Game Forty – Cubs 4, White Sox 7
WP – John Danks (3-4) LP – Ryan Dempster (0-2) Save – None
Dale Sveum’s Cubs dropped their fifth game in a row and looked to be well on their way to being shutout for the first time this season. The White Sox took a 7-0 lead into the ninth and the Cubs had managed only five hits over eight innings.
Alfonso Soriano (3-for-4 with a home run, a double and two RBI) put the Cubs on the board with a two-run shot, his third home run of the week. After a two-out single by Jeff Baker, Joe Mather (1-for-3 with a home run, two RBI and a walk) hit the Cubs’ second two-out, two-run homer in the ninth. Koyie Hill was 1-for-4 in his return to the Cubs and grounded out to second to end the game.
While the Cubs offense was non-existent for the first eight innings, Ryan Dempster put his team in an early hole and by the third inning the Cubs were looking up at a four-run deficit.
Ryan Dempster did not have it Saturday night. Dempster could not find a rhythm and struggled with his command throughout his six-inning outing. Dempster served up back-to-back home runs to Dayan Viciedo and A.J. Pierzynski in the third and left after giving up four runs on seven hits with three walks and three strikeouts in six innings. Dempster threw 90 pitches, 50 for strikes, in route to his second loss of the season.
The Sox tacked on three more runs in the eighth against the Cubs pen … with a little help from the Cubs defense. James Russell served up a leadoff homer to Adam Dunn then was lifted with just one out after Alfonso Soriano misplayed a ball into a double and Joe Mather booted a routine grounder that loaded the bases. Blake Parker struck out the only batter he faced before leaving with tightness in his right hamstring. Michael Bowden inherited a 3-0 count on Alejandro De Aza and issued ball four that forced in the seventh run of the game.
Dale Sveum used six pitchers to get through nine innings Saturday night.
The Cubs offense made it very easy on John Danks and allowed him to take a perfect game into the fifth. Alfonso Soriano broke up Danks’ bid for perfection with a one-out double in the fifth. The overly aggressive offense simply did not make Danks work. There were too many early swings and they allowed him to leave with one out in the seventh after throwing only 83 pitches, 54 for strikes.
With Saturday’s loss, the Cubs dropped to a season low 10 games under .500 with a 15-25 record … Ryan Dempster struggled finding a rhythm in the first inning. And labored through a long 24-pitch first inning that took 16 minutes to play.
Alejandro De Aza led off the game with a single to center (3-1 pitch). Gordon Beckham flied out to right on the first pitch. De Aza took off for second on the first pitch to Adam Dunn. Koyie Hill’s throw was late and low and the Sox were in business. Dempster walked Dunn on four pitches.
Dayan Viciedo lined a 2-2 pitch into center. The ball fell just in front of Reed Johnson. De Aza scored, 1-0 Sox. Dempster struck out Pierzynski swinging (2-2 pitch) the retired Rios on a grounder to second to end the inning. Dempster threw 24 pitches in the first, 12 for strikes.
The Cubs did nothing in the first. John Danks threw only 10 pitches, 7 for strikes. Zero patience for an offense facing a pitcher that has struggled with issuing free passes all season.
Dempster seemed to find a little rhythm in the second and retired the Sox in order on 10 pitches (34 for the game, 20 for strikes).
The Cubs did nothing in the second … six up and six down for Danks on 22 pitches, 15 for strikes.
Ryan Dempster made quick work of De Aza and Beckham to start the third. Dempster fell behind Adam Dunn before walking him on a 3-2 pitch. Dayan Viciedo drove a 1-0 pitch into left center that ended up in the basket and just like that the Sox had a 3-0 lead. A.J. Pierzynski hit the knockout blow. Pierzynski followed Viciedo’s longball with a homer to left center on a 0-1 pitch that gave the Sox a commanding 4-0 lead. Rios grounded out to third on Dempster’s 52nd pitch of the game (30 for strikes) to end the inning.
The bottom of the Cubs’ order went quickly in the third. Danks threw only 31 pitches, 22 for strikes, in the first three innings.
Ryan Dempster sat down the bottom of the White Sox lineup in order in the fourth. Dempster threw 63 pitches, 38 for strikes, in four innings.
The Cubs continued making John Danks look good in the bottom of the fourth. The Cubs went down in order, 12 in a row, on just 46 pitches (32 for strikes).
Alejandro De Aza led off the top of the fifth with a bunt single up the third base line. On a 2-1 pitch De Aza took off for second. Koyie Hill threw him out at second. Gordon Beckham lined Dempster’s next pitch back up the middle for a single. Dempster jumped ahead of Adam Dunn 1-2 before losing him and walking him for the third time on the night.
Dayan Viciedo stepped in with runners on first and second with one out. Dempster fell behind 2-1 before receiving a visit from Koyie Hill. Viciedo hit Dempster’s next pitch back up the middle to Barney in the shift … 4-3 inning ending double play on Dempster’s 80th pitch of the day, 47 for strikes.
After Bryan LaHair struck out looking to start the fifth, Alfonso Soriano pulled a 1-0 pitch into the left field corner … the Cubs first hit of the game. Jeff Baker flied out to right and Soriano advanced to third. Joe Mather showed patience and walked on four pitches. With runners on first and third with two down, Koyie Hill looked at three straight before flying out to right center on a 3-1 pitch to end the inning.
Ryan Dempster retired Pierzynski (ground out to second) and Rios (fly out to right) to start the sixth. Alexei Ramirez singled to left center but Escobar flied out to left for the third out. Dempster threw 90 pitches, 50 for strikes, in six innings.
Tony Campana hit for Dempster to begin the sixth. Campana lashed a 1-1 pitch back up the middle. Reed Johnson followed with a single to left but Darwin Barney looked at a questionable third strike and Starlin Castro hit into a 5-4-3 double play … inning over.
The Sox went down 1-2-3 in the seventh against Shawn Camp.
John Danks started the seventh and struck out Bryan LaHair swinging. Robin Ventura took out the smirking John Danks after just 83 pitches, 54 for strikes.
Alfonso Soriano greeted Nate Jones with a single to center but Jeff Baker hit the first pitch to Beckham … 4-6-3 double play, inning over.
James Russell started the eighth and with a lot of help from Soriano and Mather struggled for one of the first times this season. Adam Dunn greeted him with a long home run to right center. Russell retired Viciedo on a ground out to second. A.J. Pierzynski lined a 0-2 pitch toward left that Alfonso Soriano misplayed into a double. Russell then intentionally walked Alex Rios. Alexei Ramirez singled to center and drove in Pierzynski … 6-0 White Sox. Eduardo Escobar then hit a grounder toward third. Joe Mather booted the ball. Castro tried to salvage the play by picking up the ball and throwing to Barney but his throw was late and the bases were loaded with one out.
Dale Sveum made the slow walk and brought in Blake Parker.
Parker struck out pinch-hitter Brent Lillibridge swinging for the second out. Parker fell behind De Aza 2-0. Parker missed on his third pitch to De Aza and appeared to land awkwardly on his follow through. After a visit from Mark O’Neal and Dale Sveum, Parker left the game.
Michael Bowden replaced Parker and inherited a bases loaded, two-out jam and a 3-0 count on Alejandro De Aza. Bowden’s first pitch missed and he forced in Rios … 7-0 White Sox. Bowden struck out Beckham swinging to end the inning.
Joe Mather flied out to right off Hector Santiago to start the eighth. Koyie Hill reached on a single to left. With Hill at second, Adrian Cardenas hit for Bowden and grounded out to short. Reed Johnson grounded to short to end the inning.
Casey Coleman faced the minimum in the ninth. Dunn walked for the fourth time on the night but Viciedo hit into a 5-4-3 double play and Pierzynski looked at strike three.
Robin Ventura sent Zach Stewart to the hill for a little mop up duty in the ninth. Stewart could not preserve the shutout after giving up a leadoff single to Darwin Barney. Starlin Castro struck out swinging and Bryan LaHair flied out to left.
Alfonso Soriano put the Cubs on the board with his third longball of the week. Soriano’s two-run shot to left made it a 7-2 ballgame. Jeff Baker followed with a single then trotted home on a two-run homer by Joe Mather. Koyie Hill predictably grounded out to second to end the game.
Game two of round one of the City Series went to the Sox
Box Score from Yahoo Sports
Paul Maholm is scheduled to face Jake Peavy in the finale on Sunday afternoon.
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