Sloppy, Sloppy, Sloppy – Cubs 4, Red Sox 7

Game Sixty-Six – Cubs 4, Red Sox 7
WP – Matt Albers (2-0, BS 3) LP – Shawn Camp (2-4) Save – None

The Cubs and Red Sox played a game Sunday night that will not likely make any highlight reels. The Red Sox took the rubber game and won the series because they made fewer mistakes than the Cubs. The two teams kicked the ball all over the old ballyard and committed more errors than the four that were charged by the official scorer.

Once again, the Cubs brought the tying run to the plate in their final at bat but came away empty. Tony Campana, Welington Castillo and Luis Valbuena singled to load the bases and David DeJesus hit a fly to the track in center that allowed Campana to tag and score the Cubs’ fourth run … but Reed Johnson looked at strike three and Darwin Barney popped out to third to end the game.

The Cubs offense was pretty much held intact Sunday night. They managed only five hits in the first eight innings and finished with eight on the night and only one walk (2-for-10 with runners in scoring position, seven left on base).

Starlin Castro (3-for-4 with a double, a triple and two RBI) had a good night at the plate, with a little help from the official scorer. Castro was credited with a RBI double in the third on a ball that Dustin Pedroia dropped in shallow right. Darwin Barney (1-for-5 with two runs scored) and Reed Johnson (1-for-4 with a double and a run scored) did their part but the four, five and six hitters in the Cubs’ lineup (Alfonso Soriano, Jeff Baker and Joe Mather) were 0-for-10 with three strikeouts and eight runners left on base

Franklin Morales, who found out Friday that he would be subbing for the injured Josh Beckett, had a career night and left the game after five with his team up 3-2. Morales set a career high with nine strikeouts and allowed just four hits and two runs. Morales threw 80 pitches, 65 strikes, over five innings.

Paul Maholm struggled in the first and gave up two runs on three hits to the first four batters he faced. The Red Sox jumped out to an early 1-0 lead just seven pitches into the game. Maholm settled down somewhat and ended up with a quality start. Maholm surrendered three runs on six hits with a walk and six strikeouts over six innings of work (95 pitches, 60 strikes).

The Cubs bullpen and defense (two unearned runs) allowed the game to get out of control in the seventh. Shawn Camp took the loss after he allowed the only two batters he faced to reach base. James Russell (one unearned run on one hit in one inning) allowed both inherited runners to score and another one of his own to cross the plate in the seventh. An error by Starlin Castro in the eighth allowed the run charged to Jairo Asencio (one unearned run on three hits with two walks and a strikeout in two innings) to be unearned.

With Sunday’s loss (5-6 on Sundays in 2012), the Cubs dropped to a season-low 22 games under .500 with a 22-44 record …

The Red Sox jumped on Paul Maholm in the first frame. Scott Podsednik continued tormenting Cubs pitching and blooped a 1-1 pitch into center to start the game. Dustin Pedroia followed and ripped a 2-1 pitch into the gap in left center. The ball rolled to the wall, Podsednik scored all the way from first and seven pitches into the game, the Cubs were down 1-0.

Kevin Youkilis flied out to right center, advanced Pedroia to third and Sveum brought the right side of his infield in. David Ortiz lined a single into right, Pedroia scored and Boston took a 2-0 lead. Mike Aviles flied out to left center and Darnell McDonald popped out to right to end the inning.

Paul Maholm allowed two runs on three hits to the first four hitters and threw 21 pitches, 14 for strikes, in the first inning.

Reed Johnson led off the Cubs’ first with a double down the left field line (1-2 pitch). Darwin Barney popped out to short (0-2 pitch) for the first out. Starlin Castro put the Cubs on the board with a standing triple. Castro drove a 0-1 pitch from Morales into the gap in right center. Darnell McDonald took a bad route and the ball rolled to the wall. Alfonso Soriano failed to get the tying run in. Soriano struck out swinging on a 1-2 pitch and Jeff Baker hit a weak grounder to Ortiz for the third out. Morales threw only 19 pitches, 17 for strikes, in the first.

After one complete, the Red Sox had a 2-1 lead.

Paul Maholm struck out the side in order in the second. Maholm could not put the hitters away, even Morales, and ran the count full on each of the three hitters before getting them to swing and miss. Maholm threw 42 pitches in first two innings, 26 for strikes.

The bottom of the Cubs order did nothing in the second … 32 pitches for Morales after two, 26 for strikes.

Scott Podsednik grounded out to short to start the third. Pedroia followed with a single to left. Maholm could not put away Kevin Youkilis and the Red Sox third baseman worked another full count. Pedroia took off for second on the 3-2 pitch. Youkilis swung and missed and Castillo threw a strike to Barney and nailed Pedroia to end the inning. Maholm threw 59 pitches in the first three innings, 38 for strikes.

Paul Maholm and Reed Johnson went down quickly to start the Cubs’ third. Darwin Barney reached on a single to center (0-2 pitch). Starlin Castro worked the count to 3-2. Barney took off with the pitch as Castro popped the ball into shallow right. Pedroia struggled with the wind and dropped the ball as McDonald bumped into him. Barney kept running, turned it on when the ball dropped and slid in headfirst to the plate with the tying run. Castro was given a double and the Cubs tied the game at two. Soriano hit a weak grounder to third to end the inning.

After three, the game was tied at two … but not for long.

David Ortiz launched a 2-2 pitch just to the left of straight away center … and Ortiz’s 16th homer of the season gave the Sox the lead right back. Maholm struck out Aviles swinging, retired McDonald on a ground out to third and Kelly Shoppach struck out swinging to end the fourth … 76 pitches for Maholm after four, 49 for strikes.

Franklin Morales struck out the side in the fourth … 64 pitches for Morales after four, 52 for strikes.

After four, the Cubs trailed 3-2.

Paul Maholm faced the minimum in the fifth after serving up a one-out single to Franklin Morales. Scott Podsednik grounded into a 4-6-3 double play to end the inning. Maholm threw 84 pitches in five innings, 54 for strikes.

Scott Podsednik left the game prior to the bottom of the fifth with an apparent leg injury, Daniel Nava took over in left and Franklin Morales started the inning.

The Cubs did nothing in the fifth. Morales struck out two more batters … only 80 pitches, 65 for strikes, for Morales through five innings.

Paul Maholm issued a one-out walk to Kevin Youkilis in the sixth, but that was all in Maholm’s last inning of work.

Matt Albers replaced Morales to start the sixth and Darwin Barney hit the first pitch toward third. Youkilis let the ball play him and Barney reached on the error. Barney took off for second on a 2-1 pitch and Castro hit the ball about 12 feet in front of the plate. Kelly Shoppach fell down as he tried to field the ball and Castro reached on an infield single. With runners on first and second with no outs, Soriano hit a weak grounder to third. Youkilis threw to second and barely forced Castro for the first out.

Jeff Baker stepped in with runners on first and third with one out. Baker swung at the first pitch and tapped back to Albers. Albers threw to second but neither Aviles nor Pedroia knew who was covering the bag. The fielders bumped into one another and the ball fell to the ground. Barney scored the tying run and the Cubs had runners on first and second with one down. On a 0-2 pitch to Mather, Soriano and Baker ran. Mather tapped back to Albers and was thrown out at first.

With the game tied at three and runners on second and third and two down, Castillo grounded out to short to end the inning.

Shawn Camp started what can be summed up as one of the ugliest half innings for the Cubs all season. David DeJesus came in on a double switch with Reed Johnson moving to center.

Darnell McDonald ripped a 0-2 pitch into left center for a double. Jarrod Saltalamacchia hit for Kelly Shoppach and singled to right. Jeff Baker did not catch the throw from DeJesus, Saltalamacchia advanced to second with no outs.

Dale Sveum went back to his pen and brought in James Russell to face Ryan Kalish. Kalish ripped a 0-1 pitch from Russell into center and drove in McDonald with the go ahead run. Will Middlebrooks hit for Albers with runners on first and third with no outs. Middlebrooks hit a routine fly into center. Saltalamacchia tagged and scored easily. Welington Castillo tried to throw out Kalish at second, the ball ended up in center and Kalish took third.

Bobby Valentine called for a squeeze. Daniel Nava got the bunt down, Kalish scored easily as Russell threw out Nava at first for the second out … and just like that the Red Sox had a 6-3 lead. Dustin Pedroia popped out to second to end the inning.

Andrew Miller started the seventh and walked Luis Valbuena. The first pitch to DeJesus went off of Saltalamacchia’s glove. Valbuena thought about it then tried to advance on what would have been a wild pitch. Saltalamacchia threw out Valbuena easily. Valbuena made a very bad decision with his team down by three. David DeJesus flied out to left and Valentine went to his pen.

Mark Melancon plunked Reed Johnson on a 1-2 pitch but Barney tapped back to the mound to end the inning.

Jairo Asencio pitched the eighth and with help from the Cubs’ defense allowed Boston to tack onto their lead. Youkilis lined a single into left (2-1 pitch) to start the inning. David Ortiz hit a 2-2 pitch to Castro in the shift. Castro was on the first base side of second and Luis Valbuena could not get to the bag in time for Castro to throw the ball. Castro’s in decision cost the Cubs a chance at a double play. Castro just beat Youkilis to the base for the out. Asencio walked Aviles then Darnell McDonald hit a routine grounder to short … that Castro bobbled to load the bases.

Jarrod Saltalamacchia hit a 0-2 pitch toward first. Baker fielded the ball, threw to Castro but Saltalamacchia beat the return. Ortiz scored … 7-3 Red Sox. Ryan Kalish flied out to the track in center to end the inning.

The Cubs did nothing against Scott Atchison in the bottom of the eighth.

Jairo Asencio stayed in and pitched the ninth. Nick Punto led off the inning with a single to center. Daniel Nava singled to right with no outs. Dustin Pedroia flied out to left and Asencio struck out Adrian Gonzalez swinging. Both runners advanced on Gonzalez’s swing-and-a-miss at the 3-2 pitch. David Ortiz was intentionally walked to load the bases. Mike Aviles grounded out to short to end the inning.

The Cubs went to the bottom of the ninth trailing 7-3.

Tony Campana led off with a single to left off Alfredo Aceves. Welington Castillo followed with a single to left and Luis Valbuena singled to right center to load the bases with no outs.

David DeJesus hit a 0-2 pitch to the track in center. Campana tagged and scored from third … 7-4 Boston. Castillo also advanced to third on the play. With runners on first and third with one out, Reed Johnson looked at a 0-2 pitch for the second out. Darwin Barney popped a 0-1 pitch to Punto at third to end the game.

Box Score from Yahoo Sports

The Cubs open a three-game series at the Cell on Monday night … Matt Garza against Zach Stewart in game one.

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Quote of the Day

"Don’t ever permit the pressure to exceed the pleasure." - Joe Maddon