Marmol Gift Wraps Another Loss for the Cubs – Cubs 3, Reds 4

Game Twenty-Five – Cubs 3, Reds 4 – 10 innings
WP – Logan Ondrusek (2-0) LP – Rafael Dolis (1-2, BS 1) Save – None

There are no two ways about it. Regardless of what the expectations may or may not be for the 2012 Chicago Cubs, Thursday’s loss hurt.

On his 35th birthday and on his first start back from the disabled list, Ryan Dempster shutdown the Reds’ lineup for eight innings and the Cubs took a 3-0 lead into the bottom of the ninth. Starlin Castro (1-for-5 with a home run), Bryan LaHair (2-for-4 with a home run and a walk) and Geovany Soto (1-for-4 with a home run) each hit solo home runs and gave Ryan Dempster all the support he needed … but that all changed nine pitches into the bottom of the ninth.

Carlos Marmol could not find the strike zone (18 pitches, six for strikes) and issued back-to-back walks to Willie Harris and Joey Votto on nine pitches to start the ninth. After a visit from Chris Bosio, Marmol induced a grounder toward third off the bat of Brandon Phillips. Ian Stewart tried to make a play before he had the ball and misplayed the routine grounder into an error. The Reds put a run on the board and the writing was on the wall. Jay Bruce ripped Marmol’s first pitch into right to load the bases with no outs.

Dale Sveum left Marmol into face Ryan Ludwick. Marmol walked him and forced in the Reds’ second run. Sveum finally pulled Marmol and brought in Rafael Dolis with the bases loaded, no outs and the Cubs up 3-2.

Devin Mesoraco hit a 1-1 pitch toward short. Starlin Castro started the 6-4-3 double play but Phillips scored and tied the game at three. With Bruce at third, Dolis struck out Wilson Valdez swinging to end the inning.

The damage was done, Rafael Dolis was hung with a blown save and the Reds would end up winning the game the next inning. Zack Cozart led off the tenth with a single. Chris Heisey tried to bunt him to second. Dolis fielded the ball, threw it away. Cozart ended up at third and scored the winning run on a sac fly by Scott Rolen.

The game was decided in the bottom of the ninth and Carlos Marmol’s days as the Cubs’ closer appear to be over.

Short of pitching the ninth in his first start back from the DL, Ryan Dempster did everything he could and he more than put his team in position to win the game. Dempster threw 101 pitches, 67 for strikes, over eight shutout innings. The Reds managed only three hits and a walk while Dempster struck out six. Dempster recorded a lot of quick outs and kept the leadoff hitter off base in each of his eight innings.

Dale Sveum’s offense did just enough against Homer Bailey but it should have been more. Solo home runs by Castro, LaHair and Soto accounted for all three runs Thursday afternoon. Bryan LaHair reached base safely for the 21st game in a row and tied Derrek Lee (2009) for the franchise all-time mark for first basemen.

Geovany Soto hit his second homer of the season and is starting to show signs of life at the plate. While Soto’s longball was good to see, Soto hit into a double play that ended the second and struck out looking with the bases loaded and one out in the sixth. Soto left four runners on base Thursday.

For the day the Cubs outhit the Reds 10-5 and were 0-for-3 with runners in scoring position and left eight on base in a one-run loss.

While the offense could have put the game away, Thursday’s loss should be hung on Carlos Marmolgotta throw strikes and make ’em earn it. Carlos Marmol did not again.

With Thursday’s loss, the Cubs dropped to 9-16 on the season …

David DeJesus started the game by hitting a soft liner to Joey Votto (3-2 pitch). Starlin Castro stepped in with two outs after Barney grounded out to second. Starlin Castro gave the Cubs an early lead with his first homer of the season. Castro launched a 0-2 pitch over the wall in center. Bryan LaHair followed with a single to left center (2-2 pitch) but Soriano popped out to right to end the inning … but thanks to Castro, Ryan Dempster had a 1-0 lead before he took the mound.

Ryan Dempster made quick work or Chris Heisey and Willie Harris to start his outing. Joey Votto ripped Dempster’s first pitch into center. Phillips grounded out to second (2-2 pitch) for the third out.

Ian Stewart led off the second with a single to center but Bailey ended up facing the minimum after Johnson popped out to Votto near the plate and Soto grounded into a 5-4-3 inning ending double play.

Dempster sat down the Reds in order in the second.

After Dempster struck out looking to start the third, DeJesus singled to center with one down … but Barney flied out to center and Castro fouled out to Votto to end the Cubs’ third.

Dempster kept rolling and retired the Reds 1-2-3 in the third.

Bryan LaHair led off the fourth with his seventh homer of the season. LaHair launched a 1-1 pitch deep into the bleachers in left and gave the Cubs a 2-0 lead. Bailey settled down and retired the next three batters he faced (Soriano, Stewart and Johnson) to end the fourth.

Ryan Dempster’s worst inning came in the bottom of the fourth. Joey Votto pulled a 3-2 pitch into the right field corner for a one out double. Phillips grounded out to third for the second out. Dempster wanted nothing to do with Jay Bruce and walked him on five pitches. Ryan Ludwick struck out swinging (2-2 pitch) to end the inning.

Geovany Soto led off the fifth by launching Bailey’s first pitch over the wall in left. Dempster struck out swinging and DeJesus grounded out to first. Darwin Barney singled to left with two down but Castro hit a 1-1 pitch to Phillips to end the inning.

The Reds did nothing against Dempster in the fifth … and after five, the Cubs had a 3-0 lead.

The Cubs wasted a huge chance to tack on in the sixth. LaHair popped out to short on Bailey’s first pitch to start the inning. Alfonso Soriano singled to left and advanced to third on a double to left by Ian Stewart. The Reds intentionally walked Reed Johnson to load the bases with one out.

Geovany Soto was caught looking at a 1-2 pitch for the second out … and Dempster hit a soft liner back to Bailey to end the inning.

Ryan Dempster kept rolling in the sixth and retired the Reds in order.

The Cubs did nothing in the seventh against Jose Arredondo.

Other than a two-out bloop single (1-2 pitch) by Ryan Ludwick, the Reds did nothing against Dempster. After seven, Dempster had thrown 92 pitches, 61 for strikes, and led 3-0 on his birthday.

The Cubs did nothing in the eighth against Aroldis Chapman.

Ryan Dempster finished his day by retiring the Reds in order in the eighth.

Sean Marshall took over in the ninth and made quick work of Reed Johnson and Geovany Soto. Joe Mather hit for Dempster and put together a good at bat. Mather ended up doubling to left center on the eighth pitch of the at bat. DeJesus flied out to center … and the Cubs went to the bottom of the ninth with a 3-0 lead.

Carlos Marmol walked Willie Harris (3-1 pitch) and issued a four-pitch walk to Joey Votto to start the inning. After a visit from Chris Bosio, Brandon Phillips hit a 0-1 pitch toward third. Ian Stewart tried to pick the grounder and move toward third all at the same time … bottom line is, Stewart tried to do too much instead of just playing the game.

The ball went off Stewart’s glove, ended up in left and Harris scored the Reds’ first run.

Jay Bruce lined Marmol’s first pitch into right … and just like that, the Reds had the bases loaded with no outs and trailing the Cubs by only two runs.

Carlos Marmol then walked Ryan Ludwick on a 3-2 pitch. Votto was forced in with the Reds’ second run. Dale Sveum finally went to his pen and brought in Rafael Dolis.

Regardless of what the box score says, Rafael Dolis did hit job in the ninth. Dolis induced a 6-4-3 double play off the bat of Mesoraco. Phillips scored the tying run. Dolis then struck out Valdez with Bruce at third to end the inning.

At the end of nine, the game was tied at three.

Other than a two-out walk by Bryan LaHair, the Cubs did nothing in the tenth against Logan Ondrusek.

Rafael Dolis started the tenth and gave up a lead-off single to Zack Cozart. Chris Heisey bunted back to Dolis on a 0-1 pitch. Dolis threw into the runner, Barney could not handle and Cozart ended up at third with no outs.

Scott Rolen lifted a 1-0 pitch to right. DeJesus caught the ball but Cozart scored easily … game over.

The Cubs finished the six-game trip with a 3-3 record, but …

Box Score from Yahoo Sports

The Cubs and Dodgers open a three-game series Friday afternoon at Wrigley … Paul Maholm against Chad Billingsley in the opener.

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