Garza Rocked … Cubs Drop Seventh in a Row – Cubs 4, Astros 8

Game Forty-Two – Cubs 4, Astros 8
WP – Bud Norris (5-1) LP – Matt Garza (2-2) Save – None

The Cubs lost their season-worst seventh straight game and if not for scoring four runs in the ninth, Dale Sveum’s team would have been shut out for the second day in a row. The Cubs have not been shut out on back-to-back days since May 4-5, 2006 (San Diego Padres). Over the last three games, the Cubs have scored runs in only two of the 27 innings.

While the Cubs offense was beyond horrible again for the first eight innings, Matt Garza picked a bad time to have his shortest outing of the season.

Matt Garza retired the Astros in order in the first inning on just 14 pitches … and it went downhill from there. Houston pounded Garza in the second and third innings to the tune of seven runs on five hits with two walks. Jason Castro and Chris Johnson both hit three run homers off Garza, who was lifted after the third inning.

Matt Garza simply did not have it Monday night … all seven runs he allowed scored with two outs. Garza’s final line: seven runs on five hits, two home runs, with two walks and two strikeouts. Garza threw 72 pitches, 42 for strikes. Monday was the second shortest outing for Garza as a Chicago Cub. Garza lasted two innings against the Nationals last season in D.C. and surrendered seven runs, six earned, on eight hits with a walk and four strikeouts.

Randy Wells made his first appearance since being recalled from Iowa. Wells might have a shot at sticking in the Cubs’ pen after struggling at both the big league level and at Triple-A as a starter. Wells kept Dale Sveum from having to use his pen on a night Matt Garza barely made it through three innings.

Randy Wells allowed one run on three hits with two walks and three strikeouts in five innings of work. Wells made only one mistake, a solo homer by Jed Lowrie in the seventh inning. Wells threw 78 pitches, 46 for strikes, in relief of Matt Garza.

The Astros scored all eight of their runs with two outs … and seven of the eight runs scored on three longballs.

Houston hit three home runs off Cubs’ pitching Monday night. Over the last four games Cubs pitching has served up 11 longballs … while the Cubs’ offense has hit just two balls out of the park.

The Cubs outhit the Astros 11-8 on Monday night but showed no life against Bud Norris. The Cubs were a miserable 0-for-9 with runners in scoring position prior to the ninth and finished the game 4-for-15 with RISP and left 10 on base.

Starlin Castro (2-for-5), David DeJesus (2-for-4, with a RBI, a walk and a run scored), Adrian Cardenas (2-for-4 with two doubles and a run scored) and Koyie Hill (2-for-4 with a run scored) each notched multi-hit games while Blake Lalli’s first big league hit drove in two of the Cubs’ four runs in the ninth.

Of the Cubs’ 11 hits, only two went for extra bases (doubles by Cardenas) and not one left the park.

The Cubs have lost nine of their last 11 and with Monday’s defeat the Cubs have dropped to a season-low 12 games under .500 with a 15-27 record …

Bud Norris retired David DeJesus on two pitches to start the game. DeJesus fouled out to left. Tony Campana walked on a 3-2 pitch. On the first pitch to Castro, Campana took off for second and slid in safe. Starlin Castro ended up grounding out to third for the second out. Campana took off for third on the first pitch to LaHair and made it safely but was stranded when LaHair struck out swinging. Norris threw 22 pitches in the first inning, 14 for strikes.

Matt Garza sat down the top of the Astros’ lineup in order on 14 pitches, nine for strikes, in the first.

Alfonso Soriano grounded out to short (2-1 pitch) to start the second. Ian Stewart then worked the count full before grounding out to second. Adrian Cardenas lined a 2-1 pitch off Travis Buck’s glove in right. Cardenas was given a double. Koyie Hill predictably grounded out to short to end the inning. Norris threw 39 pitches in the first two innings, 24 for strikes.

Matt Garza made quick work of Carlos Lee and Brian Bogusevic to start the second. Garza recorded the first two outs on just four pitches. Chris Johnson put together a long at bat that changed the inning. Johnson ended up ripping a single into left on the seventh pitch (2-2 count). Garza lost his command and issued a five-pitch walk to J.D. Martinez.

With two on and two out, Jason Castro launched a 0-2 pitch into the bleachers beyond the right field wall. Castro’s first homer since 2010 (July 19, 2010 against the Cubs’ Mitch Atkins at Wrigley Field) gave the Astros a commanding 3-0 lead. Garza retired Bud Norris on a fly out to right. A disgusted Matt Garza walked to the dugout after throwing 37 pitches in two innings, 24 for strikes.

Matt Garza and David DeJesus struck out to start the third. Tony Campana reached on a single to left and Starlin Castro followed with a single to left … both hits came on the first pitch from Bud Norris. Bryan LaHair stepped in and lifted Norris’ first offering to deep left. J.D. Martinez caught the ball three feet from the wall to end the inning.

Garza continued struggling with his command in the third. Jose Altuve flied out to center on a 3-1 pitch. Jed Lowrie singled to right on a 3-2 offering. Garza put himself in his third three-ball count in as many hitters. Travis Buck struck out swinging on a 3-2 pitch. Lowrie was running and slid safe as Koyie Hill’s throw ended up into center. Lowrie ended up at third with two down.

Carlos Lee did what Carlos Lee has always done against the Cubs … drive in runs. Lee ripped a 1-2 pitch into left that plated Lowrie with the Astros’ fourth run. Garza fell behind Brian Bogusevic 3-0 before getting one over. Bogusevic then walked on a 3-2 pitch. Dale Sveum made a visit to the mound after the free pass.

Chris Johnson launched a 2-1 pitch to the deepest part of the park (right center). The Astros’ second three-run homer of the night put the game away in the third inning. Garza retired J.D. Martinez on a fly out to right for the third out. Matt Garza threw 72 pitches in three innings, 42 for strikes.

After three, the Cubs trailed 7-0.

Alfonso Soriano grounded out to short to start the fourth. Ian Stewart walked. Adrian Cardenas flied out to center for the second out. Koyie Hill followed with a single to right. Stewart advanced to third and Sveum went to his bench. Jeff Baker hit for Garza and hit a routine fly to right on a 0-1 pitch to end the inning.

Randy Wells took over in the fourth and faced the minimum after issuing a leadoff walk to Jason Castro. Bud Norris popped out to right and Altuve grounded into a 5-4-3 double play.

David DeJesus walked to start the fifth. Campana hit a weak grounder to short. DeJesus advanced to second as Lowrie’s throw just beat Campana … but both Castro and LaHair struck out swinging to end the inning.

Randy Wells’ second inning of work began with a single off the bat of Jed Lowrie (right field). Travis Buck hit a swinging bunt to the first base side of the mound that Wells fielded and shoveled to LaHair. With Lowrie at second, Carlos Lee grounded out to short and Bogusevic also grounded out to short to end the inning.

The Cubs did nothing in the sixth. Norris threw 96 pitches, 65 for strikes, in six innings.

Joe Mather took over in left in the sixth and Randy Wells sat down the Astros in order.

Other than a two-out single by David DeJesus, the Cubs did nothing in the seventh against Bud Norris.

Randy Wells took the hill for his fourth inning of work. Wells struck out Marwin Gonzalez swinging to start the seventh. Jose Altuve grounded out to short but Jed Lowrie cranked the Astros’ third longball of the night … a solo homer to right center. Wells then walked Travis Buck and gave up a single to Carlos Lee. Wells ended the inning by retiring Bogusevic on a pop out to left center.

At the end of seven, the Cubs were being pounded 8-0.

Starlin Castro led off the eight with a single to the hole at short off Enerio Del Rosario … but that was all. Blake Lalli hit for LaHair and grounded out to second. Castro advanced to second with one down. Joe Mather and Ian Stewart hit routine grounders to third and first to end the inning.

Randy Wells retired Houston in order in the eighth.

The Cubs were able to get on the board in the ninth against Enerio Del Rosario and the Astros’ bullpen.

Adrian Cardenas led off the ninth with his second double of the game … a bloop double to left that ended up in the stands for a ground rule two-bagger. Koyie Hill followed with a single. Cardenas held at third with no outs.

Reed Johnson hit for Randy Wells and broke up the shutout with a single to center. Hill was running with the pitch and advanced to third. Brad Mills went to the pen and brought in Fernando Abad.

David DeJesus singled to right center. Hill scored, 8-2 Astros. Johnson ended up at third with no outs. Tony Campana struck out swinging and Mills went back to his pen for Wilton Lopez.

Starlin Castro flied out to right center on Lopez’s first pitch. Blake Lalli, who stayed in the game at first base, knocked his first big league basehit into right. Travis Buck appeared to lose theball in the lights. Two runs scored and made it an 8-4 game. Joe Mather hit Lopez’s first pitch into right center to end the game.

Box Score from Yahoo Sports

Travis Wood is expected to face J.A. Happ in game two of the three game series on Tuesday night.

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Quote of the Day

"You can’t sit on a lead and kill the clock. You’ve got to give the other man his chance. That’s why baseball is the greatest game." - Earl Weaver