Game One Hundred Forty-Four – Cubs 4 Mets 5
WP – Manny Acosta (3-1, BS 3) LP – Sean Marshall (6-6) Save – None
To the Cubs credit they did not quit Friday night. The Cubs tied the game in the ninth on a two-out RBI single by Darwin Barney just to lose it in the bottom of the ninth on the second double of the night by Justin Turner … a two-out, ground rule double to center over Marlon Byrd’s head.
The Cubs once again had plenty of opportunities to plate runs and the difference ended up being the Cubs inability to hit with runners in scoring position. The Cubs inept offense was a miserable 2-for-8 with RISP and left eight on base … in a one run loss.
Carlos Pena (1-for-3 with a home run, a walk and two RBI) hit another blast on Friday night, his second mammoth shot in as many games. Pena leads the Cubs with 27 home runs and is the first lefty to hit 27 longballs in a season since Jacque Jones in 2006.
Starlin Castro (2-for-4 with a hit by pitch) continues to pile up hits and Aramis Ramirez (1-for-4 with a double, a run scored and a walk) doubled, scored a run and walked in five trips to the plate. Ramirez’s third inning double was his 255th in a Cubs uniform … 14th on the Cubs All-Time list.
Bryan LaHair (1-for-2 with a triple, a RBI and a walk) just hits the baseball. LaHair tripled in a run in the fourth and walked in three plate appearances on Friday night.
Casey Coleman gave up hits and runs but did not issue any free passes. Coleman gave up four runs on eight hits without a walk and five strikeouts in five innings on Friday. Coleman threw 90 pitches, 58 for strikes, and did not build on his last two outings. Coleman was in line for the loss before Barney’s tied the game in the top of the ninth.
Andrew Cashner made his first appearance in a Cubs’ uniform since April. Cashner threw the ball extremely well (16 pitches, 13 for strikes) and worked around an error by Aramis Ramirez to start the inning.
Jeff Samardzija tossed two perfect innings (seventh and eighth) and gave his team a chance.
Sean Marshall took the loss after giving up a leadoff single in the bottom of the ninth … and a two-out ground rule double to Justin Turner that ended the game.
With Friday night’s loss, the Cubs slipped back to 20 games under .500 with a 62-82 record … and are guaranteed a losing season. The Cubs wasted a big opportunity to put runs on the board in the opening inning. Starlin Castro led off with a single to right. Darwin Barney lined out to center and with Aramis Ramirez at the plate, Castro stole second. Ramirez walked … and so did Carlos Pena.
With the bases loaded and one out, Mike Pelfrey struck out Alfonso Soriano and retired Marlon Byrd on a liner to short to end the inning.
Casey Coleman retired the Mets in order in the first … and the Cubs did nothing against Mike Pelfrey in the second.
Coleman dodged a bullet in the bottom of the second. David Wright grounded out to third and Angel Pagan struck out swinging. Jason Bay reached on a two-out double to left and advanced to third on a wild pitch with Nick Evans at the plate. With a man on third and two down, Coleman struck out Nick Evans swinging to end the inning.
The Cubs got on the board in a big way in the third. Aramis Ramirez doubled to center with two outs … and trotted home on another blast off the bat of Carlos Pena. Pena crushed a 3-2 pitch over the wall in center and Pena’s team-leading 27th longball of the season put the Cubs up 2-0. Soriano flied out to center to end the inning.
Casey Coleman put together a nice shutdown inning in the home half of the third. Coleman sat the Mets down in order.
After three, the Cubs led 2-0.
The Cubs tacked on a run in the top of the fourth. Marlon Byrd led off the inning with a single to left. Bryan LaHair ripped a 0-1 pitch off the base of the wall in right center. The ball hit and rolled away from Lucas Duda. Byrd scored all the way from first and LaHair was called safe at third with a triple … replays showed LaHair was out.
With a runner on third and no outs, Geovany Soto lined out to third.
Casey Coleman put the ball in play and hit a fly into left. Jason Bay caught the ball and threw home but his throw was off line. LaHair appeared to slide in under Josh Thole’s tag but was called out to end the inning.
The Mets got to Coleman the second time through the lineup and tied the game in the bottom of the fourth.
Justin Turner singled to center to start the inning. Lucas Duda singled to right, Turner advanced to third with no outs. David Wright then hit a ball in the hole at short. Castro fielded the ball and threw to second to force Duda … but the Cubs could not complete the double play as Turner scored.
Angel Pagan followed with a single to center to put runners on first and second with one out.
Jason Bay ripped a double into left. Wright scored, Pagan held at third and just like that it was 3-2 Cubs. Nick Evans ripped a 2-1 pitch to third. Ramirez dove but the ball went off his glove right to Castro. Castro threw out Evans at first. Pagan scored on the play and tied the game at three. Josh Thole grounded out to short to end the inning.
After four, the game was tied at three.
The Cubs did nothing against Mike Pelfrey in the fifth.
The Mets took the lead in the bottom of the fifth after back-to-back one out doubles. After Pelfrey grounded out to second to start the inning, Jose Reyes hit a ground rule double to left. Justin Turner then blooped a 0-2 pitch into shallow right. Reyes scored easily and Turner slid in safe just ahead of LaHair’s throw.
Lucas Duda struck out and Wright reached on an infield single to short. Coleman retired Pagan on a grounder to first to end the inning … and his night.
Pelfrey retired the Cubs in order in the sixth.
Andrew Cashner made his first big league appearance since April in the bottom of the sixth. Cashner worked around a throwing error by Aramis Ramirez that allowed Jason Bay to reach second to start the inning. Cashner struck out Nick Evans, retired Thole on a grounder to short and Pelfrey on a liner to second to end the inning. Cashner threw 16 pitches, 13 for strikes.
Bryan LaHair worked a walk to start the seventh. Quade went to his bench and sent Tony Campana in to run for LaHair. Geovany Soto popped out to second for the first out. Blake DeWitt hit for Cashner and ripped the first pitch toward right. The ball hit Campana for the second out of the inning. DeWitt reached and advanced to second when Castro was hit by a pitch from Mike Pelfrey.
D.J. LeMahieu took over at second for DeWitt and Terry Collins went to his pen to Josh Stinson. Barney flied out to right to end the inning.
Jeff Samardzija started the bottom of the seventh … and retired the Mets in order.
Aramis Ramirez grounded out to third to start the eighth. Tim Byrdak replaced Stinson and retired Pena on a foul out to first. Collins went back to his pen for Bobby Parnell. Soriano worked a two-out walk but Byrd grounded out to short to end the inning.
Samardzija did his job and put together a perfect bottom of the eighth. Samardzija gave the offense a chance … and they tied the game up in top of the ninth.
After Tony Campana struck out swinging to start the ninth, Geovany Soto worked a walk against Manny Acosta. Luis Montanez ran for Soto and Reed Johnson hit for Samardzija. Johnson lined out to second.
With the tying run at first and two down, Starlin Castro singled to left. Montanez held at second.
Darwin Barney ripped a 1-0 pitch back up the middle. Montanez scored and tied the game at four. With the go ahead run at second, Ramirez flied out to right to end the inning.
Sean Marshall started the bottom of the ninth and gave up a leadoff single to Nick Evans on a 0-2 pitch. Jason Pridie ran for Evans and Thole bunted him to second. Pinch-hitter Ruben Tejada hit a liner to Barney for the second out. Jose Reyes was intentionally walked to put two on with two down for Justin Turner.
With two outs and the game tied at four on the road, Quade brought his outfield in a couple of steps to have a chance to make a play at the plate. Justin Turner hit a fly over Byrd’s head in center. The ball hit on the track and bounced into the stands. Pridie scored … game over.
The Cubs did not quit but a run short is still a run short …
Randy Wells will face Chris Capuano in game two just after high noon on Saturday.