Game Nine – Cubs 6, Giants 7
WP – Ryan Vogelsong (1-1) LP – Scott Feldman (0-2) Save – Sergio Romo (6)
The Cubs actually led 5-0 after three innings on Thursday before handing the game to the Giants. Mental and physical errors cost the Cubs once again. Starlin Castro’s third charged error of the season open the floodgates in the fourth. The Giants scored all seven of their runs in the fourth and fifth innings while batting around both times. Scott Feldman was solid early but could not rebound from Castro’s mistake and left with one out in the fifth inning after failing to qualify for the win.
The Cubs were charged with two errors, walked six batters, hit a batter, Feldman failed to cover first base on two different occasions and Hisanori Takahashi issued a bases loaded walk to Ryan Vogelsong in the fifth inning that forced in the tying run … to say the Cubs played a sloppy game would be an understatement.
For all of their shortcomings on Thursday, they still had a chance to at least tie the game in the ninth after a one-out double by David DeJesus (1-for-5 with a double) … but Starlin Castro (2-for-5 with a double and a run scored) struck out swinging and Anthony Rizzo (1-for-5 with a home run and two RBI) was caught looking at a 2-2 pitch to end the game.
The Cubs jumped out to a 5-0 lead on Ryan Vogelsong by the third inning. Anthony Rizzo put the Cubs up 3-0 with his third longball of the season in the third. And Brent Lillibridge (1-for-3 with two RBI) ended a 0-for-18 slump with a two-out, bases loaded single that drove in a pair. But that would be the Cubs last hit until Alfonso Soriano (1-for-4 with a double and a run scored) collected his firsts extra basehit of the season, a leadoff double in the eighth. Soriano scored the Cubs’ sixth and final run when Welington Castillo (2-for-4 with a run scored) rapped into a 4-6-3 double play.
Scott Feldman remains winless over his last 12 starts dating back to August 4 of last season (Rangers and Cubs are a combined 0-12 in those games). Feldman had trouble putting batters away once he got two strikes and both of his mental errors, as well as hitting Brandon Crawford on a 0-2 pitch to load the bases in front of Pablo Sandoval, ended up being very costly. Feldman was charged with six runs, two earned, on seven hits with three walks, three strikeouts, a hit batsman and an error in 4 1/3 innings. Feldman threw 92 pitches, 56 for strikes.
Hisanori Takahashi took over for Feldman with one out in the fifth. The Giants had runners on first and second and the Cubs were clinging to a one run lead. Takahashi surrendered a bloop single to load the bases then walked Vogelsong to force in the tying run. Takahashi then allowed a sac fly to Angel Pagan that gave the Giants the lead for good. It took Takahashi 31 pitches, 19 for strikes, to record the final two outs in the fifth. And while his line does not look too bad, he allowed both inherited runners to score as well as walking the pitcher to force in the tying run … opposing pitchers have a .364 OBP against the Cubs’ staff this season.
Michael Bowden and Shawn Camp did their jobs and kept the Giants off the board while James Russell struck out the side in order in the ninth.
The Cubs outhit the Giants on Thursday 12-9 and to the offense’s credit, they did enough to win the game. A 5-0 lead in your home park and scoring six runs on the day should be enough to post a win. Nate Schierholtz (3-for-4 with two runs scored and a stolen base) continued his hot start and Luis Valbuena (1-for-3 with a double and a walk) reached base two times.
Once again, the Cubs were charged with two errors on Thursday and lead the Major Leagues in errors committed this season with 10.
To put it simply, Thursday was a very long game, three hours and 50 minutes, that the Cubs should have won.
Scott Feldman worked his way in and out of trouble in the first inning due to his own mistake. Angel Pagan led off the game with a grounder to first on a 1-2 pitch. Rizzo fielded the ball cleanly but Feldman was late covering the bag … the second time in as many starts that Feldman was late covering first base on a ball hit to the right side of the infield. Pagan advanced to second on a hit and run when Crawford grounded out to second. After Sandoval popped out to second, Feldman walked Buster Posey. Hunter Pence struck out swinging to end the inning.
Feldman was able to escape a second and third two out jam in the second by catching Pagan looking at a 1-2 pitch to end the inning … Feldman needed 38 pitches, 25 for strikes, to complete two innings of work.
The Cubs took advantage of a Giants error in the second and jumped out to a 1-0 lead. Nate Schierholtz singled to right (3-2 pitch) to start the inning. Welington Castillo singled to left and the Cubs had runners on first and second with no outs. Vogelsong struck out Valbuena swinging for the first out.
Brent Lillibridge hit a 3-1 pitch toward first. Belt fielded the ball and threw to second. Castillo was forced but Crawford’s return throw was off. Schierholtz scored on the miscue and Lillibridge was awarded second base. Feldman struck out to end the inning.
Starlin Castro reached on a one-out hustle double to right in the third. Anthony Rizzo followed and cranked the first pitch he saw into the bleachers in left center … and just like that the Cubs had a 3-0 lead. After Soriano flied out to right, Nate Schierholtz singled and swiped second with Castillo at the plate. Welington Castillo hit a rocket back up the middle that Crawford knocked down. Castillo reached with an infield single and the Cubs had runners on first and third with two down. Luis Valbuena walked to load the bases.
Brent Lillibridge stepped in 0-for-the-season and blooped a 0-1 pitch into right. Schierholtz and Castillo scored, 5-0 Cubs. Feldman, the ninth man to bat in the inning for the Cubs, popped out to short for the third out.
The Giants came out swinging in the fourth. Hunter Pence led off the inning with a long single to left center. After Feldman caught Belt looking for the first out, Gregor Blanco popped out to right for out number two. Nick Noonan, who had a huge day, singled to left center. With runners on first and third with two down, Ryan Vogelsong grounded a 1-1 pitch back up the middle … and threw Castro’s legs into center. Pence scored, 5-1 Cubs. Pagan followed and pulled a 1-0 pitch toward the hole at second. Rizzo could not get to the ball but Lillibridge did … Feldman was late covering first and Noonan scored, 5-2 Cubs. Feldman then plunked Brandon Crawford on a 0-2 pitch and loaded the bases ahead of Sandoval and Posey.
Pablo Sandoval cut the Cubs’ lead to 5-4 with a double to the gap in left center on a 2-2 pitch (Feldman was ahead 0-2). Posey then hit a grounder to Valbuena at third. Valbuena tagged Sandoval instead of throwing to first to end the inning … Crawford did not touch home first or the run would have counted.
After the Cubs went down in order in the fourth, the Giants took the lead for good in the fifth. After Pence flied out to center to start the inning, Brandon Belt singled to right. Feldman jumped ahead of Blanco 1-2 before walking him. With runners on first and second with one out, Dale Sveum decided that was enough for Feldman and went to his pen for Hisanori Takahashi.
Nick Noonan blooped a single to center that Belt was unable to score on. Ryan Vogelsong stepped to the plate with one down, the bases loaded and his team down by one. Takahashi proceeded to walk Vogelsong and force in Belt with the tying run.
Angel Pagan broke the 5-5 tie with a sac fly to left. Blanco tagged and scored … and just like that the Cubs were on the wrong end of a 6-5 ballgame. Brandon Crawford singled to left center and plated Noonan. Takahashi walked Sandoval to load the bases … before Posey struck out swinging to end the inning.
The game remained 7-5 until the eighth inning.
Giants’ pitching retired 13 in a row after Lillibridge’s single in the third until Alfonso Soriano doubled off Jeremy Affeldt to start the bottom of the eighth. Schierholtz broke the second bat of the at bat and reached on an infield single. Castillo rapped into a 4-6-3 twin killing but Soriano scored and cut the Giants’ lead to 7-6. Luis Valbuena followed with a double to right center, Pagan got a glove on it but dropped the ball. Steve Clevenger hit for Lillibridge and Santiago Castilla caught him looking at a 1-2 pitch to end the inning.
The Cubs had a chance in the ninth after DeJesus’ one out double but Sergio Romo shut the door.
Carlos Villanueva faces Matt Cain on Friday afternoon.