Cubs Pen Implodes and Ends the Streak – Cubs 4, Diamondbacks 12

Game Fifty-Four – Cubs 4, Diamondbacks 12

WP – Ian Kennedy (3-3) LP – Carlos Marmol (2-3) Save – None

The Cubs winning streak came to an end on Saturday night after Jeff Samardzija and the bullpen could not hold a 3-1 lead. The Diamondbacks scored seven runs in the seventh and eighth inning with the big blast coming off the bat of Paul Goldschmidt, a grand slam off Carlos Marmol after he walked the bases loaded. Arizona kept scoring off Zach Putnam in the ninth for good measure and turned a close ballgame that the Cubs led 3-1 as late as the seventh inning into a rout.

The Diamondbacks turned five walks into five runs in the seventh and eighth innings that allowed them to take the lead before they poured it on.

Jeff Samardzija pitched a better game than his final line indicates. Samardzija allowed only one run while he was on the mound but was charged with two more after James Russell served up a bases clearing double to Jason Kubel in the seventh that turned a 3-1 Cubs’ lead into a 4-3 deficit. Samardzija struck out 11 batters and surrendered seven hits in his 6 1/3 innings on Saturday night but he ran up his pitch count and was out of gas by the time he took the mound in the seventh.

Samardzija struck out six in a row and one point and became only the second pitcher (Matt Harvey) to strikeout Paul Goldschmidt three times in a game. But Samardzija took the hill to start the seventh after throwing 103 pitches through six innings. Samardzija walked two of the three batters he faced in the seventh before turning the game over to the pen.

James Russell issued a two out walk to Martin Prado that loaded the bases. Jason Kubel cleared the bases with his fourth double of the year. Kubel gave the Diamondbacks a brief 4-3 lead and closed the book on Jeff Samardzija. Samardzija was charged with three runs on seven hits with four walks and 11 strikeouts in 6 1/3 innings. Samardzija threw 115 pitches, 76 for strikes.

After Nate Schierholtz (2-for-4 with a double, a home run and two RBI) tied the game in the seventh with a solo home run, his seventh of the season, Carlos Marmol took over in the eighth and the game quickly got out of hand.

Carlos Marmol gave up four runs in just a third of an inning after walking the bases loaded and serving up a grand slam to Paul Goldschmidt. Arizona scored 11 runs in their final three at bats, with nine of those being charged to the bullpen. On the night, Cubs pitching allowed 12 runs on 17 hits with eight walks and 12 strikeouts.

The Cubs offense was non-existent on Saturday night after the first inning. The Cubs managed only three hits, one walk and Starlin Castro was hit by a pitch. Ian Kennedy retired 17 in a row after Nate Schierholtz’s RBI double in the first until Schierholtz’s homer to lead off the seventh. Anthony Rizzo (0-for-3 with a walk and a run scored), Alfonso Soriano (0-for-3 with a sac fly RBI) and Welington Castillo (0-for-3 with a RBI) contributed in the first inning before the offense became too aggressive against Ian Kennedy and allowed him to shut them down.

Dale Sveum was ejected in the second inning by Joe West for arguing the second bad call in as many innings by first base umpire Toby Basner. Saturday night marked the second time this season that Sveum has been ejected … and four of Sveum’s six ejections as Cubs’ manager have come in games started by Jeff Samardzija.

The Cubs’ five-game winning streak came to an end on Saturday night and the Cubs dropped back to eight games under .500 for the season with a 23-31 record.

After rain delayed the start of the game for two hours and 21 minutes, Gerardo Parra pulled Samardzija’s second pitch of the game into the bleachers in right center. And just like that the Cubs were down by a run. Jeff Samardzija retired Gregorius and struck out Goldschmidt but Miguel Montero reached on a broken bat infield single to first base. Rizzo fielded the ball but Samardzija was a little late getting to the bag due to the broken bat. First base umpire, Toby Basner, called Montero safe but replays showed Montero was out at first. Martin Prado grounded out to short for the third out. Samardzija threw 18 pitches, 11 for strikes, in the first inning.

David DeJesus led off the Cubs’ first inning with a double to left. Jason Kubel misplayed the deep fly into a two base hit. Ian Kennedy then plunked Starlin Castro on the first pitch and walked Anthony Rizzo to load the bases for Alfonso Soriano. While everyone was thinking slam, Soriano popped a 0-1 pitch into center. DeJesus tagged and scored the tying run. Castro and Rizzo held with one out.

Nate Schierholtz pulled a 2-2 pitch down the right field line. Castro scored easily but Rizzo had to hold at third as the ball hit off the sidewall. Welington Castillo pulled Kennedy’s first pitch to the hole at short. Rizzo scored as Gregorius threw out Castillo at first base. Luis Valbuena flied out to center to end the inning. Kennedy threw 22 pitches in the first inning, 13 for strikes.

Jeff Samardzija escaped a long second inning in which his manager was ejected without allowing any runs. Samardzija struck out Jason Kubel swinging to start the inning. A.J. Pollock hit a 2-2 pitch toward second that Barney fielded and threw to Rizzo. First base umpire, Toby Basner, called Pollock safe. Dale Sveum argued the call with Basner then was ejected by Joe West. A visibly irritated Jeff Samardzija gave up a single to center to Willie Bloomquist. Ian Kennedy bunted Pollock and Bloomquist up to second and third with two outs. Samardzija walked Gerardo Parra to load the bases. Samardzija struck out Gregorius swinging (1-2 pitch) to end the inning. Samardzija threw 28 pitches in the second inning and needed 46 pitches, 29 for strikes, to complete two innings of work.

Ian Kennedy settled in after the first inning and retired the next 17 batters he faced while Samardzija kept the D-Backs off the board through six innings.

Samardzija struck out the side in the third inning and six in a row from the second inning through two outs in the fourth. Samardzija pitched his way in and out of another bases loaded jam in the fifth inning.

Ian Kennedy singled to left to start the fifth. Parra hit a grounder to Barney. The Cubs forced Kennedy at second but Parra took over at first base with one out. Didi Gregorius stepped in and pulled a 0-2 pitch into right. Parra held at third on Gregorius’ double. Paul Goldschmidt struck out swinging (1-2 pitch) for the second out. Samardzija wanted nothing to do with Miguel Montero and walked him on four pitches to load the bases. Samardzija struck out Martin Prado swinging (1-2 pitch) to end the inning. Samardzija threw 92 pitches, 64 for strikes, over the first five innings.

Samardzija retired three of the four batters he faced in the sixth. Willie Bloomquist singled with two outs but Kennedy struck out swinging to end the inning. Samardzija needed 103 pitches, 72 for strikes, to complete six innings on Saturday night.

After the Cubs failed to do anything against Kennedy in the bottom of the sixth, Samardzija started the seventh by walking Gerardo Parra. Gregorius grounded into a 4-6 force out and took over at first base. Samardzija walked Paul Goldschmidt to put two on with one out.

Jamie Quirk made the slow walk and went to his bullpen for James Russell.

Russell did his job by retiring Montero on a pop out to center but he walked Prado to load the bases with two outs. Russell jumped ahead of Kubel 1-2 before Jason Kubel drove his next pitch to left center. Kubel cleared the bases with a double and just like that the Cubs were down 4-3 … all three walks issued by Cubs pitching in the seventh inning scored. Jamie Quirk went back to his pen and replaced Russell with Carlos Villanueva. A.J. Pollock flied out to center to end the inning.

Nate Schierholtz led off the seventh and not only recorded the Cubs’ first hit since his double in the first inning, but he tied the game with his seventh homer of the season. Ian Kennedy retired Castillo, Valbuena and Barney in order to end the inning.

At the end of seven, the game was tied at four … but not for long.

Carlos Marmol started the eighth and could not find the strike zone and when he did, the Diamondbacks punished the baseball. Marmol walked Willie Bloomquist to start the eighth. Eric Hinske hit for Kennedy and flied out to right. Kirk Gibson called for a hit and run on a 1-0 pitch to Parra. Gerardo Parra pulled Marmol’s offering into right center. Parra would have ended up a third and Bloomquist would have scored standing but the ball caught in the ivy and both runners ended up on second and third on the ground rule double. With the infield in, one out and runners on second and third, Marmol walked Gregorius to load the bases.

Paul Goldschmidt stepped in and untied the game with a monster shot to the back of the bleachers in left center. The first grand slam of Paul Goldschmidt’s career gave the Diamondbacks a commanding 8-4 lead. Marmol stayed in and walked Miguel Montero before Quirk finally lifted him and went to Blake Parker. Parker retired Prado on a flyout to right center before giving up a single to Kubel on a 2-2 pitch. Parker retired Pollock, the ninth batter of the inning, on a flyout to center to end the inning.

The Cubs did nothing against David Hernandez in the eighth and Arizona went to work against Zach Putnam in the ninth.

The D-Backs scored four runs on six hits off Putnam in the ninth as they sent nine more batters to the plate. To say what was a pitcher’s duel early turned very ugly late would be an understatement.

Edwin Jackson faces the unbeaten lefty Patrick Corbin in the finale with Arizona on Sunday afternoon.

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