A Near No-No – Cubs 0, Pirates 5

Game One Hundred Two – Cubs 0, Pirates 5
WP – A.J. Burnett (13-3) LP – Casey Coleman (0-2) Save – None

The Cubs string of recording at least one hit in a game nearly came to an end on Tuesday night. A.J. Burnett tossed a complete game, one-hit shutout and did not allow a hit until two outs in the eighth inning. Adrian Cardenas broke up Burnett’s no-hit bid after getting the call on a 2-2 offering. The Cubs managed only one hit, two walks and four total baserunners.

A.J. Burnett dominated the Cubs and needed only 108 pitches, 73 for strikes, to shutout the Cubs on Tuesday night.

A night after scoring 14 runs on 14 hits, Dale Sveum’s offense managed only one hit.

Sandy Koufax was the last pitcher to no-hit the Chicago Cubs. Koufax threw a perfect game against Ron Santo and company on September 9, 1965 at Dodger Stadium … nearly 47 years and now 7,441 games ago. Jim Maloney of the Reds threw the last no hitter against the Cubs at Wrigley on August 19,1965 … and Milt Pappas was the last pitcher to throw a no-no at Wrigley Field (September 2, 1972).

Casey Coleman struggled once again and lasted only 4 2/3 innings on Tuesday night. Coleman gave up four runs on seven hits with four walks and five strikeouts on 104 pitches, 58 for strikes.

Neil Walker (1-for-3 with a home run and five RBI) drove in all five of the Pirates runs. Walker hit the second grand slam of his career off Coleman in the first and appeared to take the air out of Dale Sveum’s team. Both of Walker’s grand slams have been hit at Wrigley Field … the first was off Ryan Dempster on Opening Day last season.

The Cubs defense had a rough night. Steve Clevenger was charged with two of the three errors. The defense committed more errors than hits allowed by A.J. Burnett and nearly as many total baserunners for the night.

The Cubs lost for only the fourth time in 17 games at Wrigley and finished the month with a 15-10 record.

With Tuesday’s loss, the Cubs dropped to 43-59 on the season …

Casey Coleman’s night began on a positive note … and quickly went south. Coleman caught Starling Marte looking at a 1-2 pitch for the first out. Travis Snider in his Pirates’ debut tapped a 3-2 pitch up the third baseline. The Cubs were in the shift. Luis Valbuena picked up the ball but his threw was very late to first. Andrew McCutchen reached base for the 39th straight game against the Cubs. McCutchen hit a chopper up the middle that Castro fielded but had no play … two softly hit infield singles. Coleman lost his command after jumping ahead of Garrett Jones 1-2. Coleman walked Jones then fell behind Neil Walker. Walker launched a 2-1 pitch into the bleachers in right … 4-0 Pirates.

Pedro Alvarez followed with a double down the left field line (3-1 pitch). Coleman was not pitching to his defense. Rod Barajas struck out swinging and Clint Barmes popped out to Castro in shallow left center. Casey Coleman threw 36 pitches, 20 for strikes.

The Cubs did nothing against A.J. Burnett in the first … just nine pitches, seven for strikes, in the first for Burnett.

Casey Coleman set down the Bucs in order in the second. Coleman needed 47 pitches, 27 strikes, to get through two innings.

The Cubs did nothing in the bottom of the second, only 19 pitches for Burnett after two.

The Pirates ran themselves out of a possible big inning in the third. Andrew McCutchen pulled a 1-1 pitch into left for a leadoff single. Clint Hurdle called for a hit and run on a 2-1 offering to Garrett Jones. Jones smacked the ball into right and the speedy McCutchen ended up a third with no outs. Neil Walker chopped a 1-1 pitch toward first. Anthony Rizzo fielded the ball and calmly threw a strike to Clevenger. McCutchen was tagged out. Pedro Alvarez stepped in with runners on first and second and one out.

Alvarez launched a 0-2 pitch to deep center. David DeJesus got to the ball but it hit off his glove and ended up in the ivy. DeJesus threw the ball in quickly. Jones had to hold to make sure DeJesus did not catch the ball … but Walker and Alvarez were not paying attention. Walker was almost to third, Alvarez was at second when Rizzo caught Castro’s relay. Rizzo ignored the runner heading back to first and ran toward Walker. Rizzo forced Walker toward third then tagged him out (8-6-3). Coleman walked Rod Barajas to load the bases but was able to retire Barmes on a grounder to third (2-1 pitch). Coleman threw 71 pitches in the first three innings, 40 for strikes.

The Cubs did nothing in the third … 30 pitches for Burnett after three, 23 for strikes.

Coleman retired the Pirates in order in the fourth. Coleman showed improvement as the game went on but after four his pitch count was high (85, 50 for strikes) and it was pretty clear that Coleman’s first big league start of the season would be a short one.

A.J. Burnett made quick work of David DeJesus (groundout to first) and Starlin Castro (pop out to right) to start the fourth … two outs on four pitches. Anthony Rizzo worked the count and ended up walking, the Cubs first baserunner of the game. Alfonso Soriano struck out swinging (2-2 pitch) for the third out.

The Cubs did not manage a hit through four against Burnett (45 pitches, 31 for strikes).

Casey Coleman continued to labor in the fifth and did not make it through the inning. McCutchen popped out to Barney for the first out. Coleman then walked Garrett Jones after being ahead in the count 1-2. Neil Walker just missed his second homer of the game. Walker cranked a 1-1 pitch to deep right. Coleman walked Pedro Alvarez on four pitches … and Dale Sveum decided he’s seen enough. Scott Maine took over and retired Barajas on a flyout to right.

The Cubs did nothing in the fifth. Burnett needed just 52 pitches, 32 for strikes, to get through five innings.

Scott Maine retired the Bucs in order in the sixth.

Luis Valbuena flied out to left (1-2 pitch) to start the sixth. Scott Maine hit for himself and tapped back to Burnett. David DeJesus worked a walk (3-2 pitch), only the second baserunner of the game. On a 2-1 pitch to Castro, DeJesus took off for second and swiped the bag. Starlin Castro flied out to right to end the inning.

No hits against Burnett through six innings (74 pitches, 49 for strikes).

Scott Maine walked Travis Snider on four pitches to start the seventh. Andrew McCutchen drove a 2-2 pitch into right center. Snider ended up at third on McCutchen’s double. Maine struck out Garrett Jones swinging for the first out. Sveum pulled his infield in with runners on second and third and one down. Neil Walker pulled a 2-2 pitch to left. Soriano caught the ball and threw toward the plate as Snider tagged from third. Soriano’s throw was a little off the mark, Snider scored and the ball got past Clevenger. McCutchen ended up at third and Sveum went to his pen. Jeff Beliveau caught Pedro Alvarez looking at a 2-2 pitch to end the inning.

The Cubs did nothing in the seventh … only 80 pitches, 55 strikes, for Burnett after seven innings.

Jeff Beliveau retired the Pirates in order in the eighth.

Steve Clevenger hit a weak grounder to Jones for the first out in the eighth. Burnett then hit Darwin Barney in the head with a breaking ball. Barney tried to stay in the game but Sveum removed him and Jeff Baker took over at first base. Baker broke for second on a 0-2 pitch to Valbuena. Baker swiped the bag and held when Valbuena struck out swinging (2-2 pitch) for the second out.

Adrian Cardenas hit for Jeff Beliveau and got the call on a close 2-2 pitch. Cardenas pulled Burnett’s next pitch into right … for the Cubs first hit of the game. A.J. Burnett was not happy with homeplate umpire Jeff Nelson. Baker stopped at third with two down. DeJesus struck out swinging to end the inning.

Shawn Camp pitched around a pair of errors in the ninth without allowing any runs. Starling Marte hit a 0-2 smash toward short. Castro got in front of the ball but did not field it cleanly and Marte reached on the Cubs’ second error of the game. Marte took off on the first pitch to Snider. Clevenger’s throw ended up in center and Marte advanced to third with no outs. Sveum pulled his infield in. Snider grounded out to first. McCutchen could not check his swing on a 1-2 pitch and Jones grounded out to second for the third out.

The Cubs did nothing against A.J. Burnett in the ninth.

Box Score from Yahoo Sports

Travis Wood is scheduled to face Jeff Karstens in the series finale on Wednesday afternoon.

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Quote of the Day

"People who write about Spring Training not being necessary have never tried to throw a baseball." – Sandy Koufax