No Happy Ending for the Cubs in La-La Land – Cubs 6, Dodgers 7

Game One Hundred Six – Cubs 6, Dodgers 7
WP – Kenley Jansen (5-3, BS 6) LP – Shawn Camp (2-5) Save – None

The Cubs could not hold onto a lead Sunday afternoon in Los Angeles and lost their fifth game in a row. The Dodgers completed three-game sweep on a Hanley Ramirez walk-off single in the bottom of the ninth off Shawn Camp … the first time since 1998 that the Cubs were swept in a three-game series at Dodger Stadium. Dale Sveum’s team finished the season series against the Dodgers with a 2-4 record.

The Cubs had the lead three different times on Sunday afternoon but the Cubs’ pen could not throw enough strikes to avoid the sweep. Cubs’ pitching issued six walks and hit a batter and five of those free baserunners scored.

On a day that two of the organization’s top prospects made their big league debut, the Cubs’ offense would not go away. After managing only two runs in the first two games, the Cubs scored six runs on seven hits with six walks (3-for-10 with runners in scoring position, nine left on base).

Three players that began the season at the Triple-A level contributed offensively but in the end they could not outhit their own bullpen.

Anthony Rizzo (2-for-4 with a home run, a sac fly and three RBI) had a huge day. Rizzo drove in half of the Cubs’ runs and tied the game at six in the top of the ninth with his ninth longball of the season. Welington Castillo (2-for-5 with a home run) broke a 1-1 tie in the sixth with his third longball of the season.

Brett Jackson (2-for-4 with a run scored and a walk) made his Major League debut and scored on a two-run double off the bat of Alfonso Soriano (1-for-5 with a double and two RBI) that gave the Cubs a short-lived 5-4 lead in the seventh.

David DeJesus (1-for-3 with two walks and two runs scored) and Darwin Barney (1-for-4 with a run scored) also scored runs in the losing effort. Josh Vitters made his Cubs’ debut on Sunday. Vitters hit for Scott Maine and flied out to left.

Justin Germano put together another good outing and left the game with a 2-1 lead. Germano hit his spots and limited the Dodgers to two runs on three hits without a walk, a hit batsman and three strikeouts. Germano threw 77 pitches, 48 for strikes, and was lifted with one out in the sixth after hitting Mark Ellis.

The Cubs’ bullpen had a bad day. The Dodgers scored the tying run on a hit by pitch and three walks in the sixth then took a two-run lead on the only hit of the inning, a two-run single off the bat Luis Cruz. After the Cubs battled back and scored three runs in the top of the seventh, James Russell surrendered the lead on two-run double off the bat of Andre Ethier. Both Scott Maine and James Russell were charged with blown saves … and Shawn Camp served up the game-winner to Hanley Ramirez in the bottom of the ninth after issuing a one-out walk to Matt Kemp.

With Sunday’s loss (9-9 on Sundays in 2012), the Cubs dropped back to 20 games under .500 for the season with a 43-63 record …

David DeJesus took two very close pitches on 1-2 and 3-2 offerings from Joe Blanton and ended up working a walk to begin the game. Brett Jackson made his way to the plate for his first big league at bat. Jackson appeared to hit a 0-1 pitch off his ankle. The ball rolled right to James Loney, who touched first and threw to second late. Replays showed Jackson did hit the ball off his body but he was ruled out and DeJesus advanced to second on the productive out. Anthony Rizzo pulled a 0-1 pitch into right center. DeJesus scored and the Cubs took a 1-0 lead. Alfonso Soriano popped Blanton’s first pitch to Mark Ellis in shallow right. Ellis made the routine catch and threw to first to double off Rizzo. Rizzo lost track of the number of outs. Blanton threw only 12 pitches in the first, eight for strikes.

Justin Germano set down the side in order in the first on 13 pitches, nine for strikes.

Starlin Castro popped out to right (0-1 pitch) to start the second. Welington Castillo flipped a 2-2 pitch into right center for s single. Luis Valbuena followed with a walk (3-2 pitch) and the Cubs had runners on first and second with one down for Darwin Barney. Blanton struck out Barney swinging on three pitches and Germano hit a weak grounder to Mark Ellis for the third out. Blanton needed 36 pitches, 25 for strikes, to get through two innings.

Justin Germano retired the side in order in the second. Germano pitched from behind in the count to each of the three batters (Ethier, Ramirez and Loney) he faced and all three outs were hit very hard. The writing was on the wall that Germano was not fooling anyone on Sunday afternoon. Germano threw 26 pitches, 14 for strikes, in the first two frames.

David DeJesus was caught looking at a 1-2 pitch to start the third. Brett Jackson walked on four pitches but was forced at second when Rizzo grounded the first pitch to Mark Ellis. Alfonso Soriano struck out swinging (3-2 pitch) to end the inning … 51 pitches for Blanton after three, 32 for strikes.

Luis Cruz hit a soft liner back to Germano (0-1 pitch) to begin the third. A.J. Ellis pounded a 2-2 pitch into center for the Dodgers’ first hit. Blanton bunted Ellis to second but Shane Victorino flied out to Brett Jackson to end the inning. Germano tossed 39 pitches in first three innings, 24 for strikes.

The Cubs did nothing in the fourth. Blanton threw 65 pitches through four innings, 42 for strikes.

Justin Germano set the side down in order in the fourth … 51 pitches for Germano after four, 31 for strikes.

After four complete, the Cubs were clinging to a 1-0 lead.

The Cubs wasted a chance to tack on in the fifth. After Darwin Barney struck out swinging and Justin Germano flied out to right, David DeJesus singled to right (3-2 pitch). Brett Jackson ripped the sixth pitch of the at bat (2-2 pitch) into right for his first big league hit. With runners on first and second with two down, Anthony Rizzo lined out to right (1-1 pitch) to end the inning. The Cubs were making Blanton work (88 pitches after five, 58 for strikes) but could not string together any hits … 1-for-4 with RISP and five left on base after five at bats for the Cubs.

The Dodgers finally got to Germano in the fifth. Hanley Ramirez grounded out to third (2-1 pitch) to start the inning. James Loney drove a 0-1 pitch into left, only the second hit of the day off Germano. Luis Cruz flied out to right on the first pitch. A.J. Ellis continued being a thorn in the Cubs’ side. Ellis pulled a 1-1 pitch into left center. The ball rolled all the way to the wall. Brett Jackson misplayed the ball slightly. Jackson got too close to the wall, the ball hit off the padding and rolled past him as he tried to pick it up … and Loney scored all the way from first. With the game tied at one, Joe Blanton was caught looking at a 1-2 pitch for the third out. Germano threw 65 pitches over the first five innings, 41 for strikes.

Alfonso Soriano (flyout to right) and Starlin Castro (groundout to third) made two quick outs to start the sixth. Welington Castillo drove a 0-1 pitch to deep right center. The ball ended well up into the stands in right center and the Cubs took a 2-1 lead on Castillo’s third longball of the season. Valbuena worked another full count but grounded out to second to end the inning. Blanton needed 103 pitches, 68 for strikes, to get through six innings.

The bottom of the sixth started on a positive note. Justin Germano caught Victorino looking at a 1-2 pitch. Germano labored, ran the count full then plunked Mark Ellis. With the tying run on first, Dale Sveum made the slow walk and went to his pen for Alberto Cabrera. Cabrera jumped ahead of Matt Kemp with two mid-90s fastballs. Cabrera started nibbling, could not get a breaking ball over and walked Kemp. Cabrera got ahead of Andre Ethier 0-2 before striking him out swinging on a 3-2 pitch. With runners on first and second with two down, Cabrera issued a four-pitch walk to Hanley Ramirez.

Sveum went back to his pen and brought in Scott Maine to face James Loney. Don Mattingly countered with Juan Rivera. Maine got ahead of Rivera 1-2 before he lost him and walked in the tying run. The Dodgers scored the tying run on a hit by pitch and three walks. Maine stayed in to face righty Luis Cruz. Maine could not find the strike zone and Luis Cruz made him pay. Cruz lined a 2-1 pitch into right. Kemp and Ramirez scored and the Dodgers took a 4-2 lead on the first hit of the inning. Soriano made another mental mistake on the single by Cruz. Soriano threw to third, instead of second and Cruz advanced into scoring position on the miscue. Maine could not throw a strike and fell behind A.J. Ellis 3-1. Maine got one over and was able to finally end the inning. Ellis struck out swinging on a high fastball for the third out.

After six, the Cubs trailed 4-2.

Darwin Barney led off the seventh with a bloop single to right off Brandon League (3-1 pitch). Josh Vitters made his big league debut hitting for Scott Maine. Vitters flied out to left on a 1-0 pitch for the first out. Mattingly went to his pen and brought in lefty Randy Choate to face David DeJesus. DeJesus walked on five pitches.

Brett Jackson drove a 1-0 pitch into left and loaded the bases with one out. Anthony Rizzo pulled a 0-2 pitch into right. Barney tagged and scored the Cubs’ third run. Mattingly went back to his pen and brought in Javy Guerra to face Soriano with runners on first and second and one down.

Alfonso Soriano turned on a 1-0 fastball and drove the ball to deep left. The ball hit off the wall. DeJesus scored the tying run and Jackson motored all the way around from first to score the go ahead run (5-4 Cubs). After Starlin Castro worked a two-out walk, Welington Castillo struck out swinging (1-2 pitch) to end the inning.

Manny Corpas caught Tony Gwynn Jr. looking at a 1-2 pitch to start the seventh. Shane Victorino flied out to center for the second out. Manny Corpas then issued a four-pitch walk to Mark Ellis. Corpas did not get the call of a couple of pitches and the inning soon got away from the Cubs. Matt Kemp blooped a single into right (0-1 pitch). Ellis advanced to third on the play and Sveum went to his pen for James Russell.

Andre Ethier fell behind Russell 0-2 before working the count back to 3-2. Russell threw an 83 mph slider right down the heart of the plate. Russell sped up Ethier’s bat and the Dodgers’ right fielder just missed a home run. The ball hit high off the top of the wall. Mark Ellis scored easily and Kemp lumbered all the way around with the go ahead run. Russell intentionally walked Hanley Ramirez then retired Juan Rivera on one pitch. Rivera popped out to Rizzo to end the inning.

After seven complete, the Cubs trailed 6-5.

Donald Belisario took over for in the eighth and issued a leadoff walk to Luis Valbuena. Sveum called for a hit and run on the first pitch to Barney. Barney hit a one-hopper back to Belisario. The Dodgers’ right-hander grabbed the ball with his barehand, turned and threw the ball into centerfield. Valbuena could not advance on the play. Bryan LaHair hit for Russell and looked at a 1-2 pitch for the first out. David DeJesus lined a 1-0 pitch into left … but right at Victorino for the second out. Brett Jackson looked at a 0-2 pitch to end the inning.

Luis Cruz drove a 2-0 pitch from Shawn Camp into left center for a leadoff single in the eighth. Cruz then swiped second on a 0-1 pitch to A.J. Ellis. Camp struck out Ellis on a 3-2 pitch for the first out. Jerry Hairston Jr. hit for Belisario and popped out to second. Castro caught a pop up off the bat of Shane Victorino in shallow left to end the inning.

The Cubs went to the ninth trailing 6-5.

Anthony Rizzo launched the second pitch from Kenley Jansen over the wall in right. Rizzo’s ninth homer tied the game at six. Alfonso Soriano flied out to deep left center (0-1 pitch) for the first out. Starlin Castro’s struggles continued and he struck out swinging (2-2 pitch) for out number two. Welington Castillo just missed his second home run of the game. Castillo pulled a 2-0 pitch to deep left that Victorino caught to end the inning.

The game went to the bottom of the ninth tied at six.

Shawn Camp stayed in and Starlin Castro threw out Mark Ellis from deep in the hole for the first out. Camp then walked Matt Kemp on four pitchesthe beginning of the end. Andre Ethier pulled a 1-0 pitch into right. Kemp advanced to third with one out. After a meeting on the mound, Shawn Camp pitched to Hanley Ramirez … and Ramirez ripped Camp’s first pitch into left, game over.

Box Score from Yahoo Sports

The Cubs open a three-game series in San Diego on Monday night … Travis Wood against Eric Stults in game one.

Follow ChicagoCubsOnline on Twitter: @TheCCO

Quote of the Day

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