Game Forty-Six – Cubs 2, Pirates 3
WP – Joel Hanrahan (2-0) LP – Rafael Dolis (2-4) Save – None
The Pirates won Saturday night’s game when Rafael Dolis hit Matt Hague with the bases loaded and two outs in the ninth. Rafael Dolis struggled with his command again. After a single and a pair of walks loaded the bases, Dolis hit rookie Matt Hague with a 2-2 pitch to force in the winning run … 11 losses in a row for the Chicago Cubs.
The offense continued its struggles on Saturday night in Pittsburgh but ended up battling back and tying the game in the fifth. The aggressiveness of the Cubs’ offense hurt the team again. When making a starting pitcher like Kevin Correia throw as many pitches as possible should be at the top of the game plan, the Cubs made it easy on Pittsburgh’s starter Saturday night. Correia faced the minimum over two innings and threw only 17 pitches … Correia threw only 76 pitches in 6 1/3 innings.
The Pirates jumped out to a 2-0 lead in the third on an RBI single by Pedro Alvarez and a sac fly by Neil Walker. But Alfonso Soriano (1-for-4 with a home run) hit his fifth homer of the season in the fourth that cut the Bucs lead in half. Soriano’s homer ended a string of 20 straight innings without a run. Starlin Castro (1-for-4 with a triple and a RBI) tripled in David DeJesus to tie the game in the fifth.
The Cubs had a chance to take a lead in the seventh but Blake Lalli was cut down at the plate, on a play that was not close, trying to score from first on a double by Adrian Cardenas.
Starlin Castro’s RBI triple ended a 0-for-26 drought for the Cubs with runners in scoring position. The Cubs finished the night 1-for-4 with RISP and left six more runners on base.
Paul Maholm struggled with his command in his return to the Steel City. Maholm walked a season-high five batters, one intentional, but gave up only two runs on four hits thanks to the Pirates offensive issues. Maholm ran up his pitch count, in large part to a 35-pitch third inning, and had to leave after throwing 94 pitches, 51 for strikes, in five innings of work.
Casey Coleman and Shawn Camp kept the Pirates off the board in relief of Paul Maholm but the offense could not plate the go ahead run before the Pirates’ pen shut them down.
With Saturday’s loss, the Cubs dropped to 16 games under .500 with a 15-31 record …
Paul Maholm took the hill at PNC for the first time in a home half of an inning. Maholm retired Jose Tabata on a grounder to short then struck out Josh Harrison for the second out. Andrew McCutchen hit a 0-1 pitch back up the middle and against the shift. Castro ranged over and kept the ball in the infield … but did not make a throw. On a 2-2 pitch to Pedro Alvarez, the ball hit the dirt and got away from Blake Lalli. McCutchen ended up at third on a wild pitch. Maholm struck out Alvarez on his 15th pitch of the inning (11 for strikes) for the third out.
Bryan LaHair led off the second with a single to single but was erased when Alfonso Soriano hit into a 6-4-3 double play. Ian Stewart then hit Correia’s first pitch to Matt Hague … inning over. Correia made three outs on just six pitches in the second inning (17 total, 12 for strikes).
Neil Walker led off the second with a single to left center. Matt Hague flied out to center for the first out. On a 0-1 offering to Rod Barajas, Walker broke and slide in safe at second. Maholm ended up losing Barajas and walking him.
With runners on first and second with one out, Clint Barmes launched a 2-1 pitch to deep center. Joe Mather tracked it down for the second out. Walker tagged and advanced to third. Maholm was able to get out of the first and third jam when Correia tapped back to the mound. Maholm threw 35 pitches in first two innings, 20 for strikes.
After Darwin Barney and Blake Lalli went down quickly to start the third, Paul Maholm ripped Correia’s first pitch into the gap in right center. McCutchen cut the ball off and held Maholm to a single. David DeJesus tried to bunt his way on. Correia picked up the ball and threw it into right field. Maholm ended up at third with two outs.
With runners on second and third with two down, Starlin Castro hit a slow roller to third. Pedro Alvarez picked up the ball, threw home and Rod Barajas tagged Maholm, who did not slide, to end the inning.
Paul Maholm hit Jose Tabata to start the bottom of the third … and the inning quickly got away from him. Josh Harrison bunted Tabata to second. Maholm then intentionally walked Andrew McCutchen. When a team’s offense is not scoring, it is always a bad idea to help them out.
Pedro Alvarez ripped a single into right center, Tabata scored and McCutchen ended up at third with one out. Neil Walker hit a deep fly to right, McCutchen scored and gave the Pirates a 2-0 lead. Maholm then gave up a single to Matt Hague and walked Rod Barajas after being ahead of him 1-2. With the bases loaded and two down, Clint Barmes hit a 3-2 pitch back up the middle that Castro fielded and tossed to Barney to end the inning.
Paul Maholm threw 35 pitches in the third, 17 for strikes, and after three his pitch count stood at 70 (37 for strikes).
The Cubs finally scored a run in the fourth. After Joe Mather and Bryan LaHair made two quick outs, Alfonso Soriano cranked his fifth homer of the season, a solo shot to right center. Ian Stewart walked but Darwin Barney hit a tapper back to Correia to end the inning. Correia completed four innings of work on just 38 pitches, 26 for strikes.
The Pirates went down in order in the fourth on just six pitches. Maholm threw 76 pitches in four innings, 42 for strikes.
It appeared the fifth inning would be over before the Cubs had a chance to catch their breath. Lalli and Maholm went down quickly to start the inning. David DeJesus put together a long at bat that ended with a double down the left field line on a 2-2 pitch. Starlin Castro then showed a little patience and drove a 2-0 pitch to right. DeJesus scored and tied the game at two … and Castro ended up at third with a triple, his first extra basehit since May 17. Joe Mather grounded out to third on Correia’s 57th pitch of the game (38 for strikes) to end the inning.
Maholm struggled with his command again in the fifth. Maholm walked McCutchen on four pitches to start the inning. McCutchen then took off for second on Maholm’s first pitch to Alvarez. McCutchen made it easily and advanced to third when Alvarez grounded out to second.
Dale Sveum brought his infield in with McCutchen at third and one down. Neil Walker hit a pop fly to Lalli on the first pitch for out number two. Maholm issued his fifth walk of the game to Matt Hague but was able to get out of the first and third jam when Barajas flied out to center to end the inning. Maholm threw 94 pitches through five, 51 for strikes, and the Pirates were 1-for-8 with runners in scoring position with eight left on base.
The Cubs did nothing in the sixth against Kevin Correia.
Casey Coleman replaced Maholm and retired the Pirates in order in the bottom of the sixth.
Darwin Barney flied out to right to start the seventh against Kevin Correia. Blake Lalli stepped in and fell behind 0-2. Lalli ended up working a walk and chasing Correia from the game. Clint Hurdle brought in Tony Watson to face pinch-hitter Adrian Cardenas.
Adrian Cardenas pulled Watson’s first pitch into right field. For some reason, Pat Listach waived in Lalli … and he the play was not close. David DeJesus ended up working a two-out walk and Hurdle went back to his pen for Brad Lincoln.
With runners on first and third with two down, Starlin Castro looked at two straight out of the zone before taking a strike. Castro struck out swinging two pitches later to end the inning.
The Cubs were 1-for-4 with runners in scoring position with six left on base through seven at bats.
Shawn Camp started the seventh by retiring Harrison on a grounder to short. Andrew McCutchen blooped a 1-1 pitch into left for a single. McCutchen stole second but did not advance after Pedro Alvarez popped out to left. Camp intentionally walked Neil Walker. With runners on first and second with two down, Matt Hague hit a 2-0 pitch toward Castro that he gathered and tossed to Barney to end the inning.
The Cubs did nothing against Brad Lincoln in the eighth.
Shawn Camp retired the Pirates in order in the bottom of the eighth … and the game went to the ninth tied at two.
The bottom of the Cubs lineup did nothing against Joel Hanrahan in the top of the ninth.
Rafael Dolis gave up a leadoff single to Jose Tabata then walked Josh Harrison and put the winning run in scoring position. Andrew McCutchen swung at and missed a 2-2 offering from Dolis for the first out. Pedro Alvarez lifted a 1-1 pitch to deep center that Mather caught for the second out. Tabata advanced to third.
On the first pitch to Neil Walker, Josh Harrison took second. Dolis continued to struggle with his command. Dolis fell behind Walker 2-0 before getting one over. Dolis issued his second free pass of the inning to Walker and loaded the bases with two outs.
Rafael Dolis then plunked Matt Hague on a 2-2 offering to force in Jose Tabata with the winning run.
That’s eleven losses in a row …
Matt Garza is scheduled to face Erik Bedard in the series finale Sunday afternoon.
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