Game Eighty – Cubs 3, Braves 10
WP – Jair Jurrjens (2-2) LP – Chris Volstad (0-7) Save – None
The Cubs four-game winning streak came to a screeching halt Tuesday night in Atlanta in a game they led 3-1 going into the bottom of the fifth. Chris Volstad imploded in the fifth. The Braves scored five times in the fifth to take the lead then added a four-spot in the sixth that put the game away. The Cubs’ staff issued nine walks on the night, five scored, and Chipper Jones (5-for-5 with two doubles and four RBI) collected his first five-hit game in nearly a decade (August, 2002).
Chris Volstad was shaky early and allowed the Braves to take a 1-0 lead in the first inning. Volstad settled in for a couple of innings then melted down in the fifth. Volstad allowed six runs on seven hits with two walks (both scored) and three strikeouts in 4 1/3 innings. Volstad threw 77 pitches, 48 for strikes, and remains winless over his last 20 big league starts … but more importantly the Cubs are 0-9 in his nine starts this season.
Rafael Dolis and Jairo Asencio did not fare any better than Volstad. Dolis walked the bases loaded in the sixth on 16 pitches (three for strikes) and was able to record only one out. Asencio walked the first batter he faced to force in the Braves’ seventh run then served up a bases clearing two-out double to Chipper Jones on a 2-0 pitch … the Braves’ only hit of the inning. Dolis and Asencio threw a combined 50 pitches in the four-run, 28-minute sixth inning.
On the night, Cubs’ pitching allowed 10 runs on 10 hits with nine walks and five strikeouts on 166 pitches, 90 for strikes. For comparison, Braves’ pitching allowed three runs on 10 hits and no walks on 124 pitches, 91 for strikes … in one more frame.
The Cubs took advantage of two miscues by the Braves and scored all three of their runs in the third. The Cubs’ first run scored on a throwing error by Dan Uggla and the other two on run scoring singles off the bat of Bryan LaHair (2-for-4 with a RBI) and Steve Clevenger (1-for-4 with a RBI). David DeJesus (2-for-4 with a run scored), Starlin Castro (1-for-5 with a run scored) and Anthony Rizzo (1-for-4 with a double and a run scored) scored the Cubs’ three runs. Each one of the starting eight had at least one hit Tuesday night with the exception of Luis Valbuena … but after the Braves blew the game open the quality at bats were few and far between. The Cubs managed just one baserunner after the fifth inning.
With Tuesday’s loss, the Cubs dropped to 30-50 on the season … After a 52-minute rain delay, the Cubs’ third delay of the week, David DeJesus flied out to left and Starlin Castro struck out swinging. Anthony Rizzo smoked a 0-2 pitch to deep right center. The ball hit on the track and hopped over the wall for a ground rule double. Alfonso Soriano flied out to left (2-1 pitch) to end the inning.
Chris Volstad’s return to a big league mound got off to a bad start. Volstad walked Michael Bourn on four pitches to start his outing. Volstad settled down and struck out Martin Prado swinging (2-2 pitch). Jason Heyward grounded out to first. Anthony Rizzo made a nice pick on the ball and took it to the bag for the second out. Bourn advanced to second on the play.
Chipper Jones blooped a 1-2 pitch into left center. David DeJesus dove but trapped the ball and Bourn scored easily. Jones swiped second, his first stolen base of the season, on a 2-1 pitch to Freddie Freeman. Freeman grounded out to Castro in the shift behind second to end the inning. Volstad threw 23 pitches in the first inning, 13 for strikes.
After one, the Cubs trailed 1-0.
Bryan LaHair led off the second with a single to right. Steve Clevenger worked the count full. LaHair took off for second and stayed out of the double play. Clevenger tapped back to Jurrjens for the first out of the inning. Darwin Barney blooped a single into right center. Pat Listach waived LaHair in then held him up with one out. Luis Valbuena hit into a 1-6-3 inning ending double play.
Chris Volstad set down the Braves in order in the second. Volstad threw 32 pitches in the first two innings, 20 for strikes.
The Cubs took advantage of two Braves miscues in the third … and a bad hop.
After Chris Volstad flied out to right to start the third, David DeJesus pulled a 1-2 pitch toward first. What looked like a routine grounder turned into a hit for DeJesus when the ball took a bad hop over Freddie Freeman and into right field. Starlin Castro hit a routine grounder to the hole at second. Dan Uggla fielded the ball and threw toward second. The ball ended up in left field and DeJesus scored all the way from first to tie the game at one. Castro ended up at second on the play.
Anthony Rizzo hit the first pitch he saw right back to the mound. Jurrjens fielded the ball, turned to check on Castro and found him too far off the bag. Jurrjens started to run him back but threw the ball too early. Castro slid around Andrelton Simmons’ tag and the Cubs had runners on first and second with one out.
Alfonso Soriano popped out to right for the second out. Bryan LaHair ripped the first pitch he saw into right center. Castro scored and gave the Cubs a 2-1 lead. Steve Clevenger followed with a single to left center. Rizzo scored and the Cubs took a 3-1 lead. Darwin Barney lifted the first pitch he saw into center. Michael Bourn lost the ball momentarily, recovered and made a diving catch to end the inning.
Other than infield single with two down off the bat of Martin Prado, the Braves did nothing in the third. Volstad threw 47 pitches over the first three innings, 31 for strikes.
After three, the Cubs led 3-1.
The Cubs wasted a chance to tack on in the fourth. Luis Valbuena grounded out to short and Chris Volstad struck out swinging to begin the inning. David DeJesus singled to center on a 1-2 pitch. Starlin Castro pulled a 1-2 pitch toward third, Jones made a nice pick but had to reach into his glove twice. Castro beat his throw across the diamond and the Cubs had two on with two down for Anthony Rizzo. Rizzo grounded out to second to end the inning.
Chris Volstad faced the minimum in the fourth. Chipper Jones beat the shift and punched a 2-2 pitch into left for a single to start the inning. Freddie Freeman ripped a 3-2 pitch back up the middle. Castro had him played perfectly, fielded the ball, stepped on second and fired to first to complete the double play. Dan Uggla popped out to Rizzo on Volstad’s 60th pitch of the game (39 strikes).
Alfonso Soriano led off the fifth with a single to left (3-2 pitch). Soriano took off for second on a 2-2 pitch to LaHair and slid in headfirst with his second stolen base of the season. LaHair flied out to left, Clevenger blooped out to short and Barney grounded out to third to end the inning.
Chris Volstad took the hill in the bottom of the fifth with a 3-1 lead … and he quickly imploded.
Brian McCann led off the fifth with a single to left. Andrelton Simmons hit a grounder to Barney in the hole. Barney looked at second before throwing to first. Simmons hustled down the line and beat Barney’s throw … Volstad was done at that point.
Eric Hinske hit for Jair Jurrjens and walked to load the bases. Michael Bourn pulled Volstad’s first pitch down the right field line. The ball hit the line, rolled to the wall and cleared the bases. The Cubs went from two up to trailing by one on Bourn’s bases clearing triple. Martin Prado lifted a 1-2 pitch into center. DeJesus caught the ball, Bourn tagged and easily scored the Braves’ fifth run. Jason Heyward launched a 1-0 pitch from Volstad. The ball ended up beyond the wall in left centerfield, the Braves took a 6-3 lead and Dale Sveum went to his pen for Manny Corpas.
Chipper Jones greeted Corpas with a double to the left field corner (1-2 pitch) but after an intentional walk to Freddie Freeman, Dan Uggla grounded into a 5-3 inning ending double play.
After five, the Cubs trailed 6-3.
The Cubs did nothing against Kris Medlen in the sixth.
As the rain picked up, Rafael Dolis took the hill to start the sixth … and Dolis could not throw a strike.
Rafael Dolis issued a four-pitch walk to McCann to begin the 28-minute, 50-pitch inning. Andrelton Simmons hit a grounder to short. Castro threw to Barney and forced McCann but Barney lost the handle on the ball during the exchange. Simmons reached first without a throw. Dolis then walked relief pitch Kris Medlen on four pitches to put runners on first and second with one out.
Michael Bourn stepped in and five pitches later he was given a free pass. With the bases loaded and one down, Dale Sveum went to his pen and brought in Jairo Asencio. Dolis threw 16 pitches, three strikes.
Jairo Asencio picked up where Dolis left off and issued a four-pitch walk to Martin Prado. Simmons trotted in and the Braves went up 7-3.
Jason Heyward fouled out to Valbuena near the Cubs’ dugout for the second out. With the bases loaded and two down, Asencio fell behind Chipper Jones 2-0 and Jones made him pay. Jones ripped Asencio’s next pitch into right. The ball rolled all the way to the wall and cleared the bases after Steve Clevenger misplayed the relay throw from Barney. The Braves’ first hit of the inning put Atlanta up 10-3.
Asencio was not done giving bases away and issued back-to-back walks to Freddie Freeman (3-2 pitch) and Dan Uggla (3-2 pitch) to reload the bases. Brian McCann flied out to left to end the long inning.
After six, the Cubs were down 10-3.
The Cubs did nothing in the seventh … and Jairo Asencio retired the Braves in order in the bottom of the seventh.
Kris Medlen set down the Cubs in order in the eighth.
Chipper Jones collected his fifth hit of the game in the bottom of the eighth and left to a standing ovation. Fredi Gonzalez sent in Juan Francisco to run for Jones. The crowd asked for and received a curtain call from the future Hall of Famer. The Braves did not tack on in the eighth against Asencio.
Other than a two-out infield single off the bat of pinch-hitter Tony Campana, the Cubs did nothing against Jonny Venters in the ninth. Game and winning streak over …
Paul Maholm is scheduled to face Randall Delgado in game three on Wednesday night.
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