Game Thirty-One: Cubs 1, White Sox 5
WP – Zach Putnam (1-0) LP – Neil Ramirez (0-1) Save – None
Tuesday’s game was tied at one going into the eighth inning before Gordon Beckham took Neil Ramirez deep with his first home run of the season. The White Sox broke the game open with three runs in the ninth off of Pedro Strop before he left the game with a groin strain. The Sox took game two of the Crosstown Series as the Cubs’ offense continued to struggle.
Gordon Beckham tied a career high with four hits on Tuesday night and actually collected as many hits as the entire Cubs’ team. The Cubs offense managed four hits, all singles, and only two baserunners after the fifth inning. Emilio Bonifacio (1-for-4 with a RBI and a stolen base) singled in Junior Lake (1-for-4 with a run scored and a stolen base) with the Cubs only run. Anthony Rizzo (1-for-4) and Starlin Castro (1-for-4) notched the other two singles.
In two games against the White Sox, the Cubs have scored two runs on eight hits with the only extra basehit coming off the bat of Jeff Samardzija. The Cubs are 0-4 in Interleague play this season and have scored a grand total of two runs in four games (36 innings) against the Yankees and White Sox.
While there will be complaints about the Cubs’ bullpen, two runs in two games with only one run on four hits against Hector Noesi is unacceptable. The Cubs approach at the plate the last two games will not win too many games or even put the player in a position to succeed.
Edwin Jackson lasted seven innings on Tuesday and struck out nine batters. At times, Jackson looked unhittable and at others he couldn’t get the ball to the plate. Gordon Beckham and Moises Sierra collected all six hits off of Jackson. Edwin Jackson gave up one run on six hits with no walks, two wild pitches and nine strikeouts. Jackson threw 93 pitches, 65 for strikes, and kept the Sox off the board as the wind shifted during the game from blowing in to blowing out to left field.
James Russell retired the two lefties he faced in the eighth inning before Rick Renteria turned the game over to Neil Ramirez. Ramirez gave up the solo shot to Beckham and the game got out of hand in the ninth. Pedro Strop was all over the place again before he left the game with Rick Renteria and trainer Ed Halbur. Strop gave up three runs on three hits (two doubles) and a walk in one-third of an inning. Carlos Villanueva picked up the last two outs in the ninth.
Pedro Strop strained his groin and will have an MRI on Wednesday to determine the severity of the injury.
With Tuesday’s loss, the Cubs dropped to 11-20 on the season.
The White Sox put the first run of the game on the board in the fourth inning. Gordon Beckham ripped a 3-1 pitch into center for a single to start the inning. A wild pitch on a 1-1 offering to Jose Abreu allowed Beckham to move up ninety feet. Abreu drove a 3-2 pitch to right. Nate Schierholtz caught the ball and made a strong throw to third, but it was a little late and off the mark. Beckham slid in safe with one out. Jackson plunked Dayan Viciedo as he continued to struggle with his command … and getting the ball to the plate. With runners on first and third and one out, Alexei Ramirez dribbled a 1-1 pitch toward the hole at short. Starlin Castro fielded the ball and made a quick toss to second. But the ball was not hit hard enough to turn two. Beckham scored, 1-0 White Sox. Moises Sierra lined a single into center and put runners on first and second with two down. Welington Castillo picked Sierra off first base following a 1-1 pitch to Tyler Flowers. Castillo picked up his pitcher and ended the inning. After throwing 32 pitches, 26 for strikes, over the first three innings, Jackson ended the fourth with 56 pitches, 36 for strikes.
Hector Noesi and the White Sox took the 1-0 lead into the bottom of the fifth. Noesi struck out Schierholtz swinging to start the fifth. Junior Lake followed with a single to left center, the Cubs third hit of the game. On the first pitch to Coghlan, Lake took off for second base and was called safe. Replays showed that Ramirez made an excellent sweep tag, but Robin Ventura did not challenge the call. Chris Coghlan walked and put two on with one out for Jackson. Once again Edwin Jackson failed to get a bunt down. Noesi picked up a strikeout after Jackson bunted a 1-2 pitch foul. Emilio Bonifacio hooked a 2-2 pitch toward the hole at second. Beckham ranged over and got a glove on the liner, but he could not haul it in. The ball ended up in shallow right, Lake scored and the game was tied at one. Coghlan ended up at third with two outs. Bonifacio stole second without a throw on a 0-2 pitch to Valbuena. Noesi caught Luis Valbuena looking at the next pitch to end the inning.
After five innings, the Cubs and Sox were all tied up at one. And that is how the game remained until the eighth inning.
Edwin Jackson warmed up for the eighth inning after throwing 93 pitches, 65 for strikes, in seven innings. As soon as Adam Dunn was announced as the pinch-hitter for Zach Putnam, Rick Renteria went to his pen for James Russell. Russell retired Dunn (grounder to short) and De Aza (grounder to second) for the first two outs. Renteria went back to his pen for Neil Ramirez to face Beckham. Gordon Beckham pulled a 1-2 pitch into the bleachers in left field … and the White Sox took a 2-1 lead. Jose Abreu followed with a double to left. Ramirez settled down and caught Dayan Viciedo looking to end the inning.
The Cubs managed a two-out walk by pinch hitter Mike Olt in the bottom of the eighth, but that was all. Anthony Rizzo grounded out to Beckham to end the inning.
Pedro Strop took the hill in the ninth with the Cubs down 2-1 and Strop did not have anything on Tuesday night. Strop walked Alexei Ramirez to start the inning. Moises Sierra collected his fourth hit of the night when he hit chopped a 2-1 pitch off the plate. The ball had to go 50 feet in the air. Olt tried to make a basket catch in order to make a throw. Olt did not catch the ball cleanly and the Sox had runners on first and second with one out. Tyler Flowers smoked a 1-2 pitch toward third. The ball hit off the top of Olt’s glove and ended up in left. Flowers was given a double and the Sox took a 3-1 lead when Ramirez scored. Strop struck out Marcus Semien with runners on second and third. The light-hitting Jordan Danks launched a double over Lake’s head in center. Sierra and Flowers scored, the Sox took a 5-1 lead and broke the game open. Strop appeared to hurt himself after a 1-1 pitch to De Aza. Rick Renteria and Ed Halbur went to the mound. After a brief discussion, Strop left the game with the trainer. Carlos Villanueva replaced Strop. De Aza grounded out to second and Beckham fouled out to Rizzo to finally end the inning.
Daniel Webb retired three of the four batters he faced in the ninth to end the game.
The Crosstown Series shifts to U.S. Cellular Field on Wednesday night (7:10pm CDT) … Travis Wood is scheduled to face John Danks.