Game Eighty: Cubs 2, Nationals 7
WP – Blake Treinen (1-3) LP – Jeff Samardzija (2-7) Save – Ross Detwiler (1)
The Cubs played their second doubleheader of the season Saturday and for the second time this season lost both games of a twin bill as the Nationals beat up Jeff Samardzija in the nightcap and won both games Saturday at Wrigley Field.
Rain delayed the game for 55 minutes in the fourth inning, but Jeff Samardzija was not sharp before the rain hit Wrigley, and he stayed predictable when play resumed. The Nationals jumped out to an early lead with single runs in the second and third innings. Adam LaRoche took Samardzija deep in the second and Anthony Rendon added a sacrifice fly in the third.
Luis Valbuena tied the game at two in the fourth just before the game was put in a rain delay but when Samardzija took the hill for the fifth, the Nationals were sitting fastball and put four runs on the board before Samardzija could record three outs.
Wilson Ramos launched Samardzija’s first pitch of the fifth inning into the bleachers just to the left of straight away center. After Samardzija kinda hit Nate McLouth, the Nationals poured it on with two outs. And three singles and an Anthony Rizzo error later, the Nationals scored three runs and took a very comfortable 6-2 lead.
Jeff Samardzija had another rough outing and allowed six runs, five earned, on seven hits, a hit batsman, no walks and six strikeouts. Samardzija lasted only five innings and threw 75 pitches, 54 for strikes.
The Cubs pen, until the ninth inning, kept the Nationals off the board. James Russell tossed another scoreless inning and both Neil Ramirez and Pedro Strop put zeroes on the board in the seventh and eighth innings. Hector Rondon issued back-to-back walks with two down in the ninth on nine pitches, the first to long-reliever Ross Detwiler, before giving up a run scoring single to Adam LaRoche.
The Cubs offense managed only two runs over 18 innings in the two games. And both runs came on one swing of the bat. Luis Valbuena (2-for-4 with a home run and two RBI) hit a two-run homer in the fourth inning with Starlin Castro (2-for-4 with a double and a RBI) on first base.
The offense managed six hits and a walk in the nightcap. Welington Castillo (1-for-4) and Nate Schierholtz (1-for-4) collected the other two hits and Mike Olt walked when he hit for Samardzija in the fifth.
The Cubs finished the 10-game homestand with a 4-6 record after losing both games of the doubleheader.
With Saturday’s loss in game two, the Cubs dropped to 34-46 on the season.
Jeff Samardzija faced the minimum in the first after the Cubs defense turned its sixth double play of the series. The Cubs predictably did nothing in the bottom of the first and there was no score in the game after the first inning.
Adam LaRoche led off the second and hit a booming homer to right on a 2-2 pitch. And the Nationals took a 1-0 lead. Ryan Zimmerman flied out to right and Jeff Samardzija struck out both Wilson Ramos and Ian Desmond swinging to end the inning. Samardzija needed 28 pitches, 20 for strikes, to complete two frames on Saturday night.
The Cubs wasted a scoring opportunity in the second inning. After Castro grounded out to second for the first out, Luis Valbuena singled to right on a 2-1 pitch. Welington Castillo grounded into a 5-4 fielder’s choice. Nate Schierholtz blooped a single into right center (2-2 pitch) and put runners on the corners with two down. Darwin Barney swung at the first pitch and grounded out to the hole at short to end the inning. The Cubs allowed Blake Treinen to throw 28 pitches, 21 for strikes, over the first two innings.
After two complete, the Cubs trailed 1-0.
Nate McLouth led off the third with a double to right center. Treinen bunted him to third with one out and Anthony Rendon lifted Samardzija’s first pitch into right center. McLouth tagged and scored, 2-0 Nationals. Kevin Frandsen grounded out to third to end the inning … 36 pitches for Samardzija after to innings, 26 for strikes.
The Cubs went down in order, rather quickly in the third (seven pitches). And after three innings, the Cubs trailed 2-0.
Jeff Samardzija put together a 1-2-3 fourth inning and the Cubs went to work against Treinen in the bottom of the inning.
Justin Ruggiano hit a blooper to Frandsen at second for the first out. Starlin Castro reached on an infield single to short. Luis Valbuena lifted a 3-1 pitch into the wind. The ball carried out to right and Valbuena’s fifth home run of the season tied the game at two. The rain started coming down at Wrigley during Castillo’s at bat. Castillo grounded out to first for the second out. And the game was put into a rain delay with a 1-2 count on Nate Schierholtz … and officially 55 minutes later, Schierholtz struck out swinging to end the inning.
The game was tied at four after four innings … but not for long.
Wilson Ramos led off the fifth and launched Samardzija’s first pitch after the rain delay to deep center. The ball landed in the bleachers just to the left of straight away center and the Nationals took a 3-2 lead. Samardzija struck out Desmond for the first out … then the game got away from Samardzija in a hurry. Samardzija kinda hit McLouth with a 2-2 pitch. Treinen failed to get a bunt down and struck out. Anthony Rendon was sitting fastball again and singled to right. With runners on first and second with two outs, Kevin Frandsen singled to center (2-2 pitch) and the Nationals took a 4-2 lead. With runners on the corners, Jayson Werth singled to right, Rendon scored and the Nationals went up by three runs. Adam LaRoche hit a rocket toward first (2-2 pitch) that ate up Anthony Rizzo. The ball ended up in right, Frandsen scored … 6-2 Nationals. Samardzija struck out Ryan Zimmerman swinging to finally end the inning.
Jeff Samardzija threw 39 pitches in the fifth inning and turned the game over to the pen in the sixth with the Cubs down 6-2.
The game remained 6-2 Nationals until two outs in the ninth when Hector Rondon forgot how to throw strikes. Rondon struck out Danny Espinosa swinging for the first out and retired Anthony Rendon on a flyout to center. Ross Detwiler hit for himself and walked on five pitches. Rondon then walked Jayson Werth on four pitches. After a visit from Chris Bosio, Adam LaRoche ripped a single into right. Detwiler scored and the Nats went up 7-2. Zimmerman grounded back to the mound to end the inning.
The Cubs did nothing in the ninth … and ended a bad day of baseball.
The Cubs do not have a game scheduled for Sunday for the first time since 1932 and will spend their off-day in Boston. The Cubs open a 11-game road trip Monday night (6:05pm CDT) with the first of three at Fenway Park. Jake Arrieta is scheduled to face Jake Peavy in the opener.