Game One Hundred Forty-One – Cubs 1, Astros 2
WP – Collin McHugh (10-10) LP – John Lackey (9-8) Save – Ken Giles (10)
John Lackey allowed only two runs in six solid innings and the bullpen kept the Astros from tacking on. The Astros scored on solo home run and a safety squeeze bunt in the third inning. The Cubs managed just one run on a sacrifice fly by Willson Contreras and continued to struggle with runners in scoring position. The Cubs had two hits and lost to the Astros on Saturday afternoon.
The Cubs offense didn’t get it done Saturday. The Cubs had two hits, and one was a Dexter Fowler (1-for-3 with a walk) single to start the game. The Cubs allowed Collin McHugh to have one of his best starts of the season. And the offense could not do anything against the Astros’ bullpen.
Willson Contreras (0-for-1 with a sac fly RBI and two walks) drove in the Cubs’ run with a sac fly the fourth inning. Jorge Soler (0-for-3 with a walk and a run scored) scored from third after a Miguel Montero (1-for-4 with a double) double put runners on second and third with one out.
The Cubs finished the game with one run on two hits and six walks. The Cubs struck out 12 times and were 0-for-10 with runners in scoring position with five men left on base.
John Lackey did his job Saturday. Lackey put the Cubs in a position to win the game. Of the six innings he completed, Lackey struggled in only one. Unfortunately the Astros scored both of their runs in the third inning on a solo home run, a bunt single, a single to left center and a safety squeeze.
Lackey appeared to be on the same page with Willson Contreras. Lackey just made the one big mistake in six innings. And Alex Bregman launched it to the stands in right central.
John Lackey allowed two runs on four hits with three walks and five strikeouts. Lackey made 89 pitches, 55 for strikes, in six innings.
Justin Grimm and Carl Edwards Jr. pitched a scoreless seventh and eighth innings to keep it a one run game.
The Astros took the lead in the third inning. Alex Bregman scored the Astros’ first run of the series. Bregman took Lackey out to right center. The opposite field solo homer made it 1-0 Astros. Jose Altuve followed the Bregman blast with a bunt single to third base. Bryant charged and made a good throw but was playing too deep to throw him out.
Yulieski Gurriel ripped a single to left center. Altuve went to third and the Astros had runners on the corners with one out. A.J. Hinch took a page out of Maddon’s book. Marwin Gonzalez bunted and Altuve scored from third on a safety squeeze, 2-0 Astros. Rizzo threw out Gonzalez at first base. Gurriel advanced to second on the play. Lackey appeared to pitch around Colby Rasmus. Lackey walked Rasmus. With two on and one out, A.J. Reed rolled out to Rizzo to end the inning.
The Cubs cut the Astros lead in half in the top of the fourth. Jorge Soler walked with one out and went to third on a double to right by Miguel Montero. Willson Contreras lifted a 1-1 pitch to right. George Springer caught the ball, Soler tagged and scored … 2-1 Astros. Montero moved up to third on the throw to the plate. Jason Heyward hit a weak grounder to third to end the inning.
John Lackey faced the minimum in the fourth. Jake Marisnick reached on an error by Kris Bryant. Marisnick tried to run on Contreras and was nailed at second base. Lackey struck out Springer swinging to the end the inning.
After four complete, the Cubs trailed 2-1.
And that would be the final score. Anthony Rizzo walked to start the ninth inning. The Cubs had the tying run on second base in pinch-runner Matt Szczur with no outs but could not bring him in to at least tie the game.
It was just one of those games … the Cubs have had frequently in the last 10 days.
With Saturday’s loss, the Cubs slipped to 90-51 on the season.
Jake Arrieta takes on Mike Fiers in the finale with the Astros on Sunday night (7:05pm CDT).