Game Ninety-Three: Cubs 6, Braves 11
WP – Mike Minor (3-5) LP – Edwin Jackson (5-10) Save – David Carpenter (3)
Edwin Jackson could not keep the ball down or in the park Saturday afternoon. The Braves kept the scoreboard operator rather busy in a game the Cubs led 2-0 after one inning and tied it at three in the third but the Braves pulled away with six runs in the fourth and pummeled the Cubs in the second game of the three-game set.
Edwin Jackson was really bad again. And taking in to consideration how he’s pitched since the middle of May, Saturday might have been his worst outing of the season. Jackson said after the game that he was embarrassed by the way he pitched.
The Braves actually went down in order in the first inning and Edwin Jackson struck out two of the first three batters he faced. But after his teammates gave him a lead, he gave the runs right back.
Edwin Jackson could not complete four innings Saturday. After serving up the first of two homers to Chris Johnson in the second inning that tied the game at two, the Braves scored a single run in the third and six more in the fourth, three with Jackson on the mound. The Braves launched three home runs off Jackson, two by Chris Johnson and the third was off the bat of Mike Minor, the Braves starter.
The Braves hit one home run in their previous 12 games entering play Saturday. Atlanta hit three in less than four complete innings off Edwin Jackson.
Edwin Jackson turned the game over to Carlos Villanueva with two outs in the fourth, the bases loaded and the Cubs down by a score of 6-3. Justin Upton cleared the bases with a double and closed the book on Jackson. Edwin Jackson was charged with nine runs, all earned, on seven hits (three home runs), four walks, a wild pitch and three strikeouts. Jackson threw 74 pitches, 41 for strikes, in 3 2/3 innings.
Carlos Villanueva pitched two clean innings of his own with five strikeouts and James Russell tossed two scoreless frames with a walk. The Braves last two runs scored in the ninth off Brian Schlitter.
The offense outhit the Braves for eight innings Saturday and put runs on the board. But they were not able to keep up with the amount of runs Jackson was giving Atlanta.
Arismendy Alcantara (2-for-5 with a double and two runs scored) collected two more hits and scored two more runs. Alcantara put together good at bats and even his outs were squared up rather well. Alcantara started in center and looked very comfortable on a windy day at Wrigley. Alcantara took good routes and did not look like a player learning the position.
Chris Coghlan (2-for-3 with two doubles, a walk and three RBI) had another big day at the plate. Coghlan doubled in Starlin Castro (0-for-3 with a walk and a run scored) with the Cubs’ second run. Coghlan drove in two more runs with a double to left in the fifth that cut the Braves lead to 9-6.
Other than a baserunning gaffe in the first inning, Justin Ruggiano (3-for-4 with a double, a RBI and two runs scored) had a good game at the plate. Anthony Rizzo (1-for-4 with a run scored) just missed a three-run homer in the fifth and had to settle for a long single. Welington Castillo (2-for-4 with a double and a RBI) tied the game at three with a double in the third inning.
The Cubs scored six runs on 11 hits with two walks and went 5-for-12 with RISP and left four men on base.
The front office and the Cubs coaching staff is supposed to look at the roster during the break to see how they would like to construct the 25-man roster out of the break, one move should be removing Edwin Jackson from the starting rotation. Jackson has seemingly stopped any momentum this young roster has created throughout the season. The second half is going be tough enough for this group of players and Jackson should be put in a position that best helps the team.
Rick Renteria was asked after the game about Jackson possibly being demoted to the bullpen. Renteria said the team is not thinking about changing Jackson’s role with the Cubs at this time.
With Saturday’s loss, the Cubs dropped to 40-53 on the season.
Edwin Jackson retired the Braves in order with two strikeouts on 16 pitches, nine for strikes, in the first inning. And the Cubs jumped on Mike Minor in the first.
Arismendy Alcantara doubled to left center on a 2-1 pitch. Justin Ruggiano ripped a single into left center. Alcantara scored, 1-0 Cubs. Rizzo popped out to center for the first out. Ruggiano tried to advance on a 1-2 pitch in the dirt to Castro. But Ruggiano slowed down just before the bag and was thrown out at second base. Ruggiano claimed he was safe, but the play was not reviewed and telecast replays showed it was a bad baserunning mistake by Ruggiano. Starlin Castro walked and Welington Castillo singled. With two on and two out, Chris Coghlan doubled into the right field corner. Castro scored, 2-0 Cubs and Castillo held up at third. Mike Olt popped out to center to end the inning.
The Cubs led 2-0 after one inning.
Edwin Jackson retired Justin Upton on a grounder to third. Jackson lost his command after the Upton groundout and walked Jason Heyward. Chris Johnson stepped in and launched a homer to the back of the bleachers in left. And just like that the game was tied at two. Jackson retired La Stella before he walked Christian Bethancourt. Mike Minor grounded out to short to end the inning. Jackson needed 34 pitches, 17 for strikes, to complete two frames.
After the Cubs went down in order in the second inning, Jackson took the hill for the third inning with the game tied at two. B.J. Upton doubled into the left field corner and Andrelton Simmons singled to center. B.J. Upton scored, 3-2 Braves. Jackson struck out Freddie Freeman swinging. Simmons ran on the 0-2 pitch and Welington Castillo cut him down at second for the second out. Justin Upton flied out to deep center to end the inning. Edwin Jackson threw 44 pitches, 24 for strikes, over three innings.
With the Cubs down by one, Ruggiano led off the third with a double to right center. The ball stuck in the ivy and Ruggiano had to stop at second base. Rizzo flied out to center and Castro flied out to right center. It appeared Minor was going to get out of the inning when Castillo hit a liner into center. But B.J. Upton misplayed it in to a double, Ruggiano scored and the game was tied at three. Chris Coghlan grounded out to first to end the inning.
Edwin Jackson took the hill for the fourth inning with the game tied at three, and Jackson could not record three outs. Jason Heyward doubled to center and Chris Johnson launched his second homer of the game, a two-run shot to left, 5-3 Braves. La Stella grounded out to second and Bethancourt grounded out to third. But Jackson kept missing up and Mike Minor hit a homer to left. Minor’s second longball of his career put the Braves up 6-3. Jackson then walked B.J. Upton. Andrelton Simmons singled to right center, Upton went to third and Jackson walked Freeman to load the bases with two outs. Rick Renteria finally decided that was enough for Jackson and he went to his pen for Carlos Villanueva. Justin Upton worked a full count before ripping a double off the wall in left. Upton, Simmons and Freeman scored, 9-3 Braves. Villanueva struck out Heyward swinging (2-2 pitch) to end the inning.
Mike Minor faced the minimum in the fourth and after four innings, the Cubs were getting thumped 9-3.
Carlos Villanueva retired the Braves in order in the fifth and Arismendy Alcantara led off the fifth with a single to left center. Justin Ruggiano dribbled one up the third baseline that Johnson let roll. The ball stayed fair and the Cubs had runners on first and second with no outs. Anthony Rizzo drove a 1-1 pitch to deep left center. The Upton Brothers converged on the ball, but neither one caught it, the ball hit off the metal door in left center. Rizzo ended up with a very long single and the bases were loaded for Castro. Mike Minor struck out Castro swinging. A passed ball with Castillo at the plate allowed Alcantara to scamper home, 9-4 Braves. Castillo struck out swinging with runners on second and third for the second out. Chris Coghlan picked up Castro and Castillo with a double to left. Ruggiano and Rizzo scored, 9-6 Braves. Mike Olt struck out swinging to end the inning.
After five innings, the Cubs trailed 9-6.
Carlos Villanueva and James Russell kept the Braves off the board in the sixth, seventh and eighth innings. But the Cubs could not put anything together against Minor, David Hale or David Carpenter. Brian Schlitter took the hill for the ninth and the Braves removed any doubt about Saturday’s outcome.
B.J. Upton grounded out to Barney for the first out in the ninth. Simmons followed with an infield single to third. Valbuena tried to make a barehand pickup but could not get a handle on the ball. Freeman singled to center. Simmons stopped at second with one out. Justin Upton singled to left, Simmons scored, 10-6. Heyward singled to left, Freeman scored and the Braves took an 11-6 lead. Chris Johnson grounded in to a 6-3 double play to end the inning.
The Cubs did nothing in the ninth against David Carpenter.
Travis Wood is scheduled to face Julio Teheran in the last game before the All-Star break.