Game One Hundred Thirty-Two – Cubs 2 Brewers 5
WP – Randy Wolf (11-8) LP – Rodrigo Lopez (4-5) Save – John Axford (38)
The Cubs lost their sixth straight game at Miller Park on Friday night. Starlin Castro (1-for-4 with a home run) started the night on a positive note. Castro launched Randy Wolf’s second pitch to deep left center and the first leadoff homer of Castro’s career gave the Cubs an early lead. The Cubs added a run in the third after an error by Randy Wolf, a Darwin Barney stolen base and a double by Jeff Baker (1-for-2 with a double, a RBI and a walk).
The Brewers started chipping away in the bottom of the fourth. George Kottaras hit his third homer of the season, second against Cubs pitching, which cut the Cubs’ lead in half. Milwaukee then took the lead for good after another ugly, error filed inning by Q’s Cubs.
Two errors by Darwin Barney (three errors for Barney in two games) led to three runs in the fifth … and the miscues ended up being the difference in the game.
Corey Hart scored the tying run on a double by Ryan Braun off the top of the wall in right. Reed Johnson played the ball perfectly and got the ball into Barney. The Cubs second baseman tried to throw to third behind Nyjer Morgan but threw the ball into the stands … both Morgan and Braun scored on Barney’s second error of the inning. Darwin Barney tried to make something out of nothing and it cost his team.
With Barney’s two miscues on Friday night along with two more unearned runs, the 2011 Chicago Cubs have been charged with a Major League worst 110 errors that have led to 60 unearned runs.
Rodrigo Lopez completed six innings of work and once again he could not pitch well enough to hold onto an early lead. Lopez allowed four runs, two earned, on five hits with four walks and five strikeouts. Lopez threw 101 pitches, 63 for strikes.
Jeff Samardzija had a rough outing and struggled mightily with his command. Samardzija surrendered the Brewers’ fifth run and allowed one run on one hit with two walks, two strikeouts and a wild pitch (27 pitches, 14 for strikes).
Aramis Ramirez (1-for-4 with a double) extended his hitting streak to 15 games with a double in the first inning.
The Cubs lack of offense was once again a problem. The Cubs had plenty of opportunities early but could not cash in with runners in scoring position. Q’s squad managed only five hits and three walks and finished the game 1-for-7 with RISP, seven left on base. Q’s Cubs are a miserable 5-for-49 with runners in scoring position over the last five games and have stranded 44 baserunners.
With Friday’s loss, the Cubs dropped back to 18 games under .500 with a 57-75 record …
In what is becoming the norm, Marlon Byrd grounded out to short to end the inning.
Rodrigo Lopez labored through a 23-pitch first inning (11 strikes) but did not allow a run. Corey Hart struck out looking to start the inning and Nyjer Morgan grounded out to second. Ryan Braun kept the inning going with a two-out double to left.
Lopez fell behind Prince Fielder 3-0 before issuing ball four intentionally. Casey McGehee walked on five pitches to load the bases. Yuniesky Betancourt stepped in and popped out to right on a 0-2 pitch to end the inning.
The Cubs did nothing against Randy Wolf in the second inning.
Jerry Hairston, Jr. led off the bottom of the second with a single to right center. George Kottaras struck out looking. Wolf sacrificed Hairston, Jr. to second but Corey Hart grounded out to third to end the inning.
Starlin Castro flied out to deep right to start the third. Darwin Barney then reached on an error by Randy Wolf. Barney hit a slow chopper to first. Prince fielded the ball and tossed to Wolf but the veteran left-hander dropped the ball. Ramirez flied out to center (first pitch) for the second out.
Barney took off for second on the first offering to Jeff Baker. Barney swiped second and scored two pitches later. Jeff Baker lifted a 1-1 pitch over Hart’s head in right … 2-0 Cubs. Geovany Soto struck out swinging to end the inning.
Baker’s double was the Cubs second run scoring hit with runners in scoring position in the last five games.
Rodrigo Lopez retired three of the four batters he faced in the third. Morgan grounded out to second, Braun walked; Fielder popped out to center; Braun stole second but was stranded when McGehee struck out swinging.
Randy Wolf retired the Cubs in order in the fourth on six pitches.
The Brewers got on the board in the bottom of the fourth. Betancourt grounded out to first to start the inning and Hairston, Jr. popped out to Soto.
George Kottaras launched a 2-2 pitch from Lopez (with two outs) over the wall in right. Kottaras third homer of the season, second against Cubs’ pitching, cut the Cubs lead in half. Randy Wolf struck out swinging on Lopez’s 72nd pitch of the game (44 strikes).
The Cubs went down in order again in the fifth … seven straight retired by Randy Wolf at the time.
The bottom of the fifth was another one of those innings for Q’s Cubs.
Corey Hart started the inning by ripping Lopez’s first pitch into left field. Nyjer Morgan popped up a bunt that fell just out of Lopez’s reach. The Cubs pitcher made a strong throw to Barney covering first but he took his foot off the bag. Morgan reached on Barney’s error … and the Cubs were in trouble.
Lopez fell behind Ryan Braun 2-0. Ron Roenicke called for a double steal and both Hart and Morgan advanced ninety feet. Lopez got the call on a 3-0 pitch to Braun.
Ryan Braun lined Lopez’s next offering (3-1 pitch) to right. The ball hit the top of the wall in right and bounced back to Reed Johnson. Hart scored easily to tie the game but Morgan made a wide turn at third. Barney saw Morgan off the bag and tried to make a play that was not there. Barney’s throw ended up in the stands … both Morgan and Braun scored on Barney’s second error of the inning (12th of the season) and gave the Brewers a 4-2 lead.
Prince Fielder (first pitch fly out to center), Casey McGehee (foul out to Soto) and Yuniesky Betancourt (lineout to left on first pitch) went down quickly (four pitches) to end the inning.
But the damage had been done and after five complete the Brewers had a 4-2 lead.
Jeff Baker worked a one out walk in the sixth and advanced to second on a 1-6-3 fielder’s choice off the bat of Geovany Soto. Soto hit a 3-2 pitch off Wolf’s leg. Betancourt barehanded the ball and threw out Soto at first.
Marlon Byrd grounded out to second to end the inning.
Rodrigo Lopez faced the minimum in the sixth, his last inning of work. Lopez issued a one-out walk to George Kottaras but was thrown out at second on a botched hit and run. Roenicke called for a hit and run but Wolf swung and missed at Lopez’s first pitch. Wolf ended up grounding out to second on Lopez’s 101st pitch of the night (63 for strikes).
Reed Johnson reached on a one-out single in the seventh. Tyler Colvin hit for Lopez and grounded out to second. Johnson advanced to second and that was it for Randy Wolf.
Takashi Saito struck out Castro swinging to end the inning.
Jeff Samardzija took the hill in the bottom of the seventh … and had zero command. Samardzija gave Soto a workout as he missed his spots badly early in the inning. Corey Hart walked on four pitches to start the inning. Morgan popped up a bunt to Soto in foul ground. Samardzija uncorked a wild pitch on a 1-2 offering to Ryan Braun. Hart advanced to second and Samardzija eventually walked Braun.
Prince Fielder ripped a 2-0 pitch into left. Hart scored easily … 5-2 Brewers. Samardzija struck out McGehee and Betancourt to end the inning.
Francisco Rodriguez made quick work of the Cubs in the eighth.
Ramon Ortiz worked around a leadoff single by Hairston, Jr. in the bottom of the eighth and a two-out infield single by Corey Hart without allowing any runs. Nyjer Morgan grounded out to first to end the inning.
The Cubs managed a hit against John Axford in the ninth … a one-out single to right by Marlon Byrd that ate up Prince Fielder and ended up in the outfield. Following a Soriano strikeout, Reed Johnson put together an excellent at bat. Byrd took second on defense indifference and ended up at third on a wild pitch. Johnson walked to put runners on first and third with two outs.
Blake DeWitt hit for Ramon Ortiz and hit a smash to Fielder at first. Fielder snagged the one-hopper and beat DeWitt to the bag … game over.
More errors and more runners left on base …
Ryan Dempster is scheduled to face Yovani Gallardo in game two on Saturday night.