Zero Pitching and Three Errors … A Sixth Straight Loss – Cubs 4, Reds 9

Game Fourteen – Cubs 4, Reds 9
WP – Homer Bailey (1-2) LP – Chris Volstad (0-2) Save – None

It’s impossible to win a baseball game when the starting pitcher gives up six runs, five earned, on seven hits with two walks and four strikeouts in five innings, the bullpen surrenders three runs on five hits with four walks and four strikeouts in four innings and the defense commits three errors.

Before the Cubs stepped to the plate on a cold, miserable day at Wrigley they found themselves in a hole again. The Reds scored four runs in a very long top of the first inning. Chris Volstad labored through a 41-pitch first inning and could not put hitters away. Several times Friday Volstad was ahead 1-2 in the count and either ended up walking the batter or giving up a hit.

The Reds batted around in the first and scored four runs on four hits, two walks and two errors. With the conditions at the park and a powerless offense, the Cubs were well on their way to their sixth straight loss before they picked up a bat.

The offense tried to make a game of it in the third. David DeJesus (1-for-4 with a run scored) reached on a one-out single and advanced to second when Darwin Barney (0-for-4 with a RBI) tapped back to Homer Bailey. DeJesus scored on a deep fly to left off the bat of Starlin Castro (1-for-4 with a run scored, extended his hitting streak to eight games). Chris Heisey dropped a ball that on any other day would have been long gone. Bryan LaHair (2-for-4 with a double, a RBI and a run scored, extended his hitting streak to nine games) followed with a single that plated Castro and made it a 4-2 game. But Chris Volstad gave those two runs right back in the top of the fourth and the Reds kept tacking on against the bullpen.

Shawn Camp, Lendy Castillo and Rafael Dolis simply could not give the offense a chance Friday afternoon. Scott Maine was the only Cubs’ reliever that did not give up a run.

Ian Stewart had one of his better days at the plate but ended up with nothing to show for it (0-for-4). Stewart was robbed of a hit by Chris Heisey in the second and squared up three other balls that found their way into the Reds’ gloves.

The Cubs offense managed just five hits, not a single walk and finished the game 1-for-7 with RISP and left three on base.

The Cubs defense was charged with three more errors (Starlin Castro, Marlon Byrd and Bryan LaHair) on Friday. While Marlon Byrd saved a couple of runs with a diving catch in the eighth to take away a hit and RBI from Joey Votto, the Cubs keep giving teams extra outs.

Friday’s victory for the Reds was the 10,000 win in franchise history.

With Friday’s loss, the Cubs dropped to 3-11 on the season …

Chris Volstad’s day began on a positive note. Chris Volstad struck out Zack Cozart swinging. Drew Stubbs had another big day at the Cubs’ expense and singled to right on Volstad’s first pitch. Stubbs took off for second on a 3-1 pitch to Joey Votto. The ball went off Castro’s glove into center and Stubbs took third on Castro’s error. Votto singled to right center and less than 10 pitches into the game the Cubs were down 1-0.

Volstad jumped ahead of Jay Bruce 1-2 before giving up a single to right on a 3-2 pitch. Votto advanced to third with one out. With the infield back, Volstad got ahead of Scott Rolen 1-2. Bruce stole second on a 2-2 offering to Rolen and Volstad eventually walked Rolen to load the bases.

Chris Heisey stepped in and ripped a 2-1 pitch into center that Marlon Byrd bobbled. Not only did Votto and Bruce score but Rolen and Heisey advanced an extra ninety feet on Byrd’s error. Willie Harris grounded out to LaHair, Rolen scored and Heisey advanced to third … just like that, the Reds were up 4-0. Volstad issued his second walk of the inning to Devin Mesoraco before striking out Homer Bailey swinging to end the inning.

The Reds scored four runs on four hits and two walks on 41 pitches, 22 for strikes, from Chris Volstad.

The Cubs had a chance to crawl back into the game in the bottom of the first. After David DeJesus flied out to left, Darwin Barney reached on an error by Zack Cozart at short. Starlin Castro extended his hitting streak to eight games with a single to center. Barney held at second but Bryan LaHair struck out swinging and Alfonso Soriano flied out to center to end the inning.

Chris Volstad retired the Reds in order in the second on just seven pitches … and the Cubs did nothing in the second against Homer Bailey.

Volstad ended up facing the minimum in the third after Jay Bruce reached on the Cubs’ third error of the game. Bruce hit a grounder to LaHair that he bobbled twice. Scott Rolen smoked a 1-2 pitch toward short. Castro caught and fired to first to complete the double play. Heisey flied out to center for the third out.

After Volstad lined out to Bruce in right center to start the bottom of the third, David DeJesus singled to left on a 3-2 pitch. With DeJesus running, Barney tapped back to Bailey on a 2-1 pitch for the second out. Starlin Castro launched Bailey’s first pitch to deep left. On any other day it’s a two-run shot but instead Heisey dropped a catchable ball at the wall. DeJesus scored and Castro ended up at second on the Reds’ second error of the game. Bryan LaHair followed and stroked a 0-2 pitch into right. Castro scored, 4-2 Reds. Soriano grounded out to third but it looked like the Cubs were going to make a game of it.

The fourth inning started the right way for the Cubs’ right-hander. Volstad struck out Willie Harris looking. Devin Mesoraco singled to left on Volstad’s first pitch. Bailey failed to get a bunt down and struck out (fouled bunt). Zack Cozart singled to right and followed Mesoraco around the bases on a double to the right field corner off the bat of Drew Stubbs. Votto grounded out to second but the Cubs were down 6-2 after three and a half innings.

The Cubs did nothing against Bailey in the fourth … and after four complete, the Cubs trailed 6-2.

Chris Volstad ended his day by retiring the Reds in order in the fifth.

The Cubs tried to make it interesting again in the fifth. Blake DeWitt hit for Volstad and recorded his first pinch-hit of the season. DeWitt doubled to left and advanced to third on a fly out to right by DeJesus. Darwin Barney put a 0-2 pitch in play and hit a grounder to third. Rolen threw out Barney at first as DeWitt scored the Cubs’ third run. Castro was robbed of a single by Willie Harris to end the inning.

Shawn Camp replaced Volstad in the sixth and gave the run the Cubs scored in the bottom of the fifth right back.

Willie Harris hit Camp’s first pitch into the right field corner for a double. Mesoraco reached on an infield single to third. Bailey then helped his own cause. Bailey put a 0-2 pitch into play. Harris scored on Bailey’s ground out to second … 7-3 Reds. Camp struck out Cozart and retired Stubbs on a fly out to left to end the inning.

Bryan LaHair led off the sixth with a double to right center. A wild pitch allowed LaHair to advance to third with Soriano at the plate. Alfonso Soriano hit a 3-2 pitch to short. LaHair scored and the Cubs trailed 7-4. Stewart flied out to left and Soto grounded out to second to end the inning.

After six, the Cubs trailed 7-4.

Scott Maine made his 2012 Cubs’ debut on Friday and other than issuing a walk to Joey Votto to start the seventh, Maine put together a good inning. Maine struck out both Jay Bruce and Scott Rolen before retiring Heisey on a flyout to center.

The Cubs did nothing in the seventh against Homer Bailey.

The Reds added to their lead in the eighth against Lendy Castillo. Castillo walked Mesoraco with one out. Wilson Valdez hit for Homer Bailey and popped out to Soto for the second out. Castillo issued a four pitch walk to Cozart. Stubbs drove in Mesoraco with a single to left center … 8-4 Reds. With Joey Votto at the plate, Stubbs stole second. Marlon Byrd made a diving catch to take away a hit from Votto for the third out in the eighth.

Aroldis Chapman struck out two of the three batters he faced in the eighth.

After eight, the Cubs trailed 8-4.

The Reds added their ninth and final run off Rafael Dolis in the last inning of Friday’s game. Jay Bruce singled to right to start the inning. Dolis walked Rolen but induced a 6-4-3 double play off the bat of Chris Heisey. With Bruce at third, Todd Frazier hit for Harris and ripped a triple into right center. Bruce scored … 9-4 Reds. Dolis struck out Mesoraco swinging to end the ninth.

The Cubs did nothing against Jose Arredondo in the ninth … game over.

Box Score from Yahoo Sports

Paul Maholm will face Mike Leake in game two of the series on Saturday afternoon.

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