and have turned the fewest double plays in the Senior Circuit.
The Cubs hit the ball hard against Ross Detwiler but were not able to get any to fall early in the game. The Cubs managed only seven hits and were 1-for-7 on the night with runners in scoring position, six left on base.
Aramis Ramirez stayed hot and provided the Cubs lone offensive highlight. Ramirez, who was named the NL Player of the Week on Tuesday, hit his 13th home run of the season in the sixth. Ramirez’s two-run shot gave the Cubs a shot but they could not push another run across the plate.
Jeff Baker left the game with lower back spasms in the third inning. Baker appeared to tweak his back on the botched double play ball in the first. Baker stayed in the game but was lifted after he hit in the top of the third. Baker is listed as day-to-day.
The Cubs are now 10-16 in one-run games this season … and three of their last four losses have been decided by one-run.
With Tuesday’s loss, the Cubs are now a season-low 17 games under .500 with a 35-52 record …
Roger Bernadina led off the game with a hard single to right. Danny Espinosa followed with another single to right … just five pitches into the game and Ortiz was in trouble. Ryan Zimmerman notched the Nationals third hit into right to load the bases with no outs.
Laynce Nix hit a tailor made double play ball to Jeff Baker. Baker appeared to stumble and threw the ball over Barney’s head into left field. Bernadina and Espinosa scored … 2-0 Nationals.
Ramon Ortiz struck out Jayson Werth with runners on second and third for the first out of the inning.
Ortiz intentionally walked Rick Ankiel to load the bases.
Wilson Ramos reached on an infield single to Aramis Ramirez. Zimmerman scored the Nats’ third run of the inning. With the bases loaded and one down, Ian Desmond hit a liner to third. Ramirez snagged it and dove for the bag trying to double up Laynce Nix. Nix was called safe and Detwiler struck out swinging to end the inning.
The Cubs did nothing against Detwiler in the second and at the end of two frames, Detwiler had thrown only 24 pitches, 15 for strikes.
Ramon Ortiz faced the minimum in the third.
The Cubs could not take advantage of two gifts in the top of the third. After Pena grounded out to first to start the inning, Detwiler hit Darwin Barney on a 3-1 pitch. Ramon Ortiz dropped down a sac bunt. Detwiler made the play but hit Ortiz in the back near the first base bag. With runners on first and second with one out, Reed Johnson flied out to deep left and Jeff Baker grounded out to short to end the inning.
Baker was lifted after the top of the third with lower back spasms. Blake DeWitt took over at second.
The Nationals went quickly and in order in the bottom of the third.
Geovany Soto recorded the Cubs second hit of the game in the top of the fourth … but was stranded at first. Soto reached on an infield single.
Ortiz worked around a lead off walk to Wilson Ramos in the fourth and did not allow the Nats to tack on.
The Cubs did nothing again in the top of the fifth and the Nationals had a chance to put the game away in the bottom of the fifth … but could not add on to their three-run lead. Danny Espinosa led off the fifth with a single to center. Zimmerman followed with a rocket past a diving Ramirez into left field. Laynce Nix struck out swinging and Werth hit into a 6-4-3 double play to end the inning.
Reed Johnson led off the sixth with the Cubs first extra base hit of the game. Johnson ripped a 0-1 pitch into left center and scampered into second with a double. After Blake DeWitt flied out to center, Aramis Ramirez made it a 3-2 game with one swing of the bat.
Ramirez launched a 1-0 pitch over the wall in left … his 13th of the season.
Davey Johnson went to his pen and turned the game over to the always-sprinting-from-the-pen Todd Coffey.
Geovany Soto greeted Coffey with a double to the corner in left but with the tying run in scoring position, Soriano fouled out to first and Byrd struck out swinging to end the inning.
Rick Ankiel led off the sixth with a single to right. Ramos followed and hit a grounder to Ramirez at third. Aramis could not get the ball out of his glove and was only able to get the force on Ankiel at second. DeWitt never threw to first. Ian Desmond flied out to right center. Michael Morse hit for Coffey and grounded out to second on a 1-2 pitch.
Tony Campana hit for Ortiz with two outs in the seventh and reached on a bunt single. Johnson went to his pen and replaced Sean Burnett with Tyler Clippard. Campana stole second but Reed Johnson struck out swinging to end the inning.
John Grabow and Jeff Samardzija pitched the bottom of the seventh but did not allow the Nationals to add to their lead. Grabow retired Bernadina on a fly out to right before walking Danny Espinosa on four pitches. Samardzija came in and retired Zimmerman on a pop out to DeWitt on a 0-2 pitch. Nix singled to left with two outs. With runners on first and second, Werth grounded out to short on a 3-2 offering to end the inning.
Tyler Clippard retired the Cubs in order in the top of the eighth.
Rick Ankiel led off the bottom of the eighth with a single to center and advanced to second on a single to left by Wilson Ramos. Ian Desmond bunted both runners up ninety feet and Quade went to his pen for James Russell when Matt Stairs was announced.
James Russell continued his fine stretch out of the pen and struck out Matt Stairs swinging. Blake DeWitt made an excellent stop on a ball ticketed for right center and threw out the speedy Bernadina to end the inning.
Marlon Byrd reached on a one out single to center off Drew Storen in the ninth. Carlos Pena hit into a 4-6 fielder’s choice that should have been a game ending double play … but Alex Cora dropped the ball at first. With his team down by a run and Pena at first, Barney chopped the first pitch to second and Espinosa threw him out at first to end the game.
And the freefall continues …
Randy Wells will face Tom Gorzelanny in game three on Wednesday night.