Abbatacola: Cubs Squander Opportunites, Drop Series Opener
CHICAGO (WSCR) The Cubs failed to execute as the Reds gave them opportunity after opportunity to win this game. Cincinnati committed two errors, threw two wild pitches, had a passed ball, and hit a batter to load the bases. Offensively, the Cubs twice had bases loaded with no outs and scored only one run.
Matt Garza took the loss and dropped his record to 1-4 and raised his ERA to 4.43. He went six innings giving up five earned runs while striking out seven.
The Cubs took a 1-0 lead in the third inning after Garza recorded the first hit of his career. An error and a fielder’s choice put the pitcher at third base when he scored on a passed ball.
Cincinnati took the lead in the fourth inning when Jay Bruce hit his seventh homer of the season after Edgar Renteria singled and Joey Votto walked giving the Reds the 3-1 advantage. The Cubs would get a run back in their half of the inning when Alfonso Soriano walked to start the frame. After a single by Marlon Byrd and a walk by Carlos Pena, the Cubs had the bases loaded with none out. Geovany Soto grounded into a double play that scored Soriano from third.
The Reds extended their lead to 5-2 in the fifth inning. Brandon Phillips and Votto hit singles to drive in Paul Janish, who lead-off the inning with a double on a lack of hustle play by Soriano, and Renteria who walked after having a 1 and 2 count. The Cubs once again scored a run to close the gap to 5-3. With one out in the inning, Darwin Barney, Starlin Castro, and Aramis Ramirez singled in consecutive order to plate the run. The inning ended on a line out double-play off the bat of Soriano when Castro was called out at second base. The replay showed that Castro made it back to the bag in time.
In the sixth inning, the Cubs scored their fourth and final run of the game when Byrd singled to lead-off and was driven home on a Soto single. A walk to Pena and a hit by pitch for pinch-hitter, Reed Johnson, gave the Cubs a second opportunity with the bases loaded and no outs down by one run. Kosuke Fukudome struck out. Barney popped out to the second baseman and Castro grounded out to end the threat.
The Reds bullpen would then retire the next six Cubs’ batters before Fukudome reached on a walk to start the ninth inning against closer, Francisco Cordero. A double-play and a fly out by Castro would end the game.
The Cubs are 14-17 and have yet to string together 3 victories in a row. Game 2 of this series is Saturday at 12:10 with Casey Coleman opposing Bronson Arroyo.