Wood Can’t Keep the Marlins in the Yard – Cubs 3, Marlins 4

Game One Hundred Thirty-Seven – Cubs 3, Marlins 4

WP – Henderson Alvarez (3-3) LP – Travis Wood (8-11) Save – Steve Cishek (29)

Travis Wood gave up two home runs to the first nine batters he faced on a day with the wind blowing in and Marlins’ pitcher Henderson Alvarez hit a three-run shot off Wood in the second inning that ended up being the difference in the game. The Cubs could not score after putting three runs on the board in the first inning and dropped the opener of the three-game series on Monday afternoon.

Travis Wood surrendered 15 home runs all season prior to Monday and the light-hitting Marlins’ scored all four of their runs off two longballs. Wood gave up five hits to the first nine batters he faced and that included home runs by lefty Christian Yelich and Henderson Alvarez. Wood settled down after the second and completed seven innings. Wood allowed four runs on nine hits with two walks and three strikeouts. Wood threw 106 pitches, 70 for strikes, in seven innings.

The Cubs offense scored three runs on four straight singles in the first inning but managed four hits the rest of the game and only one batter reached second base after the first inning.

Starlin Castro (1-for-3 with a walk and a run scored) singled and scored the Cubs’ first run. Luis Valbuena (1-for-3 with a run scored) returned to the starting lineup and scored the Cubs’ second run on single by Dioner Navarro (2-for-4 with a RBI). Anthony Rizzo (1-for-4 with a RBI and a run scored) drove in the Cubs’ first run and scored the third on a sacrifice fly off the bat of Nate Schierholtz (0-for-3 with a sac fly RBI).

Ryan Sweeney (2-for-4 with a double) collected the Cubs only extra basehit, a double leading off the fourth inning. Junior Lake (1-for-3 with a HBP) reached base twice. The Cubs managed only eight hits, walked two times and rolled into three double plays. The Cubs went 2-for-6 with runners in scoring position and left five men on base.

With Monday’s loss, the Cubs dropped back to 21 games under .500 on the season with a 58-79 record.

It was apparent in the first inning that Travis Wood did not have it on Monday afternoon. After retiring Adeiny Hechavarria on a flyout to center (0-1 pitch), Wood could not put away lefty Christian Yelich. The Marlins’ rookie left fielder battled, worked a full count then pulled the ninth pitch of the at bat into the bleachers in right field. Giancarlo Stanton followed and smoked a 1-2 pitch toward third. Luis Valbuena fielded the ball, but staggered a little before throwing him out at first base.

Justin Ruggiano stepped in and launched Wood’s first pitch to deep left. On any other day the ball would have left the park. Ruggiano settled for a double off the wall in left. Placido Polanco grounded out to second to finally end the inning. Wood threw 17 pitches in the first, 13 for strikes.

Starlin Castro led off the first with a single to left (0-2 pitch). Luis Valbuena followed with a single to right (1-1 pitch) and Castro advanced to third with no outs. Anthony Rizzo pulled a 2-0 pitch into right. Castro scored and tied the game at one. Dioner Navarro smoked a 1-1 pitch down the first baseline. The ball hit the bag, jumped up and ended up in shallow right. Valbuena scored, 2-1 Cubs. Rizzo advanced to third on the play.

Nate Schierholtz stepped in with runners on the corners and no outs. Schierholtz lifted a 1-2 pitch into right center. Ruggiano caught the ball and threw home. Rizzo tagged and scored. The ball skipped past Mathis and into the stands and Navarro was awarded third base. Sweeney grounded out to first and Lake struck out swinging to end the inning. Alvarez threw 22 pitches in the first inning, 15 for strikes.

After one inning, the Cubs led 3-1.

Ed Lucas led off the second with a double to right. Wood struck out Solano swinging but Jeff Mathis singled to left and put runners on the corners with one out.

Henderson Alvarez stepped in and crushed Wood’s first pitch. The ball ended up halfway up the bleachers in left and Alvarez’s first career home run and the first homer by a Marlins’ pitcher this season gave the Marlins a 4-3 lead. Wood walked Hechavarria. Yelich lined out to center and Stanton popped out to Castro. A stunned Travis Wood threw 42 pitches, 31 for strikes, over the first two innings.

The Cubs did nothing in the second inning and the Marlins held onto their 4-3 lead for the remainder of the game.

Travis Wood settled down somewhat and give up hits but did not allow the Marlins to tack on. Henderson Alvarez and the Marlins’ pen shut down the Cubs’ offense. The Cubs did not put a runner in scoring position after Ryan Sweeney led off the fourth with a double.

Edwin Jackson is scheduled to face Tom Koehler on Tuesday night.

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Quote of the Day

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