Game One Hundred Fifty-Three – Cubs 2 Astros 3
WP – Brett Myers (6-13) LP – Ryan Dempster (10-13) Save – Mark Melancon (18)
As the cliché goes, baseball is a game of inches and that is exactly what the Cubs lost by on Sunday afternoon … inches. Q’s Cubs did very little for seven innings against Brett Myers and appeared to be well on their way to losing to Myers for the third time this season (half of Myers six wins have come against the Cubs). Ryan Dempster gave the Astros three runs in the opening inning and the Cubs could not mount a comeback … until the eighth inning.
Darwin Barney ended up a third to start the eighth after Brian Bogusevic misplayed a ball into a three-base error. Starlin Castro walked and Aramis Ramirez was summoned from the bench.
Aramis Ramirez hit a deep fly to right that Bogusevic made a tremendous catch on and took away an extra base knock from Ramirez and kept the Cubs from tying the game. Barney tagged and made it a one-run game.
Carlos Pena (1-for-4 with a double) ripped a 1-2 pitch into left that appeared to hit in the basket and bounce back on the field. The ball was ruled a home run and both Castro and Pena circled the bases.
The play was reviewed and overturned. Pena was given a double, Castro was sent back to third and Mike Quade was eventually ejected.
Brad Mills brought in his closer, Mark Melancon, to face Marlon Byrd with runners on second and third with two outs in the eighth … and the Cubs down 3-2. Byrd popped the first pitch into shallow right to end the inning.
The game was put into a rain delay just after the impatient Byrd ended the eighth. One hour and seven minutes later, two of the worst teams in the league completed the game and the Cubs ended up on the short end of a one-run game … all three games in the series was decided by one run.
The Cubs inability to hit with runners in scoring position cost them again on Sunday. After going hitless on Saturday with RISP (0-for-8 with nine left on base), Quade’s offense was 0-for-4 with runners in scoring position and left six more runners on base.
Starlin Castro (1-for-3 with a double, a run scored and a walk) reached base for the 31st straight game … the longest streak for a Cubs’ shortstop since Woody English (34) in 1929. Bryan LaHair (1-for-3 with a RBI) drove in one of the Cubs’ two runs with a sac fly in the first … both of the Cubs’ runs on Sunday scored on sac flies. Marlon Byrd (2-for-4) added a pair of hits, but not when it counted the most.
Ryan Dempster struggled in the first inning and gave up three runs on three hits with a pair of walks in the opening inning. Dempster ended up going seven innings and kept his team in the game but once again he put his team in an early hole they could not dig out of. Dempster allowed three runs on seven hits with two walks and two strikeouts in seven innings on 102 pitches, 72 for strikes.
Third base umpire, Marty Foster, ejected Mike Quade in the eighth inning for arguing that Castro would have scored if Foster had not signaled home run on Pena opposite field liner. Quade tied a franchise record with his seventh ejection of the season … Johnny Evers in 1913 and Frankie Frisch in 1950.
The Cubs won the series (2-1) and season series (8-7) against the Astros, but Sunday’s loss (7-17 on Sundays in 2011) dropped the Cubs to 67-86 on the year, 19 games below .500 … Ryan Dempster struggled with his command again in the first inning. Dempster issued back-to-back walks to Jason Bourgeois and Angel Sanchez to start the game. J.D. Martinez then blooped a single into center … and just like that, 1-0 Astros.
Carlos Lee flied out to right and Dempster struck out Brian Bogusevic swinging.
With runners on first and second with two outs, Jimmy Paredes reached on an infield single to load the bases.
Clint Barmes blooped a 0-2 pitch into center. Sanchez and Martinez scored, 3-0 Astros and with Brett Myers on the mound, the game was basically over before the Cubs swung a bat.
Barmes stole second, Astros’ second stolen base of the inning off Dempster and the defensive catcher, Koyie Hill. Humberto Quintero grounded out to third to end the inning.
Ryan Dempster gave up three runs on three hits and two walks in a 33-pitch (21 for strikes) first inning.
Starlin Castro led off the bottom of the first with a double to left … hit no. 195. Tony Campana grounded out to first. Castro tagged and advanced to third. Bryan LaHair plated Castro with a sac fly to right. Pena grounded out to short to end the inning.
At the end of one, the Astros led 3-1.
Dempster settled down in the second and worked around a two-out error by D.J. LeMahieu that allowed Angel Sanchez to reach. Martinez grounded out to short to end the inning.
Marlon Byrd walked to the plate swinging to start the bottom of the second. Byrd predictably grounded out to third for the first out. Blake DeWitt and D.J. LeMahieu reached on infield singles. Hill grounded out to first and with runners on second and third with two down, Dempster grounded out to short to end the inning.
Dempster retired Carlos Lee on a fly out to right to begin the third. Brian Bogusevic singled to left and was erased on a 4-6 fielder’s choice off the bat of Jimmy Paredes. Clint Barmes flied out to right to end the inning.
The Cubs did nothing against Brett Myers in the third.
Ryan Dempster sat down the Astros in order for the first time in the fourth … and Myers retired the Cubs 1-2-3 in the home half of the inning.
Angel Sanchez and J.D. Martinez flied out to right to start the fifth. Carlos Lee singled to right and advanced to third on a double to center by Brian Bogusevic. Jimmy Paredes lined out to right to end the inning.
The Cubs went down in order in the fifth … 11 in a row retired by Brett Myers.
Ryan Dempster retired the Astros in order in the sixth. After six, Dempster had thrown 96 pitches, 63 for strikes.
Starlin Castro (groundout to second) and Tony Campana (groundout to first) made two quick outs to start the sixth. Bryan LaHair singled to left with two down … but Pena grounded out to first (0-1 pitch) to end the inning.
Dempster started the seventh inning (the all-important seventh inning) and Bourgeois popped out to second to begin the inning. Angel Sanchez grounded out to third but Martinez singled to left with two outs. Carlos Lee popped out to first to end the inning.
Marlon Byrd led off the seventh with a single to right. Blake DeWitt hit a grounder to the hole at second, Sanchez threw to second to force Byrd. LeMahieu flied out to center and Koyie Hill struck out swinging to end the inning (2-2 pitch).
James Russell started the eighth and retired Bogusevic on a pop out to right. Russell struck out the switch-hitting Paredes swinging but Clint Barmes ripped a two-out single into center. Quade went to his pen and brought in Jeff Samardzija to face Humberto Quintero. The Astros’ catcher grounded out to short to end the inning.
Darwin Barney, who entered the game on a double-switch with Samardzija, led off the bottom of the eighth with the Cubs down 3-1.
Barney hit a fly to right that Bogusevic lost in the conditions. Barney ended up at third on the three-base error. Starlin Castro walked and Quade went to his bench for Aramis Ramirez.
Ramirez, hitting for Tony Campana, hit a deep drive to right (3-2 pitch). Bogusevic made a tremendous catch in the well. Castro scampered back to first as Barney scored the Cubs second run. LaHair struck out swinging for the second out.
Carlos Pena lined a 1-2 pitch to left. The ball appeared to end up in the basket and was ruled a home run. The umps reviewed the call and reversed the on-field decision … it was the right call. The ball hit the top of the basket and bounced back into the field of play. Castro was sent to third, Pena to second and Quade argued.
Quade did not like the decision of Castro being sent back to third. Castro would have scored easily, as he broke from first with two outs. Castro slowed down after the home run call was made. Quade ended up being ejected for the seventh time this season.
Brad Mills went to his pen and replaced Brett Myers with his closer, Mark Melancon.
The always-impatient Marlon Byrd popped Melancon’s first pitch into shallow right. Inning over.
The rain became too much at that point and the game was put in delay.
The ninth inning picked up one hour and seven minutes after Marlon Byrd ended the eighth.
Ramon Ortiz issued a leadoff walk to J.B. Shuck when play resumed … but that was it for the Astros in the ninth.
The Cubs did nothing against Mark Melancon in the ninth, the Astros’ closer struck out the side (DeWitt, Johnson and Soriano) … game over.
Brett Myers mystified the Cubs again.
The Cubs open a three-game series, the final series of the year at Wrigley, against the Brewers on Monday night. Casey Coleman against Chris Narveson in game one.