More Zeros Across the Board – Cubs 0, Cardinals 4

Game One Hundred Twenty-Two – Cubs 0, Cardinals 4

WP – Joe Kelly (4-3) LP – Travis Wood (7-10) Save – None

The Cubs were shutout at Wrigley Field for the fifth time in a seven game span and dropped the second game of the series to the Cardinals. Saturday was the first time since September 2, 2003 that the Cardinals shut out the Cubs at Wrigley Field.

A day after the Cubs walked six times and scored seven runs, the Cubs were shutout on five hits and three walks … and only two of the Cubs’ five hits left the infield.

Nate Schierholtz (2-for-4 with a double) managed the Cubs only extra basehit while Donnie Murphy (1-for-4), Darwin Barney (1-for-2 with a walk) and Travis Wood (1-for-2) collected the other three hits. The Cubs were 0-for-7 with runners in scoring position and left seven men on base.

Travis Wood retired the first nine batters he faced on Saturday afternoon on just 36 pitches, and 12 of those were used on Yadier Molina in the second inning. Wood was sharp once again but the Cardinals tacked on a run in the fifth when Starlin Castro fell asleep on a pop fly in shallow left with the bases loaded that allowed Jon Jay to tag and score. Yadier Molina then knocked Wood out of the game with a two-run homer with one down in the sixth.

Travis Wood gave up only four hits, but all four went for extra bases and accounted for three of the Cardinals’ four runs. Wood allowed four runs on four hits with one walk, two HBP and three strikeouts. Wood threw 93 pitches, 67 for strikes, in 5 1/3 innings.

The Cubs have scored a grand total of zero runs over Travis Wood’s last two starts (13 1/3 innings).

Blake Parker picked up the last two outs in the sixth and Michael Bowden pitched a scoreless seventh inning. Hector Rondon kept the Cardinals off the board over the last two innings.

Cubs pitching allowed only five hits, but all five went for extra bases.

Dale Sveum pulled Starlin Castro from the game after the top of the fifth inning and benched him for falling asleep on a pop fly into shallow left. Castro caught the pop up with the bases loaded to retire Matt Carpenter for the second out of the inning. Castro put his head down and did not realize that Jon Jay was tagging from third on the play. Jay scored the Cardinals’ second run on the play. Donnie Murphy moved over to short and Cody Ransom entered the game at third base in the top of the sixth.

With Saturday’s loss, the Cubs dropped to 53-69 on the season.

Travis Wood retired the first nine batters he faced on Saturday afternoon on 36 pitches, 28 for strikes. Wood did not fool the Cardinals in the second inning but still kept the Redbirds off the board for three more innings. Joe Kelly was effective once again over the first two innings and limited the Cubs to a walk and a Donnie Murphy single in the second.

Darwin Barney led off the third with an infield single. Barney put together a long at bat that ended with a swinging bunt up the third baseline. Travis Wood then pulled a 0-2 pitch to the hole at short. Pete Kozma made an excellent play to get to the ball but Barney beat his throw to second. Wood reached on an infield single and the Cubs had runners on first and second with no outs.

For some reason, David DeJesus bunted on a 1-0 pitch but did not bunt the ball far enough away from Molina. The Cardinals’ catcher picked up the ball and threw out Barney at third for the first out. Junior Lake worked a full count then walked to load the bases with one out for Anthony Rizzo.

Anthony Rizzo struck out swinging (0-2 pitch) on a 95 mph fastball up in the zone. Nate Schierholtz pulled a 2-2 pitch right to Matt Carpenter at second to end the inning. The Cubs made Joe Kelly work in the third (58 pitches, 40 strikes, for the game, 34 pitches in the second) but were 0-for-3 with RISP and left four men on base over the first three at bats.

The Cardinals not only collected their first hit in the fourth but took a lead in a span of just two pitches. Matt Carpenter led off the fourth with a double to right. Carlos Beltran then pulled Wood’s first pitch down the left field line. Carpenter scored, 1-0 Cardinals. Wood struck out Holliday swinging for the first out.

Allen Craig smoked a 1-1 pitch back up the middle that Wood caught then threw to second to try to double off Beltran. Beltran was called safe and Wood struck out Yadier Molina swinging to end the inning. Wood threw 51 pitches, 40 for strikes, over the first four innings.

The Cubs went down in order in the fourth. Kelly threw 73 pitches, 49 for strikes, over four innings.

The top of the fifth inning was one of the ugliest innings for the Cubs this season.

After Wood retired Freese on a pop out to second (3-2 pitch), Jon Jay doubled to left. Wood then walked the light-hitting Pete Kozma (3-2 pitch). Joe Kelly squared to bunt on a 0-2 pitch and Wood hit him with the pitch … and loaded the bases with one out.

Travis Wood jumped ahead of Matt Carpenter 0-2 and got him to pop up the third pitch of the at bat into shallow left. Starlin Castro went back and caught the ball for the second out … then put his head down. Jay saw Castro fall asleep and tagged from third. By the time Castro realized what was going on, Jay beat his strong throw to the plate and scored the Cardinals second run. And to add insult to bad baseball, both Kozma and Kelly moved up ninety feet on the play.

With runners on second and third with two down, Wood retired Beltran on a pop out to Barney to finally end the inning. Wood threw 82 pitches, 61 for strikes, over five innings.

The Cubs could not take advantage of a Darwin Barney leadoff walk in the fifth and after five complete the Cubs were down 2-0.

The Cardinals knocked Travis Wood out of the game in the sixth … and put the game away in the process.

Travis Wood hit Matt Holliday with a 0-1 pitch to start the inning. Wood then battled back and struck out Craig swinging (3-2 pitch) for the first out. Yadier Molina launched a 1-1 pitch into the bleachers in left center and gave the Cardinals a 4-0 lead with his two-run homer. Sveum went to his pen and brought in Blake Parker to face David Freese. Parker struck out Freese and Jon Jay to end the inning.

The Cubs wasted a one-out ground rule double by Nate Schierholtz in the sixth. The Cubs were 0-for-7 with runners in scoring position and left six men on base … and after six innings were looking up at a four-run deficit.

The game remained 4-0 Cardinals through the seventh and eighth innings.

Hector Rondon took the mound for his second inning of work in the ninth. Yadier Molina led off with a double to right. Rondon caught Freese looking at a 2-2 pitch for the first out. Rondon walked Jay and ball four got past Castillo. Molina advanced to third with one down. Kozma rolled a 2-2 pitch toward first. Rizzo fielded the ball and threw home. Castillo applied the tag on Molina for the second out. Shane Robinson flied out to Schierholtz to end the inning.

Nate Schierholtz led off the ninth with an infield single off Randy Choate. Mike Matheny went to his pen for Michael Wacha. Welington Castillo, Donnie Murphy and Cody Ransom struck out to end the game.

Edwin Jackson faces Adam Wainwright on Sunday afternoon in the series finale against the Cardinals.

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Quote of the Day

"Build up your weaknesses until they become your strong points." – Knute Rockne