Game Fifteen – Cubs 6, Reds 1
WP – Paul Maholm (1-2) LP – Mike Leake (0-2) Save – None
The Cubs ended their six-game losing streak in impressive fashion against a pitcher that has owned the organization in the past … and Paul Maholm took care of the rest. Paul Maholm posted his first win in a Cubs’ uniform and his first victory since he beat the Cubs at Wrigley on July 10, 2011.
A day after managing only five hits and zero walks, Dale Sveum’s offense pounded out a season-high 14 hits and scored six times on Saturday afternoon. The Cubs’ offense had a good day against Mike Leake and scored five runs in the first two innings after the Reds jumped out to an early lead.
The Cubs scored three of the four runs in the second with two outs. Joe Mather (2-for-4 with a double and a run scored) doubled in Steve Clevenger (3-for-4 with a RBI and a run scored) with the go ahead run.
The top of the Cubs’ lineup was a thorn in Leake’s side early in the game. David DeJesus (2-for-5 with a RBI and two runs scored) drove in Mather with the Cubs’ third run and Darwin Barney (3-for-4 with a double, RBI, two runs scored and hit by pitch) doubled in DeJesus with the Cubs’ fourth run. Not to be outdone, Starlin Castro (2-for-5 with a double, a triple and a RBI) tripled in Barney with the Cubs’ fifth run of the day.
Steve Clevenger continued making his case for more playing time Saturday. Not only did Paul Maholm have his best start of the season but Clevenger notched his second multi-hit game of the season and drove in the Cubs’ sixth run in the seventh.
After a rough first inning and working out of an early jam with allowing only one run, Paul Maholm settled down and put together a very good outing. Maholm held the Reds to one run on four hits in six innings with three walks, one intentional, and five strikeouts. Maholm threw 92 pitches, 55 for strikes, in his longest outing of the year.
The Cubs pen was solid again Saturday … but James Russell was more than impressive. The bullpen did not allow any runs over the last three innings and surrendered just two hits, but both of those were gifts in the seventh against James Russell.
The lack of communication between the Cubs’ outfield in the seventh led to two gift doubles. Tony Campana lost a ball in the sun for the first double then Campana and David DeJesus did not communicate on a bloop double by Zack Cozart. Russell showed a lot of maturity and retired Drew Stubbs, Joey Votto and Brandon Phillips in order to end the inning.
The only negative from Saturday’s game was Starlin Castro committed two more errors. Castro continues to hit but appeared to take his fielding issues to the plate with him and did not hustle out of the box on both of his extra basehits.
With Saturday’s victory, the Cubs improved to 4-11 on the season … Saturday’s game began like so many of late for the Chicago Cubs … with the opposition scoring in the first inning.
Zack Cozart led off the game with a double down the left field line past a diving Ian Stewart. Drew Stubbs grounded out to second on a 0-1 pitch. Cozart advanced to third and held when Maholm walked Joey Votto.
Brandon Phillips smoked Maholm’s first pitch into left center past a diving Starlin Castro. Cozart scored, 1-0 Reds. With runners on first and second with one out, Ryan Ludwick swung over the top of a 2-2 breaking ball for out number two. Maholm then struck out Scott Rolen swinging on a 3-2 pitch to end the inning. It took Maholm 25 pitches, 15 for strikes, to get through the first inning.
The Cubs came out swinging against Mike Leake in the bottom of the first. David DeJesus ripped a 1-2 pitch towards the right field corner. Joey Votto climbed the latter and got a glove on the ball. DeJesus ended up with a single. Darwin Barney singled to right center (0-1 pitch). DeJesus ended up at third.
Starlin Castro popped a 1-0 pitch into shallow center. Brandon Phillips caught the ball for the first out. Bryan LaHair lifted Leake’s first pitch into left center. DeJesus tagged and scored … game tied at one. Ian Stewart struck out swinging to end the inning.
Paul Maholm put together his best inning as a Cubs’ pitcher. Maholm retired the Reds in order in the second. Maholm threw 37 pitches, 23 for strikes, over the first two innings.
Steve Clevenger jump-started the Cubs’ offense again. Clevenger led off the second with a single to right. Blake DeWitt hit a chopper back to Leake but Clevenger was able to advance to second. Joe Mather worked the count to 3-2 before ripping a double into the gap in left center. Clevenger scored and gave the Cubs a 2-1 lead.
Leake tried to pick Mather off at second. The ball skipped and ended up in center. Mather advanced to third with Maholm at the plate. Leake caught Maholm looking for the second out.
David DeJesus hit Leake’s first pitch back up the middle and into center. Mather scored the Cubs’ third run of the game. Darwin Barney pulled a 1-0 pitch into the left field corner. The ball rolled around and DeJesus scored from first … 4-1 Cubs.
Starlin Castro crushed the first pitch from Leake to deep left. Instead of his second homer in as many games, Castro settled for a triple as the ball hit off the vines. Barney scored the Cubs’ fourth run of the inning … and Dale Sveum’s team took a 5-1 lead. LaHair flied out to left to end the inning.
Maholm sat down the Reds in order in the third. At the time, Maholm had retired eight in a row and his pitch count stood at 50, 31 for strikes.
The Cubs did nothing against Leake in the third.
Another Cubs’ error opened the door for the Reds in the top of the fourth … but Maholm was able to escape without allowing any runs.
Brandon Phillips hit a 0-1 pitch up the middle. Castro ranged over but the ball hit off the heel of his glove. Castro was charged with his sixth error of the season. Ludwick flied out to right on a 2-1 pitch. Castro then showed off how good he can be at short. Castro dove and stopped a ball ticketed for center off the bat of Scott Rolen. Castro shoveled the ball to a stretching Barney at second to force Phillips. Chris Heisey pulled Maholm’s first pitch down the left field line for a double.
With runners on second and third with two down, Dale Sveum had Maholm walk Devin Mesoraco to load the bases. Mike Leake hit the first pitch toward third. Stewart fielded the ball and just beat Heisey to third to end the inning.
The Cubs did nothing in the fourth against Mike Leake.
Paul Maholm retired Zack Cozart on a grounder to second to start the fifth. Drew Stubbs smoked a 0-1 pitch to short. The ball hit off Castro’s chest and Stubbs just beat Castro’s throw to first. Castro was charged with his second error in as many innings.
Maholm fell behind Joey Votto 2-1 before running the count to 3-2. Stubbs leaned the wrong way and Maholm picked him off first for the second out … Votto swung at and missed Maholm’s next pitch to end the inning. Maholm threw 75 pitches in five innings, 45 for strikes.
After Darwin Barney made his first out of the afternoon (flied out to right center), Starlin Castro went with a 2-2 pitch and hit a sinking liner into right. Heisey tried to make a diving catch but the ball hit the ground, then his face. Castro ended up at second with a double.
Bryan LaHair followed Castro’s double with a very impressive ten-pitch at bat that ended with a walk. On a 0-1 pitch to Stewart, Sveum called for a hit and run. Stewart lined out to Phillips and LaHair was doubled off first to end the inning.
At the end of five, the Cubs led 5-1.
Brandon Phillips (grounded out to second) and Ryan Ludwick (grounded out to short) made two quick outs to start the sixth. Scott Rolen grinded out a long at bat and ended up singling to center on a 2-2 pitch. Maholm walked Chris Heisey. Devin Mesoraco grounded out to short (Heisey forced at second) to end the inning.
Steve Clevenger led off the bottom of the sixth with a single to center. Blake DeWitt and Joe Mather both flied out to center on the first pitch. Tony Campana made his 2012 debut and singled to center. Dusty Baker made the slow walk and went to his pen.
Logan Ondrusek replaced Mike Leake and retired DeJesus on a grounder to first (2-1 pitch) to end the sixth.
James Russell took over in the seventh with Mather moving to left and Campana staying in the game and taking over in center.
Todd Frazier hit for Logan Ondrusek and hit a routine fly to center that Campana lost in the sun. The ball hit off Campana’s glove has he fell to the ground. Frazier was given a double on a ball that must be caught.
Zack Cozart blooped a 3-2 pitch into right center. Campana tried to make a diving catch, missed and the ball went off a sliding DeJesus for another double … on another ball with better communication that should have been caught. Drew Stubbs smoked a 1-0 pitch to short that Castro snared for the first out.
Joey Votto struck out swinging on a 2-2 pitch for the second out.
Brandon Phillips put together one heck of an at bat but it was obvious that he did not want to take a walk. Phillips popped out to DeJesus near the line in shallow right to end the inning (ninth pitch). Russell threw 26 pitches in the seventh, 17 for strikes.
The Cubs tacked on a run in the bottom of the seventh … with a little help from the Reds’ defense. Darwin Barney single to left center on a 1-1 pitch from Alfredo Simon. Castro hit the first pitch to the hole at short. Rolen cut the ball off and tried to underhand to Valdez at second. The ball sailed over Valdez and the Cubs had runners on first and second with no outs. LaHair struck out swinging (1-2 pitch) and Stewart popped out to short (3-2 pitch) for the second out.
Steve Clevenger pulled Simon’s first pitch into right. Barney scored but Clevenger was thrown out trying to get back to first to end the inning (9-3-4).
Rafael Dolis walked Ryan Ludwick on four pitches to start the eighth. Scott Rolen hit a weak grounder past the mound to Barney. Ludwick was forced at second for the first out. Chris Heisey hit a 3-2 pitch to short. Castro stepped on the bag (should have tossed to Barney) but his throw to first was late and Heisey reached on the fielder’s choice. Mesoraco grounded out to third to end the inning.
The Cubs wasted a chance to add on in the bottom of the eighth. Reed Johnson hit for Dolis and ripped a double into left. Joe Mather placed a perfect bunt to the third base side of the mound. Mather reached and Johnson advanced to third with no outs. Campana struck out swinging and DeJesus popped out to short (1-2 pitch).
Alfredo Simon hit Darwin Barney with a breaking ball on the back of the helmet to load the bases. Castro grounded out to third to end the inning.
The Cubs took a 6-1 lead into the ninth … and Carlos Marmol sat the Reds down in order. Game over … losing streak over.
Randy Wells is expected to face Johnny Cueto in the series finale on Sunday afternoon.
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