Game Thirty-Nine – Cubs 4 Reds 7
WP – Homer Bailey (3-0) LP – Carlos Zambrano (4-2) Save – Francisco Cordero (8)
Every loss is a bad one during the baseball season but Monday’s hurt just a little bit more than usual. The Cubs gave another game to the Reds (1-3) and in the process Q’s squad began a difficult road trip on a negative note.
The Cubs had plenty of scoring chances over the first six innings (1-for-7 with RISP, five left on base in first five innings) but still managed to build a 4-0 lead. Carlos Zambrano was in total control and very incredibly sharp. Z was working on a one-hit shutout and threw only 68 pitches, 40 for strikes in the first five innings … but that all changed in a blink of an eye with one out in the bottom of the sixth.
The Reds scored seven times in the bottom of the sixth after nine straight batters reached with one out.
Drew Stubbs reached on a misplayed ball by Aramis Ramirez and it opened the floodgates. Z walked Edgar Renteria then gave up four consecutive run scoring hits to Joey Votto, Brandon Phillips, Jay Bruce and Scott Rolen.
Scott Rolen delivered the knockout punch with a double to left that chased Z from the game. Alfonso Soriano misplayed the ball into a double as Brandon Phillips scored the tying run.
Z departed after recording only one out in the sixth with runners on second and third. Zambrano threw 27 pitches in a very ugly third of an inning.
After a wild pitch allowed the Reds to take the lead, Marcos Mateo served up a two-run shot to Jonny Gomes and closed the book on Z and the Cubs for Monday night. Zambrano was charged with six runs on six hits in 5 1/3 innings. Z walked three and struck out three on 95 pitches, 55 for strikes.
Carlos Zambrano lost his first game at Great American Ball Park since July 29, 2007.
The fundamentally challenged Cubs were on full display once again Monday night. The roster Jim Hendry assembled continued to struggle with every aspect of the game. The Cubs were 2-for-11 with RISP (only one RBI) and left seven on base. Plus two runners were thrown out at the plate. All toll the Cubs committed four baserunning mistakes that cost them runs as well.
Carlos Pena hit his fourth home run of the second in the sixth and gave the Cubs a 4-0 lead at the time. After going without a homer for his first 25 games, Pena has hit four in his last 11. Pena hit the Cubs first home run since May 7 … his solo shot in the ninth against the Reds that tied the game at one.
With Monday night’s loss, the Cubs are a season-low five games under .500 with a 17-22 record … The Cubs had the right game plan to start the game against Homer Bailey. Q’s offense was extremely patient and allowed Bailey to walk the bases loaded with one out … Darwin Barney, Starlin Castro and Aramis Ramirez earned the free passes. But once again, Alfonso Soriano failed to deliver with the bases loaded. Soriano struck out swinging … and Marlon Byrd did as well. The Cubs walked three times in the first against Bailey but struck out three times as well.
The Cubs inability to plate runners in scoring position cost them a chance against the Reds once again.
Carlos Zambrano was very good in the first, retired the Reds in order in the second and wiggled his way out of a jam in the third. Z gave up a one-out single to Homer Bailey in the third then walked Drew Stubbs but was able to induce a 5-3 inning ending double play off the bat of Edgar Renteria.
Z retired the Reds in order in the fourth.
Carlos Pena reached on an infield single to third to begin the fifth. Pena checked his swing and hit a chopper to Rolen that the veteran third baseman could not make a strong throw on. Mike Quade called for a hit and run on the first pitch to Koyie Hill. Hill executed perfectly and hit the ball through the vacated side of the right infield. Pena advanced to third on the play.
Z hit a chopper down the third base line on a 1-1 pitch. Rolen tried to make a throw home but was off balance, threw low and Hanigan could not make a play. Pena scored after stopping and starting again … Pena saw the throw and stopped about ten feet from the plate, the Cubs first baserunning blunder of the inning.
Hill and Z advanced to second and third on Rolen’s error.
Kosuke Fukudome hit a weak grounder to third that Hill tried to score on. The Cubs catcher was caught in a rundown and Hanigan eventually tagged him out (baserunning blunder number two). Z advanced to third on the play.
Darwin Barney came through with his 18th RBI of the season. Barney reached on a bloop single to right and drove in Z with the Cubs’ second run. Starlin Castro stepped in and hit Bailey’s first offering into right. The ball was hit well enough for Fukudome to tag and score but he misread the ball and could not get back in time to tag … baserunning blunder number three. Aramis Ramirez grounded out to second to end the inning.
The Cubs should have scored at least three runs in the fifth … after five the Cubs were 1-for-7 with RISP, five left on base.
Big Z retired the Reds in order in the fifth.
Marlon Byrd extended his hitting streak to 16 games with a one-out single to right in the sixth … and was on board for the ride on Carlos Pena’s blast to right. Pena’s fourth of the year gave the Cubs a 4-0 lead.
Carlos Zambrano took the hill in the bottom of the sixth with a 4-0 lead … that evaporated in the blink of an eye. Z struck out pinch-hitter Miguel Cairo to start the inning … then nine consecutive batters reached base and seven of them scored.
Drew Stubbs reached on an infield single to third on a ball misplayed by Aramis Ramirez. Z then walked Edgar Renteria ahead of Joey Votto. Votto drove in the Reds first run with a single to left center. Stubbs scored and Renteria held at second.
Brandon Phillips made it 4-2 Cubs with a single to left on a 0-1 pitch. Renteria scored but Votto held at second with one out. Jay Bruce ripped a 0-2 pitch into right. Votto scored and Phillips took third on the play.
With the Cubs up 4-3, Scott Rolen hit a ball into left that a Major League baseball player should be able to catch, but not the Cubs’ left fielder. Instead of a sac fly and a tied game, the Reds tied the game on a double and had runners on second and third with one out.
Mike Quade made the trip to the mound and brought in Marcos Mateo to face Jonny Gomes with the game tied at four.
Mateo’s first pitch was up and in and Koyie Hill could not glove it. Bruce scored and gave the Reds a 5-4 lead. Mateo then served up a 1-1 pitch to Gomes that he deposited into the stands in right center … 7-4 Reds.
After back-to-back walks by Ryan Hanigan and Miguel Cairo, Drew Stubbs grounded out to third and Renteria struck out swinging to end the inning.
The Cubs had a chance in the eighth to score a run … or two but came away empty again.
Alfonso Soriano led off the eighth with a double to right center off Sam LeCure. Marlon Byrd singled to center but Soriano got a late jump from second. Ivan DeJesus sent Soriano home anyway and Stubbs threw him out at the plate. Instead of first and third with no outs, Byrd stood at second with one down and the Cubs looking up at a 7-4 deficit.
Dusty brought in Bill Bray to face Carlos Pena. Pena grounded out to first and Hill grounded out to second to end the inning.
Horrible defense, can’t hit with runners in scoring position and baserunning gaffe after baserunning gaffe … It’s a Way of Life!
Matt Garza will face Edinson Volquez in the finale of the two game series Tuesday night.