Game One Hundred Thirty-Seven – Cubs 0 Giants 4
WP – Madison Bumgarner (9-12) LP – Rodrigo Lopez (4-6) Save – None
The difference in the three game series between the Cubs and Giants was starting pitching. In the first two games, the Cubs starters held San Francisco to two runs. On Wednesday the table was turned … and for as good as the Cubs played in the first two games, the series (2-1) and the road trip (2-4) ended on a sour note.
Madison Bumgarner dominated the Cubs offense over eight shutout innings. The Cubs managed only two hits against Bumgarner and a total of four baserunners (two hits and two walks). Bumgarner tied a career high with 11 strikeouts (struck out six of the first nine batters he faced) on Wednesday afternoon … and the Cubs struck out a total of 12 times on the afternoon.
Starlin Castro (1-for-4 with a stolen base) and Marlon Byrd (1-for-3) collected the two hits while Alfonso Soriano (0-for-2 with a walk) and Geovany Soto (0-for-2 with a walk) worked the two free passes. The Cubs put only one runner in scoring position in nine innings against Bumgarner and Sergio Romo (0-for-1 with RISP, three left on base).
Rodrigo Lopez was very hittable once again, even for the offensively challenged San Francisco Giants. Jeff Keppinger (3-for-4 with a home run, a double and two RBI) continues to torch Cubs pitching. Keppinger launched the first of back-to-back blasts off Lopez in the fourth and added a RBI single in the fifth. All four of the Giants runs came against Rodrigo Lopez (four runs on nine hits with two walks, two strikeouts and a HBP in 5 1/3 innings), who once again proved he’s no longer a Major League pitcher.
John Grabow, James Russell and Jeff Samardzija did not allow the Giants to tack on over the last 2 2/3 innings.
In the end Madison Bumgarner was too much for the Chicago Cubs on Wednesday.
With the loss in the finale against the Giants, the Cubs slipped back to 19 games under .500 with a 59-78 record (16-13 in August) on the season … While the Cubs were busy trying to figure out Madison Bumgarner, Rodrigo Lopez kept the Giants off the board the first time through the lineup.
Lopez faced the minimum in the first after Andres Torres led off with a single to right but was thrown out trying to steal second with Keppinger at the plate. Keppinger ended up flying out to right center and Pablo Sandoval grounded out to third to end the first.
The Giants did nothing against Lopez in the second … 1-2-3 on 10 pitches.
Outside of a four-pitch walk by Alfonso Soriano with one out in the second, the Cubs did nothing against Bumgarner until two outs in the third.
Starlin Castro recorded the Cubs first hit with two down in the third (2-2 pitch) and took off for second on a 0-1 pitch to Reed Johnson. Castro swiped the bag and advanced to third when Chris Stewart’s throw ended up in centerfield. Johnson popped out to Keppinger in shallow right to end the inning … the only runner the Cubs put in scoring position all afternoon.
Mike Fontenot led off the bottom of the third with a double to right center. Stewart flied out to left and Bumgarner flied out to right. Fontenot advanced on Bumgarner’s fly but was stranded at third when Torres struck out swinging to end the inning.
The Cubs started making a habit of going down in order in the fourth.
The Giants broke out the bats in the bottom of the fourth … and hit not one but two big flies off Rodrigo Lopez.
Jeff Keppinger launched Lopez’s first pitch into the stands in left. Not only did Keppinger put the Giants on the board but ended the Giants six-game homerless drought.
Pablo Sandoval made it 2-0 two pitches later. Sandoval crushed a 0-1 pitch that ended up in McCovey’s Cove. Lopez retired Beltran on a groundout to third but Mark DeRosa ripped a single into center. Cody Ross grounded out weakly to third, DeRosa advanced to second but was stranded when Fontenot hit a rocket to Reed Johnson in right to end the inning.
The Giants squared up Lopez extremely well in the fourth.
Marlon Byrd led off the fifth with the Cubs second, and last hit, of the game. After Soto flied out to left, Barney worked the count to 3-2. Byrd took off for second but was called out because Darwin Barney interfered with Chris Stewart (fell into the catcher).
The Giants added onto their two-run lead in the fifth … and did a lot of bunting.
Chris Stewart led off the fifth with a bunt single up the third baseline. Bumgarner sacrificed him to second. For some reason, Andres Torres dropped down a bunt. Lopez threw out Torres at first but Stewart advanced to third.
Jeff Keppinger blooped a 1-2 pitch out into right center. Stewart scored … 3-0 Giants.
The Giants ended up loading the bases in the fifth (infield single by Sandoval and a walk to Carlos Beltran) but Mark DeRosa grounded out to third to end the inning.
The Cubs went quickly and quietly in the top of the sixth … and to make matters worse, Rodrigo Lopez was allowed to hit for himself. With the Cubs down 3-0, Lopez led off the sixth by striking out swinging.
Rodrigo Lopez took the hill in the bottom of the sixth and hit Cody Ross on a 1-1 pitch to start the inning. Ross was picked off first but Fontenot walked on four pitches. Chris Stewart ripped a 2-2 pitch into the corner in left. Fontenot motored around the bases and scored the Giants fourth and final run.
Mike Quade went to his pen and brought in John Grabow. Bumgarner flied out to right center. Stewart tagged and advanced to third. Andres Torres lined out to center to end the inning.
Bumgarner sat down the Cubs in order in the seventh.
Jeff Keppinger led off the home half of the seventh with a double off James Russell. Sandoval popped out to Ramirez … and Carlos Beltran hit a deep fly to left center that resulted in a loud out. Quade went to his pen and brought in Jeff Samardzija.
Mark DeRosa hit a chopper back up the middle that Castro had no play on. With runners on first and third with two down, Cody Ross struck out swinging to end the inning.
Other than a one out walk by Geovany Soto, the Cubs did nothing against Bumgarner in the eighth … Blake DeWitt struck out swinging to end the inning, the 11th on the afternoon for the young southpaw.
Jeff Samardzija pitched around a two-out single by Pat Burrell, an error by Starlin Castro and a wild pitch. With Burrell on third, Torres struck out swinging on a 3-2 pitch.
Sergio Romo retired the Cubs in order in the ninth (11 pitches, eight for strikes) to end the game.
Pitching, pitching … it’s all about pitching.
The Cubs have Thursday off and will open a three-game series against the Pirates at Wrigley on Friday afternoon. Ryan Dempster against Jeff Karstens in the opener.