Game Fifteen: Cubs 1, Reds 4
WP – Alfredo Simon (2-1) LP – Jeff Samardzija (0-2) Save – Jonathan Broxton (2)
The Cubs lost to the Reds for the 16th time in 17 games (1-16) at Wrigley Field on Friday afternoon. And once again, Jeff Samardzija took the loss after receiving no run support. The Cubs have scored only four runs while Samardzija has been on the mound this season in four starts. And in those four starts, Jeff Samardzija has allowed four earned runs.
Jeff Samardzija put together a very good outing. But two errors in the sixth inning led to a pair of unearned runs and gave the Reds an insurmountable lead. Samardzija labored through the first two innings. The Reds did not string together any hits or put runs on the board, but Bryan Price’s lineup ran up Samardzija’s pitch count. Samardzija threw 45 pitches, 32 for strikes, in two innings. Samardzija retired the Reds in order in the third and fourth innings and needed only 22 pitches to do so … 67 pitches, 48 for strikes, for Samardzija after four innings. The Reds scored all three runs off Samardzija in the fifth and sixth innings.
Jeff Samardzija was charged with three runs, one earned, on six hits with two walks and seven strikeouts. Samardzija picked up another quality start (fourth of the season) after throwing 113 pitches, 77 for strikes, in seven innings.
Justin Grimm surrendered his first run of the season in the eighth and James Russell pitched a scoreless ninth.
Starlin Castro and Anthony Rizzo turned in excellent plays in the field, but the two errors in the sixth (Emilio Bonifacio, Welington Castillo) and the five stolen bases by the Reds on Friday gave the Reds too many extra bases … and outs.
The Cubs offense finally managed a run, their first since the ninth inning of Sunday’s game in St. Louis. The Cubs scored a run in the seventh on a RBI single off the bat of Luis Valbuena (1-for-2 with a RBI and two walks) that plated Starlin Castro (1-for-4 with a run scored).
Anthony Rizzo (2-for-4) collected two of the Cubs six hits and Welington Castillo (1-for-4 with a double) managed the team’s only extra base knock.
After going 0-for-13 with RISP (12 left on base) on Wednesday in the Bronx, the Cubs were 1-for-7 with RISP on Friday afternoon and left eight men on base.
With Friday’s loss, the Cubs have dropped five in a row and are 4-11 on the season.
The Reds broke through against Jeff Samardzija in the fifth inning. And it was the bottom of the Reds lineup that started the run scoring inning. Devin Mesoraco led off the fifth with a single to left. Samardzija did not pay enough attention to the Reds catcher and he took off for second on the first pitch to Zack Cozart. Mesoraco stole second and held when Cozart struck out swinging. Alfredo Simon advanced Mesoraco to third with a tapper in front of the plate. Billy Hamilton dumped a single into left center in front of a diving Junior Lake. Mesoraco scored, 1-0 Reds. Joey Votto walked but Ramon Santiago flied out to right after Hamilton stole third to end the inning. Samardzija needed 87 pitches, 60 for strikes, to complete five innings.
After the Cubs threatened in the bottom of the fifth following a two-out double by Welington Castillo and an intentional walk to Luis Valbuena, the Cubs defense gave the Reds two runs in the sixth.
Jay Bruce doubled to right to start the sixth. Samardzija struck out Todd Frazier before Welington Castillo was charged with catcher’s interference that allowed Ryan Ludwick to reach. The second catcher’s interference called on the Cubs in three games. Samardzija walked Mesoraco to load the bases with one down. Zack Cozart hit a grounder to third that Valbuena fielded cleanly and threw to second. But his throw was to the centerfield side of the bag. Bonifacio caught the ball with Mesoraco barreling in on him. Mesoraco disrupted Bonifacio’s throw, the ball sailed to the inside of the first base bag. Rizzo had no chance. Bruce and Ludwick scored, 3-0 Reds. Simon lined out to right to end the inning … 104 pitches, 70 for strikes, for Samardzija after six innings.
The Cubs did nothing in the bottom of the sixth. And Anthony Rizzo made two sensational plays in the seventh to take hits away from Hamilton and Votto. Rizzo and Samardzija teamed up for all three outs in the seventh. The game went to the bottom of the seventh with the Cubs down 3-0.
Starlin Castro led off the seventh with a single to center. Ryan Sweeney reached on a fielding error by Todd Frazier at third base. The Cubs had runners on first and second with no outs and Bryan Price went to his pen. Sam LeCure replaced Alfredo Simon and struck out Welington Castillo. Luis Valbuena pulled a 0-1 pitch past Ramon Santiago and into right center. Castro scored the Cubs first run in 24 1/3 innings. Ryan Kalish hit for Samardzija with runners on first and second, one out and the Cubs down 3-1. Kalish popped out to Santiago (infield fly) in short right for the second out. Emilio Bonifacio struck out swinging to end the inning.
Justin Grimm gave the run right back in the top of the eighth. Grimm retired Jay Bruce on a fly out to left to start the eighth. Grimm walked Todd Frazier then the Reds’ third baseman got a running lead and stole second base. Ryan Ludwick reached on an infield single to short, Castro tried to barehand the ball but came up empty and Frazier advanced to third. A wild pitch on a 1-0 offering to Mesoraco allowed Frazier to scored, 4-1 Reds. Mesoraco struck out swinging and Cozart grounded out to short (3-2 pitch) to end the inning.
The Cubs could not put anything together in the eighth or ninth innings.
Edwin Jackson faces Tony Cingrani on Saturday afternoon.