Cubs Lose Battle Against the Bucs – Cubs 4, Pirates 8

Game One Hundred Three – Cubs 4, Pirates 8
WP – Jeff Karstens (4-2) LP – Travis Wood (4-7) Save – None

Wednesday’s finale between the Cubs and Pirates was a 2-1 game after seven innings. Neither Travis Wood nor Jeff Karstens pitched a good game and due to high pitch counts both starters were done after five innings. Wood made one more mistake than Karstens that led to the Pirates second run.

Starlin Castro (2-for-5 with a home run) hit his 11th home run of the year in the first inning and Starling Marte (1-for-5 with a home run) tied the game in the third with the second home run of his career. Two batters later, Travis Wood (two runs on three hits with three walks and six strikeouts on 98 pitches, 58 strikes) issued a one-out walk to Andrew McCutchen. Wood surrendered a two-out single to Travis Snider that allowed McCutchen to advance to third. Travis Wood and Welington Castillo could not get on the same page. Wood balked and the Pirates took a 2-1 lead.

Shawn Camp (five runs on seven hits) started the eighth and was lifted before he could record an out. The Pirates notched seven straight hits off Camp and scored five runs with the big blow coming off the bat of Michael McKenry, a three-run dinger. The Pirates took a commanding 7-1 lead and Dale Sveum went to his pen for Alberto Cabrera with two on and no outs.

Alberto Cabrera made his big league debut after being recalled from Triple-A Iowa on Wednesday. Cabrera struck out two of the three batters he faced to close out the eighth. The Pirates added a run in the ninth off Carlos Marmol and went to the last frame up 8-1.

The Cubs made a game of it in the bottom of the ninth against Joel Hanrahan. After being held to one run on six hits in the first eight innings, the Cubs hit for the cycle in the ninth and scored three runs.

Bryan LaHair (2-for-4, two doubles and a run scored) led off the ninth with his second double of the game. Jeff Baker (2-for-4, a triple, a RBI, a run scored and two stolen bases) tripled in LaHair then scored on Welington Castillo’s second homer of the season. Luis Valbuena singled and advanced to second on a two-out single by Starlin Castro. But Anthony Rizzo (1-for-5) struck out swinging to end the game.

Travis Wood had issues for the fourth straight start. Wood labored through his five-inning start after running up his pitch count in the first three innings (72, 41 for strikes). Wood allowed only one home run on a hitter’s day at Wrigley Field.

The Cubs string of five straight series wins at Wrigley came to an end and with Wednesday’s loss, the Cubs dropped to 43-60 on the season …

Travis Wood struck out Starling Marte on three pitches to start the game. Josh Harrison flied out to right center. Wood walked Andrew McCutchenthe 40th straight game that McCutchen has reached base safely against the Cubs. In his Pirate debut, Gaby Sanchez flied out to deep left center for the third out. Wood threw 19 pitches in the first inning, 12 for strikes.

David DeJesus grounded out to third (2-2 pitch) for the first out in the home-half of the first. Starlin Castro launched a 1-1 pitch to the bleachers in left center. Castro’s 11th homer, a new single season career high, gave the Cubs a 1-0 lead. Anthony Rizzo flied out to right (2-2 pitch) and Alfonso Soriano struck out looking on Karsten’s 21st pitch of the inning (16 strikes).

Travis Wood wiggled his way out of a jam in the second. After Travis Snider grounded out to second, Michael McKenry singled to right. Pedro Alvarez flied out to center. Wood then walked the free-swinging Clint Barmes. Jeff Karstens struck out swinging (3-2 pitch) for the third out. Wood needed 40 pitches (22 strikes) to get through two innings.

Bryan LaHair ended a 0-for-18 slump with his first double since June 13. LaHair drove a 3-2 pitch down the left field line. Jeff Baker flied out to right. LaHair tagged and advanced to third. Welington Castillo hit a 0-1 pitch back up the middle that Harrison fielded and kept LaHair from scoring. Karstens pitched around and walked Luis Valbuena. Travis Wood struck out swinging (eighth pitch) to end the inning. Karstens threw 48 pitches, 32 for strikes, over the first two innings.

Starling Marte led off the third with his second big league homer. With the game tied at one, Josh Harrison flied out to left center. Wood walked McCutchen … and it cost him. Gaby Sanchez struck out swinging (2-2 pitch). Travis Snider followed and ripped a 3-2 pitch back up the middle and into center. McCutchen ended up at third and scored when Wood balked prior to the first pitch to Michael McKenry. With Snider at second, McKenry flied out to deep left to end the inning. Wood threw 72 pitches, 41 for strikes, over the first three innings.

The Cubs did nothing in the third … 60 pitches (40 strikes) for Karstens after three.

Travis Wood set down the Pirates in order in the fourth (87 pitches, 51 for strikes).

Alfonso Soriano singled to start the fourth but did not advance. LaHair struck out swinging, Baker popped out to Harrison in shallow right and Castillo looked at a 3-2 pitch to end the inning.

Travis Wood retired the Bucs in order in the fifth to end his day.

The Cubs did nothing in the fifth.

Manny Corpas walked Gaby Sanchez to start the sixth. Travis Snider pulled the first pitch to Baker … 6-4-3 double play. McKenry flied out to center to end the inning.

Chris Resop replaced Karstens in the sixth and made quick work of Castro (groundout to short) and Rizzo (flyout to left). Alfonso Soriano reached with a single to center and Clint Hurdle went to his pen for lefty Tony Watson. LaHair grounded out to Clint Barmes to end the inning.

James Russell started the seventh. Pedro Alvarez reached on an infield single. Jeff Baker dove and hurt his left wrist on the play. Baker stayed in the game. Russell struck out Barmes for the first out. Hurdle left Watson in the game and let him hit. The Pirates’ only southpaw in the pen could not get the bunt down. Watson bunted through a 1-2 pitch for the second out. Alvarez then swiped second on a delayed steal following a 2-2 pitch to Marte. Marte grounded out to third on Russell’s next pitch to end the inning.

Jeff Baker led off the seventh with a single to center off Tony Watson. Welington Castillo popped out to Harrison (3-1 pitch) for the first out. Baker stole second on a 1-0 pitch to Valbuena. After Valbuena struck out swinging, Joe Mather hit for Russell and Hurdle went to his pen for Jared Hughes. Baker stole third following a 1-1 pitch to Mather. With the tying run on third and two down, Mather grounded out to third to end the inning.

After seven, the Cubs trailed 2-1.

Josh Harrison greeted Shawn Camp with a bloop single to right. Andrew McCutchen drove a 2-1 pitch into left center for a double. Sveum brought his infield in and Hurdle sent Garrett Jones up to hit for Gaby Sanchez. Jones drove a 2-1 pitch into left. Harrison and McCutchen scored, 4-1 Pirates. Travis Snider singled then both Jones and Snider trotted home on McKenry’s three-run shot to left center … and just like that the Pirates took a 7-1 lead. Pedro Alvarez and Clint Barmes reached on back-to-back singles … and Sveum decided that was enough.

Alberto Cabrera made his way in from the mound. Alex Presley hit for Jared Hughes and flied out to right. Alvarez advanced to third with one out. Cabrera then struck out Starling Marte and former teammate Josh Harrison to end the inning.

Other than a two-out single by Anthony Rizzo, the Cubs did nothing against Jason Grilli in the eighth.

Carlos Marmol gave up an infield single to McCutchen to start the ninth. Garrett Jones followed with a double into the right field corner. McCutchen scored, 8-1 Pirates. Marmol struck out Snider, McKenry and Alvarez swinging to end the inning.

The Cubs went to the bottom of the ninth trailing 8-1.

Bryan LaHair drove a 2-0 pitch from Joel Hanrahan into left for a double. Jeff Baker tripled to right. LaHair scored, 8-2 Pirates. Welington Castillo launched a 2-1 pitch over the wall in center … 8-4 Pirates.

Luis Valbuena followed Castillo’s homer with a single to right. Adrian Cardenas hit for Marmol and struck out swinging for the first out. DeJesus also struck out but Starlin Castro singled to center. Valbuena stopped at second. With two on and two out, Anthony Rizzo struck out swinging to end the game.

Box Score from Yahoo Sports

Thursday is a day off for the Cubs. Dale Sveum’s team begins a six-game West Coast trip on Friday night with the first of three against the Dodgers … Jeff Samardzija against Chad Billingsley in the opener.

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