Game One Hundred Twenty-Nine – Cubs 0, Dodgers 1
WP – Joe Blanton (5-2) LP – Trevor Cahill (3-4) Save – Kenley Jansen (39)
Sunday’s finale at Dodger Stadium was scoreless going to the bottom of the eighth. And it was three mistakes by the Cubs, two physical and one mental, that cost them the game. The Dodgers scored the winning run without a hit and took two out of three from the Cubs over the weekend.
Trevor Cahill started the eighth inning after Jon Lester and Justin Grimm kept the Dodgers off the scoreboard for the first seven innings. Cahill struck out pinch-hitter Chase Utley swinging on a 3-2 pitch. Cahill hit pinch-hitter Andrew Toles and put the go ahead run on first base.
Howie Kendrick dribbled a 1-2 pitch to the third base side of the mound. Cahill picked the ball up and threw it down the right field line. The throw was well off the mark and so far away from Anthony Rizzo that he did not try catch it. Toles held at third and Kendrick took second on the error. Joe Maddon had Cahill intentionally walk Corey Seager. With the bases loaded and one out, Maddon went to his pen for Carl Edwards Jr.
Carl Edwards Jr. did his job and struck out Justin Turner swinging. Edwards Jr. induced the grounder he needed to get out of the inning. Adrian Gonzalez hit a routine grounder to Javier Baez. The Cubs’ defense was shaded for Gonzalez to pull the ball. Instead of throwing the ball to first base for the third out, Baez decided to wait and then lob a throw to Ben Zobrist at second. Seager hustled and got his toe in just ahead of Zobrist stepping on the bag. Toles scored and the Dodgers took a 1-0 lead. Maddon challenged the call but replays showed that Seager was safe. Replay upheld the call on the field.
Carl Edwards Jr. showed a lot of poise. With the bases still loaded and two outs, Edwards Jr. caught Joc Pederson looking to end the inning.
The Cubs did nothing against Kenley Jansen in the ninth. David Ross in his last regular season game at Dodger Stadium went down swinging for the 27th out.
The Cubs offense was a no show on Sunday afternoon. The Cubs managed only four hits. Kris Bryant (2-for-3 with a double and a walk) and Jason Heyward (2-for-4) were the only two Cubs with hits. Ben Zobrist (0-for-3 with a walk), Jorge Soler (walk), David Ross (0-for-3 with a walk) worked the free passes.
The Cubs had chances to score while allowing rookie right-hander Brock Stewart to have the best start of his young career. Stewart struck out six Cubs in a row from the middle of the second inning through the first out in the fourth. Stewart finished with eight strikeouts in five innings.
The Cubs were 0-for-4 with runners in scoring position and left eight men on base.
Jon Lester was very sharp once again. Lester limited the Dodgers to three singles and two walks in six shutout innings. Lester kept the ball down and pounded the zone with one quality strike after another. Lester struck out six and threw 98 pitches, 62 for strikes.
Lester left few pitches in the zone and as a result the Dodgers squared up only a few balls. Kris Bryant likely caught the hardest hit ball off Lester in the fifth off the bat of Yasmani Grandal.
Lester posted his seventh quality start in eight outings and turned the game over to the pen in the seventh after Joe Maddon had Jorge Soler bat for him in the top of the inning.
The Cubs ended up 5-4 on the nine-game road trip and finished the season series with a 4-3 record after giving two straight games to the Dodgers.
With Sunday’s loss (10-11 on Sundays in 2016), the Cubs slipped to 82-47 on the season.
The Cubs open a seven-game homestand on Monday night (7:05pm CDT) with the first of three against the red-hot Pirates. Jake Arrieta takes on lefty Steven Brault in game one.