A Long, Sloppy Unearned Loss – Cubs 0, Astros 1

Game One Hundred Forty-Two – Cubs 0, Astros 1
WP – Jordan Lyles (4-11) LP – Justin Germano (2-7) Save – Wilton Lopez (4)

Tuesday night’s game came in 39 minutes short of Monday’s opener but it was equally as challenging to watch. The Cubs four-game winning streak came to an end as Dale Sveum’s team played one of their sloppiest games of the season.

The Cubs managed six hits and two walks but could not take advantage of four Houston errors … while one of the Cubs’ two miscues ended up being the difference in the game. The Cubs had plenty of chances to at least tie the game but could not come up with a hit with runners in scoring position. Dale Sveum’s offense finished the night 0-for-10 with runners in scoring position and stranded 11 on base.

Not only did the Cubs make mistakes in the field but two baserunning errors on the same play in the sixth inning cost them a run. Starlin Castro (1-for-4) led off the sixth with a single and advanced to third on a one-out, pinch-hit double by Dave Sappelt. Darwin Barney (1-for-2) pinch-hit for Adrian Cardenas and hit a 0-1 pitch out to center. Justin Maxwell caught the ball, Castro tagged from third and Sappelt tagged from second. Maxwell threw toward third and not the plate. Matt Dominguez caught the ball and applied the tag to complete the double play. Castro appeared to slow down on his way home and did not touch the plate before Sappelt was tagged out.

David DeJesus (1-for-5), Bryan LaHair (1-for-2) and Welington Castillo (1-for1) collected hits but only one of the Cubs six hits went for extra bases on Tuesday night.

Justin Germano took the loss after allowing an unearned run on three hits with a pair of walks and eight strikeouts in five innings. The only run Tuesday night scored in the third inning after a throwing error by Steve Clevenger allowed Jimmy Paredes to advance from first to third with one out. Germano walked Brett Wallace on four pitches to load the bases before Justin Maxwell hit a sac fly into right center on a 1-2 pitch that plated Paredes with what would end up being the only run scored on the night by either team.

Justin Germano struck out six of the first nine batters he faced and tied a career-high with eight strikeouts (2006 against the Brewers). Germano threw 81 pitches, 51 for strikes, and was hung with his seventh loss of the season. Michael Bowden, Alberto Cabrera, Jeff Beliveau and Manny Corpas kept Houston off the board but the offense could not deliver a win.

Anthony Rizzo left in the third inning of Tuesday night’s game after a scary collision at first base with Brett Wallace. Rizzo hit a grounder toward second with one out in the inning that Jimmy Paredes fielded but airmailed his throw to first. Brett Wallace tried to make a leaping catch but the ball was well over his head. Wallace’s leg clipped Rizzo as he reached the base. Rizzo spun around, flipped and landed awkwardly on his head, shoulder and neck. Rizzo lay flat on his back on the field for three to four minutes and he appeared dazed as he was helped to his feet and off the field.

According to multiple reports, Rizzo never lost consciousness. After the game, Rizzo said his neck, shoulder and back was very sore and he does not anticipate missing much time.

Darwin Barney was not in the starting lineup but entered the game in the sixth inning and did not commit an error for the 127th straight game.

Dale Sveum’s pitching staff struck out 12, issued three walks and gave up four hits … and the team still lost.

With Tuesday’s loss, the Cubs dropped to 55-87 on the season …

David DeJesus flied out to center (1-1 pitch) to start the game. Luis Valbuena smoked a 3-2 pitch toward second. The ball hit off Jimmy Paredes’ glove and ended up in right field. Valbuena reached on Parades’ second error of the season. Anthony Rizzo lined a 3-2 pitch straight to Fernando Martinez in left. Alfonso Soriano tapped a 2-2 pitch back to the mound to end the inning. Jordan Lyles threw 21 pitches in the first inning, 12 for strikes.

Justin Germano labored through a long first inning but did not allow any runs. Jimmy Paredes struck out swinging to start the inning. Fernando Martinez pulled a 2-2 pitch to deep right center. The ball short-hopped the wall and Martinez ended up at second with a double. Germano caught Brett Wallace looking at a 2-2 pitch before issuing a two-out walk to Justin Maxwell. Germano got out of the first and second two out jam by striking out Carlos Corporan swinging to end the inning. Germano struck out the side in the first on 23 pitches, 14 for strikes. The first inning took 25 minutes to play on Tuesday night.

Starlin Castro fouled out to Wallace at first to begin the second. Steve Clevenger walked on four pitches and advanced to second on the Cubs’ first hit of the game, a single to right off the bat of Bryan LaHair. Adrian Cardenas walked and the Cubs had the bases loaded with one down. Jordan Lyles’ command issues continued. Lyles fell behind Justin Germano 3-1. Germano tried to check his swing on a 3-2 offering and tapped the ball to the right side of the infield. Wallace went to his right, fielded the ball and made a strong throw to the plate. Clevenger was forced for the first out. David DeJesus launched a 2-1 pitch to deep center. Justin Maxwell tracked it down at the warning track to end the inning … a 400-foot out. Jordan Lyles needed 48 pitches, 23 for strikes, to complete two innings of work.

Justin Germano retired the side in order in the second … 38 pitches for Germano after two, 24 for strikes.

Luis Valbuena grounded out to Jimmy Paredes to start the third. Anthony Rizzo stepped in and hit the first pitch he saw toward second …

Jimmy Paredes fielded the ball and made a wild off balance throw toward first. The ball was well over Wallace’s head. Wallace tried to make leaping catch as Rizzo made his way up the line. Wallace stuck his leg out and Rizzo collided with him as he reached first base. Rizzo spun around, flipped over and landed awkwardly on his head, shoulder and neck. Rizzo lay flat on his back on the field for three to four minutes. Rizzo appeared dazed as he was helped to his feet and off the field.

Joe Mather ran for Rizzo at second base as Paredes’ second error of the night ended up in the dugout. Alfonso Soriano struck out swinging (3-2 pitch) and Starlin Castro looked at a 2-2 pitch to end the inning. Lyles threw 63 pitches, 32 for strikes, over the first three innings.

Joe Mather stayed in the game and went out to right field. Bryan LaHair moved in to first base.

The Astros took advantage of a Steve Clevenger error and put a run on the board in the third. Germano struck out Jordan Lyles to start the inning. Germano struck out six of the first nine batters he faced on Tuesday night. Jimmy Paredes singled to center. Fernando Martinez chopped the first pitch up the first baseline. Clevenger followed the ball about halfway up the line then made a wild throw to first. The ball was well over LaHair’s head and ended up in right field. Maxwell never broke stride and ended up at third with one out.

Justin Germano issued a four-pitch walk to Brett Wallace to load the bases. Justin Maxwell drove a 1-2 pitch into right center. Paredes tagged and scored the first run of the game. With runners on first and second with two outs, Germano struck out Corporan swinging (2-2 pitch) to end the inning. Germano threw 56 pitches over three innings, 35 for strikes.

After three complete, the Cubs trailed 1-0.

The Cubs did nothing in the fourth. Lyles struck out two of the three batters he faced and after four, his pitch count stood at 75, 40 for strikes.

Justin Germano set down the side in order in the fourth. Germano needed 67 pitches, 42 for strikes, to complete four innings of work.

The Cubs wasted another chance to put runs on the board in the fifth. Justin Germano reached first on an error by Tyler Greene to start the inning. David DeJesus lined Lyles’ first pitch into center. The ball fell in front of Maxwell for the Cubs’ second hit. Luis Valbuena drove a 3-2 pitch to deep left center. Maxwell hauled the ball in near the wall for the first out. Joe Mather struck out swinging (2-2 pitch). Alfonso Soriano pulled a 2-0 pitch down the third baseline. Matt Dominguez made an excellent diving stop and threw out Soriano at first to end the inning … 94 pitches, 51 for strikes, for Jordan Lyles after five innings.

After five at bats, the Cubs were 0-for-7 with runners in scoring position and left seven stranded on base.

Scott Moore hit for Jordan Lyles to start the fifth and ripped a single into right. Jordan Schafer ran for Moore and was forced at second when Paredes hit a dribbler to the hole between first and second. Adrian Cardenas fielded the ball and made an ill-advised throw to second. Fernando Martinez popped out to Castro in shallow left. Paredes swiped second on a 1-0 pitch to Wallace. Justin Germano struck out Wallace swinging to end the inning. Germano tied his career-high with his eighth strikeout … 81 pitches for Germano after five, 51 for strikes.

Starlin Castro greeted the new Astros’ pitcher, Xavier Cedeno, with a bloop single to center to start the sixth. Clevenger struck out swinging (2-2 pitch) for the first out. Dave Sappelt hit for Bryan LaHair and drove a 2-2 pitch into the right field corner. Brian Bogusevic cut the ball off before it rolled to the wall. Castro held at third on Sappelt’s third double in two days. Dale Sveum went to his bench again and sent up Darwin Barney to hit for Adrian Cardenas. As soon as Barney was announced, Astros’ interim manager Tony DeFrancesco went to his pen for right-hander Mickey Storey.

Darwin Barney hit a 0-1 pitch into center. Maxwell caught the ball and Castro tagged from third … but Sappelt tagged from second as well. Maxwell threw to third and Matt Dominguez applied the tag before Castro crossed the plate. Castro slowed up as he approached the plate and did not score the tying run. Both players made a baserunning mistake that cost their team a run.

Michael Bowden took over in the sixth. Darwin Barney stayed in to play second. Joe Mather moved from right to first and Dave Sappelt replaced Mather in right field. Justin Maxwell led off the sixth with a single to left. Bowden paid a lot of attention to Maxwell with Carlos Corporan at the plate. The Cubs guessed right and pitched out on a 1-1 offering to Corporan. Maxwell stopped halfway between first and second. Castro threw to Mather and Mather ran him back toward second. Mather threw the ball and it hit Maxwell in the back. Maxwell was out of the baseline. The ball bounced right to Barney, who applied the tag as Maxwell slid in headfirst to the bag. Second base umpire Doug Eddings missed Maxwell running out of the baseline and Barney’s tag. Maxwell was called safe and the Astros had a runner in scoring position. Matt Dominguez flied out to center, Maxwell tagged and advanced to third but was stranded when Bowden struck out Bogusevic swinging to end the inning.

Mickey Storey warmed up before the top of the seventh but Tony DeFrancesco went to the pen for lefty Wesley Wright as soon as Tony Campana was announced as the pinch hitter for Michael Bowden. Wright struck out Campana swinging on three pitches. David DeJesus reached on Jimmy Paredes’ third error of the game … but Valbuena hit a looper to short for the second out and Mather blooped out to second to end the inning.

Alberto Cabrera struck out two of the three batters he faced in the seventh.

After seven, the Cubs trailed 1-0.

The Cubs did nothing against Jose Valdez in the eighth.

Jeff Beliveau walked J.D. Martinez to start the eighth. Brett Wallace flied out to right center for the first out. Sveum went to his pen and brought in Manny Corpas to face Justin Maxwell. Maxwell grounded a 2-2 pitch toward short. Starlin Castro bobbled the routine grounder and the Astros had runners on first and second with one out. Carlos Corporan lined Corpas’ first pitch toward first. Mather appeared to make a diving catch but the ball slipped out of his glove. Doug Eddings ruled no catch. Mather threw to Castro at second, who threw back to first to complete the double play. But Eddings ruled that Maxwell was the only out recorded (3-6 fielder’s choice) on another weird play. Matt Dominguez flied out to left center to end the inning.

The Cubs went to the ninth trailing 1-0.

Wilton Lopez struck out Dave Sappelt looking to start the ninth. Darwin Barney reached on a single to right off Jose Altuve’s glove. Welington Castillo hit for Manny Corpas and ripped a single into center. Barney held at second with one out. David DeJesus swung at the first pitch and flied out to left. Luis Valbuena struck out swinging (2-2 pitch) to end the game.

Box Score from Yahoo Sports

Travis Wood is scheduled to face Fernando Abad in the series finale on Wednesday night.

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Quote of the Day

"You can’t sit on a lead and kill the clock. You’ve got to give the other man his chance. That’s why baseball is the greatest game." - Earl Weaver