Game Eighty-Four – Cubs 1, Mets 3
WP – Dillon Gee (6-7) LP – Jeff Samardzija (6-8) Save – Bobby Parnell (2)
The Cubs ended up on the wrong end of a pitcher’s duel Saturday afternoon at Citi Field. The Mets took advantage of two mistakes by Jeff Samardzija that accounted for all three of their runs. The Cubs offense made it easy on Dillon Gee early on then could not mount a comeback late despite having chances in the sixth and ninth innings (1-for-6 with runners in scoring position, five left on base).
Jeff Samardzija settled down after a rough start. Samardzija allowed all three runs in the first three innings on two swings. Jordany Valdespin put the Mets on the board with one out in the second. Valdespin hit homers in consecutive at bats against Cubs pitching after he took Carlos Marmol deep in the ninth inning on Friday night. The Mets then took a 3-0 advantage in the third on two-run shot off the bat of Ike Davis. After the Davis dinger, Samardzija settled down and did not allow another run for the remainder of his outing.
Jeff Samardzija took the loss in his final outing prior to the break. Samardzija did register a quality start after allowing three runs on seven hits with two walks, four strikeouts and two big home runs. Samardzija threw 99 pitches, 64 for strikes, in seven innings and will not make another start until July 18 against the Marlins at Wrigley Field.
Scott Maine and Manny Corpas kept the Mets off the board in the eighth and gave the offense a chance.
Dillon Gee was very good Saturday afternoon but the Cubs’ offense helped him out over the first five innings. The Cubs managed a couple of singles and allowed Gee to throw only 38 pitches through four innings.
Luis Valbuena (2-for-3 with a double and a run scored) led off the sixth with a double, the Cubs first extra basehit of the game. David DeJesus (1-for-4 with a RBI) singled him in with the Cubs only run of the afternoon.
Anthony Rizzo (2-for-4 with a double) continued the impressive start to his Cubs’ career. Rizzo added two more hits and has now reached base safely in all 11 games he’s played in. After going 4-for-5 with a home run on Friday night, Anthony Rizzo is 6-for-9 with a home run, a double and three RBI in the first two games at Citi Field.
The Cubs offense managed eight hits, only two for extra bases and not a single walk on the afternoon.
Starlin Castro (1-for-4) and Darwin Barney (1-for-3) combined on two impressive double plays on Saturday afternoon … one in the seventh and one in the eighth.
With Saturday’s loss, the Cubs dropped to 32-52 on the season and back into the cellar in the central … Dillon Gee made quick work of the Cubs in the first … with a lot of help from his catcher. After David DeJesus flied out to deep left center (1-1 pitch) to start the game, Starlin Castro squared up a 1-1 pitch and drove it into left for a single. Castro took off for second on a 0-1 offering to Rizzo. Josh Thole made an excellent, strong throw to second and cut down Castro. Anthony Rizzo flied out to center (2-2 pitch) for the third out. Gee faced the minimum in the first on 11 pitches, seven for strikes.
Jeff Samardzija made it through the first without allowing any runs … or hits. Samardzija struggled and was very good at the same time. Samardzija had trouble locating his slider but had a very good splitter in the first.
Ruben Tejada flied out to right for the first out. Samardzija struck out Daniel Murphy swinging before issuing a two-out walk to David Wright on five pitches. Wright swiped second on a 1-1 pitch to Ike Davis. Clevenger could not make a throw. Samardzija made an excellent pitch (3-1 slider) to Davis and got him to hit a lazy fly to right to end the inning. Samardzija threw as many balls in the first (8) as strikes (8).
The Cubs did nothing in the second. Gee struck out LaHair (swinging) and Clevenger (looking) for the last two outs and threw 24 pitches over two innings, 14 for strikes.
After Samardzija retired Lucas Duda on a grounder to second (2-2 pitch) to begin the second, Jordany Valdespin hit his second homer in as many at bats against Cubs’ pitching. Valdespin deposited a 1-1 pitch that was right down main over the wall in right center. Josh Thole popped the first pitch into center for the second out. Kirk Nieuwenhuis followed with a single to left but Dillon Gee grounded out to short on Samardzija’s 31st pitch of the game (18 strikes) to end the inning.
After two, the Cubs trailed 1-0.
Darwin Barney grounded out to short (0-1 pitch) to begin the third. Luis Valbuena singled to center (1-1 pitch) before being erased on a 1-6-4 double play. Jeff Samardzija dropped down a bunt right in front of the plate, Josh Thole picked the ball up and started the 1-6-4 inning ending double play.
The Cubs offense was being too aggressive against Dillon Gee the first time through the lineup. Gee threw only 30 pitches (19 strikes) … allowing a pitcher to average just 10 offerings per inning will not cut it.
The Mets added to their lead in a big way in the third. Ruben Tejada led off the third with a single to center (1-2 pitch). Samardzija allowed Daniel Murphy to work the count full after being ahead of him 1-2 early in the at bat. With Tejada running, Murphy tapped back to the mound. Samardzija threw out Murphy at first. David Wright hit a one-hop smash to Castro on a 2-1 pitch. Castro fielded the ball and threw out Wright at first as Tejada advanced to third.
Samardzija jumped ahead of Davis 0-2 before missing on his third pitch. Ike Davis did not miss Samardzija’s fourth pitch. Davis launched the 1-2 offering off the façade of the second deck … and just like that the Cubs were down 3-0. Samardzija struck out Lucas Duda swinging (0-2 pitch) for the third out. While Dillon Gee was barely breaking a sweat, Samardzija needed 53 pitches (33 strikes) to get through three innings.
After three, the Cubs trailed 3-0.
The Cubs did nothing in the fourth … 1-2-3 for Gee on eight pitches (38, 25 strikes).
Samardzija set down the Mets in order in the fourth … and after four, Samardzija had thrown 61 pitches, 40 for strikes.
Other than a one-out single off the bat of Bryan LaHair, the Cubs did nothing in the fifth … 53 pitches for Gee after five, 37 for strikes.
Samardzija retired Dillon Gee (0-2 pitch, flyout to right) and Ruben Tejada (flyout to deep left center) to begin the fifth. Daniel Murphy reached on an infield single off Samardzija’s foot. Samardzija tried a kick-save but the ball rolled into no man’s land between Barney and Rizzo. David Wright worked the count full before looking at strike three to end the inning. Samardzija threw 77 pitches, 51 for strikes, over the first five innings.
The Cubs were finally able to push across a run in the sixth … and it should have been more. Luis Valbuena led off the inning with a double into the left field corner (1-1 pitch) … the Cubs’ first extra basehit of the game. Samardzija could not get a bunt down but advanced Valbuena to third with a grounder to second.
David DeJesus lined a 2-2 pitch back up the middle and into center. Valbuena scored, 3-1 Mets. Castro pulled a 0-2 pitch to the hole at short. Tejada made an excellent pick and threw to Murphy to force DeJesus for the second out. With Castro at first, Anthony Rizzo made a nice in-bat adjustment and hit a 2-2 pitch into center. Alfonso Soriano stepped in with runners on first and second with two down. Soriano looked at three out of the zone before taking a strike. Soriano appeared to have worked a walk but Gee received a very generous call for strike two (curveball was above Soriano’s waist). Soriano struck out swinging to end the inning … 83 pitches for Gee after six, 57 for strikes.
Jeff Samardzija retired Ike Davis on a routine fly to center (first pitch) to begin the sixth. After issuing a four-pitch walk to Lucas Duda, Jordany Valdespin reached on a swinging bunt up the first baseline. Rizzo fielded the ball but missed the tag. Kirk Nieuwenhuis grounded out to Rizzo for the third out. Samardzija threw 92 pitches, 59 for strikes, and his team trailed 3-1 after six complete.
After Bryan LaHair was called out on a 2-2 pitch to begin the seventh, Steve Clevenger grounded out to second (3-2 pitch). Darwin Barney reached on a swinging bunt on the third base side of the mound … but Luis Valbuena popped Gee’s first pitch straight up and Thole hauled it in behind the plate for the third out.
Samardzija ended up facing the minimum in the seventh. After giving up a one-out single to Ruben Tejada, Daniel Murphy hit into a 4-6-3 double to end the inning.
The Cubs went to the eighth trailing 3-1 … and Dillon Gee retired Reed Johnson, David DeJesus and Starlin Castro in order.
Scott Maine gave up a bloop single to David Wright (3-1 pitch) to begin the eighth. Ike Davis rolled into a slick 4-6-3 double play … but Lucas Duda reached on an infield single off Maine’s leg. After Scott Hairston was announced as the pinch-hitter for Jordany Valdespin, Dale Sveum went to his pen for Manny Corpas. Hairston smacked a 1-0 pitch to Valbuena, who went to second and forced Duda to end the inning.
The Cubs went to the ninth looking up at a 3-1 deficit.
Bobby Parnell took over in the ninth and jumped ahead of Anthony Rizzo 1-2. Rizzo lashed Parnell’s next offering off the base of the wall in right. Rizzo slid in safe with a leadoff double. Alfonso Soriano just missed a 3-2 pitch from Parnell and flied out to deep left center. Bryan LaHair put together a long at bat then was robbed of a bloop single by Ruben Tejada. LaHair blooped the ninth pitch of the at bat into medium depth left center that Tejada caught over his shoulder with his back to the infield. Steve Clevenger struck out looking (3-2 pitch) to end the game.
Ryan Dempster is expected to be activated from the DL and face Jon Niese in the finale of the three-game series on Sunday afternoon.
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