Game Eighty-Nine – Cubs 5, Marlins 9
WP – Anibal Sanchez (5-6) LP – Travis Wood (4-4) Save – None
The Cubs four-game winning streak came to an end on Tuesday night in a game that was not as close as the final score. The Marlins beat Dale Sveum’s team for the fourth time in four tries this season behind Carlos Lee (2-for-4, home run, four RBI and two runs scored) and a solid seven-inning outing from Anibal Sanchez.
Travis Wood struggled with his command and pitched from behind in the count throughout his outing (93 pitches, 58 strikes). Even with his early struggles, he did not allow a hit until the fourth inning … then they came in bunches. Wood lasted just 1 2/3 innings after surrendering his first hit to Carlos Lee leading off the fourth. The Marlins scored three in the fourth and five in the fifth with all eight runs charged to Travis Wood.
After allowing just three runs in his previous 26 2/3 innings (four starts), Travis Wood gave up eight runs, all earned, on eight hits with two walks and six strikeouts in 4 2/3 innings. Six of the eight runs came on two swings of the bat … a two-run homer by Omar Infante in the fourth and a grand slam by Carlos Lee (17th grand slam of his career and 39th big fly of his career off Cubs’ pitching) in the fifth. Tuesday’s start was Wood’s shortest at the big league level this season.
Rafael Dolis allowed an inherited runner to score in his 1 1/3 innings of work and Jairo Asencio served up a solo shot to Hanley Ramirez in the seventh. Ramirez hit the Marlins’ third dinger of the night and gave the Fish a commanding 9-2 lead.
The Cubs tried to make a game of it in the eighth. The Cubs scored three of their five runs off Chad Gaudin with Luis Valbuena and Jeff Baker delivering run scoring hits but Anthony Rizzo grounded into his second double play of the game to end the inning.
The Cubs offense could not take advantage of opportunities in the first, third and fourth innings. The Cubs were 0-for-5 with runners in scoring position and left four on base when the game was still in question. The Cubs actually outhit the Marlins 13-12 on Tuesday night but were 4-for-11 with RISP and left eight on base.
Jeff Baker (2-for-2 with a home run, two RBI and a walk) came in as part of a double-switch in the fifth and broke up the shutout with his fourth longball of the season in the bottom of the inning. Luis Valbuena (2-for-4 with a double, two RBI and a run scored) started the game at third, finished at second and doubled in a pair of runs in the Cubs’ three-run eighth inning.
David DeJesus (2-for-4 with a double and a walk), Starlin Castro (2-for-5) and Anthony Rizzo (2-for-5) collected multi-hit games but Alfonso Soriano (0-for-5 with a strikeout) and Bryan LaHair (1-for-5 with three strikeouts) could not deliver with runners in scoring position.
The Cubs lost for the first time in six games at Wrigley Field and with Tuesday’s defeat, the Cubs dropped to 36-53 on the season … Travis Wood pitched his way in and out of a jam in the first inning. After Jose Reyes grounded out to Starlin Castro (1-2 pitch) to start the game, Wood caught Emilio Bonifacio looking for the second out. Wood appeared to pitch around Carlos Lee and walked him on five pitches. Wood did not get the call on a 1-2 pitch to Justin Ruggiano and ended up walking him (3-2 pitch). With runners on first and second with two down, Hanley Ramirez struck out swinging (2-2 pitch) to end the inning. Wood threw 24 pitches in the first, 13 for strikes.
David DeJesus and Starlin Castro started the bottom of the first with back-to-back singles off Anibal Sanchez. The Cubs appeared to be in business but Anthony Rizzo rolled into a 4-6-3 double play and Alfonso Soriano chased a high fastball (2-2 pitch) to end the inning.
No score after one complete.
Travis Wood made quick work of the Marlins in the second … 1-2-3 on 13 pitches, eight for strikes (for the game, 37 pitches with 22 strikes).
The Cubs did nothing in the second.
Travis Wood retired all three batters he faced in the third. Wood struck out Anibal Sanchez and Emilio Bonifacio looking … 47 pitches for Wood after three, 30 for strikes.
Luis Valbuena fouled out to Hanley Ramirez to begin the third. After Travis Wood struck out swinging, David DeJesus ripped Sanchez’s first pitch into right center. DeJesus was thinking two out of the box and slid into second with a hustle double. Starlin Castro worked a full count before grounding out to Reyes to end the inning. Sanchez threw only 42 pitches over the first three innings, 30 for strikes.
Carlos Lee led off the fourth with the Marlins first hit of the game … a sharp single to left on a 1-1 pitch. Justin Ruggiano hit a 1-0 pitch to deep right. LaHair turned every which way but ended up catching the ball going away. Lee saw LaHair struggling and went back and tagged from first. Hanley Ramirez flied out to center (2-0 pitch) for the second out. Wood continued falling behind and it cost him three runs.
Austin Kearns ripped a 2-1 pitch back up the middle and into center. Lee rumbled around third and scored the first run of the game. Wood then fell behind Omar Infante 2-0 … the former Cub for a minute lined Wood’s next pitch into the first row of the bleachers in left and just like that the Marlins took a 3-0 lead. John Buck struck out swinging to end the inning. It took Wood 65 pitches, 40 for strikes, to get through four innings on Tuesday night.
Anthony Rizzo started the fourth with a single to center (0-2 pitch). Alfonso Soriano flied out to left center for the first out. Bryan LaHair singled to center and Rizzo advanced to third on the play. Geovany Soto could not get the job done with a runner on third and less than two outs. Soto popped out to shallow right (0-2 pitch). Darwin Barney flied out to left to end the inning. After four, the Cubs were 0-for-5 with runners in scoring position with four left on base.
The game got out of hand quickly in the fifth … and Wood ended up leaving before he could record three outs. The Marlins batted around and scored five times on seven hits with the big blast coming off one of the biggest Cubs’ killers of them all.
Anibal Sanchez singled to left (1-1 pitch) to start the inning. Jose Reyes then hit a rocket toward third on a 3-2 pitch. Valbuena could not field the ball, it went off his glove and Reyes ended up with an infield single. Emilio Bonifacio bunted Wood’s first pitch to the third base side of the mound. Wood fielded the ball and flipped it, late, to Valbuena. Bonifacio was given a single and the bases were loaded with no outs.
Carlos Lee launched Wood’s first pitch into the bleachers in left. Lee’s first home run as a Marlin, a grand slam, put Miami up 7-0. After Ruggiano flied out to deep left center, Hanley Ramirez pulled a 2-1 pitch into the left field corner. With Ramirez at second following a double, Austin Kearns flied out to left (3-2 pitch) for the second out.
Dale Sveum made the slow walk and went to his pen for Rafael Dolis. Jeff Baker took over at second for Darwin Barney in a double switch. Omar Infante ripped a 1-2 pitch from Dolis back up the middle and into center. Ramirez scored and closed the book on Travis Wood. John Buck drove a single into right. Bryan LaHair booted the ball and runners ended up at second and third on the error. Sanchez struck out swinging to finally end the inning.
The Cubs finally got on the board in the fifth. Luis Valbuena flied out to center to start the inning. Jeff Baker then lined a 1-0 pitch into the bleachers in left. Baker’s fourth home run of the season broke up the shutout. David DeJesus followed with a walk but Starlin Castro flied out to center and Anthony Rizzo flied out to left to end the inning.
At the end of five, the Marlins had a commanding 8-1 lead.
Rafael Dolis set the side down in order in the sixth.
Anibal Sanchez made quick work of Alfonso Soriano and Bryan LaHair to start the sixth. Geovany Soto drove the first pitch into the gap in right center. Soto ended up at second with a double. Joe Mather hit for Dolis and pulled a 2-1 pitch past Ramirez and into left field. Soto scored on Ramirez’s error. Luis Valbuena followed with a single and Jeff Baker worked a walk to load the bases with two down. David DeJesus popped up Sanchez’s first pitch to John Buck behind the plate to end the inning.
After seven, the Cubs trailed 8-2.
Jairo Asencio made his first appearance since July 3 in the seventh. Asencio retired Ruggiano on a grounder to short but Hanley Ramirez hit a rocket to the bleachers in left center … and the Marlins took a 9-2 lead. Austin Kearns (groundout to short) and Omar Infante (blooper to second) made two quick outs to end the seventh.
Other than a one-out single by Anthony Rizzo, the Cubs did nothing against Anibal Sanchez in the seventh.
Jairo Asencio issued a pair of one-outs walks in the eighth but did not allow the Marlins to tack on.
Chad Gaudin made his in from the pen to start the eighth … and the Cubs tried to make a game of it. Gaudin walked Geovany Soto to start the inning. Steve Clevenger hit for Asencio and singled to center (2-1 pitch). Luis Valbuena crushed a 0-1 pitch into the gap in right center. The ball rolled all the way to the vines and the two catchers scored on Valbuena’s double. Gaudin uncorked a wild pitch on the first offering to Baker. Valbuena advanced to third then scored the Cubs’ fifth run when Baker ripped a 2-0 pitch from Gaudin into center. Ozzie Guillen decided he’d seen enough of the former Cub at Wrigley and went to his pen of lefty Randy Choate. Choate caught David DeJesus looking for the first out. Starlin Castro pulled a 1-1 pitch into left for his second hit of the game.
With runners on first and second with one out, Anthony Rizzo stepped in and pulled a 3-1 pitch to Carlos Lee … 3-6-1 double play, inning over on the second double play Rizzo grounded into on Tuesday night.
Scott Maine took over on the hill in the ninth … with Steve Clevenger staying in the game at third and Luis Valbuena moving over to second.
The Marlins put two on in the ninth but Maine was able to get John Buck to pop out to Castro to end the inning.
Heath Bell set down the Cubs in order in the ninth to end the game.
Jeff Samardzija is scheduled to face Josh Johnson in game two on Wednesday night.
Follow ChicagoCubsOnline on Twitter: @TheCCO