Game One Hundred-Nineteen – Cubs 2 Dodgers 7
WP – Ronald Belisario (2-3) LP – Angel Guzman (2-3) Save – None
The Cubs lost for the tenth time in 14 games on Thursday night … and in the process fell seven games back of the Cardinals in the Central Division. Lou Piniella’s crew continued to struggle on the road and began the four-game series in Los Angeles they way their season ended a year ago, with an embarrassing loss to the Dodgers. Four at bats changed the outcome of the game.
The Cubs had chances early on against Jeff Weaver. They plated two runs in the first three innings. Kosuke Fukudome hit his 11th home run of the season and a RBI single by Aramis Ramirez in the third accounted for both runs. The Cubs loaded the bases in the third with one out after they tied the game at two. Joe Torre intentionally walked Kosuke Fukudome to load the bases in front of Alfonso Soriano.
Jeff Weaver struck out Alfonso Soriano on three pitches, all out of the strike zone. Weaver never threw a strike. Russell Martin setup way outside, almost behind the left-handed hitter’s batting box and Soriano flailed away at all three pitches. Jeff Baker, who extended his hitting streak to ten games with a double in the second inning, struck out swinging to end the third.
The Cubs had a chance to take the lead in the sixth. But Lou Piniella sent up Aaron Miles to hit for Tom Gorzelanny with two on and two out. The weak-hitting Aaron Miles grounded out to second to end the inning … and the Cubs’ chances of winning the game.
Angel Guzman replaced Tom Gorzelanny to start the sixth and for the second consecutive outing did not miss any bats. Manny Ramirez led off with a single to center. Casey Blake followed with a single to center and Orlando Hudson sacrificed both runners into scoring position. James Loney was intentionally walked to load the bases.
Russell Martin launched the first pitch from Angel Guzman into the stands in left center. Martin’s second career grand slam and fourth homer of the year effectively ended the game in the sixth inning.
Esmailin Caridad gave up the Dodgers’ seventh run in the seventh inning on a two-out double by Manny Ramirez and a two-out RBI single by Casey Blake.
Tom Gorzelanny settled down after a rough start. He gave up two runs in the first two innings before finding a rhythm a putting together an effective outing. Gorzelanny put his team in position to win the game and should not have been lifted in the sixth inning … especially for Aaron Miles.
With the loss the Cubs dropped to three games over .500, on August 5 they entered play nine games above the break-even point. The Cubs are not playing with a sense of urgency and seem content to play out their schedule … Tom Gorzelanny struggled in the first inning and gave up the Dodgers’ 90th first inning run of the season. Rafael Furcal led off with a single to right. A wild pickoff attempt from Gorzelanny allowed Furcal to advance to second. Matt Kemp blooped a single to right but Furcal held at third.
With runners on first and third with no outs, Andre Ethier grounded out to second. Jeff Baker forced Kemp at second but Theriot could not complete the throw to first … Kemp took out Theriot with a good, hard baseball slide. Furcal scored, 1-0 Dodgers.
After a Manny Ramirez single, Casey Blake hit a low liner to short that Theriot could not field cleanly. Manny was forced at second then Gorzelanny retired Orlando Hudson to end the inning.
After Kosuke Fukudome tied the game at one in the second with his 11th homer of the season, one more longball than he hit a year ago, the Dodgers offense went to work in the bottom of the inning.
Russell Martin walked with one out. Jeff Weaver advanced him to second with a sac bunt and Furcal drove him in with a single to center … 2-1 Dodgers.
The Cubs’ offense tied the game in the third … but could not capitalize and take the lead. Jeff Weaver hit Milton Bradley on a 2-2 pitch with one out. Derrek Lee singled to left on a 3-2 pitch. Aramis Ramirez delivered a single into left center. Bradley scored easily and Lee advanced to third … with Ramirez taking second on Matt Kemp’s throw. Lee and Ramirez did an excellent job of running the bases. Game tied at two.
Joe Torre then intentionally walked Kosuke Fukudome to load the bases with one out in a tie game. Alfonso Soriano struck out swinging on three pitches from Jeff Weaver and Jeff Baker did the same on four pitches to end the inning.
The Cubs only other scoring chance came in the sixth. Kosuke Fukudome (3-for-3 with a home run and a walk) singled to center. Soriano grounded out to third on a 3-2 pitch but Fukudome was running to stay out of the double play. Jeff Baker grounded out to third and the Dodgers unintentionally-intentionally walked Koyie Hill.
Lou Piniella sent up Aaron Miles to hit for Tom Gorzelanny in a tie game. Miles looked at strike one then grounded out weakly to second base to end the inning. Aaron Miles was the last player Lou Piniella should have pinch hit with in that situation. He would have been better off leaving Gorzelanny in the game if he was willing to give up the out. Aaron Miles is a waste of a roster space. Lou Piniella was out-managed by Joe Torre once again.
There is always tomorrow … but tomorrows are running out for the Chicago Cubs this season.
Randy Wells is scheduled to face Randy Wolf on Friday night.