Cubs dealt lastest defeat in one-run game with 6-5 loss to Reds
BY TONI GINNETTI firstname.lastname@example.org May 3, 2013 11:19PM
Chicago Cubs Alfonso Soriano strikes out during the seventh inning at Wrigley Field in Chicago, Ill., on Friday, May 3, 2013. | Andrew A. Nelles~Sun-Times Media
How they scored
Reds first Choo struck out. Cozart struck out. Votto singled. Frazier doubled, Votto scored. One run. Reds 1, Cubs 0.
Reds second Paul doubled. Mesoraco grounded out. C.Izturis walked. Leake lined out. Choo singled, Paul scored, C.Izturis to second. One run. Reds 2, Cubs 0.
Reds sixth Votto singled. Frazier flied out. Bruce doubled, Votto scored. Paul grounded out, Bruce to third. Mesoraco doubled, Bruce scored. Two runs. Reds 4, Cubs 0.
Cubs sixth S.Castro popped out. Rizzo doubled. A.Soriano doubled, Rizzo scored. Schierholtz singled, A.Soriano scored. Two runs. Reds 4, Cubs 2.
Reds seventh Choo walked on a full count. Cozart fouled out. On Castillo’s error, Choo to second. Votto was hit by a pitch. Frazier walked, Choo to third, Votto to second. Bruce grounded out, Choo scored, Votto to third, Frazier to second. One run. Reds 5, Cubs 2.
Reds eighth Loe pitching. C.Izturis grounded out. Hannahan pinch-hitting for Marshall. Hannahan grounded out. Choo doubled. Cozart singled, Choo scored. One run. Reds 6, Cubs 2.
Cubs ninth Chapman pitching. Navarro pinch-hitting for Gregg. Navarro singled. Sappelt pinch-hitting for DeJesus. Sappelt singled, Navarro to second. S.Castro singled, Navarro to third, Sappelt to second. Rizzo struck out. A.Soriano flied out. Hairston pinch-hitting for Schierholtz. Hairston walked, Navarro scored, Sappelt to third, S.Castro to second. Castillo singled, Sappelt scored, S.Castro scored, Hairston to second. Three runs. Reds 6, Cubs 5.
Updated: May 4, 2013 4:09PM
The Cubs might be the poster children for why numbers in baseball don’t always add up:
Their starting rotation is among the better ones in the National League, with a collective 3.49 ERA. Cubs starters also are fourth in quality starts with 17 — and the ERA in those games is 2.08. But the Cubs’ 23 errors are among the most in baseball. The mistakes have led to 14 unearned runs, fifth highest in the majors.
The offense generated 35 home runs in April, the third highest in franchise history after the Cubs hit only nine last April. But the team is hitting only .178 with runners in scoring position.
And though they are playing close games — 24 of their 29 have been decided by three runs or fewer — they have lost 15 of them.
The latest was a 6-5 loss to the Cincinnati Reds on Friday, a game that was close because of a ninth-inning rally that fell short.
‘‘We didn’t do much in the first eight innings, leaving guys on, and then they added runs — once without a hit [in the seventh],’’ manager Dale Sveum said. ‘‘That haunts you at the end of a game.’’
Especially in a game in which the Cubs pushed ace closer Aroldis Chapman to the brink, scoring three runs with four singles and two walks before Reds manager Dusty Baker called on J.J. Hoover to get the last out, striking out Darwin Barney.
Chapman had allowed only one run all season, a solo home run to the Miami Marlins’ Justin Ruggiano.
‘‘It was being patient,’’ said Starlin Castro, one of nine Cubs who batted in the ninth. ‘‘He throws hard, but he doesn’t throw every pitch for a strike.’’
The rally helped the Cubs ‘‘feel better’’ after a mistake-marred loss to the San Diego Padres on Thursday, Castro said.
‘‘That was tough to lose because we didn’t play well,’’ he said. ‘‘That’s why everyone was ready in the ninth.’’
Sveum credited the team for having ‘‘great at-bats’’ against Chapman.
‘‘They made adjustments against his velocity,’’ Sveum said. ‘‘Hopefully we learn from that when they’re facing a guy who throws 90 instead of 94.’’
The Cubs stranded nine runners through the first eight innings and 12 for the game.
‘‘It’s a game of inches,’’ said starter Carlos Villanueva (1-2), who trailed 1-0 in the first after the Reds stroked a single and a double between three strikeouts. ‘‘We’ve lost [seven] many games by one run. We’re missing that one hit.
‘‘It’s [about] making a better pitch and a better at-bat, and we have to do things to improve on that.’’
The Cubs had 15 hits, including nine against starter Mike Leake (2-1). Anthony Rizzo (3-for-5), Alfonso Soriano (2-for-5), Nate Schierholtz (2-for-4) and Luis Valbuena (3-for-4) had multiple hits, though Soriano twice couldn’t come through with the bases loaded.
Valbuena’s three-hit game tied his career best. His average is up to .253 with five homers and 13 RBI.
‘‘I know Valbuena has pull power and opposite-field power,’’ Sveum said. ‘‘We worked on a few things in spring training to get a little more pull power and think a little more about slugging. It’s been paying off, and he’s been doing a good job. That’s a left-handed bat that has power for a smaller-stature guy. You have to take advantage of that.’’
The victory was only the fourth road win for the Reds, who are 12-4 at home. But it was their seventh straight win at Wrigley Field.