Game Sixty-Four – Cubs 5 A’s 9
WP – Trevor Cahill (6-2) LP – Carlos Zambrano (2-5) Save – None
After a one hour and 41 minute rain delay, the Cubs remembered how to hit the ball … too bad they forgot everything else. Just when it appears Lou Piniella’s crew has lost a game in every way possible this season, they take the field.
Four errors, three of four walks scored, two wild pitches, bad baserunning, poor decisions by the manager … It’s a Way of Life.
The Cubs committed four errors that led to four unearned runs. Derrek Lee made his first error since Opening Day (59 games) in the fourth … and then his second in the game on the very next play. The two mistakes in the fourth was the first time in his career Derrek Lee committed two errors in the same inning.
Tyler Colvin added two more miscues in the seventh that led to the fourth unearned run of the night. Tuesday marked the fifth time this season the Cubs committed two errors in the same inning. The lack of fundamentals is a direct reflection on Lou Piniella and his staff.
Carlos Zambrano labored through another start. Zambrano loaded the bases in the first inning but did not allow a run. After a 27-pitch opening frame, it was obvious that Zambrano would not be long for the game. Big Z settled down somewhat but his two walks in the fourth scored on Lee’s errors and he left after six innings. Zambrano allowed five runs, two earned, on seven hits with three walks and four strikeouts. Z tossed 103 pitches, 65 for strikes.
Zambrano drove in the Cubs’ first run of the game in the fifth, his second RBI of the season.
The Cubs cut the A’s lead to 5-4 in the sixth but Colvin’s two errors in the seventh led to three more runs. Jeff Stevens loaded the bases with no outs then induced a 5-2-3 double play off the bat of Mark Ellis. Stevens then uncorked a wild pitch on a 1-2 offering to Cliff Pennington that allowed Jack Cust to score the A’s sixth run. Pennington tripled off the wall in right on Stevens’ next pitch and scored on Tyler Colvin’s throwing error.
The game went from manageable to over in two pitches.
Tyler Colvin hit his seventh longball in the eighth inning … the Cubs fifth and final run.
The Cubs lost their sixth straight series opener and slipped to eight below .500 (28-36) on the season … Carlos Zambrano’s command issues finally caught up with him in the fourth inning. Kurt Suzuki walked to lead off the inning. Kevin Kouzmanoff extended his hitting streak to 15 games with a single to center. A wild pitch advanced both runners before Zambrano walked Jack Cust to load the bases.
Mark Ellis singled to right on a 0-1 pitch and drove in Suzuki with the game’s first run. Cliff Pennington grounded out to Derrek Lee. Lee threw home and forced Kouzmanoff. With the bases loaded and one-out, Trevor Cahill hit a chopper to the right of Derrek Lee. Lee bobbled the ball, Cust scored … 2-0 A’s.
Rajai Davis hit a slow chopper up the middle. Starlin Castro did a good job of getting to the ball and made an accurate throw to Lee. Lee took his eyes off the ball and dropped it. Two runs scored on Lee’s error … 4-0 A’s.
Daric Barton singled to center to re-load the bases. Ryan Sweeney flied out to a diving Marlon Byrd in center for the second out. Suzuki hit for the second time in the inning and grounded out to second.
Zambrano threw 33 pitches in the fourth … and after four Big Z had thrown 85, 51 for strikes.
Chad Tracy led off the fifth with a four-pitch walk. Koyie Hill grounded out to second and Tracy advanced to second on the play. Carlos Zambrano stepped in and ripped a single to center on a 1-1 pitch from Cahill. Tracy scored … 4-1 A’s.
Ryan Theriot smoked a ball past Cahill into center. With runners on first and second with one out, Starlin Castro singled to left. Zambrano scored … 4-2 A’s.
With Marlon Byrd at the plate, Theriot left for third to early and was picked off. The Cubs had Cahill on the ropes with their best hitter at the plate … and Theriot ran them out of the inning. Byrd grounded out to short, inning over.
The A’s got the run right back in the sixth. Cliff Pennington reached on a bunt single to start the inning. An American League pitcher dropped down a bunt and advanced Pennington to second. Rajai Davis then drove a ball over Byrd’s head in center … Pennington scored easily … 5-2 A’s.
Alfonso Soriano started the Cubs’ rally in the bottom of the sixth. Soriano singled to left with two outs and scored on a double off the base of the wall in right center by Chad Tracy. Koyie Hill followed with a single to left.
Tracy scored easily as Cust missed the cutoff man. Hill advanced to second on the play. Piniella allowed Zambrano to hit with the tying run in scoring position. Z popped out to second to end the inning. Xavier Nady was in the on deck circle and was pulled back.
The A’s blew the game open in the seventh.
Kurt Suzuki singled to right center on a 0-1 pitch from Jeff Stevens. Kevin Kouzmanoff then singled to right center. Colvin over-ran the ball and the runners advanced to second and third on the error.
Stevens issued a four-pitch walk to Jack Cust to load the bases … with no outs.
After Mark Ellis grounded into a 5-2-3 double play, the A’s had runners on second and third with two outs. Stevens got ahead of Cliff Pennington but uncorked a wild pitch over Koyie Hill’s head on a 1-2 offering. Kouzmanoff scored … 6-4 A’s.
Pennington launched Stevens next pitch off the wall in right. Colvin fell down at the wall. Colvin missed Ryan Theriot but Starlin Castro was too close and could not catch the errant throw. Pennington scored when the ball got away … 8-4 A’s.
John Grabow pitched a scoreless eighth.
Tyler Colvin cut the A’s lead to 8-5 with his seventh homer of the season in the eighth … but Sean Marshall allowed a run in the ninth. 9-5 was the final and another embarrassing loss for the Chicago Cubs.
It is time for Jim Hendry to start working the phones …
Ryan Dempster is scheduled to face Gio Gonzalez Wednesday under the lights.