Game One Hundred Fifteen – Cubs 1, Astros 10
WP – Lucas Harrell (10-8) LP – Chris Volstad (0-9) Save – None
The Cubs played one of their worst games of the year at the old ballyard and lost to a Houston team that had won only 11 road games all season entering play Tuesday night (12-47 on the season). The Cubs offense was a no show while Chris Volstad and Lendy Castillo could not keep the Astros from scoring.
After showing improvement in his two previous outings, Chris Volstad struggled again Tuesday night, lost his ninth game of the season and remains winless over his last 23 big league starts.
Chris Volstad lasted just five innings on a night he had little to no command of his fastball. The Astros teed off on Volstad and even the outs Volstad recorded were hit pretty hard. Volstad did not walk a batter and struck out three but allowed four runs on eight hits with the big blast coming off the bat off Brett Wallace in the third inning. Volstad threw 70 pitches, 47 for strikes.
Lendy Castillo made his first appearance since May 11 and did not show any improvement after missing three months with an “injury“. Castillo could not record three outs during a laborious 32-pitch outing and allowed five runs, three earned, on five hits with two strikeouts and no walks in two-thirds of an inning. Starlin Castro booted a tailor-made double play ball that left two runners on base ahead of Fernando Martinez’s three-run shot.
Chris Volstad and Lendy Castillo allowed nine of Houston’s ten runs and six of those runs scored on two big flies … three-run bombs off the bat of both Brett Wallace and Fernando Martinez that landed on top of the batter’s eye in centerfield.
Michael Bowden surrendered the Astros’ tenth run in the seventh, a Scott Moore solo home run. Bowden pitched 2 1/3 innings in relief of Castillo and kept Dale Sveum from having to use more of his pen. Alberto Cabrera retired all three batters he faced in the ninth.
The Cubs’ offense could not string together any hits against Lucas Harrell. Harrell struck out four of the first seven batters he faced and did not allow a hit until two outs in the third. The Cubs were very aggressive all night. Harrell threw only 26 pitches out of the zone (104 pitches, 78 strikes) over eight innings.
The Cubs managed only six hits, one for extra bases, and three walks. Starlin Castro (1-for-4 with a run scored) scored the only run in the seventh inning on a Darwin Barney (0-for-3 with a RBI) force out. David DeJesus (1-for-2 with a double and a walk) and Welington Castillo (0-for-2 with two walks) were the only Cubs that reached base twice. Anthony Rizzo (1-for-4), Alfonso Soriano (1-for-2) and Chris Volstad (1-for-1) recorded the Cubs other three hits.
With Tuesday’s loss, the Cubs dropped to 45-70 on the season …
Chris Volstad threw only nine pitches in the first, seven for strikes, and Barney fielded all three of the outs.
The Cubs did nothing in the first. Lucas Harrell recorded three outs on 10 pitches, eight for strikes.
Chris Volstad set the side down in order in the second … 23 pitches for Volstad after two, 14 for strikes.
The Cubs did nothing in the second … six up, six down for Harrell on 21 pitches, 16 for strikes.
Houston put the game away in the third. Volstad struck out Lucas Harrell swinging to start the inning. Tyler Greene ripped a 1-2 pitch into left for a single. Volstad jammed Altuve with the first pitch. Altuve hit a cue shot in between Rizzo and Barney and reached on an infield single. Barney was able to keep the ball from rolling into the outfield and held Greene at second. Volstad jumped ahead of Brett Wallace 1-2.
Brett Wallace launched the fifth pitch of the at bat, a 79 mph curveball, to deep center. The ball ended up on top of the batter’s eye in center and the Astros took a commanding 4-0 lead. Scott Moore grounded out to second (2-0 pitch) for the second out. Brian Bogusevic reached on a two-out single to left but was stranded when Barnes grounded out to short.
The Cubs finally recorded a hit in the bottom of the third. After Brett Jackson looked at strike three (0-2 pitch), Darwin Barney popped out to second. Chris Volstad lined a 0-1 pitch into right … the Cubs first hit of the game. David DeJesus drove a 1-0 pitch into the gap in left center. Volstad held at third on DeJesus’ double but both runners were stranded when Josh Vitters grounded out to third. Harrell needed only 34 pitches, 27 for strikes, to get through three innings.
After three, the Cubs trailed 4-0.
Chris Volstad faced the minimum in the fourth. Fernando Martinez flied out to Jackson in right center for the first out. Chris Snyder reached on a single to left but Harrell grounded into a 6-4-3 double play to end the inning. Volstad threw 58 pitches in the first four innings, 38 for strikes.
Lucas Harrell kept the Cubs off the board in the fourth and ended up facing the minimum. Rizzo grounded out to first before Soriano pounded the first pitch he saw into left. Castro grounded into a 5-4-3 double play to end the inning … only 41 pitches for Harrell after four, 34 for strikes.
Welington Castillo and Josh Vitters helped Volstad keep Houston off the board in the fifth. Tyler Greene singled to center (1-2 pitch) and took off for second on the first pitch to Jose Altuve. Altuve swung and missed and Welington Castillo threw a strike to Barney and nailed Greene at second. Vitters took a hit away from Altuve with a nice diving stop to his left. Volstad then struck out Wallace swinging to end the inning … and his night.
Welington Castillo tapped back to Harrell (3-2 pitch) for the first out in the fifth. Brett Jackson singled to left center (first pitch). Darwin Barney pulled a 1-1 pitch toward third. Wallace fielded and threw to second to force Jackson. Barney reached but was stranded when Bryan LaHair hit for Volstad and looked a strike three to end the inning.
After five, the Cubs trailed 4-0.
The top of the sixth was one of the ugliest half innings of the season. Lendy Castillo and Michael Bowden threw 36 pitches, Starlin Castro booted a ball and the Astros scored five runs.
Lendy Castillo did not fool any of the Astros’ hitters and Houston continued to square off on Cubs’ pitching. Scott Moore led off the sixth with a double to right (0-1 pitch). Brian Bogusevic ripped Castillo’s first pitch into right. Moore held at third with no outs. Brandon Barnes hit a tailor made double play ball toward short. Starlin Castro booted the ball, it rolled under his legs and the floodgates opened. Moore scored on the miscue and instead of the bases empty and two down, the Astros had runners on first and second with no outs.
Fernando Martinez crushed a 1-1 pitch to deep center. The ball landed on top of the batter’s eye in center in nearly the same spot as Wallace’s shot and the Astros took an 8-0 lead on Martinez’s first homer in Houston uniform. Castillo struck out Chris Snyder for the first out.
Another pitcher got a hit against Cubs’ pitching. Lucas Harrell singled to left (1-2 pitch). Castillo caught Greene looking for the second out but Jose Altuve launched a 1-2 pitch off the base of the wall in left center. Harrell scored all the way from first with the Astros’ ninth run. Dale Sveum decided that was enough and went to his pen for Michael Bowden. Brett Wallace grounded out to second (1-2 pitch) to finally end the inning.
David DeJesus led off the sixth with the first walk of the game (3-2 pitch). Josh Vitters was too aggressive and hit the second pitch he saw up the middle and right to Tyler Greene … 6-3 double play. Anthony Rizzo reached on a two-out single to center. Joe Mather hit for Soriano and lined out to left for the third out … 73 pitches for Harrell after six, 56 for strikes.
After six, the Cubs were down 9-0.
Michael Bowden started the seventh and quickly fell behind Scott Moore. The former Cub launched a 3-2 pitch into the bleachers in right center … 10-0 Houston. Bowden retired Bogusevic (tap back to the mound), Barnes (groundout to short) and Martinez (pop out to short) in order to end the inning.
Starlin Castro led off the seventh with a single to right (1-1 pitch). Welington Castillo fell behind 0-2, worked the count full then reached with the Cubs’ second walk of the night. Brett Jackson flied out to center (0-1 pitch). Castro tagged and advanced to third with one out. Darwin Barney hit the first pitch back up the middle. Altuve made an excellent stop, flipped the ball with his glove toward second. Greene picked it up on one hop, stepped on second and just missed turning the double play. Barney beat Greene’s throw and Castro scored the Cubs’ first run of the game. Michael Bowden hit and struck out swinging to end the inning.
After seven, the Cubs were down 10-1.
Other than a one-out walk by Lucas Harrell, the Astros did nothing against Michael Bowden in the eighth.
The Cubs did nothing against Harrell in the eighth.
Alberto Cabrera retired the side in order in the ninth.
Other than a two-out walk by Welington Castillo, the Cubs did nothing against Rhiner Cruz in the ninth … game over.
Justin Germano is scheduled to face Bud Norris in the series finale on Wednesday afternoon.