Cubs Southpaw Struggles Continue – Cubs 2, Rangers 4

Game Thirteen – Cubs 2, Rangers 4

WP – Derek Holland (1-1) LP – Travis Wood (1-1) Save – Joe Nathan (5)

Once again the Cubs mounted a late rally … and once again they came up short. The Cubs managed only three hits over the first eight innings before scoring two runs in the ninth and loading the bases with two outs. Darwin Barney (0-for-4) put together an impressive eight-pitch at bat against Joe Nathan. Barney appeared to deliver a game-tying bloop single into center but Craig Gentry made a diving backhanded catch to end the game. The Cubs are now 0-4 in game started by left-handed pitchers.

Travis Wood took the loss after putting together another excellent outing. Wood allowed just one run while he was on the mound. Wood’s only issues were the free passes. Wood walked three batters on the night, including Derek Holland, and thanks to another miscue by Shawn Camp, the third walk cost the Cubs a run. Wood was charged with two runs on five hits with three walks and three strikeouts in 7 1/3 innings. Wood threw 92 pitches, 61 for strikes.

The issues in the bullpen continued on Tuesday night. Shawn Camp replaced Wood in the eighth and the game quickly got out of hand. Camp surrendered a single to Elvis Andrus then uncorked wild pickoff attempt to first base that allowed Ian Kinsler to score. Adrian Beltre launched a 2-0 pitch from Camp into the bleachers in left center and gave the Rangers a 4-0 lead.

Kameron Loe made his Cubs debut and pitched a scoreless ninth inning.

The Cubs offense was non-existent until the ninth inning. Derek Holland faced just two over the minimum over his seven shutout innings. Anthony Rizzo (1-for-3 with a walk and a run scored) and Alfonso Soriano (2-for-4 with a double) managed the only two hits off the Rangers’ southpaw. Dave Sappelt (0-for-4 with two strikeouts) and Scott Hairston (0-for-3) continued their slumps.

Starlin Castro (1-for-4 with a run scored) started the rally in the ninth with a two-out bloop single. Anthony Rizzo walked and Ron Washington went to his pen for Joe Nathan. Soriano reached on an infield single to the hole at short. Nate Schierholtz (1-for-1 with a double and two RBI) hit for Hairston and drove a 1-2 pitch to left. Jeff Baker misplayed the ball into a double and both Castro and Rizzo scored. Nathan then hit Welington Castillo (1-for-3 with a HBP) to load the bases. Craig Gentry bailed out Nathan and the Rangers with a sensational diving catch. The Cubs made Joe Nathan throw 20 pitches to record one out.

The Cubs entered play on Tuesday night 0-for-the-last-23 with runners in scoring position and went 2-for-4 with RISP while leaving five on base … only one run scoring hit.

With Tuesday’s loss, the Cubs have dropped eight of their last 10 games.

After Travis Wood worked out of a first and second, no outs jam in the first inning without allowing the Rangers to score, Wood found a groove and put together a very good outing.

The Rangers lone run off Travis Wood, while he was on the mound, came in the fourth inning. Adrian Beltre led off the fourth with a double to left. Beltre lined a 0-1 pitch over Soriano’s head. The ball one-hopped the wall and Beltre ended up at second. Nelson Cruz popped out to Rizzo for the first out. Welington Castillo was crossed up on the first pitch to Pierzynski. The passed ball allowed Beltre to move up ninety feet. Wood struck out Pierzynski swinging for the second out.

Jeff Baker stepped in and did what he does against southpaws. Baker pulled Wood’s first pitch to the gap in left center. Beltre scored and Baker ended up a second with a double. Mitch Moreland lined out to Gonzalez at third to end the inning.

Derek Holland continued his dominance over the Cubs offense while Travis Wood kept the Rangers off the board for the remainder of the time he was on the mound.

Travis Wood started the eighth and retired pinch-hitter Leury Garcia on a pop out to right. Wood then issued his third free pass of the game to Ian Kinsler. Dale Sveum made the slow walk and went to his pen for Shawn Camp … and the game quickly got out of hand.

Ron Washington called a hit and run on a 1-1 pitch to Elvis Andrus. Andrus placed the ball in Barney’s vacated spot. Kinsler ended up at third with one out. After the first offering to Adrian Beltre, Camp committed another error. Camp threw wide of first, a wild pickoff attempt. Kinsler scored and Andrus ended up a third with one down … a two-base error and a 2-0 Rangers’ lead.

With Andrus at third, Dale Sveum brought his infield in … but it would not matter. Adrian Beltre crushed Camp’s next pitch, the ball ended up in the bleachers and just like that the Rangers had a 4-0 lead. Camp retired Cruz on a flyout to left center. Sveum went back to his pen for James Russell. Russell struck out A.J. Pierzynski swinging to end the inning.

After the Cubs managed only their third hit of the game in the eighth inning off of Tanner Scheppers, Kameron Loe made his Cubs debut in the ninth. Loe surrendered a two-out double to Craig Gentry, then an infield single to pinch-hitter Leonys Martin. But Gentry tried to score from second on the slow hit roller and was called out at the plate to end the top of the ninth.

Michael Kirkman started the ninth for Texas up 4-0. Kirkman made quick work of pinch-hitter Dioner Navarro and Dave Sappelt before Starlin Castro reached on a bloop single to right. Rizzo walked. Ron Washington went to his pen for Joe Nathan.

Alfonso Soriano reached on an infield single to the hole at short to load the bases. Sveum went to his bench and sent up Nate Schierholtz to hit for Hairston. Schierholtz drove a 1-2 pitch out to left. Jeff Baker dove but misplayed then dropped the ball. Castro and Rizzo scored … 4-2 Rangers. Darwin Barney stepped in after Nathan hit Welington Castillo to load the bases. Darwin Barney put together an eight-pitch at bat … but Craig Gentry made an excellent backhanded diving catch in shallow center to end the game.

Carlo Villanueva faces Justin Grimm in game two, weather permitting, on Wednesday night.

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