Game One Hundred Forty-Five – Cubs 0, Reds 6
WP – Mike Leake (13-6) LP – Jeff Samardzija (8-12) Save – None
Jeff Samardzija had another rough outing, the Cubs were shut out for the 13th time this season and could not complete their first sweep at Great American Ball Park on Wednesday afternoon.
Jeff Samardzija was not very good once again and for the eighth time this season, he allowed five or more earned runs in a single start. The Reds put a crooked number on the board for the first time in the series in the second inning. Samardzija gave up a single to Jay Bruce and after a bloop double off the bat of Todd Frazier put runners on second and third with no outs, Xavier Paul and Zack Cozart plated the runs on grounders to Darwin Barney. Samardzija labored through a long 28-pitch second inning that ran up his pitch count and caught up to him in the third and sixth innings.
The Reds hit a pair of homers off Samardzija that accounted for the other four runs he allowed on the afternoon. Devin Mesoraco hit a solo shot to the upper deck in left in the third and Jack Hannahan hit a three-run, pinch-hit homer in the sixth that put the game well out of reach.
Jeff Samardzija allowed six runs on eight hits, two home runs, three walks, a wild pitch and five strikeouts. Samardzija threw 114 pitches, 74 for strikes, in 5 2/3 innings.
The Cubs pen did not allow the Reds to tack on. Brooks Raley completed the sixth and combined on a scoreless seventh with Alberto Cabrera. Zac Rosscup pitched a perfect eighth inning.
The offense had plenty of chances but could not cash them in on Wednesday afternoon. The Cubs put at least one runner on base in each of the first seven innings and eight of the nine innings on Wednesday afternoon but could not push across a run. The homerless Cubs went 0-for-4 with RISP and left seven men on base while grounding into three double plays on the afternoon.
Starlin Castro (1-for-3 with a walk), Welington Castillo (1-for-2 with a walk), Junior Lake (1-for-3 with a double) and Nate Schierholtz (1-for-3 with a double) collected four of the Cubs’ six hits and two of the four free passes.
The Cubs finished the season series against the Reds with a 5-14 record after taking the series two games to one. The 14 losses to the Reds this year is the first time the Cubs have lost 14 games to one team in a single season since the Pirates in 1990 and it is the first time since 1962 the Cubs dropped 14 games to the Reds in a single season.
With Wednesday’s loss, the Cubs dropped to 62-83 on the season .
The Cubs could not cash in on Mike Leake’s lack of command in the first inning. Anthony Rizzo worked a two-out walk after Castro was called out on strikes to begin the game and Valbuena popped out to third (0-2 pitch). Nate Schierholtz pulled a 1-0 pitch down the right field line that went for a double. Rizzo held at third and was stranded when Brian Bogusevic grounded out to Votto for the third out. Leake threw 18 pitches in the first, 11 for strikes, and set the tone for the afternoon.
Jeff Samardzija was sharp in the first inning … 1-2-3 on 16 pitches, 11 for strikes, and caught Votto looking to end the inning.
Mike Leake faced the minimum in the second after issuing a one-out walk to Welington Castillo. Barney rolled into a 4-6-3 double play to end the inning. Leake needed 32 pitches, 17 for strikes, to complete two frames.
The second inning on Wednesday was a frustrating one for Jeff Samardzija. The Reds did not square up a single ball, he broke three bats, yet he gave up two runs on three hits. Samardzija dropped his head in frustration after giving up the third hit, a two-out bloop single to Devin Mesoraco.
Jay Bruce led off the second with a soft single to left center (2-1 pitch). Bruce took off for second on a 1-2 pitch to Frazier. Samardzija jammed Todd Frazier but he blooped the 1-2 pitch down the left field line. Bruce held at third on Frazier’s double. Xavier Paul grounded a 2-2 pitch toward the middle that Barney fielded and threw to first for the out as Bruce scored from third … 1-0 Reds. Frazier advanced to third with one down.
With the infield in, Zack Cozart grounded a 0-1 pitch to Barney. Frazier broke and scored, 2-0 Reds. Mesoraco followed with a bloop single to center on a 3-2 pitch. Samardzija finally got out of the inning when he struck out Leake swinging. Samardzija threw 44 pitches, 31 for strikes, over two innings.
The Cubs had a chance to chip into the Reds’ lead in the third. Starlin Castro and Luis Valbuena worked back-to-back one out walks. But Anthony Rizzo struck out swinging (1-2 pitch) and Schierholtz grounded out to first to end the inning. Leake threw 56 pitches, 29 for strikes, in his first three innings but the Cubs were 0-for-3 with runners in scoring position and left four men on base in the first three at bats.
Jeff Samardzija labored through a long third inning (27 pitches) but wiggled his way out of trouble and kept the Reds from tacking onto their lead. Samardzija made quick work of Choo (grounder to first) and Phillips (fly out to left center) and recorded the first two outs on five pitches. Joey Votto followed with a single to right center then stole second on a 2-2 pitch to Bruce, Samardzija forgot about him. Bruce worked a walk then Samardzija walked Frazier to load the bases for Xavier Paul. Samardzija struck out Paul swinging on a 1-2 pitch to end the inning … 71 pitches for Samardzija after three innings, 48 for strikes.
At the end of three, the Cubs trailed 2-0.
Welington Castillo singled in the fourth, the fourth straight inning the Cubs put a runner on base. Leake caught Barney looking at a 2-2 pitch to end the inning. The Cubs made Leake work over the first four innings (72 pitches, 39 for strikes) but had nothing to show for it after four at bats.
Devin Mesoraco made it 3-0 in the fourth when he launched his ninth homer of the season, an upper deck shot to left that traveled an estimated 429 feet. Samardzija hung a slider on a 0-1 pitch and Mesoraco made him pay for the mistake. Samardzija retired Leake and Choo (swinging strikeout) to end the inning.
After four innings, Samardzija was averaging more than 20 pitches per inning (87 pitches, 60 for strikes) and the Cubs trailed 3-0.
Starlin Castro reached on a one-out single to left in the fifth, the fifth straight inning the Cubs put a runner on base. But Leake struck out Valbuena and Rizzo swinging to end the inning … 92 pitches for Leake after five innings, 52 for strikes.
Samardzija retired the Reds in order on four pitches in the fifth (91 pitches, 63 for strikes) and the Cubs chased Leake from the game with two outs in the sixth after Junior Lake doubled down the left field line. Dusty Baker went to his pen for J.J. Hoover and Castillo lined out to center to end the inning.
The Reds put the game out of reach in the home half of the sixth. Samardzija struck out Frazier swinging (2-2 pitch) to start the inning. Xavier Paul reached on a single and Derrick Robinson ran for him at first. Cozart rolled into a 6-4 force out and took over at first. Samardzija uncorked a wild pitch on a 1-0 offering to Mesoraco, Cozart advanced to second with two down. Mesoraco pulled a 1-1 pitch to the hole at short. Castro fielded the ball and made a strong throw to first that Mesoraco beat out. The Reds had runners on first and third with two outs and Baker went to his bench.
Jack Hannahan hit for Hoover and pulled a 1-2 pitch into the stands in right. Hannahan’s first longball of the season and first career pinch-hit homer, a three-run shot, gave the Reds an insurmountable 6-0 lead. Samardzija walked Shin-Soo Choo and Sveum finally went and got him.
Brooks Raley took over with Ryan Sweeney entering the game in center on a double switch. Raley retired Phillips on a grounder to second to end the inning.
The Cubs managed two more hits the rest of the game while the Cubs pen kept the Reds from adding on. Brooks Raley and Alberto Cabrera combined on a scoreless seventh and Zac Rosscup pitched a 1-2-3 eighth inning and needed only nine pitches, six for strikes, to record three outs.
The Cubs open a four-game series in Pittsburgh on Thursday night. Chris Rusin is scheduled to face Jeff Locke in game one.