Game Fifty-Six – Cubs 4, Angels 8
WP – Robert Coello (2-1) LP – Carlos Villanueva (1-4, BS 1) Save – Ernesto Frieri (13)
As has been the case throughout his career, Albert Pujols loves hitting Cubs’ pitching and he proved it once again on Tuesday night. The Cubs took a 3-2 lead into the bottom of the eighth after Scott Feldman put together another quality start and the offense managed just enough runs against Jered Weaver.
Carlos Villanueva took the mound to start the eighth and gave up a leadoff single to Erick Aybar. After Mike Trout advanced him to second base on a deep fly to center, Albert Pujols crushed the first offering from Villanueva, Ryan Sweeney did not move and the Angels took a 4-3 lead on the 54th home run Albert Pujols has hit off Cubs’ pitching during his career. Pujols drove in three of the Angels four runs on Tuesday night.
For the 19th time this season, the Cubs lost a game in which they held a lead.
Scott Feldman notched another quality start and threw the ball rather well over six innings. Feldman labored a little early and gave up a run in the first inning on a sac fly by Albert Pujols before he settled in and tossed five innings of shutout ball. Feldman started the seventh and was lifted after giving up a RBI single to Howie Kendrick following a leadoff double by Josh Hamilton. James Russell held the lead by retiring the three batters he faced in the inning.
Scott Feldman received a no decision after allowing two runs on six hits with a walk and a strikeout in six-plus innings. Feldman threw 106 pitches, 62 for strikes.
The Cubs offense put three runs on the board in the first three innings against Jered Weaver but could not tack on and managed only two hits and baserunners over the last three innings. The Cubs scored three runs on eight hits with no walks, one hit batsman and 10 strikeouts. The Cubs went 3-for-9 with RISP and left eight men on base in a one run loss.
Ryan Sweeney (3-for-4 with a RBI) collected three of the Cubs eight hits and drove the third run with a bloop single in the third. Alfonso Soriano (2-for-4 with a double and a RBI) continued to thrive in the DH role while Nate Schierholtz (1-for-4 with a RBI) drove in the Cubs’ first run with a broken bat single in the opening inning. Anthony Rizzo (1-for-3 with a walk and a run scored) was on base twice and scored a run.
With Tuesday’s loss, the Cubs dropped back to 10 games under .500 with a 23-33 mark on the season.
Jered Weaver hit Luis Valbuena on a 1-2 pitch with one out in the first after DeJesus popped out to Hamilton in right to start the game. Anthony Rizzo followed and hit a 2-1 pitch off the end of his bat and into left field for a single. Valbuena stopped at second with one out. Weaver struck out Soriano swinging (1-2 pitch) for the second out.
Nate Schierholtz shattered his bat on a 3-1 pitch but got enough to pull the pitch into right field. Valbuena scored, 1-0 Cubs. Ryan Sweeney struck out swinging (1-2 pitch) to end the inning. The Cubs made Weaver work in the opening inning. The Angels’ ace tossed 27 pitches in the first, 15 for strikes.
The Angels tied the game in bottom of the first after Erick Aybar doubled to right (1-1 pitch) to start the inning. Mike Trout hit a routine grounder to short. Starlin Castro fielded the ball, looked at Aybar running to third then tossed to first. Trout obviously beat out Castro’s throw. Castro did not play the ball like he knew who was at the plate. Trout swiped second easily on the first pitch to Pujols.
Albert Pujols tied the game at one with a sac fly to left. Aybar tagged and scored. Trout held at second with one out. Mark Trumbo lined out to left (2-0 pitch) for the second out and Josh Hamilton hit a soft liner to Castro for the third out.
At the end of one, the game was tied at a run apiece.
Scott Feldman pitched his way out of a jam in the second with a lot of help from Welington Castillo. Howie Kendrick led off the second with a single to center. Mike Scioscia sent Kendrick on a 1-0 pitch to Callaspo. Callaspo grounded out to short and Kendrick advanced to second on the play. Kendrick then stole third on a 1-1 pitch to Iannetta. Feldman ended up walking Iannetta to put runners on first and third with one down. After a 0-1 pitch to J.B. Shuck that missed, Welington Castillo threw a strike to Rizzo and picked off Iannetta from first base. Shuck tapped back to the mound (2-1 pitch) to end the inning.
The Cubs jumped on Jered Weaver in the third and put a crooked number on the board.
David DeJesus hit a cue-shot toward third to start the inning and reached on a throwing error by Alberto Callaspo. Luis Valbuena popped out to second for the first out. Anthony Rizzo walked on four pitches.
With runners on first and second with one out, Alfonso Soriano took two out of the zone before dropping a 2-1 pitch into left field. DeJesus scored and the Cubs took a 2-1 lead. Schierholtz flied out to right for the second out. Ryan Sweeney came through with a big two out single to right. Sweeney blooped Weaver’s first pitch in front of Hamilton. Rizzo scored, 3-1 Cubs. Castro popped out to short on the first pitch to end the inning.
Scott Feldman retired the Angels in order for the first time in the third. Feldman needed 40 pitches, 21 for strikes, to complete three innings on Tuesday night.
Both Feldman and Weaver settled in after the fourth and the game remained 3-1 Cubs through the top of the seventh. Weaver left after six innings and turned the game over to the Angels’ pen.
Scott Feldman started the seventh with a two-run lead.
Josh Hamilton led off the seventh with a double to right (2-2 pitch). It was the first time since the second inning that the Angels put a runner into scoring position. Howie Kendrick followed with a single back up the middle and just out of the reach of Feldman. Hamilton scored and cut the Cubs’ lead to 3-2. Dale Sveum made the slow walk and went to his pen for James Russell.
Scioscia asked Alberto Callaspo to bunt Kendrick to second. Russell slid on his knees toward the line and threw the ball to Rizzo to get the first out of the inning. Russell then caught Chris Iannetta looking at a 2-2 pitch for the second out. Chris Nelson hit for J.B. Shuck and popped out to right to end the inning.
After seven complete, the Cubs were clinging to a 3-2 lead.
The Cubs could not tack on against Robert Coello in the eighth and Carlos Villanueva took the hill for the eighth.
Erick Aybar singled to center to start the inning. Mike Trout launched a 1-1 pitch to deep center. DeJesus caught the ball near the wall but had to back track and could not get off a good throw. Aybar tagged and advanced to second … but it would not matter.
Albert Pujols stepped in and launched Villanueva’s first pitch well over the wall in left. Sweeney did not move, it was a no-doubter. Pujols stood at home plate and admired what he had just accomplished. Villanueva retired Trumbo and Hamilton to end the inning but the damage had been done.
Darwin Barney reached with a bloop single to right with one out in the ninth. Barney advanced to second on a groundout to first by DeJesus but Ernesto Frieri struck out Valbuena swinging to end the game.
Matt Garza faces Jason Vargas in the series finale with the Angels on Wednesday afternoon.