Game Eighty-Three – Cubs 0, Athletics 1
WP – Dan Straily (5-2) LP – Matt Guerrier (2-4) Save – Grant Balfour (21)
The Cubs dropped the finale in Oakland after a passed ball by Welington Castillo in the seventh inning allowed the only run in the game to score. The Cubs lost 1-0 for the third time this season and were shutout for the fifth time this year. And two plays at the plate turned out to be the difference in the game.
Matt Guerrier made his Cubs’ debut in the seventh in relief of Travis Wood. Guerrier struggled with his command after retiring pinch-hitter Brandon Moss to start the inning. Chris Young reached on a single to left but Welington Castillo threw out Young trying to steal second. Guerrier issued a two-out walk to Derek Norris and surrendered a single to Seth Smith that put runners on the corners for pinch-hitter Eric Sogard.
A 0-1 pitch to Sogard squirted under Welington Castillo’s legs, right through the five-hole, and rolled behind him. Derek Norris scampered home with what turned out to be the only run of the game.
Travis Wood notched another quality start and shut down the Athletics for six innings. Wood allowed only three hits with one walk and five strikeouts on 101 pitches, 66 for strikes. Wood retired 12 batters in a row before issuing a two-out walk to Jed Lowrie in the sixth. Wood picked up his 16th quality start in 17 tries and received another no decision.
Pedro Strop also made his Cubs’ debut on Thursday and was rather impressive. Strop retired all three batters he faced in the eighth on 13 pitches, 10 for strikes.
The Cubs offense was non-existent but still had a chance to at least tie the game in the ninth. The Cubs only real scoring chance came in the fourth inning after Starlin Castro (1-for-3 with a walk) walked to start the inning. With Castro at second and one down, Alfonso Soriano (1-for-4) ripped a single into left, the Cubs first hit in the game. David Bell waived around Castro but Yoenis Cespedes threw a strike to the plate and cut down Castro for the second out.
Starlin Castro singled with two outs in the ninth and a throwing error by Jed Lowrie put Nate Schierholtz on first to extend the inning for Alfonso Soriano. Grant Belfour fell behind Soriano 2-1 before Soriano popped out to right to end the game.
The Cubs managed only two hits and three walks on Thursday.
Brian Bogusevic left the game in the fourth inning with left hamstring tightness. The Cubs did not update his status before the end of the game.
The Cubs finished a stretch of 16 of 19 games outside of Wrigley Field with a 10-9 record and ended the nine-game road trip with a 5-4 mark.
According to the Tribune, Thursday was the first time the Cubs lost a game 1-0 with a passed ball scoring the only run since July 1, 1962 when a passed ball by catcher Dick Bertell gave the Braves a win.
With Thursday’s loss, the Cubs dropped to 36-47 on the season.
Travis Wood and Dan Straily locked in a pitcher’s duel in Oakland on Thursday afternoon. The game remained scoreless until the seventh after both teams wasted scoring opportunities early on.
Wood set down the side in order in the first on nine pitches, five for strikes, and struck out Yoenis Cespedes swinging (3-2 pitch) to start the second. Nate Freiman reached on an infield single to second. Barney was shading him up the middle and made a diving stop toward the hole but lost the handle on the ball. Travis Wood could not put Chris Young away. The former D-Back finally struck out swinging on the tenth pitch of the at bat. Derek Norris worked a full count before pulling a single into left. With runners on first and second with two down, Wood struck out Seth Smith swinging to end the inning.
The Cubs did not manage a hit until the fourth inning. Starlin Castro led off the fourth with a walk. Sveum called for a hit and run on a 1-0 pitch to Schierholtz. Castro advanced to second when Schierholtz grounded out to first. Alfonso Soriano ripped a 0-2 pitch into left. David Bell waived a lumbering Castro around third. Yoenis Cespedes threw a strike to the plate and nailed Castro for the first out … the play was not that close. Soriano reached first on the single but he should have been standing at second when the throw went through to the plate. Instead, Soriano took off for second with Rizzo at the plate and was thrown out to end the inning.
The game remained scoreless through the fifth and sixth innings. Wood retired 10 in a row needed 79 pitches, 53 for strikes, to complete five innings of work.
Travis Wood recorded two quick outs to start the sixth. But after sitting down 12 straight, Wood issued a walk to Jed Lowrie. Josh Donaldson followed with the A’s third hit of the game, a single to right center, and Oakland had runners on first and third with two down. Cespedes grounded out to third on the first pitch of the at bat to end the inning.
After the Cubs went down in order quickly in the seventh, Travis Wood left the game and turned the game over to Matt Guerrier in the bottom of the inning. Guerrier struggled with his command in his Cubs’ debut and Welington Castillo both saved him and cost him a run.
Guerrier retired pinch hitter Brandon Moss on a pop out to Castro to start the inning. Chris Young smoked Guerrier’s first pitch into left. Young stopped at first with a single. Young took off for second on a 2-1 pitch to Norris. Castillo threw a strike to Castro and cut down Young for the second out. Norris worked a walk and advanced to third on a single to right center off the bat of Seth Smith.
Bob Melvin sent up Eric Sogard to hit for Adam Rosales. Guerrier jumped ahead of Sogard swung at and missed a 0-1 pitch that went under Castillo’s legs. Norris scampered home and Oakland took a 1-0 lead on a passed ball. Guerrier walked Sogard and put runners on first and second with two down. Chris Young lined a 2-2 pitch toward third that Valbuena snagged to end the inning.
The Cubs did nothing against Ryan Cook in the eighth. Pedro Strop made his Cubs’ debut in the eighth and retired the side in order.
Grant Balfour retired Castillo (swinging strikeout) and Valbuena (groundout to second) to start the ninth. Starlin Castro singled to right center (3-1 pitch) with two down. Nate Schierholtz hit a routine grounder to short. Jed Lowrie fielded the ball and threw to first. Lowrie threw high and Brandon Moss could not tag Schierholtz as he ran by and touched the base (replays showed the Cubs caught a break). Alfonso Soriano popped a 2-1 pitch to Chris Young in right to end the game. Balfour picked up his 39th consecutive save … just one short of Oakland’s team record held by Dennis Eckersley.
Cubs open a three-game series at Wrigley on Friday afternoon against the first place Pirates … Jeff Samardzija versus Francisco Liriano in the opener.