Game Eighty-Three – Cubs 4 White Sox 6
WP – Edwin Jackson (5-6) LP – Randy Wells (1-3) Save – Sergio Santos (18)
The big reason the Cubs have still not won three games in a row this season was on display Friday afternoon at Wrigley Field. The Cubs starting rotation has been inconsistent at best this year and simply dreadful in games not started by Zambrano, Garza or Dempster. The Cubs have won only eight games this year in games not started by the top three pitchers in Q’s rotation. The reason a cliché is a cliché is because they are usually accurate … momentum is only as good as the next day’s starting pitcher and it was the same old Randy Wells on Friday afternoon.
Randy Wells had three games in one on Friday afternoon. Wells gave up two runs in the first inning that put his team in a hole again. Wells then threw five innings of shutout ball, at one point retiring 11 in a row. But it was the seventh that ended up being the difference in the game.
The Cubs battled back and took a 4-2 lead into the seventh but Randy Wells gave up four runs in a blink of an eye in the seventh and lost for the third time this season.
Jeff Samardzija, Kerry Wood and Sean Marshall kept the Sox from tacking on but the offense managed only two hits over the last three innings.
Aramis Ramirez stayed hot on Friday afternoon and reached a personal milestone. Ramirez hit the 300th homer of his career in the bottom of the sixth that gave the Cubs a 4-2 lead at the time. Ramirez finished the game 2-for-3 with his 11th homer of the year, a sac fly and two RBI. Ramirez became the ninth player to reach the 300 home run plateau in a Cubs’ uniform. Derrek Lee and Alfonso Soriano were the last to reach the milestone in a Cubs uniform (June 2010).
Kosuke Fukudome (2-for-4 with a run scored) and Darwin Barney (1-for-4 with a double, a run scored and a RBI) provided the Cubs other offensive highlights. The Cubs managed only seven hits and finished the game 0-for-5 with RISP, four left on base.
Starlin Castro turned in one of the best defensive plays one will see from a Major League shortstop in the third inning. Castro made an excellent diving stop on a ball hit in the hole, got up in short left field and gunned down Brent Morel at first base. Offensively Castro was 0-for-4 and continued to prove that he is not ready to hit out of the three-hole.
The BP Crosstown Cup will remain with the White Sox for at least one more year. The Sox have won three of four in the 2011 Crosstown Series. The Cubs have now dropped 14 of the last 19 to the South Side.
The Cubs failed to win their third game in a row for the ninth time this season and with Friday’s loss they dropped back to 15 games under .500 with a 34-49 record …
With runners on first and third with no outs, Carlos Quentin popped the first pitch into right and Pierre had to hold at third. Paul Konerko drove in the first run with a sac fly to right on a 0-1 pitch. Pierre tagged and scored and Morel advanced to second.
A.J. Pierzynski gave the Sox a 2-0 lead with a single up the middle that Darwin Barney got a glove on. Instead of diving and trying to just keep the ball in the infield, Barney appeared to be looking to make a play on the ball to possibly throw out Pierzynski at first. Alexei Ramirez grounded out to short on Wells’ 19th pitch (16 for strikes) to end the inning.
Kosuke Fukudome led off the bottom of the first with a single … but the Cubs could not chip away at the Sox lead.
Randy Wells gave up a one-out double to Gordon Beckham in the second. Beckham just missed a solo homer as the ball hit high off the wall. Wells settled down and retired Edwin Jackson and Juan Pierre to end the inning.
The Cubs got on the board in the bottom of the second after Carlos Pena walked to start the inning. Soriano struck out swinging on a ball in the dirt but Reed Johnson lined a 1-1 pitch into left center. Pena motored around second and made it to third … and the always-hustling Reed Johnson slid in headfirst at second with a double.
The Sox pitched to Geovany Soto and he hit a 3-2 pitch to Brent Morel at third. Pena scored … 2-1 White Sox. Wells lined out to right to end the inning.
Randy Wells retired the Sox in order in the top of the third … after three Wells had thrown 48 pitches, 33 for strikes.
Kosuke Fukudome led off the bottom of the third with a single to left on a 3-2 pitch. Darwin Barney put together an excellent at bat (seven pitches) that resulted in a double to left center on a 3-2 pitch. Fukudome was running with the pitch and scored the tying run. Castro hit a 0-2 pitch to Alexei Ramirez up the middle, Barney advanced to third and scored the Cubs’ third run on a sac fly to deep right off the bat of Aramis Ramirez. Pena grounded out to first to end the inning.
Randy Wells retired the Sox in order in the top of the fourth on five pitches.
The Cubs did nothing in the bottom of the fourth … and Wells retired the Sox in order again in the fifth. Wells had thrown 66 pitches after five (46 for strikes) and retired 11 in a row.
After the Cubs went down in order in the bottom of the fifth, Wells faced the minimum in the top of the sixth on just three pitches. At the end of six Wells had thrown 69 pitches, 39 for strikes, and after a 19-pitch first inning it only took Wells 50 pitches to complete five innings.
Aramis Ramirez hit the 300th homer of his career in the bottom of the sixth … and gave the Cubs a short-lived 4-2 lead.
For as good as Wells had been for five innings, he was equally as bad (if not worse) in the seventh. The Sox tied and took the lead against Wells in just a third of an inning.
A.J. Pierzynski took it to the Cubs again and led off the seventh with a single to center. Wells then served up a two-run shot to Alexei Ramirez on a 1-1 pitch. Ramirez’s eighth homer of the season tied the game at four.
Mike Quade did not get anyone up in his pen and it cost him two more runs. Randy Wells was obviously done, at least mentally at that point, and with Adam Dunn looming and Juan Pierre due up, Sean Marshall should have started throwing as soon as Alexei Ramirez started rounding the bases.
Alex Rios followed the Ramirez dinger with a single to left. Gordon Beckham then grounded out to third on a hit and run. Rios ended up at second and Ozzie went to his bench for Adam Dunn. Dunn walked on five pitches to put runners on first and second with one out.
Juan Pierre ripped Wells’ first pitch down the right field line. Rios and Dunn scored on Pierre’s triple … 6-4 White Sox.
Mike Quade finally took Randy Wells out of the game.
With the infield in, one out and Pierre on third, Brent Morel popped out to Castro on a 2-1 offering from Jeff Samardzija. Quentin lined out to short to end the inning … but just like that the White Sox took a commanding 6-4 lead.
The Cubs offense managed only two hits over the final three innings against the White Sox pen.
Following the game, Mike Quade said this loss was on him for leaving Randy Wells in too long in the seventh. That is a good start, but what about the other times he’s left a starting pitcher in too long that ended up costing his team a chance to win a ballgame?
Matt Garza will face Phil Humber in game two of round two of the Crosstown Series on Saturday afternoon.