Game Seventy – Cubs 1, Diamondbacks 6
WP – Brad Ziegler (4-1) LP – Jeff Samardzija (5-6) Save – David Hernandez (2)
The Cubs actually led Friday night’s opener 1-0 on Geovany Soto’s fifth homer of the season in the fourth inning. The Diamondbacks scored six unanswered runs off Jeff Samardzija and the bullpen while the offense was busy leaving runner after runner on base.
Friday night began on a positive note for Jeff Samardzija. Samardzija struck out four of the first nine batters he faced and was in cruise control through three innings. After Geovany Soto gave him a one-run lead with a solo homer in the fourth, Samardzija made a mistake on a 3-0 pitch to Jason Kubel in the bottom of the inning that left the park … and gave Arizona a 2-1 lead. The D-Backs scored another run in the fifth, two more in the sixth and chased Samardzija from the game before he could record an out in the sixth after a bases clearing triple off the bat of Miguel Montero.
Samardzija really struggled the third time through the lineup. Arizona appeared to make adjustments while Samardzija did not. Samardzija allowed five runs on seven hits with two walks and six strikeouts in five-plus innings. Samardzija threw 88 pitches in five-plus innings, 59 for strikes, and that was after throwing only eight pitches in the first and 36 after three innings.
Dale Sveum’s staff had trouble throwing strikes again. The Cubs walked four batters and three of those free baserunners scored. And to add insult to bad baseball, Brad Ziegler and David Hernandez recorded the first hits of their big league career on Friday night. Ziegler singled and scored Arizona’s third run in the fifth off Jeff Samardzija and Hernandez singled in the eighth off Casey Coleman. When two relievers record their first hit in the same game, it is simply not your night.
The Cubs offense could not take advantage of Josh Collmenter’s gifts early in the game and managed only one run on the night. Joe Saunders was scratched just before game time because he could not get loose. Josh Collmenter stepped in and allowed only one run on three hits with three walks and six strikeouts in four innings. The Cubs worked the count against Collmenter but they could not come up with a hit with runners in scoring position.
Dale Sveum’s offense left the bases loaded in the second and eighth innings and could not take advantage of runners on second and third in the fifth. The Cubs recorded nine hits but were a miserable 1-for-8 with runners in scoring position and left 11 on base.
Dale Sveum stayed with his right-handed lineup when Josh Collmenter was inserted as the starter. Geovany Soto (2-for-4 with a home run) provided the only real highlight of the night, a solo homer in the fourth that gave the Cubs a brief 1-0 lead. Alfonso Soriano (1-for-4 with a double and a walk) and Luis Valbuena (1-for-3 with a double and a walk) notched the Cubs’ other two extra base hits … and Starlin Castro was 1-for-5 on the night.
The Cubs struck out ten times and worked four free passes … but only two walks came after the second and one was in the eighth that loaded the bases with two outs.
With Friday’s loss (20-32 at Chase Field), the Cubs dropped to 24-46 on the season, 22 games under .500 … Josh Collmenter, not Joe Saunders, started the game for Arizona and Reed Johnson greeted him with a bunt single up the third baseline. Starlin Castro struck out swinging (2-2 pitch) and so did Alfonso Soriano, even though he lost track of the count and stood at the plate after he swung and missed at a 2-2 pitch. Johnson took off for second on a 0-1 offering to Jeff Baker and Miguel Montero cut him down at second to end the inning. Collmenter threw only 16 pitches in the first, 10 for strikes.
Jeff Samardzija set down the D-Backs in order in the first on eight pitches, five for strikes.
After Jeff Baker hit a weak tapper back to Collmenter to start the second, Geovany Soto ripped a 3-1 pitch back up the middle and into centerfield. Darwin Barney worked hit first walk since June 12. With runners on first and second with one out, Joe Mather looked at ball four to load the bases.
Luis Valbuena walked to the plate swinging after Collmenter issued back-to-back free passes to load the bases. Valbuena struck out swinging on three high fastballs for the second out. Jeff Samardzija could not help himself. Samardzija swung and missed at a 2-2 offering to end the inning. Collmenter threw 46 pitches in the first two innings, 27 for strikes.
Samardzija stayed sharp in the bottom of the second. Samardzija retired Jason Kubel on a grounder to second (0-2 pitch) and struck out Paul Goldschmidt swinging (2-2 pitch). Miguel Montero pulled a 0-1 pitch into right for the D-Backs first hit. Samardzija notched his second swinging strikeout of the inning when Chris Young could not make contact with a 2-2 pitch. Samardzija threw 24 pitches in the first two innings, 17 for strikes.
The Cubs continued working the count in the third but Collmenter kept them off the board. Johnson struck out swinging (2-2 pitch) for the first out. Castro grounded out to the hole at short (2-1) but Alfonso Soriano worked a two-out walk. Baker ran the count to 3-2 before hitting a routine grounder to short for the third out … 67 pitches for Collmenter after three, 37 for strikes.
Jeff Samardzija retired the D-Backs in order in the third … 36 pitches for Samardzija after three, 26 for strikes.
Geovany Soto led off the fourth with a towering homer to centerfield. Soto’s fifth homer of the year gave the Cubs a 1-0 lead. Collmenter continued throwing a lot of pitches but still retired the next three batters he faced. Darwin Barney flied out to deep center, Mather flied out to center (2-2 pitch) and Luis Valbuena struck out swinging (3-2 pitch) to end the inning.
Jeff Samardzija took the hill in the fourth with a 1-0 lead … but it did not last long. Samardzija retired Aaron Hill before giving up a single to Justin Upton. Jason Kubel drove a 3-0 pitch that was up and out over the plate into the bleachers in left. And just like that the D-Backs took a 2-1 lead. To Samardzija’s credit, he struck out Paul Goldschmidt and Miguel Montero swinging to end the inning. Samardzija threw 53 pitches through four, 36 for strikes.
Brad Ziegler took over in the fifth and the Cubs wasted a chance to at least tie the game.
Jeff Samardzija singled to center to start the inning. Reed Johnson struck out and Castro hit into a 4-6 fielder’s choice. Alfonso Soriano laced a 1-1 pitch down the right field line. Upton played the ball perfectly and kept Castro from scoring on Soriano’s double. Jeff Baker predictably hit a routine grounder to an infielder (second base on 0-1 pitch) to end the inning.
Jeff Samardzija made quick work to Chris Young (ground out to short) and Ryan Roberts (ground out to second) then jumped ahead of Brad Ziegler 0-2. The D-Backs’ relief pitcher drove Samardzija’s next pitch into center for the first hit of his career.
Willie Bloomquist followed Samardzija’s mistake to Ziegler with a knock through the right side and into the outfield. Ziegler stopped at second with two outs.
Aaron Hill hit a couple shots that had home run distance but went foul. Hill went with a 1-2 pitch and drove it into the gap in right center. Ziegler scored and Arizona took a 3-1 lead. With runners on first and third with two down, Justin Upton grounded out to short on Samardzija’s 71st pitch (51 strikes) of the night.
The Cubs did nothing against Brad Ziegler in the sixth.
Samardzija walked Jason Kubel to start the sixth then jumped ahead of Goldschmidt 1-2. Samardzija could not finish off Goldschmidt and walked him three pitches later. With runners on first and second with one out, Miguel Montero ripped a 2-2 pitch (ahead 0-2 earlier in the at bat) into the right field corner. Johnson was shading Montero into right center. Montero ended up clearing the bases with his first triple of the season.
With the Cubs down 5-1, a runner at third and no outs, Dale Sveum decided he’d seen enough. Sveum went to his pen and brought in Shawn Camp. Sveum made a double switch and sent David DeJesus in for Joe Mather in centerfield.
With the infield in, Chris Young struck out swinging for the first out. Ryan Roberts then hit a 0-2 pitch back up the middle. The ball went under Camp and right to Barney. Montero held and Barney threw out Roberts for the second out. Kirk Gibson went to his bench and sent Josh Bell up to hit for Brad Ziegler. Bell flied out to deep left center to end the inning.
After six, the Cubs trailed 5-1.
Lefty Craig Breslow started the seventh for Kirk Gibson. Luis Valbuena greeted Breslow with a double into the left field corner. David DeJesus popped out to shallow right and Johnson grounded out to short.
With two out and Valbuena still at second, Starlin Castro ripped a 1-2 pitch into center. The ball got to Young in a hurry and Valbuena held at third. Gibson went back to his pen and brought in Brian Shaw to face Alfonso Soriano.
Alfonso Soriano fell behind 0-2 before hitting a soft liner into center (1-2 pitch) to end the inning.
The D-Backs tacked on against Jairo Asencio in the seventh
Willie Bloomquist worked a walk to start the inning. Aaron Hill hit a deep fly to DeJesus in center. DeJesus caught the deep fly and Bloomquist tagged from first. With Bloomquist at second, Justin Upton crushed a 0-2 pitch into right center. DeJesus dove but came up empty. The ball hit the track and hopped into the swimming pool area for a ground rule double. Bloomquist scored … 6-1 Arizona. Bloomquist was the third straight run to score that reached base via a walk.
Dale Sveum made the slow walk and brought in Scott Maine to face Jason Kubel. Maine retired Kubel on a flyout to left then walked Paul Goldschmidt. After a double steal (later changed to defensive indifference) put runners on second and third with two outs, Montero struck out swinging to end the inning.
After seven it was all Arizona …
Brian Shaw started the eighth and retired Steve Clevenger (ground out to third) and Geovany Soto (flyout to right) for the first two outs. Darwin Barney singled to right and Bryan LaHair singled to left. With Valbuena at the plate, Shaw uncorked a wild pitch that allowed Barney and LaHair to move up ninety feet. Luis Valbuena walked to load the bases.
Kirk Gibson decided he wanted the game to be over and went to his pen for David Hernandez. David DeJesus grounded out to second (2-1 pitch) to end the inning.
Casey Coleman pitched the eighth and gave up another first to a D-Backs’ reliever. Coleman retired Chris Young and Ryan Roberts then jumped ahead of David Hernandez 0-2. Hernandez appeared to bail on a 0-2 pitch but got just enough of the pitch to bloop the ball over Clevenger’s head and into right for the big league hit of his career. Bloomquist followed with a single to right but Aaron Hill grounded out to second to end the inning.
The Cubs did nothing against David Hernandez in the ninth … game over.
Paul Maholm is scheduled to face Ian Kennedy on Saturday night.
Follow ChicagoCubsOnline on Twitter: @TheCCO