Game One Hundred Sixty – Cubs 0, Astros 3
WP – Lucas Harrell (11-11) LP – Jason Berken (0-3) Save – Wesley Wright (1)
The Cubs could not avoid the inevitable and lost their 100th game of the season on Monday night. The Cubs offense was a no-show and was shut out for the 15th time this year. The Cubs lost 100 games for the first time since 1966 (59-103) and the third time in franchise history (1962, 1966 and 2012).
The Cubs offense managed only two hits and a walk on Monday night. Anthony Rizzo (1-for-4 with a double), David DeJesus (1-for-4) and Alfonso Soriano (0-for-2 with a walk) were the only three Cubs to reach base on Monday night. The Cubs were 0-for-5 with runners in scoring position, stranded three runners on base and did not manage a hit or baserunner after Rizzo led off the fourth with a double … Astros’ pitching retired the last 18 batters of the game.
Jason Berken lasted just 4 2/3 innings in his final start of the season. Berken gave up two runs on four hits with a walk and a strikeout. Fernando Martinez hit a towering blast off Berken in the second that ended up on Sheffield Avenue. Martinez then scored the Astros’ second run after reaching on a swinging bunt in the fourth inning. Berken threw 61 pitches, 40 for strikes, and was hung with the loss.
James Russell pitched two scoreless innings on Monday night in what was likely his final appearance of the season. Russell faced the minimum in his two frames after hitting Brett Wallace to start the seventh inning.
Shawn Camp allowed the Astros’ third run in the eighth on a pair of hits. Carlos Marmol gave up a leadoff double to Justin Maxwell in the ninth but struck out two of the next three batters he faced to close out the inning.
With Monday’s loss, the Cubs dropped to 60-100 on the season with two games left to play … Jason Berken retired the Astros in order on eight pitches, seven for strikes, to start the game.
The Cubs wasted a chance to put runs on the board against Lucas Harrell in the first inning. Harrell and catcher Jason Castro had communication issues and the Cubs were not able to take advantage. David DeJesus led off the first with a single to right center (2-1 pitch). Dave Sappelt worked a full count, Sveum started DeJesus and Sappelt grounded out to short. DeJesus advanced to second on the play. Anthony Rizzo looked at a 1-2 pitch for the second out. DeJesus advanced to third when a 1-1 pitch to Alfonso Soriano bounced past Castro. Soriano walked and the Cubs had runners on first and third with two outs. Starlin Castro put together a long, 10-pitch at bat, but grounded out to short on a 3-2 pitch to end the inning. Lucas Harrell labored through a 30-pitch first inning (17 for strikes) but did not allow any runs.
Fernando Martinez led off the second for the Astros and launched a 1-0 pitch onto Sheffield Avenue. With the wind blowing in, Martinez crushed the ball and gave Houston a 1-0 lead. Jason Berken refocused and retired Brett Wallace (tap back to the mound), Matt Dominguez (groundout to second) and Jason Castro (groundout to first) in order to end the inning. Berken threw 23 pitches, 16 for strikes, over the first two innings.
The Cubs did nothing in the second … 43 pitches for Harrell after two innings, 25 for strikes.
Luis Valbuena made an excellent diving stop to take away a hit from Brandon Barnes to start the third inning. Berken struck out Harrell swinging for the second out but Jose Altuve drove a 2-2 pitch back up the middle and into centerfield. With Altuve at first, Scott Moore grounded out to Rizzo (2-1 pitch) to end the inning. Berken needed 38 pitches, 26 for strikes, to complete three innings of work.
The Cubs did nothing in the third. Harrell threw 58 pitches, 34 for strikes, over the first three innings.
Jed Lowrie popped out to Castro in shallow left for the first out in the fourth. Fernando Martinez reached on a swinging bunt up the third baseline … the ball hugged the line all the way to the bag. Brett Wallace flied out to left for the second out. Matt Dominguez drove in the second run of the game with what was ruled a triple. Dominguez pulled the first pitch into left. The ball took a bad hop, skipped over Valbuena and into the corner. Soriano had trouble in the corner and Martinez was sent to the plate. Castro’s relay throw was into the runner. Castillo could not make the catch and Martinez scored. With Dominguez at third, Jason Castro grounded out to second to end the inning … 52 pitches for Berken after four innings, 36 for strikes.
Anthony Rizzo led off the Cubs’ fourth with a double into the alley in right center. The ball rolled all the way to the wall and Rizzo notched the Cubs’ second hit of the game. Alfonso Soriano chopped a 1-1 pitch toward third. Dominguez knocked the ball down, threw to first and recorded the out … but Rizzo advanced to third on the play. Starlin Castro expanded his strike zone on a 2-2 pitch and struck out swinging. Luis Valbuena grounded out to second for the third out. Lucas Harrell threw 70 pitches, 42 for strikes, over four innings.
After four complete, the Cubs trailed 2-0 and were being outhit 4-2 (0-for-5 with runners in scoring position, three left on base).
Jason Berken retired Brandon Barnes (flyout to right) and Lucas Harrell (groundout to first) to start the fifth. Berken then issued a two-out walk to Jose Altuve … and that was all for Jason Berken. Jaye Chapman replaced Berken and fell behind Scott Moore 3-1. Altuve took off for second, Moore took a strike and Castillo made a perfect throw to Castro. Altuve’s slid but did not make it to the bag. Altuve got to his feet and started walking back to the dugout. Castro walked over and tagged him in the back to end the inning.
The Cubs did nothing in the fifth … 84 pitches for Harrell after five, 51 for strikes.
James Russell retired the side in order in the sixth.
The Cubs did nothing in the sixth. Lucas Harrell threw 98 pitches, 68 for strikes, over six shutout innings on Monday night … and allowed just two hits.
James Russell faced the minimum in the seventh after plunking Brett Wallace to start the inning. Matt Dominguez grounded into a 5-4-3 double play and Jason Castro tapped back to Russell for the third out.
The Cubs did nothing against Jose Valdez in the seventh.
Brandon Barnes led off the eighth with a single to right off Shawn Camp. Brian Bogusevic hit for Jose Valdez and struck out looking for the first out. Jose Altuve tapped a 2-1 pitch between the mound and the plate. Camp picked the ball up and threw to first. Barnes advanced to second on the play. Scott Moore ripped a 2-2 pitch into center. Barnes scored, Moore advanced to second on the play and the Astros took a 3-0 lead. Jed Lowrie grounded out to third (3-2 pitch) to end the inning.
Fernando Rodriguez struck out Welington Castillo and Darwin Barney swinging for the first two outs in the eighth. After Bryan LaHair was announced as the pinch-hitter for Shawn Camp, Wesley Wright was summoned from the pen. Dale Sveum countered with Joe Mather. Mather struck out swinging to end the inning … three swinging strikeouts for the Cubs in the eighth.
The game went to the ninth with the Cubs down 3-0.
Justin Maxwell led off the ninth with a double to left center. Carlos Marmol settled down and caught Brett Wallace looking at a 3-2 pitch for the first out. Matt Dominguez struck out swinging and Jason Castro lined out to right to end the inning.
Wesley Wright stayed in for the ninth and retired DeJesus (tap back to the mound), Sappelt (strikeout) and Rizzo (groundout to short) in order to end the game.
Chris Volstad is scheduled to face Bud Norris in game 161 on Tuesday night.
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