Game Eighty-Four – Cubs 0 White Sox 1
WP – Phil Humber (8-4) LP – Matt Garza (4-7) Save – Matt Thornton (3)
The Cubs wasted their best pitching performance of the entire season because the team cannot hit with runners on base and in scoring position.
Matt Garza threw the Cubs first complete game of the season but was hung with the loss. Garza took a no hitter into the sixth but two questionable calls by the homeplate umpire, Gary Darling, resulted in a walk and the first hit of the game … a RBI single by Juan Pierre. Pierre’s second game winning RBI in as many days against the Cubs and his third straight game winning RBI dating back to Thursday in Colorado.
Garza allowed one run on four hits in nine spectacular innings. Garza walked two, struck out seven and threw 114 pitches, 81 for strikes.
The Cubs were shutout for the sixth time this season and they had plenty of chances to put runs on the board against Phil Humber. Q’s squad put the lead off man on in four of the first six innings … and the first two on in three of the first six innings. The Cubs offense hit into three double plays in the first three innings (two by Starlin Castro) and was a miserable 0-for-7 with RISP and left six on base.
The Cubs had a total of nine baserunners (five hits, three walks and a HBP) but could not push across a single run.
Paul Emmel ejected Mike Quade in the second inning for arguing a bad call at second base. Emmel ruled Gordon Beckham was on the bag on the front end of a 5-4-3 double play. Beckham was not on the bag … and it was not even close.
The White Sox won the season series against the Cubs (4-1) with Saturday’s victory. The Sox have won 15 of the last 20 games in the Crosstown Series.
With Saturday’s loss, the Cubs fall back to a season low 16 games under .500 with a 34-50 record. The Chicago Cubs join the Houston Astros as the only two teams in the majors that have already lost 50 games this season … The Cubs wasted two chances in the first two innings with bad at bats following a walk. Kosuke Fukudome led off the bottom of the first with a single to right on the eighth pitch of the at bat. Darwin Barney worked a five-pitch walk and Castro stepped to the plate with runners on first and second with no outs.
Starlin Castro hit Phil Humber’s first pitch to short and the Sox turned a 6-4-3 double play. Fukudome ended up at third but was stranded when Aramis flied out to center.
The Cubs had a chance in the second after Carlos Pena led off with a bunt single to third. Marlon Byrd, in his first game since May 21, walked on four pitches. With runners on first and second with no outs, Alfonso Soriano swung at the first pitch … and grounded into a 5-4-3 double play.
Gordon Beckham was well off the bag at second but second base umpire, Paul Emmel, called Byrd out. Mike Quade ran out and argued the bad call and was ejected from the game.
The Sox intentionally walked Geovany Soto to put runners on first and third with two outs … Matt Garza grounded out to short to end the inning.
Matt Garza continued to keep the Sox hitters off balance in the third. Garza retired the Sox in order and his pitch count stood at 33, 22 for strikes.
The Cubs hit into their third double play of the game in the bottom of the third. After Fukudome lined out to first on a 3-2 pitch, Darwin Barney singled to right but Starlin Castro hit a 1-1 pitch to third … and the Sox turned a 5-4-3 double play to end the inning. The second time Castro hit into a double play in as many at bats on Saturday afternoon.
The Sox finally pushed across a run in the top of the sixth after two questionable calls by the home plate umpire Gary Darling. Matt Garza issued his second free pass of the game to Gordon Beckham to start the inning … after appearing to throw strike three on a 3-2 offering. Phil Humber sacrificed Beckham to second.
With one out and a no hitter still intact, Garza got ahead of Juan Pierre 0-2. Garza then threw a breaking ball in the dirt that allowed Beckham to advance to third. Garza appeared to strikeout Juan Pierre but the inside pitch was called a ball … and gave Pierre another shot.
Juan Pierre singled into left on Garza’s next offering … broke up the no-hitter and gave the Sox a 1-0 lead. Garza was visibly upset at that point and gave up a single to right to Brent Morel. Pierre was running on the play and advanced to third.
With runners on first and third with one out, Adam Dunn struck out looking on a 2-2 pitch. Paul Konerko flied out to Soriano to end the inning.
After throwing only 49 pitches (35 for strikes) over the first five innings, it took Garza 26 to retire the Sox in order in the sixth. At the end of six, Garza had thrown 75 pitches, 52 for strikes.
The Cubs had another chance in the bottom of the sixth to put a run on the board … but came away empty.
Darwin Barney led off the sixth with an infield single off Humber’s glove. Alexei Ramirez tried to make a barehanded play on the ball. Starlin Castro then reached on a swinging bunt to third. With runners on first and third with no outs, Aramis Ramirez fouled out to Paul Konerko. Carlos Pena popped out to second and Marlon Byrd grounded out to third to end the inning.
After six innings, the Cubs were 0-for-7 with RISP, six left on base.
Garza retired the Sox in order in the top of the seventh on 13 pitches (88 total, 61 for strikes).
The Cubs left Garza into hit for himself in the bottom of the seventh (struck out looking) and he took the hill in the eighth. Garza worked around a leadoff single by Gordon Beckham as the inning ended with Soto throwing out Beckham trying to steal second.
After the Cubs went down in order in the bottom of the eighth, Garza remained in the game after throwing 103 pitches, 72 for strikes, in eight innings.
Matt Garza retired Brent Morel (flyout to left), struck out Adam Dunn but gave up his fourth hit of the game, a single to center by Paul Konerko. A.J. Pierzynski grounded out to second to end the inning.
Matt Thornton retired the middle of the Cubs lineup in order to end the game (Ramirez, Pena and Byrd). The Cubs did not manage a single baserunner against Thornton in the eighth or ninth and did put a runner on base in the final three innings.
The Cubs can no longer use the injury excuse … and the ‘healthy‘ Cubs are truly a left on base machine.
Rodrigo Lopez against Gavin Floyd in the finale with the Sox on Sunday afternoon.