Game One Hundred Sixteen – Cubs 1 Nationals 3
WP – Chien-Ming Wang (1-2) LP – Matt Garza (5-9) Save – Drew Storen (30)
The Cubs managed only three hits on Tuesday night and Matt Garza made only two mistakes … and both left the yard. After winning seven in a row, the Cubs lost for the second time in as many games after not generating any offense against Chien-Ming Wang.
Tony Campana broke up Wang’s no-hit bid with an infield single to start the sixth … the Cubs only hit in six innings against Wang. The Cubs showed little to no patience against the former Yankee and handed him his first win of the season. Q’s offense managed only one hit, two walks and Marlon Byrd was hit by a pitch in the second, that was it. Wang faced only three over the minimum.
Matt Garza took the loss after putting together a quality start. Garza struck out nine in six innings but gave up two home runs in a three-batter span in the sixth that accounted for all three of the Nationals’ runs. Michael Morse hit a monster shot over the batter’s eye in center for the first run of the game and Jonny Gomes hit a two-run homer that barely made it into the first row of the bleachers in left center … just the 10th and 11th homers off Garza this season.
Garza received no run support once again. Matt Garza’s final line … three runs on six hits with two walks and nine strikeouts in six innings. Garza threw 105 pitches, 68 for strikes.
James Russell and Kerry Wood did their job in relief of Garza but the Cubs offense could not manage a comeback on Tuesday night. Russell retired the Nationals in order for the first time in the seventh and Wood struck out the side in the eighth (Zimmerman, Morse and Werth).
Carlos Marmol struck out the first two batters he faced in the ninth and retired the Nats in order. Wood and Marmol struck out five straight and the Nationals offense did not put a single runner on base over the last three innings.
On a night with the wind blowing out … the Cubs recorded only two hits until Starlin Castro stepped to the plate in the eighth. Castro extended his inning streak (nine games) and run-scoring streak (10 games) with one swing of the bat.
Starlin Castro ripped a 1-0 pitch from Tyler Clippard into the bleachers just to the right of dead center. Castro’s sixth home run of the season and 53rd RBI of the year put the Cubs on the board. Castro’s dinger on Tuesday night was his third in six games.
Starlin Castro is responsible for both runs the Cubs have scored in Matt Garza’s last two outings.
With Tuesday’s loss, the Cubs dropped back to 18 games under .500 with a 49-67 record … Matt Garza started his night by striking out five of the first eight batters he faced. Garza gave up a two-out infield single to Ryan Zimmerman in the first and a one-out double to left center in the second off the bat of Jonny Gomes. Garza tossed 18 pitches (14 for strikes) in the first and at the end of two, Garza’s pitch count stood at 36 (26 for strikes).
As for the Cubs offense, they managed one baserunners over the first two innings. Chien-Ming Wang hit Marlon Byrd on a 0-2 pitch with one out in the second … but Soriano grounded into a 6-4-3 double play to end the inning. Wang faced the minimum through two.
Garza gave up a one-out single to Rick Ankiel in the third but that was all. It took Garza only nine pitches (six for strikes) to record three outs in the third.
Geovany Soto worked a one-out walk in the third. Garza got the bunt down on a 0-2 pitch. Soto advanced to second but was stranded when Castro grounded out to short for the second time in as many at bats.
Matt Garza struck out two more in the fourth … and did not allow Jayson Werth to advance from first after he issued a four-pitch walk to Werth with one out. After four, Garza had thrown 64 pitches, 42 for strikes.
Chien-Ming Wang continued to mystify the Cubs in the bottom of the fourth. Carlos Pena worked a two-out walk but that was all … and the Cubs had no hits after four innings.
Matt Garza had a little trouble with his command in the fifth. Garza retired Wilson Ramos on a groundout to short on a 3-2 pitch. Wang struck out swinging on a 1-2 pitch, Garza’s eighth of the game. Rick Ankiel walked on five pitches but Danny Espinosa grounded out to second to end the inning.
The Cubs did nothing against Wang in the fifth. Soto struck out looking to end the inning and that was Wang’s first strikeout of the game. After five Wang had faced two over the minimum and had thrown only 65 pitches, 42 for strikes.
The Nationals broke-up the scoreless tie in a big way in the sixth. Garza retired Zimmerman on a groundout to third to start the sixth. Garza fell behind Michael Morse and the Nationals’ first baseman made him pay.
Michael Morse hit one of the longest home runs one will ever see at Wrigley. Morse crushed a 3-1 pitch and the ball ended up over the batter’s eye in center. The ball hit the tarp barrier just before landing in the permanent seating … and just like that it was 1-0 Nationals.
Jayson Werth lined a single off Blake DeWitt’s glove … and trotted around the bases as Jonny Gomes celebrated his home run to left that ended up in the first row of the bleachers. Gomes always makes his presence known.
With the Nationals up 3-0 after the Gomes homer, Garza struck out Desmond and retired Ramos on a liner to second to end the inning.
Matt Garza allowed three runs on six hits (two home runs) with two walks and nine strikeouts. Garza threw 105 pitches, 68 for strikes.
Tony Campana hit for Matt Garza to start the sixth and hit a smash off Michael Morse’s glove in the hole. Campana beat out the throw from Ian Desmond … the Cubs first hit. Campana stole second with Castro at the dish … but Castro flied out to right, Barney lined out to center and DeWitt grounded out to second to end the inning.
James Russell retired the Nationals in order in the top of the seventh.
Alfonso Soriano recorded the Cubs first clean hit of the game with two outs in the bottom of the seventh … but lefty Sean Burnett struck out Tyler Colvin swinging to end the inning.
Kerry Wood struck out Ryan Zimmerman (swinging), Michael Morse (swinging) and Jayson Werth (looking) in the eighth.
Starlin Castro put the Cubs on the board with two outs in the eighth. Castro ripped a 1-0 offering from Tyler Clippard into the bleachers just to the right of straight away center. Castro extended his hitting streak (nine games) and run-scoring streak (10 games) with one swing of the bat.
Carlos Marmol retired the Nationals in order in the ninth (two strikeouts).
After Blake DeWitt popped out to short to start the ninth, Carlos Pena worked a walk against Drew Storen (eighth pitch of the at bat). Marlon Byrd struck out and Alfonso Soriano flied out to center to end the game.
Any lineup with Blake DeWitt hitting third cannot be expected to score many runs …
Rodrigo Lopez against Ross Detwiler on Wednesday night.