Not Enough Wood – Cubs 2, Pirates 3

Game One Hundred Forty-Nine – Cubs 2, Pirates 3

WP – Kyle Farnsworth (3-0) LP – Pedro Strop (2-2) Save – Mark Melancon (16)

The Cubs tied the game at two in seventh on a two-run homer by Welington Castillo after being no-hit for the first six innings but Justin Morneau drove in his first run in a Pirates’ uniform and the Cubs dropped three of four in Pittsburgh.

Travis Wood recorded his 23rd quality start of the season, just two behind Clayton Kershaw’s Major League leading 25, but the offense was a no show for the first six innings while Wood did everything he could to keep his team in the game.

Travis Wood survived a shaky first inning in which he gave up a triple, uncorked a wild pitch, a double and a single to the first three batters he faced. Already down 1-0, Wood retired the next three batters he faced to limit the damage. Wood made only one more mistake over six innings of work. Tony Sanchez, the Pirates’ back-up catcher, took Wood deep in the fourth inning. Wood allowed two runs on five hits with two walks, a hit batsman and four strikeouts. Wood threw 87 pitches, 62 for strikes in six innings.

The Cubs tied the game at two in the seventh after managing only four walks and no hits over the first six innings. Junior Lake (1-for-4 with a run scored) led off the seventh with an infield single to the hole at short then trotted home when Welington Castillo (1-for-4 with a home run and two RBI) crushed a 1-0 pitch from Francisco Liriano that ended up in the stands. Castillo hit his third longball on the current trip and his seventh of the year.

After Justin Grimm made quick work of the Pirates in the seventh and the Cubs went quietly in the eighth, Pedro Strop hit Andrew McCutchen with one out in the eighth. Marlon Byrd followed with a bloop single to left center just out of Castro’s reach and Clint Hurdle went to his bench with the game on the line. Justin Morneau singled to left, McCutchen scored and gave Mark Melancon the only run he would need to close out the game.

The Cubs offense managed only three hits all afternoon. Darnell McDonald (1-for-3) collected the third, a single to center after Castillo tied the game in the seventh with his booming blast. The Cubs showed patience with five walks but once again if the Cubs do not hit the ball out of the park they do not score runs.

Starlin Castro (0-for-3 with a walk), Darwin Barney (0-for-2 with two walks) and Anthony Rizzo (0-for-3 with a walk) got on base but Donnie Murphy had a rough afternoon and left four runners on base. As a team, the Cubs were 0-for-2 with RISP and left five men on base.

With Sunday’s loss (8-16 on Sundays in 2013), the Cubs dropped to 63-86, a season-low 23 games under .500 for the season.

Darwin Barney worked a one out walk in the first inning, but that was all against Francisco Liriano. Rizzo flied out to left center and Murphy struck out swinging. Liriano threw 16 pitches in the first frame, nine for strikes.

The Pirates came out swinging in the first inning against Travis Wood and put a quick run on the board. Jose Tabata drove a 0-2 pitch to deep center. Junior Lake went back but gave up on the ball too soon. The ball hit just before the wall, Tabata ended up at third and Wood was in trouble right away. Lake should have caught the baseball. Welington Castillo could not block a 0-1 pitch in the dirt to Jordy Mercer. The ball skipped past him, Tabata scored … 1-0 Pirates. Mercer pulled the next pitch over Bogusevic’s head in left center. The ball hit on the track and bounced into the stands for a ground rule double. Andrew McCutchen blooped the first pitch he saw into shallow center. Mercer advanced to third and the Pirates had runners on the corners with no outs.

Marlon Byrd tapped a 1-1 pitch up the first base line. Rizzo fielded and stepped on the bag for the out. For some reason, Mercer did not try to score. McCutchen advanced to second on the play. Gaby Sanchez fouled out to Rizzo down the right field line for the second out. Pedro Alvarez stepped in with runners on second and third with two down and popped out to Lake in shallow center to end the inning.

Travis Wood did an excellent job of limiting the damage and threw 16 pitches in the first inning, 13 for strikes.

The Cubs went down in order in the second. Liriano needed only 29 pitches, 18 for strikes, to complete two innings on Sunday.

Travis Wood retired the Pirates in order in the second … 1-2-3 and six in a row retired after giving up hits to the first three batters. Wood threw 28 pitches, 22 for strikes, in his first two innings.

The Cubs continued to swing and miss in the third, but they were at least making Liriano work. Castro walked with two down before Barney flied out to right center for the third out. Liriano was up to 48 pitches after three innings, 27 for strikes.

The Pirates wasted a chance to tack onto their lead in the third. Wood retired Tabata (flyout to center) and Mercer (grounder to third) but issued a two-out walk to Andrew McCutchen. Marlon Byrd pulled a 0-2 pitch past Murphy into left. McCutchen advanced to third on the single. Wood then plunked Gaby Sanchez with a 0-1 pitch. With the bags juiced, Alvarez rolled a 0-1 pitch to Rizzo for the third out. Wood threw 47 pitches, 34 for strikes, in his first three innings on Sunday.

Francisco Liriano’s domination over the Cubs continued in the fourth. Liriano set the side down in order and needed 63 pitches, 38 for strikes, over four innings.

The game went to the bottom of the fourth with the Pirates up 1-0. Tony Sanchez led off for the Pirates and drove a 1-1 pitch over the wall in right center. Sanchez’s second longball of the year gave the Pirates a 2-0 lead. Wood retired Walker (flyout to left center), Liriano (swinging strikeout) and Tabata (strikeout looking) to end the inning … 61 pitches for Wood after four innings, 44 for strikes.

The Cubs trailed 2-0 after four innings and were being outhit 5-0.

The game remained 2-0 Pirates through the fifth. Liriano set down the Cubs in order in the fifth. Liriano needed 78 pitches, 48 for strikes, to get through five frames. Wood faced the minimum in the fifth and threw 77 pitches, 55 for strikes, in five innings.

The Cubs wasted a chance to put a run on the board in the sixth. Wood walked to start the inning. Castro flied out to right center (2-2 pitch). Darwin Barney worked his second walk of the game. With runners on first and second with one out, Rizzo grounded the first pitch he saw toward short. Mercer fielded the ball and threw to Walker but Rizzo beat the throw. Murphy stepped in with runners on the corners and two down. Murphy grounded out to second to end the inning. Liriano kept his no hit bid alive, but his pitch count was elevated after six frames. Liriano needed 99 pitches, 58 for strikes, to complete six innings on Sunday.

Travis Wood set down the side in order in the sixth. Wood threw 87 pitches, 62 for strikes, in six innings.

The Cubs trailed 2-0 after six innings and were being outhit 5-0.

Junior Lake led off the seventh and smoked Liriano’s first pitch toward the hole at short. Mercer made an excellent diving stop to keep the ball from leaving the infield but he had not shot at the speedy Lake … and the Cubs’ no-hit streak made it to another day. With Lake at first, Castillo took ball one from Liriano.

Welington Castillo launched Liriano’s next pitch. The ball ended up in the left field stands and Castillo’s seventh longball of the year, and third on the trip, tied the game at two. Darnell McDonald followed with a single to center and Clint Hurdle made the slow walk. Hurdle replaced Liriano with Bryan Morris.

Brian Bogusevic grounded into a 6-4 force and took over for McDonald at third base. Nate Schierholtz hit for Wood and flied out to right center. Morris struck out Castro swinging to end the inning.

Justin Grimm replaced Wood for the seventh and set down the side in order.

The game was tied at two after seven innings.

Anthony Rizzo worked a one-out walk against Kyle Farnsworth in the eighth but was doubled off first to end the inning. Murphy flied out to deep right and Byrd threw to first to double off Rizzo to end the inning.

Pedro Strop struck out pinch-hitter Travis Snider swinging for the first out in the eighth. Strop then hit Andrew McCutchen with a 2-1 pitch. Marlon Byrd blooped a 1-1 pitch into shallow left center just out of the reach of Starlin Castro.

Justin Morneau hit for Gaby Sanchez and singled to left. McCutchen scored on Morneau’s first RBI as a Pirate. Byrd was thrown out at third for the second out. Pedro Alvarez popped out to short for the third out. And the game went to the ninth with the Cubs down 3-2.

Mark Melancon retired Lake (grounder to third), Castillo (swinging strikeout) and pinch-hitter Dioner Navarro (grounder to first) to end the game.

The Cubs open a four-game series on Monday night in Milwaukee. Edwin Jackson is scheduled to face Wily Peralta in the opener.

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Quote of the Day

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