Game Thirty-Seven – Cubs 3 Pirates 4
WP – Paul Maholm (3-3) LP – Ryan Dempster (2-4) Save – Octavio Dotel (7)
For as bad as the game started Saturday afternoon the Cubs still had a chance in the end. Ryan Dempster lost for the second time on the year to the Pirates … and has dropped his last four games. Dempster allowed three runs in the first inning after he walked Aki Iwamura and Andy LaRoche to start the game. Andrew McCutchen blooped a single into right and Ryan Church doubled to right … both took advantage of Xavier Nady’s inability to throw the ball.
The Cubs scored two runs in the third on a two-out on a two-out double by Aramis Ramirez. But Ramirez was thrown out at the plate to end the third. The score stayed 3-2 until the ninth.
Carlos Marmol served up his first longball of the year. An opposite field solo homer to Jeff Clement on a 1-1 pitch. The Pirates took the 4-2 lead in the ninth … and the tack on run figured in the outcome.
Starlin Castro worked a one-out walk against Octavio Dotel. After falling behind 0-2, Kosuke Fukudome worked the count to 3-2 then tripled to the corner in right. Castro scored and cut the Pirates lead to 4-3.
With the tying run on third and one out, Ryan Theriot struck out swinging on the fifth pitch of the at bat. Marlon Byrd stepped in against Octavio Dotel, fell behind 0-2 then missed Dotel’s fourth pitch. Game over.
Ryan Dempster settled down after a miserable first inning. Dempster allowed three runs on four hits in seven innings and struck out nine. Dempster walked five batters and labored through his outing. The five free passes Dempster issued marked the first time Dempster walked five batters in a game since last June. Dempster issued six free passes to the White Sox on June 17, 2009.
Lou Piniella’s post-game comments were very short. The Cubs’ skipper finished his brief meeting with the media by saying, “What are we going to do? We’ve tried a little bit of everything.”
After winning 10 of 14 against the Pirates last season, the Cubs are 0-5 against Pittsburgh this year and have lost seven straight dating back to 2009.
With the loss, the Cubs are a season-low seven games under .500 … While Ryan Dempster’s line is technically another quality start, Dempster struggled with his command, could not find a groove and did not set the right tone Saturday afternoon. The Cubs have shown they cannot bounce back when down early and that puts a lot of pressure on the starting staff.
For the fifth time in five games against the Cubs, the Pirates scored runs in the first inning. Ryan Dempster issued walks to Aki Iwamura and Andy LaRoche to start the game. Andrew McCutchen then took advantage of Xavier Nady’s arm in right. McCutchen blooped a single into right. Iwamura scored easily as Nady lobbed the ball back into the infield.
Dempster retired Garrett Jones on a pop out to short but Ryan Church doubled to right. McCutchen scored all the way from first as Nady lobbed the ball to the cut off man. Tyler Colvin was in Piniella’s original starting lineup for Saturday.
The Pirates did not tack on until the ninth inning.
The Cubs managed two walks all afternoon … and one of the two scored. The free-swinging Cubs’ offense is back and they are losing ballgames. Coincidence?
The Cubs put the leadoff man on base one time in nine innings and that led to a run. Ryan Dempster doubled to right to start the third. The extremely aggressive Ryan Theriot singled to center on the first pitch. With runners on first and third with no outs, Ronny Cedeno robbed Marlon Byrd of a single to left. Cedeno made a diving catch in the hole at short.
Derrek Lee then flied out to shallow right. Dempster could not tag and score but Theriot did and advanced to second. Aramis Ramirez worked the count to 2-2 before doubling to the wall in right center. Dempster and Theriot scored … 3-2 Pirates. Geovany Soto then singled to left on a 3-2 pitch. Mike Quade waived in Aramis Ramirez. Ryan Church threw a strike to the plate and Ramirez was out. Inning over …
Lou Piniella’s offense scored three runs on nine hits, left eight on base in a one-run loss and finished the game 3-for-9 with RISP.
Sunday is a new day and the start of a new week …
Ted Lilly will try to salvage the final game of the series … the Pirates will send Ross Ohlendorf to the hill.