Shoulda, Coulda, Wooda – Cubs 3, Mets 4

Game Forty-Three – Cubs 3, Mets 4

WP – Scott Rice (2-3) LP – Kyuji Fujikawa (1-1) Save – Bobby Parnell (6)

Travis Wood notched his ninth straight quality start but it was not enough as the Cubs lost their first series to the Mets at Wrigley Field since 2007. The Cubs took a 3-1 lead into the seventh before a pair of long home runs ended the six-game homestand on a bad note (3-3).

Travis Wood allowed just one run over the first 6 2/3 innings of the game as he and the Cubs seemed to be in control of the game. But a bloop and a blast tied the game in the seventh and Daniel Murphy hit another homer at Wrigley Field in the eighth off of Kyuji Fujikawa that ended up being the game winner.

While it felt like the Cubs were in control for most of the afternoon, the inability to plate runners from third with less than one out cost them another game. The Cubs were a miserable 1-for-10 with runners in scoring position and left five men on base.

Travis Wood was very good once again. Wood made only one mistake in his seven innings of work, and it cost him the game. Ruben Tejada reached on a bloop single to right with two outs in the seventh. Wood then jumped ahead of Juan Lagares 1-2. Lagares looked at ball two before launching Wood’s fifth pitch of the at bat to the back of the bleachers in left. Wood turned the game over to the bullpen after allowing three runs on five hits with two walks, a wild pitch and three strikeouts in seven innings. Wood threw 103 pitches, 64 for strikes.

Travis Wood supplied most of the offense on Sunday. Wood hit his first longball of the year in the fifth, a two-run shot that ended up on Waveland and broke-up a scoreless tie. Wood went 1-for-2 with a home run and two RBI on Sunday.

Ryan Sweeney (2-for-3 with a home run, a double and a walk) had a good day playing in place of Alfonso Soriano. Sweeney’s first home run in a Cubs’ uniform and first since July 27, 2011 when he wore an Oakland A’s uniform accounted for the Cubs’ third run. Sweeney was called out trying to stretch a double into a triple to start the fourth. Replays showed that Sweeney was safe.

David DeJesus (2-for-4 with a double), Nate Schierholtz (1-for-4 with a double) and Welington Castillo (2-for-4 with a double and a run) each recorded doubles but only one of them scored. The Cubs outhit the Mets 8-7 and lost a one-run game at home in which six of the eight hits went for extra bases.

With Sunday’s loss (1-6 on Sundays in 2013), the Cubs dropped back to seven games under the .500 mark, 18-25 on the season.

Travis Wood made quick work of the Mets in the first inning. Wood set down the side in order on just 10 pitches, eight strikes.

David DeJesus led off the Cubs’ first with a double to left center. Juan Lagares misplayed the ball as his first step was in and not back. Starlin Castro drove a 3-1 pitch to deep center. DeJesus tagged and advanced to third with one down. Anthony Rizzo ended his string of not striking out since May 7. Rizzo took an awkward cut at a 1-2 pitch and went back to the dugout. Schierholtz tapped back to Gee to end the inning.

Travis Wood pitched his way in and out of trouble in the second. Wood issued a leadoff walk to Marlon Byrd then surrendered a single to right to Lucas Duda. The Mets had runners on first and second with no outs. Anthony Recker lifted a 0-1 pitch to deep center. David DeJesus stayed with the ball and hauled it in near the track. Byrd did not tag and advance on the play. Ruben Tejada rapped into a 5-4-3 inning ending double play … 26 pitches, 16 for strikes, for Wood after two innings.

Dillon Gee continued his mastery over the Cubs offense in the second. Gee struck out the side in between giving up a single to Welington Castillo.

There was no score at the end of two complete.

Juan Lagares led off the third with a double to left. Gee could not get the bunt down and ended up hitting a soft liner to Castro (1-2 pitch) for the first out. Daniel Murphy hit a hit smash back up the middle on the first pitch he saw. Wood fielded his position perfectly and caught Lagares in a rundown. Lagares was eventually tagged out (1-6-5) and Murphy ended up at second. Justin Turner grounded out to Barney for the third out.

The game remained scoreless through the third and fourth innings.

After Travis Wood retired the Mets in order in the fifth (60 pitches, 39 for strikes, after five), Welington Castillo led off the fifth with a double into the left field corner. Darwin Barney was caught looking at a 2-2 pitch for the first out.

Travis Wood stepped in and launched a 0-1 pitch onto Waveland. Wood’s first homer of the season and fourth of his career gave the Cubs a 2-0 lead. David DeJesus followed with a single to center, stole second with Castro at the plate and advanced to third when Castro flied out to deep center (2-1 pitch). Rizzo struck out swinging to end the inning.

The Mets got on the board in the sixth after Wood walked Dillon Gee to start the inning. Daniel Murphy pulled a 2-2 pitch toward the hole at second. Barney picked and threw to Castro and forced Gee but beat Castro’s throw to first. With Murphy at first and one down, Wood uncorked a wild pitch on a 1-0 offering to Turner. Murphy took second and held when Turner struck out swinging on a 3-2 pitch. David Wright then blooped a 1-0 pitch into shallow left. Murphy scored, 2-1 Cubs. Marlon Byrd popped out to left to end the inning.

Ryan Sweeney got the run right back in the sixth. Sweeney launched a 2-0 pitch from Gee into the bleachers in right. Sweeney’s first longball since July 27, 2011 put the Cubs up 3-1. Nate Schierholtz followed with a double to left. Terry Collins decided that was enough for Dillon Gee and went to his pen for sidearmer Greg Burke.

Luis Valbuena lifted Burke’s first pitch to deep center. Schierholtz tagged and advanced to third with one down. Welington Castillo failed to do his job again. Castillo has really struggled with runners on third and less than one out this season. Castillo refused to take a walk and struck out swinging on a 3-2 pitch for the second out … the pitch was nowhere near the strike zone. Barney lined out to left for the third out.

Travis Wood threw only 84 pitches, 53 for strikes, over the first six innings and started the seventh by retiring Lucas Duda (pop out to left) and Anthony Recker (flyout to left). Ruben Tejada then blooped a 2-1 pitch into shallow right. Schierholtz tried to make a diving catch, but came up short. Wood jumped in front of Lagares 1-2. Wood missed on his next offering … then really missed on his fifth pitch of the at bat.

Juan Lagares launched the first homer of his big league career to the back of the bleachers in left … and just like that the game was tied at three. Wood retired pinch hitter Jordany Valdespin to end the inning, but the damage was done.

The Cubs did nothing against former Cubs’ farmhand Scott Rice in the seventh.

Kyuji Fujikawa replaced Wood for the eighth inning and the third pitch of his outing ended up in the back of the bleachers in right. Daniel Murphy gave the Mets the lead with his fourth homer of the season, and second of the series. Fujikawa retired Turner, Wright and Byrd to end the inning.

The Cubs did nothing against Scott Rice in the eighth or Bobby Parnell in the ninth.

Monday is an off-day for the Chicago Cubs. Dale Sveum’s team begins a tough six-game road trip with the first of three in Pittsburgh on Tuesday night. Matt Garza is scheduled to face Wandy Rodriguez in the opener.

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Quote of the Day

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