Shelled, Shutout and Swept – Cubs 0, White Sox 6

Game Forty-One – Cubs 0, White Sox 6
WP – Jake Peavy (5-1) LP – Paul Maholm (4-3) Save – None

On a day with the wind howling out, the Cubs offense could not get the ball past the mound and were shutout for the first time this season while the White Sox continued playing pepper with the bleachers at the old ballyard … and with Waveland Avenue. The White Sox completed only their second series sweep at Wrigley Field since Interleague play began (June 11-June 13, 1999) with a commanding victory over Paul Maholm and the Cubs.

Paul Maholm had a quality start after six innings. Maholm made only three mistakes in the first six innings but all three left the yard. Gordon Beckham, Adam Dunn and Tyler Flowers crushed three pitches off Maholm that accounted for all three of the runs that Maholm allowed through the first six frames. Dale Sveum left Maholm in to start the seventh and the Sox tacked on two more to Maholm’s final line.

Maholm ended up allowing five runs on nine hits (three home runs) without a walk and five strikeouts in 6 1/3 innings. Maholm threw 97 pitches, 67 for strikes, and did what he could to keep his team in the game on a hitter’s day at Wrigley Field.

The Cubs offense was beyond pathetic Sunday afternoon. They had a good game plan early against Jake Peavy and made him work but when the Cubs made contact they could not get the ball out of the infield. Seven of the first 10 batters on Sunday afternoon did not hit the ball past Jake Peavy and only three of the first 16 batters hit the ball out of the infield. Of the first 21 batters that Jake Peavy faced, only four balls made it out of the infield.

The Cubs managed only five hits, all singles and a double by Joe Mather in the ninth, and finished the game 0-for-6 with runners in scoring position and left 10 runners on base. The Cubs loaded the bases twice on Sunday and could not drive in a single run. One of the keys, Starlin Castro and Bryan LaHair are not getting much to hit. While Castro (1-for-4 with two strikeouts) tallied one of the Cubs’ five hits he is expanding his strike zone, Bryan LaHair (1-for-2 with two walks) walked twice in four plate appearances.

With Sunday’s loss (4-3 on Sundays in 2012), the Cubs dropped to 11 games under the breakeven point with a 15-26 record … and finished the homestand a big 0 and 5.

Paul Maholm did a good job in the first of mixing his pitches and keeping the ball down. Maholm retired the Sox in order on 15 pitches, nine for strikes, with two ground outs to short and a strikeout of Adam Dunn (3-2 pitch).

The Cubs did nothing in the first but at least made Jake Peavy work a little. Peavy threw 15 pitches in the first, nine for strikes.

Maholm retired Dayan Viciedo on a grounder to short to start the second. Alexei Ramirez stuck out swinging on an excellent 2-2 curve. Kosuke Fukudome made his first at bat of the series and hit a sky-high chopper off the plate on Maholm’s first pitch. Maholm fielded the ball, rushed his throw and the ball ended up down the right field line. Fukudome ended up at second with two outs. Tyler Flowers popped a 1-1 pitch into shallow right that Adrian Cardenas caught to end the inning. Maholm threw 31 pitches, 19 for strikes, in the first two innings.

Bryan LaHair led off the second with his first hit of the homestand. Alfonso Soriano followed with a long, nine-pitch at bat. Peavy jammed Soriano on a 3-2 pitch, the bat shattered and Peavy fielded the ball on the first base side of the mound. LaHair slid in safe at second as Soriano jogged to first. Ian Stewart hit a comebacker on a 1-2 pitch, LaHair misread the ball and was caught in a run down for the second out. With Stewart at first, Adrian Cardenas hit a routine grounder up the middle that Beckham flipped to Ramirez to end the inning. Peavy tossed 34 pitches, 25 for strikes, over two innings.

The Sox went down in order in the third. Maholm threw 10 pitches, eight for strikes, and struck out two batters (41 pitches through three, 27 for strikes).

The Cubs did nothing in the third. After good at bats early, Peavy started carving up Cubs’ hitters in the third. After three, Peavy’s pitch count was at 41, 30 for strikes.

Gordon Beckham launched Maholm’s first pitch of the fourth onto Waveland … and just like that the White Sox took a commanding 1-0 lead. Adam Dunn followed and lifted a 2-2 pitch deep into the bleachers in left center. After the two solo bombs, Maholm settled down and retired Viciedo (popped out to center), Ramirez (struck out looking) and Fukudome (tapped out to third base side of plate) to end the inning … 60 pitches for Maholm after four, 40 for strikes.

After Tony Campana popped out to short (2-1 pitch) to start the Cubs’ fourth, Starlin Castro finally got the ball out of the infield with a single to right center. Bryan LaHair walked on four pitches but Alfonso Soriano struck out swinging on three pitches. Ian Stewart showed patience and walked to load the bases with two outs. Adrian Cardenas could not get the job done and popped out to short (2-2 pitch) to end the inning. Peavy threw 30 pitches in the fourth and for the afternoon his pitch count stood at 71, 47 for strikes.

The Cubs were 0-for-3 with runners in scoring position and left four on base in the first four innings.

Tyler Flowers led off the fifth and crushed Maholm’s 1-2 mistake. The ball ended up on Waveland and the Sox third solo homer of the game gave the Sox a 3-0 lead … the third homer surrendered by Maholm in a six-batter stretch.

Maholm settled down and retired Brent Lillibridge on a grounder to short and Peavy on a liner to second. Alejandro De Aza reached on a two-out single to center but Gordon Beckham popped a 2-1 pitch up to Ian Stewart to end the inning.

After four and a half, the Cubs trailed 3-0.

The Cubs did nothing in the fifth … and other than a one-out single by Dayan Viciedo the Sox did nothing against Maholm in the sixth. Maholm threw 87 pitches in six innings, 59 for strikes.

The Cubs did nothing in the sixth … 94 pitches for Peavy after six, 66 for strikes and only four balls hit out of the infield.

The Sox separated in the seventh and turned a commanding 3-0 lead into an insurmountable five-run advantage. Tyler Flowers led off the inning with a double off the base of the vines in right (0-2 pitch). Brent Lillibridge followed with a single to right (1-2 pitch). With runners on first and third and no out, Jake Peavy hit Maholm’s first pitch to the hole at short. Starlin Castro made a tremendous play, fielded the ball and threw to second to force Lillibridge as Flowers scored. Cardenas could not get the ball out of his glove and Peavy reached. De Aza ripped a 1-0 pitch into right center. Peavy ended up at third and Dale Sveum emerged from the Cubs’ dugout.

Shawn Camp took over. Gordon Beckham lifted Camp’s first pitch into right. DeJesus caught the ball but Peavy tagged and scored the Sox fifth run. After Adam Dunn walked on four pitches, Viciedo flied out to left to end the inning.

After six and a half, the Cubs trailed 5-0.

Alfonso Soriano led off the seventh with a single to left center off Jake Peavy. After Ian Stewart flied out to right (0-2 pitch), Robin Ventura went to his pen for Matt Thornton to face Adrian Cardenas. Dale Sveum countered with Darwin Barney … who flied out to deep center for the second out. Koyie Hill singled to left center and Sveum went to his bench for a pinch hitter. Jeff Baker hit for Shawn Camp and grounded out weakly to second to end the inning.

Casey Coleman took over in the eighth and sat down the Sox in order.

After a long at bat by David DeJesus that resulted in a swinging strikeout on a 3-2 pitch to start the eighth, Matt Thornton walked Tony Campana. Ventura made his way to the mound and brought in Jesse Crain to face Starlin Castro. Campana took second on the first pitch to Castro. Castro expanded his strike zone and struck out swinging for the second out. Bryan LaHair and Alfonso Soriano worked back-to-back walks to load the bases … but Ian Stewart could not check his swing and was called out on a 2-2 pitch to end the inning.

Rafael Dolis walked Brent Lillibridge on four pitches to start the ninth. Lillibridge then scored all the way from first on what was ruled as a double to left by pinch-hitter Alex Rios … Soriano’s knee played the ball into a double and a run. De Aza lined out to left, Beckham grounded out to short and Dunn was ruled to have swung on a 3-2 pitch to end the inning.

The Cubs went to the ninth trailing 6-0.

Other than a two-out double by Joe Mather, the bottom of the Cubs’ lineup did nothing against Addison Reed in the ninth … game over, series over and homestand over.

Regardless of what happens during the three-game series on the South Side in June, the Sox can do no worse than finish with a tie in the season series against the Cubs … so the BP Cup will remain on the South Side for another year.

Box Score from Yahoo Sports

The Cubs begin a six game road trip Monday night with the first of three in Houston … Matt Garza against Bud Norris in game one.

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