Garza Can’t Keep the Ball in the Park … Cubs Drop Twelfth in a Row – Cubs 4, Pirates 10

Game Forty-Seven – Cubs 4, Pirates 10
WP – Erik Bedard (3-5) LP – Matt Garza (2-3) Save – None

The Cubs just avoided being shutout for the second time in three games and lost their 12th in a row in a game they were never in. Matt Garza put his team into a hole in the first inning when he served up a three-run shot to Pedro Alvarez, the first three-run home run hit by the Pirates this season.

Matt Garza has allowed five home runs in the last eight-plus innings he’s pitched … with three of those being three-run homers over a three-inning span. Andrew McCutchen hit a solo homer off Garza in the fifth then Garrett Jones chased Garza from the game with a two-run shot in the sixth.

Sunday was really all or nothing for Garza. He struck out five in a span of eight batters at one point but did not appear to be on the right page with Koyie Hill from the first pitch. Matt Garza allowed six runs on seven hits (three home runs) with a walk and six strikeouts in five-plus innings.

The Pirates tacked on four more runs against Rafael Dolis (walked only two batters he faced on nine pitches, one strike) and Michael Bowden in the sixth inning. The six runs scored off Cubs’ pitching in the sixth were the most by the Pirates in a single inning this season.

The Cubs offense was a no show until the last two innings. They managed only two singles prior to the eighth … a swinging bunt by David DeJesus in the third and clean single by Joe Mather in the fourth.

Tony Campana drove in the Cubs’ first run with a fielder’s choice that plated Koyie Hill in the eighth. Blake Lalli (1-for-2 with a run scored) then trotted home on a home run by Starlin Castro (1-for-4 with a home run and two RBI). Darwin Barney (1-for-3 with a double, a walk and a RBI) doubled in Jeff Baker in the eighth for the Cubs’ fourth run.

The Cubs are now 1-9 in games started by a left handed pitcher and 4-4 on Sundays in 2012.

With the 12th loss in a row, the Cubs have dropped to 17 games under .500 with a 15-32 record …

Erik Bedard faced the minimum in the first after walking David DeJesus to start the game. Starlin Castro hit a 2-2 pitch toward third that should have been an around the horn double play. Pedro Alvarez took his time before throwing to second and Castro beat Walker’s throw to first. With Castro running, Joe Mather hit a 3-2 pitch right to Neil Walker … 4-6-3 inning ending double play. Bedard threw 18 pitches in the first, nine for strikes.

Jose Tabata dribbled a 1-2 pitch back up the middle and into center to begin the Pirates’ first. Josh Harrison then squared on the first pitch and bunted right back to Garza, who threw the ball into foul territory. Tabata ended up at third with Harrison taking second on Garza’s third error of the season.

With runners on second and third, Sveum left his infield back. Andrew McCutchen hit a smash to Mather at third base. Mather threw home and cut down Tabata at the plate.

Matt Garza and Koyie Hill could not get on the right page. Garza kept shaking Hill off, then fell behind Pedro Alvarez 3-1. The Pirates’ third baseman did not miss Garza’s next pitch and deposited it into the stands beyond the right field wall … Alvarez gave the Pirates a 3-0 lead on the team’s first three-run homer of the season.

Garza struck out Walker before giving up a double to Garrett Jones. Matt Hague grounded out to short to end the inning. Garza labored through a long 29-pitch (20 for strikes) first inning.

Other than a leadoff walk by Alfonso Soriano, the Cubs did nothing in the second. More routine outs … Baker grounded out to third, Johnson popped out to right and Barney grounded out to second.

Michael McKenry popped out to second and Bedard grounded out to short to start the second. Jose Tabata ripped a 2-2 pitch into the gap in left center. The ball rolled to the wall and Tabata ended up at third … the first four hits off Garza were a single, a home run, a double and a triple. Harrison struck out swinging on Garza’s 46th pitch of the game (33 for strikes).

After Koyie Hill and Matt Garza struck out to start the third, David DeJesus notched the Cubs’ first hit … a swinging bunt up the third baseline. Castro hit the first pitch into right. Jones hauled it in to end the inning.

Matt Garza retired the Pirates in order on seven pitches in the third (53 pitches, 39 for strikes for Garza after three innings)

Joe Mather led off the fourth with the Cubs’ first clean hit of the game, a single to left. Soriano hit into the Cubs’ second double play of the game (6-4-3) and Baker hit a routine grounder to second to end the inning.

Matt Garza faced four batters in the bottom of the fourth. Garza struck out three of the four (Jones, McKenry and Bedard) and gave up a one out single to Matt Hague … but that was all. After four innings, Garza’s pitch count stood at 72, 53 for strikes, and five of the last eight outs Garza recorded were via strikeouts.

Other than a one-out walk by Darwin Barney, the bottom of the Cubs’ lineup did nothing against Bedard in the fifth. The Cubs were 0-for-1 with runners in scoring position and had left three on base after five at bats.

Jose Tabata and Josh Harrison went down quickly to start the fifth. Garza then made a mistake on a 1-2 pitch to Andrew McCutchen. The Pirates’ centerfielder deposited the ball in the stands beyond the left field wall … 4-0 Pittsburgh. Alvarez grounded out to first to end the inning.

After five innings, the Pirates had a commanding 4-0 lead.

David DeJesus walked to start the Cubs’ sixth … the fourth time in six innings the Cubs put the leadoff man on. Castro (flied out to right), Mather (flied out to left) and Soriano (grounded out to third) made three routine outs to end the inning.

Matt Garza walked Neil Walker on four pitches to start the sixth. Garrett Jones stepped in and launched a 0-2 mistake from Garza into the stands in right … 6-0 Pirates. Dale Sveum went to his pen and brought in Rafael Dolis.

Dolis picked up where he left off Saturday night. After issuing a four-pitch walk to Matt Hague, Dolis missed on his first two pitched to McKenry. Dolis ended up walking the Pirates’ catcher and Sveum made the slow walk again.

Michael Bowden replaced Dolis and the Pirates gave the Cubs an out. Erik Bedard bunted Hague and McKenry up ninety feet. Gorkys Hernandez hit for Jose Tabata and added insult to bad baseball. Hernandez ripped a 2-0 pitch into right center. Hague and McKenry scored, 8-0 Pirates. Bowden then issued the fourth walk of the inning (three different Cubs’ pitchers issued walks in the sixth). Harrison walked and put runners on first and second with one out.

Andrew McCutchen continued tormenting Cubs’ pitching with an infield single to the hole at short that loaded the bases with one out. Pedro Alvarez hit a sac fly to right center. Hernandez tagged and scored, 9-0 Pirates. Neil Walker then singled to left and drove in Harrison with the Pirates 10th run of the game. Garrett Jones flied out to left to end the inning.

The Pirates scored six runs in the sixth inning, their largest single-inning output of the season.

The Cubs did nothing against Chris Resop in the seventh.

Blake Parker faced the minimum in the bottom of the seventh.

The Cubs broke up the shutout in the eighth against Chris Resop. Koyie Hill led off the eighth with the Cubs’ third hit of the game. Blake Lalli followed with a single to left. Hill ended up at third and scored when Tony Campana hit a grounder to Hague at first base.

Starlin Castro stepped in and crushed a 1-0 pitch for his third homer of the season.

Joe Mather (ground out to short) and Adrian Cardenas (pop out to left) made two routine outs to end the inning.

Randy Wells retired the Pirates in order in the bottom of the eighth.

Jeff Baker led off the ninth with a double off Juan Cruz. Baker then advanced to third on a Reed Johnson ground out to short. Darwin Barney then ripped a 1-2 pitch into right for a double. Baker scored the Cubs’ fourth run. Koyie Hill flied out to deep center, Barney advanced to third and Blake Lalli grounded out to second to end the game.

12 in a row …

Box Score from Yahoo Sports

The Cubs open a three-game series with the Padres on Monday afternoon at Wrigley Field … Travis Wood against Jeff Suppan in game one.

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