The Cubs Defense Taketh then Giveth Away – Cubs 2, Padres 4

Game Twenty-Eight – Cubs 2, Padres 4

WP – Joe Thatcher (2-0) LP – Travis Wood (2-2) Save – Huston Street (6)

The Cubs gave another game away on Thursday afternoon and had to settle for a split in the four-game series with the Padres. While the Cubs were not charged with any errors, but it was far from a clean game. The Cubs defense made several outstanding plays over the first 7 2/3 innings before someone flipped a switch and it cost Travis Wood, and the Cubs, a game.

Travis Wood took a perfect game into the fifth then a two-hit shutout into the eighth. Wood was excellent, kept his pitch count down and appeared to be on his way to a complete game. Wood singled, stole a base and spent a lot of time on the bases in the seventh and was not the same in the eighth.

After Scott Hairston (1-for-3 with a home run and two RBI) broke up the scoreless tie with his third homer of the year in the bottom of the seventh, Wood had a little breathing room in the eighth. But an infield single and a walk put two on with no outs. Julio Borbon made a highlight reel play for the second out in the eighth … and Wood appeared to get of the jam when Yonder Alonso hit a pop fly into shallow right. Borbon called off Barney, but the ball hit off the tip of his glove and Jesus Guzman scored the Padres’ first run. Wood turned the game over to Shawn Camp with runners on first and third with two outs. A Welington Castillo passed ball allowed Kyle Blanks to score the tying run.

The Padres scored two more runs in the eighth before the Cubs could stop the bleeding and record the third out.

Travis Wood left with a 2-1 lead, runners on first and third with two down and ended up taking the loss. Wood pitched an excellent game and turned in a better performance than his final line … three runs on four hits with a walk and three strikeouts in 7 2/3 innings, 96 pitches, 63 strikes.

The offense had plenty of opportunities to put runs on the board early in the game but were unable to come up with a hit with a man on base (0-for-7 with RISP, nine left on base).

Scott Hairston lined his third home run off Eric Stults in the seventh, a two-run shot with Welington Castillo (2-for-4 with a run scored) on board that accounted for the Cubs only runs of the game. Anthony Rizzo (1-for-4) stayed hot and Starlin Castro (1-for-4) collected one of the Cubs’ nine hits. Darwin Barney (0-for-2 with two walks) reached base in two of his four plate appearances. Travis Wood (1-for-3 with a stolen base) singled and stole his first big league base in the seventh.

While the Cubs were not expected to win very often this season, no excuse can be made for what took place in the eighth inning of Thursday’s game. Physical mistakes are one thing, but mental mistakes and a lack of hustle are entirely different.

With Thursday’s loss, the Cubs dropped back to six games under .500 with a 11-17 record.

Welington Castillo led off the seventh inning of a scoreless ballgame with a single to center. Scott Hairston then lined a 0-1 pitch into the bleachers in left. On a day with the wind blowing in, it was doubtful that anyone would be hitting a home run on Thursday … but Hairston did. After Barney grounded out to third for the first out, Travis Wood singled to left. Dave Sappelt hit a deep drive to left center for the second out of the inning. Bud Black made the slow walk and replaced Eric Stults with Brad Brach. With Cody Ransom at the plate, Travis Wood stole second. Ransom ended up walking and Black went back to his pen for Joe Thatcher.

With two on, two down and the Cubs up 2-0, Thatcher caught Anthony Rizzo looking at a 1-2 pitch to end the inning.

Travis Wood needed only 74 pitches, 51 for strikes, to complete seven innings on Thursday. Wood fell behind Jesus Guzman. Guzman then reached on an infield single (3-1 count), just the third hit of the game for the Padres. Wood missed on a 3-2 pitch to Kyle Blanks … and for the first time all afternoon, the Padres had two runners on base. Wood’s first and only walk would end up costing him.

Jedd Gyorko flied out to left center and both runners held. Nick Hundley then popped a 1-2 pitch down the right field line. The wind blew the ball into foul ground. Julio Borbon raced in and caught it in the visitor’s bullpen. As Borbon was going to the ground, he flipped the ball to Rizzo to get back in. Rizzo saw Guzman tag from second and made a perfect throw to third … that was just a little late. Yonder Alonso hit for Thatcher and popped a 1-1 pitch into shallow right. Barney went out. Borbon came in and appeared to call Barney off. The ball hit off the tip of Borbon’s glove, Guzman scored, Blanks ended up at third and Dale Sveum went to the bullpen.

Shawn Camp replaced Wood with runners on first and third, two outs and the Cubs’ clinging to a 2-1 lead. Welington Castillo missed Camp’s pitch and did not hustle to find the ball. Blanks did not take off for home right away. Blanks started then stopped then started again when he saw Castillo taking his time getting to the ball. Camp ended up walking Denorfia and Sveum went back to his pen for James Russell.

Everth Cabrera lined a 0-1 pitch into center and plated Alonso with the go ahead run. Chase Headley stepped in with runners on first and third with two down. Cabrera stole second then Headley drove in the Padres’ fourth run with an infield single to Darwin Barney. Russell falls off the mound to the third base side and Barney had little to no shot at recording an out on the slow roller. Russell hit Carlos Quentin to load the bases before striking out Jesus Guzman swinging on a 3-2 pitch to end the inning.

The Cubs had a shot in the ninth after a two-out, pinch hit double by Nate Schierholtz but Huston Street struck out Luis Valbuena to end the game … and the series.

Weather permitting, the Cubs open a three-game series on Friday afternoon with the Reds … Carlos Villanueva against Mike Leake.

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Quote of the Day

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