Cubs Lose a Slugfest in the Desert – Cubs 5, Diamondbacks 10

Game Seventy-One – Cubs 5, Diamondbacks 10
WP – Craig Breslow (2-0) LP – Paul Maholm (4-6) Save – None

Saturday night at Chase Field was anything but a pitcher’s duel. The two teams scored a combined 15 runs on 30 hits in a game that took three hours and 31 minutes to complete. In the end, the Diamondbacks outslugged the Cubs. Eight of Arizona’s 16 hits went for extra bases while only three of the Cubs’ 14 hits were of the extra base variety … and one of those came off the bat of Paul Maholm.

Paul Maholm and Ian Kennedy were long gone by the time J.J. Putz struck out Geovany Soto swinging to end the game. Maholm lasted just 3 1/3 innings and Kennedy was lifted with one out in the fifth. The D-Backs’ offense gave Kennedy a five-run lead in the fourth but he could not get through the fifth to qualify for the win.

Paul Maholm had a night he will not soon forget. In a game he hit the second home run of his career Maholm also had the shortest outing of his Cubs’ career. Maholm worked his way out of early james and held the Diamondbacks to one run, a Justin Upton longball, over the first three innings. Maholm started missing up in the zone in the third and it cost him in the fourth.

After Maholm helped his own cause with a two-run homer in the top of the fourth that gave the Cubs a 2-1 lead, Maholm was knocked out of the game with one out in the bottom of the inning. Arizona sent ten to the plate in the fourth and scored six runs on five hits, a walk and an error. After four, the Diamondbacks led 7-2.

Paul Maholm allowed seven runs, six earned, on nine hits with three walks, a hit batsman and zero strikeouts. The six earned runs and nine hits allowed both tied season-highs … and after striking out 16 batters over his last three starts, Maholm did not strikeout a single batter on Saturday night. Two of the three walks Maholm surrendered Saturday night were to Ian Kennedy.

Jairo Asencio and Casey Coleman kept Arizona off the board in the fourth and fifth innings and gave the Cubs a chance to mount a comeback.

The Cubs cut the Diamondbacks lead to 7-5 before Scott Maine allowed the game to get out of hand. Maine continued his struggles at the big league level, especially against right-handed hitters. Maine allowed two runs on three hits with four strikeouts and no walks. Maine hit a batter and served up a long home run to Paul Goldschmidt.

Arizona’s tenth run came in the eighth of Carlos Marmol in just a third of an inning.

Dale Sveum used six pitchers, five relievers, to get through nine innings Saturday night.

The Cubs offense continued hitting the ball, just not with runners in scoring position, or with any power. The Cubs finished the game 2-for-11 with runners in scoring position and left 10 on base.

David DeJesus (4-for-5 with a double) and Starlin Castro (4-for-5) were a combined 8-for-10 but neither one scored a run. Bryan LaHair had one of his worst nights of the season. LaHair was 0-for-5 with a strikeout, grounded into a double play and left eight on base. Alfonso Soriano was 1-for-4 with a run scored and Luis Valbuena went 0-for-5 with a strikeout and six left on base. Valbuena also committed a game changing error in the six-run fourth inning. A team is not going to win many games when their three, four and five hitters are 1-for-14.

Steve Clevenger (1-for-4 with a double, two RBBI and a run scored) drove in two of the Cubs’ five runs with a double in the fifth and Adrian Cardenas went 2-for-3 with a run scored.

With Saturday’s loss, the Cubs dropped to a season-worst 23 games under .500 with a 24-47 mark on the season …

Saturday night began on a positive note for the Cubs. David DeJesus (2-2 pitch) singled to left center and Starlin Castro followed with a hump-back liner into left (1-0 pitch). The Cubs appeared to be in business … but Bryan LaHair (1-2 pitch) struck out swinging, Alfonso Soriano (1-1 pitch) popped out to right and Luis Valbuena (3-2 pitch) popped out to third to end the inning. More of the same for the Cubs in the top of the first, they got their hits but not with runners in scoring position. The Cubs did make Ian Kennedy throw 20 pitches (12 strikes) in the first inning.

Paul Maholm made quick work of Willie Bloomquist (ground out to second) and Aaron Hill (ground out to hole at short) to start the first. Maholm did not get the call on a 1-2 pitch to Justin Upton and ended up walking the D-Backs’ right fielder. The Cubs caught a break when Jason Kubel’s drive to right hopped over the wall for a ground rule double. Upton would have scored easily but had to stop at third with two down. Maholm retired Paul Goldschmidt on the 24th pitch of the inning (15 strikes). Goldschmidt popped out to Clevenger at first to end the frame.

After Geovany Soto popped out to right to start the second, Ryan Roberts made a leaping catch and took away a hit from Steve Clevenger. Adrian Cardenas flipped the lineup with a single to center (Cardenas’ first big league single) and Maholm grounded out to third to end the inning … 35 pitches, 24 strikes, for Kennedy after two.

Maholm retired Miguel Montero on a grounder to first to start the second. Chris Young ripped a 1-1 pitch into the gap in right center. Young hustled out of the box and reached second. Ryan Roberts blooped Maholm’s first pitch into shallow right. Adrian Cardenas made an excellent running catch just inside the line to keep the ball from falling in no man’s land (LaHair and Clevenger were closing in). Young advanced to third on the play. Maholm then jumped ahead of Ian Kennedy 0-2 before walking him … from 0-2 to walking the opposing pitcher.

With runners on first and third with two down, Willie Bloomquist dropped a bunt up the third baseline. Maholm fielded the ball near the line and Young could not score. Aaron Hill hit a sinking liner into left. Alfonso Soriano lumbered in and made a diving catch to get Maholm out of the bases loaded jam to end the inning … 40 pitches for Maholm after two, 24 for strikes.

David DeJesus led off the Cubs’ third with his second hit of the game … a double off the wall in left. Starlin Castro failed to advance DeJesus when he grounded out to short. Bryan LaHair flied out to right on a 3-2 pitch. DeJesus held with two outs.

A passed ball by Montero with Soriano at the plate allowed DeJesus to take third. Ian Kennedy obviously wanted nothing to do with Soriano and ended up hitting him with a 3-1 pitch. With runners on first and third with two outs, Kennedy fell behind Luis Valbuena 3-0 before striking him out swinging to end the inning (61 pitches for Kennedy, 39 strikes).

The Cubs were a miserable 0-for-6 with runners in scoring position and left five on base after their first three at bats.

Paul Maholm got ahead of Justin Upton 0-2 to start the third. Maholm then started nibbling and quickly found himself in a 3-2 hole. Maholm left an 88 MPH fastball out over the middle of the plate and Upton drove the 3-2 pitch well over the wall in left center … 1-0 Arizona. Maholm retired Kubel (groundout to second), Goldschmidt (groundout to short) before hitting Montero on the hand with a 1-2 pitch that extended the inning for Chris Young. Young grounded into a 6-4 fielder’s choice to end the inning. Maholm threw 61 pitches in the first three innings, 37 for strikes.

After three, the Cubs trailed 1-0.

Geovany Soto (foul out to Montero) and Steve Clevenger (fly out to left center) went down quickly to start the fourth. Adrian Cardenas kept the inning going with his second hit of the night, a single to right center.

Paul Maholm stepped in with Cardenas at first and two down. Maholm launched Kennedy’s first pitch well into the stands in right field. Maholm’s first homer of the season, second of his career (May 9, 2009 against the Mets), gave the Cubs a 2-1 lead.

David DeJesus followed Maholm’s blast with a single to right (3-2 pitch). Starlin Castro singled to left center and DeJesus advanced to third with two outs. Bryan LaHair continued to struggle and grounded out to short to end the inning … 87 pitches for Kennedy after four, 55 for strikes.

The Cubs went to the bottom of the fourth with a 2-1 lead … but it disappeared in the blink of an eye.

Maholm could not throw strikes to start the fourth. He fell behind Roberts 3-1 before Roberts ripped a single into left. Ian Kennedy was trying to bunt but Maholm would not throw him a strike. Maholm walked Kennedy for the second time on the night.

Starlin Castro took a hit and a RBI from Willie Bloomquist with an excellent diving stop in the hole at short. Castro threw out Kennedy at second from his knees for the first out. With runners on first and third with one down, Aaron Hill hit a tailor-made double play ball toward third. Valbuena let the ball play him. It bounced off his chest then his throw to first was off the mark. Roberts scored and tied the game at two. Maholm melted down after the Valbuena error.

With runners on first and second with one out, Justin Upton ripped a single into right center (2-1 pitch). Bloomquist scored and Hill advanced to third on the play. DeJesus made a good throw to third that was allowed to go through. Upton advanced to second on the throw. The D-Backs not only had a 3-2 lead but had runners on second and third with only one out.

Jason Kubel ripped a single into right. Hill and Upton scored, 5-2 Arizona. Paul Goldschmidt then drove a 0-1 pitch toward right. The ball hit off the top of the wall, rolled away from LaHair and Kubel scored on Goldschmidt’s first triple of the season. Sveum brought his infield in but Maholm could not throw strikes. Miguel Montero ripped a 3-2 pitch into left center and plated Goldschmidt with Arizona’s seventh run of the game.

Dale Sveum made his way to the mound and brought in Jairo Asencio with one out in the fourth and the Cubs down 7-2.

Asencio did his job and retired Young on a 5-4 fielder’s choice and Roberts on a flyout to right.

At the end of four, the Cubs trailed 7-2.

Alfonso Soriano ripped a 0-1 pitch from Kennedy into left to start the fifth. Luis Valbuena’s miserable night continued. Valbuena popped a 2-2 pitch into center for the first out. Geovany Soto walked and the Cubs appeared to be in business.

Steve Clevenger worked a 3-2 count before pulling Kennedy’s next offering into right center. The ball rolled all the way to the wall and both Soriano and Soto scored on the play … 7-4 Arizona.

Kirk Gibson could not stay with Kennedy any longer and went to his pen for lefty Craig Breslow.

Adrian Cardenas struck out swinging on three pitches for the second out. Reed Johnson was called back and Jeff Baker hit for Jairo Asencio. Baker ripped a 2-1 pitch back up the box and into center. Clevenger scored, 7-5 Diamondbacks. DeJesus struck out swinging to end the inning.

Casey Coleman started the fifth and retired Craig Breslow on a flyout to left. Willie Bloomquist doubled to left center but was stranded at second to end the inning. Hill fouled out to Valbuena and Upton grounded out to first.

At the end of five, the Cubs trailed 7-5. The two teams combined for 12 runs on 21 hits in the first five innings.

Starlin Castro notched his third hit of the game, an infield single to third, to start the sixth. Bryan LaHair put together a 10-hit at bat against the lefty Breslow but flied out to right center for the first out. Soriano worked the count to 3-2 before swinging and missing at ball four. Luis Valbuena tapped back to the mound to end the inning.

The Cubs were 2-for-10 with runners in scoring position and left nine on base after six at bats.

Scott Maine made his way to the mound and struck out the side in the sixth … but he also served up a mammoth homer to Paul Goldschmidt.

At the end of six, the Cubs trailed 8-5.

The Cubs did nothing in the seventh against burly lefty Mike Zagurski.

The Diamondbacks kept tacking on against Scott Maine in the seventh. Maine retired Roberts and struck out pinch-hitter Josh Bell before Willie Bloomquist doubled to left and scored on a single to left off the bat of Aaron Hill. Scott Maine might be able to get lefties out at the big league level but right handers just tee off on him. Maine hit Upton in the foot on his first pitch before retiring Jason Kubel on a deep fly to left.

After seven, the Cubs trailed 9-5.

Bryan Shaw struck out pinch-hitter Tony Campana to start the eighth. David DeJesus followed with his fourth hit of the night, a single to center, and tied a career-high with four hits. Starlin Castro ripped a single into center for his fourth hit of the game, also tying a career-high. With runners on first and second with one down, Bryan LaHair hit Shaw’s first pitch to Aaron Hill … 4-6-3 double play, inning over.

Carlos Marmol started the ninth and could not complete the inning. Paul Goldschmidt doubled to left center to start the inning and scored Arizona’s tenth run on a single to left off the bat of Miguel Montero. Marmol struck out Chris Young and Dale Sveum went to the pen. Marmol threw 21 pitches, 15 for strikes, to record one out.

Ryan Roberts greeted Shawn Camp with a single to center. With runners on first and second with one out, Lyle Overbay hit for Bryan Shaw and grounded out to short. Castro fielded the ball and took it to the bag but his throw to first was late after he had to avoid a sliding Ryan Roberts. John McDonald hit for Willie Bloomquist with runners on first and third with two down and struck out swinging (1-2 pitch) to finally end the inning.

The Cubs went to the ninth looking up at a 10-5 deficit.

J.J. Putz set down the Cubs in order in the ninth to end the game.

Box Score from Yahoo Sports

Matt Garza is scheduled to face lefty Wade Miley in the series finale on Sunday afternoon.

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