Volstad Loses Duel … Cubs Drop Fourth in a Row – Cubs 1, Dodgers 3

Game One Hundred Five – Cubs 1, Dodgers 3
WP – Clayton Kershaw (9-6) LP – Chris Volstad (0-8) Save – Kenley Jansen (21)

The Cubs dropped their fourth game in a row on a night the offense could not string any hits together against Clayton Kershaw. The reigning NL Cy Young award winner was excellent but the Cubs’ offense could not take advantage of the opportunities they had. After managing one run on four hits with four walks in Friday’s loss, Dale Sveum’s team scored one run on three hits with two walks. The Cubs finished the game 1-for-6 with runners in scoring position and left four on base.

Clayton Kershaw was 2-for-2 at the plate and notched almost as many hits as he surrendered.

Chris Volstad put together his best outing in a Cubs’ uniform but ended up on the wrong end of a pitcher’s duel. Volstad dropped his eighth game of the year and remains winless at the big league level in his last 21 starts. Volstad made only one mistake, and it really wasn’t one. Matt Kemp drove a Volstad sinker that was down and in over the wall in right center. Joe Mather tried to make a leaping catch but the ball went off his glove and out of the field of play. Volstad had a very good sinker and control of his breaking pitches on Saturday night. Chris Volstad allowed two runs on six hits with a walk and three strikeouts in seven innings. Volstad retired 10 of the last 12 batters he faced and tossed 100 pitches over his seven frames, 67 for strikes.

Alfonso Soriano (1-for-4 with a double and a RBI) drove in the Cubs’ lone run in the fourth. Soriano plated Darwin Barney (1-for-4 with a run scored) with his 23rd double of the season and gave the Cubs a brief 1-0 lead.

Darwin Barney was not charged with an error on Saturday night and ran his errorless streak to 91 games. Barney broke Ryne Sandberg’s single-season errorless games streak set in 1989. Sandberg did not commit an error from June 21 through the end of the season, a span of 90 games. Sandberg owns the Cubs’ mark for consecutive errorless games by a second baseman (123 games). Sandberg was not charged with an error from June 21, 1989 through May 17, 1990.

With Saturday’s loss, the Cubs dropped to 43-62 on the season …

The Cubs did nothing in the first and Clayton Kershaw retired the side in order on 11 pitches, eight for strikes.

Chris Volstad was sharp in the first inning. Volstad hit his spots and retired the Dodgers in order on 13 pitches, eight for strikes.

Clayton Kershaw made quick work of the Cubs in the second … 1-2-3 and six in a row on 23 pitches, 16 for strikes.

The Dodgers did nothing against Volstad in the second. Volstad needed 19 pitches, 13 for strikes, to get through two innings.

After two, no runs, hits or baserunners for either team.

Joe Mather popped out to second for the first out in the third. Luis Valbuena worked a walk and Chris Volstad bunted him to second … but Starlin Castro grounded out to third to end the inning. Kershaw threw 37 pitches, 24 for strikes, over three innings.

Chris Volstad made quick work of Jerry Hairston Jr. and A.J. Ellis for the first two outs in the third. Clayton Kershaw ripped a 1-1 pitch back up the middle and into center for the first hit of the game. Shane Victorino hit a 0-1 pitch to Castro, who tossed to a running Barney just ahead of Kershaw to end the inning. Volstad needed 36 pitches to get through three, 24 for strikes.

Darwin Barney led off the fourth with the Cubs’ first hit of the game … a single to left on a 1-2 pitch. Anthony Rizzo pulled a 2-2 pitch toward first. James Loney fielded the ball near the base, kicked the bag and threw to Ramirez covering second. Barney slid in safe. Alfonso Soriano pulled a 2-2 pitch into the gap in left center. The ball rolled all the way to the wall and Barney scored. The Cubs could not take advantage of Soriano’s one-out double. Baker struck out swinging and Castillo flied out to right to end the inning … 61 pitches for Kershaw after four, 42 for strikes.

The Cubs lead did not last two batters into the fourth. Mark Ellis led off the fourth with a single to right (2-2 pitch). Matt Kemp then drove a 0-1 sinker that was down and in to deep right center. Joe Mather raced over and got a glove on the ball as it left the park … and just like that the Dodgers took a 2-1 lead. Volstad walked Andre Either. Hanley Ramirez pounded a 1-0 pitch toward third. Valbuena picked it cleanly and started a 5-4-3 double play. James Loney ripped a 2-2 pitch back up the middle and into center but Jerry Hairston Jr. grounded out to short for the third out … 56 pitches for Volstad, 36 for strikes, after four.

Luis Valbuena worked his second walk of the game with one out in the fifth. Volstad bunted him into scoring position. Starlin Castro was called out on a 3-2 pitch that was high and outside to end the inning. Kershaw’s pitch count stood at 83, 55 for strikes, after five innings.

Clayton Kershaw reached with his second single of the night with one down in the fifth. A.J. Ellis popped out to Castro to start the inning. Shane Victorino chopped a 0-1 pitch toward second. Barney fielded the ball and tossed to Castro for the force … it was the Cubs’ only play. Volstad struck out Mark Ellis swinging to end the inning. Volstad tossed 72 pitches over five innings, 46 for strikes.

The Cubs did nothing against Kershaw in the sixth (93 pitches, 61 for strikes).

Chris Volstad set the side down in order in the sixth … 89 pitches for Volstad, 59 for strikes.

After six, the Cubs trailed 2-1.

Jeff Baker grounded out to third on Kershaw’s first pitch of the seventh. Kershaw retired the leadoff hitter in six of his seven innings. Welington Castillo quickly fell behind 0-2. Castillo worked the count back into his favor and ripped a single into center on a 3-2 pitch … the Cubs’ third hit. Joe Mather advanced Castillo to second with a swinging bunt to the third base side of the mound. Luis Valbuena was caught looking on a 1-2 pitch to end the inning.

Chris Volstad retired James Loney (groundout to second) and Jerry Hairston Jr. (flyout to left center) to begin the seventh. Volstad retired seven in a row and nine of 10 at that point. A.J. Ellis drove Volstad’s pitch into left center. Mather turned in an excellent effort. Mather dove into left center and appeared to catch the ball but as he hit the ground the ball popped out of his glove. Tony Gwynn Jr. hit for Kershaw and grounded out to short to end the inning.

The Cubs did nothing against Ronald Belisario in the eighth.

Shane Victorino greeted Shawn Camp with a hustle double to left center (0-1 pitch) to start the eighth … the eighth straight hit off Camp dating back to his outing against the Pirates on Wednesday. Mark Ellis hit a 3-2 pitch back to the mound. Camp fielded, looked Victorino back and threw out Ellis at first. Matt Kemp was intentionally walked. Dale Sveum made the slow walk and brought in James Russell to face Andre Ethier.

Andre Ethier hit a 0-1 pitch toward second. Barney fielded the ball and tossed to Castro with Kemp barreling down on him. Castro made a leaping throw to first that was in the dirt and late. Rizzo made an excellent scoop to hold Victorino at third. Russell fell behind Hanley Ramirez 3-1. Ramirez smoked Russell’s next pitch under Castro’s glove and into left center. Castro was charged with an error on a ball that he should have caught. Victorino scored and the Dodgers took a 3-1 lead. James Loney grounded out to second to end the inning.

The Cubs went to the ninth trailing 3-1.

Kenley Jansen set down the Cubs in order in the ninth on nine pitches, all nine strikes. Rizzo lined out to left, Soriano struck out swinging and Bryan LaHair was caught looking to end the game.

Box Score from Yahoo Sports

Justin Germano is scheduled to face Joe Blanton in the series and season finale with the Dodgers on Sunday afternoon.

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