Game Fifty-Three – Cubs 0, Giants 2
WP – Barry Zito (5-2) LP – Travis Wood (0-2) Save – Sergio Romo (2)
The Chicago Cubs gave another game away Sunday afternoon and are now 2-11 on the season in games started by southpaws. Travis Wood actually pitched better than Barry Zito, the difference in the game was the Giants caught the ball and the Cubs did not.
Travis Wood took a no-hitter into the fifth. After Wood struck out Buster Posey to start the fifth, Angel Pagan hit a routine fly to left. Alfonso Soriano misplayed the ball into a double. Two batters later, Joaquin Arias ripped a two-out single into right. Reed Johnson threw a strike to the plate that Koyie Hill did not catch. Angel Pagan scored and with the Cubs swinging at everything near the plate on Sunday, the game was over at that point.
The Giants tacked on a run in the eighth off James Russell and Shawn Camp with more help from Alfonso Soriano. With Gregor Blanco running with the pitch, Melky Cabrera hit 1-2 pitch toward the left field line. Soriano hobbled over and once he finally stopped, threw to second base. Blanco scored all the way from first base on a single to left.
The typically aggressive Cubs’ offense was even more so on Sunday afternoon. The Cubs managed only four hits and two walks and allowed Barry Zito to throw 96 pitches in 8 1/3 innings. Zito threw only 79 pitches in seven innings and 84 after eight innings. Reed Johnson (2-for-3) and Ian Stewart (2-for-3) managed the Cubs four hits and Darwin Barney (0-for-3 with a walk) and Alfonso Soriano (0-for-3 with a walk) were the other two Cubs to reach base Sunday afternoon.
Travis Wood put together by far his best outing in a Cubs’ uniform. Wood allowed one run on three hits with two walks, one intentional, a hit by pitch, and came within one of matching a career-high in strikeouts. Wood struck out seven and threw 101 pitches, 67 for strikes. Wood did a good job of mixing his pitches and keeping the Giants off balance throughout his start.
The Cubs lost for the 10th straight time on the road. The Cubs have dropped 15 of the last 18 and Sunday was the team’s 20th road defeat of the season. With Sunday’s loss (4-5 on Sundays in 2012), the Cubs are 18-35 on the year …
Travis Wood was very sharp in the first. Wood sat down the Giants in order on 12 pitches, 10 for strikes.
Alfonso Soriano walked on four pitches to start the second. Jeff Baker followed and hit a 1-1 pitch to short. The Giants turned a 6-4-3 double play as Baker tried to get to his feet. Baker slipped trying to get out of the box and was not able to run to first. Ian Stewart notched the Cubs first hit, a single to left, but Reed Johnson flied out to deep right center to end the inning.
Travis Wood struck out two (Posey and Sanchez) of the three batters he faced in the second. Wood threw 24 pitches, 18 for strikes, in first two innings.
After two, the game was scoreless and only two total baserunners.
The Cubs did nothing in the third. Zito threw only seven pitches.
Travis Wood struck out two more in a perfect bottom of the third. Wood struck out five of the first nine batters on 35 pitches, 27 for strikes.
The Cubs did nothing in the fourth. Barney and Castro (flied out to right center) made two outs on three pitches and Soriano struck out swinging on three pitches … three outs on six pitches, five for strikes, in the fourth.
Gregor Blanco grounded out to second to start the Giants’ fourth. Wood then plunked Theriot on a 2-1 pitch, the Giants first baserunner of the game. Melky Cabrera smoked Wood’s first pitch to Barney in the shift. Barney knocked the ball down, picked it up, stepped on second and threw to first to complete the 4-3 inning ending double play.
Brandon Crawford took a hit away from Jeff Baker to start the fifth. Ian Stewart recorded his second hit with a base-knock to center. Reed Johnson followed with a single to center and the Cubs had runners on first and second with one out.
Koyie Hill ran the count full but swung and missed Zito’s eighth pitch and Ian Stewart was thrown out at third to end the inning … 53 pitches for Zito after five, 34 for strikes.
Travis Wood struck out Buster Posey looking to start the fifth. Angel Pagan appeared to hit a routine fly to left. Alfonso Soriano could not move enough to catch the ball and it sailed over his head for a double. Wood struck out Sanchez swinging … Wood’s seventh strikeout of the game. Joaquin Arias went with a 0-1 pitch and drove the ball into right. Reed Johnson made a strong throw to the plate and the ball beat Pagan … but Koyie Hill did not catch the ball, Pagan scored and Arias advanced to second on the throw. After a wild pitch advanced Arias to third, Wood walked Brandon Crawford. Barry Zito grounded to second to end the inning. Wood threw 26 pitches in the fifth (71, 51 for strikes).
The Cubs did nothing in the sixth.
Travis Wood retired the Giants in order in the sixth on eight pitches. Wood threw 79 pitches, 56 for strikes, in six innings.
The Cubs did nothing in the seventh.
Buster Posey led off the seventh with the Giants’ third hit of the game, a double to left center. Angel Pagan tapped back to the mound, Wood looked Posey back and threw out Pagan at first. Wood intentionally walked Joaquin Arias but was able to retired Brandon Crawford on a fly out to center to end the inning. Wood threw 101 pitches, 67 for strikes.
After Ian Stewart popped Zito’s first pitch to short to start the eighth, Reed Johnson reached on a bunt. Koyie Hill predictably hit Zito’s first pitch toward third. Arias fielded the ball and threw to Theriot. Johnson took out his old teammate which allowed Hill to reach first. Dale Sveum went to his bench and sent up Joe Mather to hit for Travis Wood. Mather hit Zito’s first pitch to Arias, who forced Hill at second to end the inning.
James Russell retired Barry Zito on a tap back to the mound to start the eighth. Gregor Blanco walked (3-1 pitch). Ryan Theriot flied out to left center for the second out. Dale Sveum went to his pen and brought in Shawn Camp to face Melky Cabrera.
Gregor Blanco took off on a 1-2 pitch to Cabrera. The Giants’ left fielder drove the pitch toward the line in left. Soriano lumbered over, fielded the ball and it took around 10 steps for him to stop his momentum. For some unknown reason, Soriano threw toward second instead of to his cutoff man. Blanco was running on the play and scored easily … just a horrible play.
With Buster Posey at the plate, Cabrera took off for second on a 1-0 pitch. Hill threw him out to end the inning.
The Cubs went to the ninth trailing 2-0.
Tony Campana grounded out to second (2-2 pitch) to start the inning. Darwin Barney worked a walk and chased Barry Zito from the game. Bruce Bochy went to his pen and brought in Sergio Romo to face Starlin Castro.
Starlin Castro struck out swinging and Alfonso Soriano tapped back to the mound to end the game.
Jeff Samardzija faces Ryan Vogelsong in the finale against the Giants on Monday afternoon.
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