Cubs Go Scoreless in the Rain – Pirates 4, Cubs 0

Game Sixty-Four: Cubs 0, Pirates 4

WP – Edinson Volquez (4-5) LP – Jeff Samardzija (2-6) Save – None

Thursday’s finale in Pittsburgh was delayed by rain two times, once prior to the first pitch for 20 minutes, and the other in the seventh inning for one hour and 15 minutes, but in the end the Cubs issues on the road continued. The Cubs had numerous chances to put runs on the board in between the rain delays. The offense could not buy a hit with runners in scoring position. And the Cubs were shutout for the ninth time this season.

Jeff Samardzija had a rough night. Samardzija gave up a season-high nine hits and six went for extra bases, five doubles and one triple. Samardzija gave up a pair of runs in the fourth and two more in the fifth. And it might have been worse in the fifth if Andrew McCutchen did not step off the bag after ripping a two-run triple that gave the Pirates a 4-0 lead. The Pirates squared up the ball Thursday night the same way they pounded the ball Wednesday against Jason Hammel.

Jeff Samardzija allowed four runs on nine hits with two walks (both intentional) and seven strikeouts. Samardzija threw 94 pitches, 62 for strikes, in six-plus innings.

The offense had plenty of chances to put runs on the board. The Cubs had seven hits and two walks but finished the game 0-for-8 with runners in scoring position and left eight men on base.

Luis Valbuena (2-for-4 with a double) collected two more hits and Darwin Barney (2-for-4) reached base twice on singles. Jeff Samardzija (1-for-1 with a double and two sacrifice bunts) recorded the Cubs other extra basehit. Junior Lake (1-for-4) had a rough night at the plate. Lake struck out twice with two runners on base in the third and fifth innings. And Anthony Rizzo (0-for-4 with two strikeouts and three men left on base) did not fair much better than Lake.

Emilio Bonifacio had to be helped off the field by trainer P.J. Mainville following an at bat in the first inning of Thursday’s game. Bonifacio rolled Edinson Volquez’s second pitch to short and he never made it out of the box. Replays showed Bonifacio grimacing as he swung the bat. Bonifacio collapsed and was in obvious pain as he lay on the ground. P.J. Mainville had to help Bonifacio to his feet then off the field and into the clubhouse.

A short-time later, the announcement was made that Emilio Bonifacio left the game with a right rib cage injury. The severity of Bonifacio’s injury was unknown at the time. He will be re-examined on Friday.

Based on the amount of pain Emilio Bonifacio was in before he was helped off the field, it would be safe to say Bonifacio is looking at a trip to the DL with a right oblique strain.

Ryan Sweeney was in Kane County’s lineup to make his third rehab start with the Cougars in Peoria. Shortly after Bonifacio went down, Sweeney was removed from the lineup and is thought to be on his way to Philadelphia.

With Thursday’s loss, the Cubs dropped to 26-38 on the season.

The game was nothing-nothing through three innings. Jeff Samardzija pitched out of a small jam in the third inning with help from an excellent throw from Nate Schierholtz to cut down Clint Barmes at the plate to end the third. Samardzija threw 33 pitches, 22 for strikes, in three innings. The Cubs offense continued to be mesmerized by Edinson Volquez and was not able to put anything together against the right hander. Only three hits for the Cubs after four at bats.

Samardzija retired Marte on a grounder to third to start the fourth inning. Andrew McCutchen doubled to left center on a 1-1 pitch. Ike Davis lashed a single into right. The ball was hit too hard for McCutchen to try to score.  With runners on the corners and one out, Russell Martin reached down and punched a 2-1 pitch down the right field line. The ball hit just inside the line then hopped over the side wall for a ground rule double. McCutchen scored, 1-0 Pirates. Samardzija tried to get Alvarez to chase, he would not and after falling behind 3-0, Samardzija just put him on base to load the bags with one out. Samardzija left a 1-2 pitch up and out of the zone that Jordy Mercer was able to lift into center. Junior Lake caught the ball, Davis tagged and scored, 2-0 Pirates. The Pirates pulled off a double steal on the first pitch to Barmes (Martin to third and Alvarez to second), so Samardzija walked Barmes and re-loaded the bases. Samardzija caught Volquez looking to end the inning … 61 pitches for Samardzija after four innings, 37 for strikes.

The Pirates led 2-0 after four innings.

The Cubs put runners on second and third with one out in the fifth, and could not score. Chris Coghlan flied out to shallow right and Junior Lake struck out swinging to end the inning.

The Pirates put the game away in the fifth inning. Gregory Polanco led off the inning with a single to center on a 0-2 pitch. Starling Marte singled to left on a 0-2 pitch and the Pirates had runners on first and second with no outs. Andrew McCutchen pulled Samardzija’s first pitch into left center. The ball rolled to the wall and both runners scored easily … 4-0 Pirates. McCutchen slid into third with a triple, but he took his foot off the bag, Valbuena tagged him and he was called out. Clint Hurdle asked the umps to take a closer look. The call was upheld for the first out of the inning. Ike Davis popped out to left and Martin struck out swinging to end the inning. Samardzija needed 79 pitches, 50 for strikes, to complete five innings.

After five innings, the Pirates had a huge 4-0 lead.

The Cubs continued to waste scoring opportunities as the rain came and went at PNC Park. Edinson Volquez managed to throw seven innings of shutout baseball and the Cubs were a miserable 0-for-8 with RISP and left eight men on base while Volquez was on the hill.

The game was put in a rain delay for one hour and 14 minutes in the bottom of the seventh. When play resumed the Cubs went down in order in the eighth and ninth innings to end the game.

Weather permitting … The Cubs open a three-game series in Philadelphia on Friday night (6:05pm CDT). Jake Arrieta is scheduled to face Roberto Hernandez.

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