Game One Hundred Fifty-Eight – Cubs 2, Pirates 8
WP – Gerrit Cole (10-7) LP – Chris Rusin (2-6) Save – None
The Cubs could not string together any hits against Gerrit Cole in their final night game of the season at Wrigley Field and lost another game to the playoff bound Pirates (6-12). Gerrit Cole handled the Cubs on the mound for six innings and his two-out, two-run single in the second inning put the game out of reach before it really got started.
The Cubs set a new franchise record with their 50th loss of the season at Wrigley Field.
Chris Rusin did not have it on Tuesday night and finished his season on a sour note. Rusin lasted just 2 1/3 innings and appeared to be out of gas. Rusin struggled with his command, was up in the zone and pitched from behind in the count. Rusin gave up four runs on six hits with one walk and one strikeout on 51 pitches, 29 for strikes.
After Brooks Raley restored order with 1 2/3 scoreless innings that included four strikeouts, the Pirates took advantage of Chang-Yong Lim in the fifth. The Pirates scored two runs on two hits and three walks off Lim while he struggled with command and velocity. Lim recorded only two outs and threw 34 pitches, 13 for strikes.
Blake Parker was solid once again but after tossing a perfect seventh inning, Alberto Cabrera gave up two runs on three hits in the eighth. Zac Rosscup retired all three batters he faced in the ninth with a strikeout.
Cubs’ pitching really struggled on Tuesday. The Pirates pounded out 12 hits, seven for extra bases, and walked four times with 11 strikeouts.
While the Pirates were busy hitting the ball all over Wrigley, the Cubs managed 10 hits, all singles, with three walks and 12 strikeouts. The Cubs finished the game 2-for-10 with runners in scoring position, left nine men on base and grounded into two double plays in the first three innings.
Starlin Castro (2-for-4 with a RBI and a walk) singled in Logan Watkins (1-for-4 with a run scored) with the Cubs first run in the third and Anthony Rizzo (1-for-4 with a RBI) drove in Ryan Sweeney (3-for-3 with a run scored) when Jordy Mercer booted a grounder in the sixth with the bases loaded.
Dioner Navarro (1-for-3 with a walk), Nate Schierholtz (1-for-2) and Donnie Murphy (1-for-4) collected hits in the loss.
With Tuesday’s loss, the Cubs reached a new season low of 28 games under .500 with a 65-93 record and set another franchise record in the process. The Cubs have lost 194 games over the last two seasons, the most losses during a two-year span in team history.
Chris Rusin really struggled in the second and Gerrit Cole gave himself all the runs he would need. Marlon Byrd singled to center to start the inning. Rusin then walked Gaby Sanchez (3-1 pitch). Russell Martin lined Rusin’s first pitch to Bogusevic in right center. Byrd tagged and advanced to third with one out. Rusin fell behind Alvarez 2-0. Pedro Alvarez pulled the third pitch of the at bat into right field. The ball ended up in the ivy, Byrd scored and Sanchez held at third on Alvarez’s ground rule double.
Dale Sveum brought his infield in with one out and Chris Rusin got Josh Harrison to roll over a 1-1 pitch. Harrison grounded out to third for the second out. Rusin could not retire Cole and Gerrit Cole ripped a 0-1 pitch into center. Sanchez and Alvarez scored, 3-0 Pirates. Rusin retired Marte on a grounder to third (1-2 pitch) to end the inning. Rusin needed 35 pitches, 20 for strikes, to complete two innings.
With the Cubs down 3-0, Dioner Navarro led off the second with the Cubs’ first hit, a single to right center on a 2-0 pitch. Nate Schierholtz followed with a single to left center. But Schierholtz put his head down rounding first and forgot that Navarro was on base. Navarro stopped at second and by the time Schierholtz realized it he was in no man’s land. Harrison caught the throw from McCutchen and ran Schierholtz back toward first before tagging him out.
Donnie Murphy followed the baserunning gaffe with a single to right. Navarro held at third and the Cubs had runners on the corners with one out. Brian Bogusevic grounded into a 6-4-3 double play to end the inning. Cole needed 29 pitches, 21 for strikes, to complete two frames on Tuesday.
Jordy Mercer led off the third with a long homer off Rusin into the bleachers in left center. Mercer’s seventh home run of the season gave the Pirates a 4-0 lead. McCutchen broke his bat and grounded out to third for the first out. Rusin jammed Byrd and broke his bat but he singled to left off Donnie Murphy’s glove. Gaby Sanchez followed with a double into the left field corner. Byrd held at third with one out and Dale Sveum went to his pen.
Brooks Raley replaced Rusin and struck out Russell Martin and Pedro Alvarez swinging to end the inning.
With the Cubs down 4-0, Logan Watkins led off the third with a single to left (1-2 pitch). Raley bunted Watkins to second and he scored when Starlin Castro ripped a single off Mercer’s glove into shallow center. Junior Lake hit a 0-1 pitch back to Cole and into a 1-6-3 double play to end the inning.
After three innings, the Cubs trailed 4-1.
Brooks Raley struck out Harrison and Cole for the first two outs in the fourth. Marte reached on a two-out single to center but was stranded when Mercer flied out to right to end the inning.
Gerrit Cole retired the Cubs in order in the fourth on six pitches … and the game went to the fifth with the Cubs down 4-1.
Chang-Yong Lim started the fifth and could not find the strike zone. Lim struggled mightily with his command as the game slowed to a snail’s pace. McCutchen singled to left (3-1 pitch) to start the inning. Lim issued a four-pitch walk to the free-swinging Marlon Byrd. Lim walked Gaby Sanchez on five pitches to load the bases with no outs. Lim found the strike zone and struck out Russell Martin swinging.
Pedro Alvarez removed any doubt that the Pirates would win the game on Tuesday when he drove a 3-2 pitch down the third baseline. McCutchen and Byrd scored, 6-1 Pirates. Lim intentionally walked Neil Walker to re-load the bases. Lim struck out Gerrit Cole swinging for the second out.
Dale Sveum went to his pen with the bases loaded and two down. Sveum replaced Lim with Blake Parker and switched out Nate Schierholtz with Ryan Sweeney and moved Bogusevic over to right. Parker struck out Marte swinging to finally end the fifth inning.
Gerrit Cole struck out the Cubs in order in the fifth (Murphy, Bogusevic and Watkins) and needed only 60 pitches, 45 for strikes, to complete five innings of work.
Blake Parker set down the Pirates in order in the fifth and Ryan Sweeney led off the Cubs’ sixth with a single to left. Starlin Castro ripped the first pitch he saw into right. Sweeney held at second with no outs. Junior Lake fell behind Cole 0-2 before working a walk to load the bases with no outs.
Anthony Rizzo drove a 1-2 pitch toward the hole at short, Mercer was in the shift. Mercer got to the ball but bobbled it. Sweeney scored on E6 and the bases were loaded with no outs for Navarro. Cole struck out Navarro (3-2 pitch) and pinch-hitter Luis Valbuena (2-2 pitch) for the first two outs in the inning. Donnie Murphy just missed a slam when he flied out to Marlon Byrd on the track in right to end the inning.
The game went to the seventh with the Cubs down 6-2.
Alberto Cabrera retired the side in order in the seventh and the Cubs could not cut into the Pirates lead in the home half. Justin Wilson struck out Bogusevic and Watkins swinging to start the inning. Ryan Sweeney reached on an infield single to third. Wilson completed the trifecta when he struck out Castro swinging to end the inning.
The Pirates tacked on in the eighth. Alberto Cabrera stayed in and started the inning by retiring Walker on a lineout to right. Garrett Jones hit for Wilson and doubled to left. Felix Pie ran for Jones and moved up ninety feet when Watkins did not catch a pickoff throw from Cabrera. With the infield in, Starling Marte smoked a 1-2 pitch off Castro’s glove and into left field. Marte hustled out of the box and slid into second with a double. Travis Snider hit for Mercer and grounded out to short. Marte moved up to third and scored when McCutchen ripped a single into left. Cabrera finally recorded the third out when Byrd flied out to center to end the inning.
The Cubs put two on against Bryan Morris in the eighth but could not push across a run. Lake flied out to McCutchen for the first out. Anthony Rizzo singled to left (0-2 pitch) and Navarro walked. But Morris struck out Darnell McDonald and Donnie Murphy to end the inning.
Zac Rosscup retired the Pirates in order in the ninth and the game went to the bottom of the ninth with the Cubs down 8-2.
Kyle Farnsworth retired Bogusevic (flyout to center) and Watkins (grounder to first) to start the ninth. Ryan Sweeney collected his third hit with a single off of Sanchez’s glove and Castro walked but Lake struck out swinging to end the game.
The Cubs wrap up their home schedule on Wednesday afternoon … Jake Arrieta faces Francisco Liriano in the finale against the Bucs.