Cubs Swept Away Empty Handed – Cubs 1, Diamondbacks 5

Game Seventy-Two – Cubs 1, Diamondbacks 5
WP – Wade Miley (9-3) LP – Matt Garza (3-6) Save – None

Sunday’s finale was much closer than the final score indicates and was a pitcher’s duel between Matt Garza and Wade Miley. The Diamondbacks took a 1-0 lead into the sixth inning on a leadoff walk by Gerardo Parra and a bloop single by Justin Upton in the first. The Cubs managed only one hit and one baserunner off Wade Miley through six innings.

After the D-Backs tacked on a run in the bottom of the sixth, Alfonso Soriano (2-for-4 with a home run) made it a 2-1 game with the Cubs’ second hit of the game, a solo shot to left center. Matt Garza made a mistake on a 0-2 pitch to Jason Kubel in the bottom of the seventh that left the park and gave Arizona their two-run lead right back.

The Cubs finally showed patience against Wade Miley in the eighth but wasted a chance to tie the game. Geovany Soto walked and advanced to third on a double by Darwin Barney (2-for-3 with a double). Barney missed tying the game by inches; the ball hit the yellow line on the top of the wall in left field. But once again the Cubs could not plate runners in scoring position.

The D-Backs broke the game open in the bottom of the eighth and the Cubs left runners on second and third in the ninth to end the game. The Cubs managed only four hits in Sunday’s finale but still had chances in their last two at bats. Sveum’s offense was 0-for-6 with runners in scoring position and left five on base Sunday … for the three-game series, the Cubs were 3-for-25 with RISP and left 26 runners on base.

Matt Garza put together another quality start and completed seven innings of work for the first time since April 29. Garza made only two mistakes Sunday afternoon … one left the park and the other, a leadoff walk to Gerardo Parra in the first inning. Garza had a very good slider Sunday and at one point he retired 16 batters in a row. Garza took the loss after allowing three runs on five hits with a walk and seven strikeouts in seven innings. Garza threw 102 pitches, 71 for strikes.

Manny Corpas gave up two runs, one earned, on two hits with a walk and no strikeouts. Corpas was unable to record an out after Jeff Baker (0-for-3 with a strikeout) committed his second error of the season in the eighth. Corpas walked Wade Miley to start the inning and was not able to pitch around the two mistakes.

James Russell faced two batters and recorded three outs in relief of Corpas in the eighth.

The Cubs offense was beyond aggressive Sunday and it cost them in the end. Wade Miley was allowed to throw only 72 pitches through six innings. The Cubs managed only four hits on the afternoon, two each by Alfonso Soriano and Darwin Barney.

Joe Mather (0-for-3 with a strikeout and left three runners on base) and Jeff Baker (0-for-3 with a strikeout) continued struggling both in the field and at the plate. Mather’s inability to field his position led to Arizona’s second run in the seventh and Baker’s error helped the Diamondbacks tack on in the eighth.

After taking the first two of the trip on the South Side, the Cubs finished the six-game trip with a 2-4 record.

With Sunday’s loss (5-7 on Sundays in 2012), the Cubs dropped to a season-worst 24 games under .500 with a 24-48 record …

Wade Miley set down the Cubs in order on just 12 pitches, nine for strikes, to start the game.

Matt Garza jumped out ahead of Gerardo Parra 1-2 to start the bottom of the first. Garza ended up losing Parra and issued a leadoff walk … and it would end up costing him. On a 0-1 pitch to Aaron Hill, Parra got a running lead and advanced to second when Hill grounded out to short. Garza then fell behind Justin Upton 3-1. Upton blooped Garza’s 3-1 offering into left center. Parra read it perfectly and scored when the ball fell in between David DeJesus and Alfonso Soriano.

Garza caught Justin Upton leaning with Kubel at the plate and picked him off first (1-3-6) for the second. Garza then struck out Jason Kubel swinging to end the inning. Garza threw 17 pitches in the first, nine for strikes.

After one, the Cubs trailed 1-0.

The Cubs did nothing in the second … No patience for the Cubs offense, Miley threw only 20 pitches, 13 for strikes, through two innings (eight in the second, four strikes).

Matt Garza set down the D-Backs in order in the second. Garza’s pitch count stood at 33 after two, 19 for strikes.

Darwin Barney led off the third with the Cubs’ first hit of the game. Joe Mather just missed a 1-1 pitch and flied out to deep left. Garza could not bunt Barney to second but Barney was able to advance on his own. Barney took off for second on Miley’s 1-2 offering to Garza and slid in safe just ahead of Montero’s throw. DeJesus grounded out to second on Miley’s 32nd pitch of the game (22 strikes) to end the inning.

Matt Garza stayed sharp in the third. Garza struck out two of the three batters he faced in the inning. After three, Garza had five strikeouts on 44 pitches, 27 for strikes.

The Cubs continued making routine outs in the fourth. Miley retired Johnson and Castro on grounders to short and struck out Soriano swinging for the third out … 1-2-3 for Miley and after four just 48 pitches for Miley, 35 for strikes.

Three-up and three down for Matt Garza in the fourth (57 pitches, 37 for strikes).

The Cubs did nothing in the fifth. Only one hit through five for the Cubs and it took Miley just 60 pitches to complete five innings, 43 for strikes.

For the fourth inning in a row, Arizona did nothing against Matt Garza. Garza set down the side in order, 14 in a row at that point for Garza (70 pitches, 46 for strikes).

The Cubs did nothing in the sixth. Miley had retired 17 of 18 at the time on 72 pitches, 51 for strikes.

Matt Garza made quick work of John McDonald and Wade Miley, 16 in a row retired by Garza. Gerardo Parra drove a hanging slider on a 2-2 pitch to the corner in left. Soriano misplayed the ball at the wall into a triple … just the second hit off Garza.

Aaron Hill then chopped a 2-1 pitch down the third baseline. Mather fielded the ball behind the bag but dropped it. Parra scored as Hill reached on what was ruled a hit … a Major League third baseman has to make that play. Upton grounded out to third on Garza’s 89th pitch (59 strikes) of the game.

After six, the Cubs trailed 2-0.

Reed Johnson (flyout to left) and Starlin Castro (flyout to right center) went down quickly to start the seventh. Alfonso Soriano lifted a 0-1 pitch into the first row of the stands beyond the wall in left center … 2-1 Arizona. Jeff Baker predictably grounded out to second (1-2 pitch) to end the inning … 89 pitches for Miley after seven, 65 for strikes.

Matt Garza took the hill in the bottom of the seventh down by only one run … and that changed quickly. Jason Kubel pulled a 0-2 pitch over the wall in right center and into the swimming pool. Arizona went back up by two. Miguel Montero ripped a 0-1 pitch into left center.

With no outs and the Cubs down 3-1, Garza settled down and retired Lyle Overbay (flyout to left). Ryan Roberts tapped a 0-2 pitch to the third base side of the mound. Garza barehanded the ball and made an ugly, low throw to second to force Montero. John McDonald flied out to right to end the inning … 102 pitches for Garza after seven, 71 for strikes.

After seven, the Cubs trailed 3-1.

Geovany Soto worked the Cubs first walk to start the eighth. Darwin Barney cranked a 0-1 pitch to deep left. The ball hit off the top of the wall (on the yellow stripe) and Barney ended up with a double. Soto held at third after Barney missed a game-tying homer by inches.

With the tying runs in scoring position, the Cubs did what they do … they left them on base. Joe Mather struck out swinging (1-2 pitch), Luis Valbuena lined out to short (2-2 pitch) and David DeJesus tapped back to the mound (3-2 pitch) to end the inning.

Wade Miley stayed in despite throwing a season-high 116 pitches over eight innings. Manny Corpas walked Miley then Jeff Baker bobbled a would-be double play ball off the bat of Gerardo Parra. Baker’s error opened the floodgates.

Aaron Hill ripped a 2-0 pitch into left. Miley held at third and the bases were loaded with no outs. Justin Upton scorched a 1-0 pitch past a drawn-in infield. Miley and Parra scored and removed any doubt that the Cubs were well on their way to another loss.

Dale Sveum made his way to the mound and brought in James Russell to face Jason Kubel with runners on first and second and no outs. Russell struck out Kubel and induced a 4-6-3 double play off the bat of Miguel Montero to end the inning.

The Cubs went to the ninth trailing 5-1 …

Reed Johnson worked a leadoff walk against J.J. Putz. Castro struck out swinging for the first out. Alfonso Soriano singled to left and Sveum went to his bench for Steve Clevenger. Clevenger struck out swinging.

A 2-0 pitch to Geovany Soto got away from Montero. Johnson and Soriano advanced to second and third. Putz worked the count back to 3-2 before Soto hit a routine fly to left to end the game.

24 games under .500 …

Box Score from Yahoo Sports

The Cubs and Mets open a three-game series Monday night at Wrigley Field … Travis Wood against Johan Santana in game one.

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