Cubs Can’t Slow Down the Dodgers – Cubs 4, Dodgers 6

Game One Hundred Eight – Cubs 4, Dodgers 6

WP – Ricky Nolasco (7-9) LP –Chris Rusin (1-1) Save – Kenley Jansen (15)

The Cubs could not hold onto two different leads on Thursday night and dropped the opener of the four-game series. With Thursday’s victory, the Dodgers tied a franchise record that was set by the 1955 Brooklyn Dodgers with their 11th straight road win.

Anthony Rizzo (2-for-3 with two home runs and a walk) and Junior Lake (2-for-4 with two home runs) did their part on Thursday night. Both Rizzo and Lake hit a pair of solo home runs. Lake and Rizzo went back-to-back against Ricky Nolasco in the first inning. Lake then took Nolasco deep in the third and gave the Cubs a 3-2 lead. Rizzo capped the Cubs scoring with his second longball of the night, and third in two games, with a solo shot into the bleachers in left center off southpaw Paco Rodriguez.

The Cubs managed only one other hit on the night, a single by Darwin Barney (1-for-4) in the second inning. The Cubs walked three times and struck out 11 times on Thursday.

The Dodgers hit the ball all over the park and pounded out 12 hits, and only one left the park.

Chris Rusin worked his way in and out of trouble in three of his first five innings before running out of gas and turning the game over to Michael Bowden with two on and no outs in the sixth. Jerry Hairston Jr. ripped a two-run single into center off Bowden that closed the book on Chris Rusin.

Chris Rusin had trouble putting hitters away before he lost his command in the sixth inning. Rusin was charged with four runs on seven hits with three walks and four strikeouts. Rusin threw 94 pitches, 55 for strikes, in five-plus innings.

Michael Bowden not only allowed two inherited runners to score but he gave up another run of his own. Eduardo Sanchez made his Cubs’ debut and pitched a scoreless inning. Hector Rondon served up a long homer to Yasiel Puig in the ninth, his only mistake in two innings of work.

The Cubs were charged with their 23rd blown save of the season … 27-for-40 in save opportunities this year.

Darwin Barney, Junior Lake and Cody Ransom turned in highlight reel plays on Thursday night and David DeJesus threw out Yasiel Puig at the plate.

With Thursday’s loss, the Cubs dropped back to 10 games under .500 with a 49-59 record on the season.

Chris Rusin retired the Dodgers in order in the first. Rusin caught Yasiel Puig looking for the second out. Rusin threw 14 pitches, nine for strikes, in the first frame.

The Cubs came out swinging in the first inning. After Ricky Nolasco struck out DeJesus swinging on a 3-2 pitch, Junior Lake stepped in and worked a 3-1 count. Lake then drove Nolasco’s next pitch out of the park and onto Waveland Avenue. Lake’s third longball of the season put the Cubs on the board.

Anthony Rizzo lined Nolasco’s next pitch into the bleachers in right center. Lake and Rizzo with back-to-back jacks, and the Cubs took a 2-0 lead. Nolasco retired Navarro and Schierholtz to end the inning.

Chris Rusin pitched his way out of a jam in the second inning. Juan Uribe singled to left on a 1-2 pitch. Rusin retired Van Slyke on a pop fly to center (3-1 pitch) for the second out. Mark Ellis ripped a 0-2 pitch down the left field line. With runners on second and third with two down, Rusin intentionally walked Tim Federowicz to load the bases. Ricky Nolasco grounded out to Castro for the third out. Rusin threw 37 pitches, 22 for strikes, in the first two innings.

The Cubs did nothing in the second and Rusin could not keep the Dodgers off the board in the third.

After retiring Crawford on a fly out to left center to start the third, Rusin issued a four-pitch walk to Yasiel Puig. Adrian Gonzalez singled to right center on a 3-2 pitch. Puig ended up at third with one out. Hanley Ramirez ripped a double into the left field corner. Puig scored easily. Lake bobbled the ball and Gonzalez was waived in … and slid in just ahead of Navarro’s tag. Replays showed Gonzalez was out. With the game tied at two and Ramirez at third, Rusin struck out Uribe swinging and retired Van Slyke on a pop out to second to end the inning. Rusin threw 58 pitches in the first three innings, 33 for strikes.

Junior Lake stepped in with one out in the third … and hit his second homer in as many at bats. Lake pulled a 1-1 slider from Nolasco into the bleachers in left center. Lake’s fourth homer of the year gave the Cubs a 3-2 lead. Nolasco struck out Rizzo and retired Navarro on a pop out to second to end the inning.

After three complete, the Cubs led 3-2.

Chris Rusin pitched his way in and out of another jam in the fourth. Rusin retired Ellis on a flyout to center to start the inning. Tim Federowicz singled to left. Nolasco dropped down a bunt that Rizzo picked up and threw out Federowicz at second. Nolasco took over at first and advanced to second when Carl Crawford reached on an infield single to Castro. The Cubs were in the shift and Barney could not get to second to cover the bag … and Crawford beat Castro’s throw to first. Puig flied out to left for the third out. Rusin threw 75 pitches over four innings, 45 for strikes.

The game remained 3-2 Cubs through the fifth inning.

Chris Rusin started the sixth inning after throwing 82 pitches, 52 for strikes, over the first five innings.

Scott Van Slyke led off the sixth with a single to left. Rusin then walked Mark Ellis and Dale Sveum went to his pen. Michael Bowden took over and Federowicz bunted both runners up ninety feet. Don Mattingly went to his pen and sent up Jerry Hairston Jr. to hit for Ricky Nolasco.

Jerry Hairston Jr. ripped Bowden’s first pitch back up the middle and into center. Van Slyke and Ellis scored, 4-3 Dodgers. Crawford flied out to right center but Yasiel Puig drove a 1-1 pitch down the right field line. Hairston stopped at third on Puig’s double. Adrian Gonzalez lifted Bowden’s first pitch into shallow left center. Hairston scored. DeJesus played the ball perfectly and made a strong throw to the plate. Navarro applied the tag and Puig was called out to end the inning.

The Cubs could not push across any runs in the sixth despite walking two times and the Dodgers committing an error.

Eduardo Sanchez made his debut in the seventh and gave up a two-out double to Van Slyke but that was all and the game went to the bottom of the seventh with the Cubs trailing 5-3. And the Cubs did nothing in the seventh.

Anthony Rizzo cut the Dodgers lead to 5-4 in the eighth with his second home run of the night. Rizzo drove a 2-0 pitch from lefty Paco Rodriguez into the bleachers in left center. Rodriguez retired Navarro and Schierholtz to end the inning.

Hector Rondon stayed in for the ninth after pitching a 1-2-3 eighth inning. Yasiel Puig launched a solo home run into the bleachers in left center and gave the Dodgers a 6-4 lead. Rondon got out the ninth thanks to two excellent defensive plays from Junior Lake and Cody Ransom.

The Cubs went to the ninth down by two … and Kenley Jansen struck out the side in order to end the game.

Travis Wood faces Hyun-Jin Ryu in game two on Friday afternoon.

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Quote of the Day

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  • http://chicagocubsonline.com/ Neil

    Anthony Rizzo hit two home runs tonight and is the first Cubs player since Ron Santo to have two 15-homer seasons before the age of 24.

    • jtrain23

      This is stunning to me. It truly shows the futility of our farm system. Any talented hitters we have had we’re acquired via trade or free agency once they reached their potential ie. Dawson, Cey, Sandberg, Sosa, Lee, Soriano, Ramirez, etc. I think this new system will help us be competitive for a long time instead of simply once in a while for a season or two

  • http://theboardridersuite.wordpress.com/ Theboardrider

    Rizzo is hot again. He is very streaky but at his age I think that is a really good sign. The fact he can get hot in August is encouraging. I would presume that he will be able to learn from these streaks an become consistent, and if that is the case it’s great for us. The chance he hits my benchmark of 25 HR is looking good. He could knock 100 runs as well. If he pulls those off in year 2 of his career, I will say his future is pretty certainly very bright.

    • Tony_Hall

      Plus he is tied for 3rd in all of MLB and is 2nd in the NL in doubles with 31.

      Likely to get to these numbers
      25 HRs, 45 2b’s, 90 RBI season is not bad.

      And we will look back at this season as his sophomore slump.

  • SirGladiator

    This is another good example of where it pays to have a bullpen, and a manager. I’m not entirely sure who is reliable enough to come in with 2 on and nobody out and get the job done, but it obviously isn’t Bowden. Your best shot is obviously Strop or Parker, if you absolutely ‘must’ save Strop for the 8th then you go with Parker, smart managing probably goes ahead and uses Strop since the game is effectively on the line there. But either decision is reasonable. Bowden is not reasonable, it’s ‘send him out there and pray he doesn’t suck again’ . Oh well, he sucked again. Obviously Rusin brought it on himself by putting those runners on, but Bowden deserves at least half of that loss, he was just so terrible. But ultimately if we had a bullpen filled with great arms, then it wouldn’t matter that our manager sucks, if whoever he picks is genuinely good. That’s what we need, especially so long as we have Sveum and not somebody who knows what they’re doing, we need players good enough to get it done regardless of how incompetent the manager is. That’s gotta be our top priority in the off-season, getting some real quality relievers. It’s not often you see a team get 4 homers and lose, but Sveum, Rusin, and Bowden combined to find a way. Let’s hope game 2 we’re so far ahead that it doesn’t matter what Sveum does with the pen. Better still, let’s hope that we finally get to see Marmol again tomorrow, that way our victory will be automatic :) .

    • 07GreyDigger

      Bowden isn’t the worst bullpen guy we have by far. You can’t throw the same guys out there every day otherwise their arms will fall off. Unfortunately, you have to throw guys out there you don’t really trust, (Rondon comes to mind) because you need someone to take the innings.