Game Fifty-One: Cubs 0, Giants 5
WP – George Kontos (1-0) LP – Edwin Jackson (3-5) Save – None
The Cubs were shut out for the second consecutive game and lost the series to the Giants on a day it appeared the team’s no-hit streak would come to an end. John Baker broke up the Giants’ no-hit bid with one out in the seventh inning. After a very good game behind Jeff Samardzija on Monday, the offense did not score a run over the final 20 innings of the series.
The Cubs were shutout for the seventh time this season and for the second time in back-to-back games (Day-Night Doubleheader at Yankee Stadium on April 16).
The Cubs inability to hit with runners in scoring position was magnified once again on Wednesday afternoon. Four different times the Cubs had runners on first and second with one out and were not able to come up with a hit. The Giants tried to give the Cubs runs on Wednesday and the team simply could not take advantage of the gifts.
The Cubs were 0-for-9 with runners in scoring position and left nine men on base. The Cubs managed two hits, five walks, Nate Schierholtz was hit by a pitch and two Cubs reached on Giants fielding errors. It is not often a team is given eight free baserunners and is unable to score a single run, but that is exactly what the Cubs did in the third and final game in San Francisco for the season.
John Baker (1-for-2 with a walk) and Anthony Rizzo (1-for-3 with a walk) collected the Cubs only two hits.
Edwin Jackson pitched better than his final line indicates. Jackson took a three-hit shutout into the sixth inning before he turned the game over to the bullpen with two on and one out in a scoreless game. The hardest hit ball off Jackson came in the sixth when Angel Pagan led off the inning with a double. Jackson threw strikes (99 pitches, 60 for strikes) in his 5 1/3 innings of work. Jackson was charged with two runs on four hits with two walks and nine strikeouts.
James Russell gave up the hit to Pablo Sandoval that drove in Angel Pagan with the game’s first run. And Brian Schlitter allowed an inherited runner to score. The questionable decisions with the bullpen continued on Wednesday with the sequence in the sixth inning. The Giants scored three unearned runs off Justin Grimm in the seventh after Mike Olt failed to make a play on a ball off the bat of Buster Posey that was originally ruled a hit. After the inning, the official scorer changed the call to an error on Olt and made all three runs unearned.
Tim Lincecum pitched five innings of no-hit ball after throwing 32 pitches in the first inning. Lincecum walked three batters the first time through the lineup and really struggled with his command. The Cubs ran up his pitch count and Lincecum turned the game over to the bullpen after throwing 96 pitches, 52 for strikes.
With Wednesday’s loss, the Cubs dropped to 19-32 on the season (3-4 on the road trip).
Edwin Jackson took the hill for the bottom of the sixth in a scoreless game. Jackson tossed five innings of shutout ball and had allowed only three hits (85 pitches, 52 for strikes). The Giants had not made solid contact against Jackson over the first five innings. Angel Pagan led off the sixth with a double to center. The ball sailed over Junior Lake’s head and one-hopped the wall. Hunter Pence walked. With runners on first and second and no out, Buster Posey flipped a 2-2 pitch into right center. Lake caught the ball, Pagan tagged and advanced to third. With runners on the corners, one out and no score in the game, Rick Renteria decided that was enough for Jackson and went to his pen for James Russell with the switch-hitting Pablo Sandoval due up.
James Russell gave up another hit to a right handed batter. Sandoval singled to center. Pagan scored, 1-0 Giants. Rick Renteria went back to his pen for right hander Brian Schlitter. Hector Sanchez flied out to right center for the second out. Tyler Colvin stepped in and drove a 2-0 pitch down the left field line. Pence scored, 2-0. With runners on second and third with two down, Schlitter tried to get Crawford to chase and once he did not, the Cubs put him on first base. Ehire Adrianza flied out to left to end the inning.
At the end of six innings, the Cubs trailed 2-0 and did not have a hit.
George Kontos replaced Tim Lincecum for the sixth inning, retired the Cubs in order and started the seventh inning. Mike Olt struck out swinging for the first out and Bruce Bochy went to his pen for Jeremy Affeldt. Rick Renteria countered with Justin Ruggiano for Chris Coghlan and Ruggiano walked, the Cubs fifth walk of the game. John Baker pulled a 1-0 pitch into right field. And the Cubs first hit of the game put runners on first and second with one out. Bochy made the slow walk again and replaced Affeldt with Jean Machi. Darwin Barney hit for Schlitter and rolled into a 6-4 fielder’s choice. With runners on the corners and two down, Bonifacio grounded out to second to end the inning.
The Giants put the game out of reach in the bottom of the seventh after it appeared Justin Grimm was going to get out of a jam without allowing any runs. Gregor Blanco hit for Machi and led off the inning with a single to center. Angel Pagan bunted up the third baseline. Olt ran in, made an excellent barehand pick and throw in one motion to nail Pagan at first. With Blanco at second and one down, Pence fouled out to Rizzo. Buster Posey hit a two-hopper to the left of Olt. The ball hit off his glove and went into left. Posey was given a hit and a RBI and the Giants took a 3-0 lead (after the inning, the official scorer changed his ruling to an error on Olt). Pablo Sandoval stepped in and Grimm uncorked a wild pitch that allowed Posey to take second. The Cubs decided to put Sandoval on and take their chances with Hector Sanchez. The Giants’ backup catcher drove Grimm’s first pitch to deep left center. The ball one hopped the wall, Posey and Sandoval scored, 5-0 Giants. And Sanchez took third on the throw to the plate. Baker’s throw to third appeared to beat Sanchez and Olt appeared to tag him before he touched the bag. Rick Renteria challenged the call, but the call was upheld. Joaquin Arias grounded out to short to finally end the inning.
After seven innings, the Cubs had one hit and trailed 5-0.
Anthony Rizzo collected the Cubs second hit in the eighth and for the fourth time in the game, the Cubs put runners on first and second with one out … and for the fourth time, the Cubs could not come up with a hit with a runner in scoring position.
Justin Grimm kept the Giants off the board in the eighth and the Cubs did nothing against Juan Gutierrez and Javier Lopez in the ninth … game and series over.
Thursday is an off-day for the Cubs. The Cubs open a three-game series in Milwaukee on Friday night (7:10pm CDT) with Travis Wood is scheduled to face Marco Estrada in the opener.