On a cold afternoon at Wrigley Field, the Cubs` defense suffered in the early innings, eventually costing them the ballgame after allowing two unearned runs in a one-run defeat. Starlin Castro threw one wild in the very first frame, leading to a run on the scoreboard, Junior Lake and Anthony Rizzo both committed an error, and Welington Castillo let a passed ball go by in the second, leading to a two-run single in a sloppy contest.
Jeff Samardzija and his pitch count were burned by the poor defense in this one, as Shark had to depart after just five innings, serving up just two earned runs, four total, while walking three and punching out six. The Cubs` pitching staff as a whole had a positive day, however, with the bullpen combining for four scoreless innings while punching out eight.
For the Brewcrew, Kyle Lohse was good enough for the victory, earning a quality start after posting seven innings, allowing three earned runs on seven hits with his usual low strikeout total at just two. Lohse has continued to defeat age, with his ERA at a typical 2.88 in a strong start to the season.
The game didn`t get off to an ideal start for the Cubs or Samardzija, with severely underrated Jonathan Lucroy driving in Jean Segura with a single, keeping his average at a wonderful ,300, with an OPS over .800 for a guy who deserves more credit among National League catchers. Shark was dealt some bad luck later in the inning, with Lucroy scoring on a Castro throwing error.
The poor luck continued for Samardzija the very next inning, as with runners on first and second, Castillo let the runners move up on a passed ball which cost the Cubs right away as Segura drove in the two runners with a single, making it 4-0.
The Cubs would come back right away and cut the deficit in half the next frame, with Darwin Barney blasting a rare two-run shot, his second homer of the season, into the left-field basket.
Another ball would leave the yard in the third, with Junior Lake lining a frozen rope into the left-field bleachers for a solo homer just seconds after Jim Deshaies declared “hit one out of the park Junior so you can jog”.
Not a single run would cross the plate the rest of the game, but the Cubs did get their tying-runner on base in the ninth. Just after Francisco Rodriguez entered, Castro drove a sharp single right up the box to give the fans a smidge of hope on a gloomy day, but a bunt, pop-out, and a line drive later the game was over. After scoring 17 runs in game one of the St. Louis series, the Cubs have scored just nine runs in three games in three straight defeats.
Edwin Jackson (4.56 ERA, 3.44 FIP) will look to give Cubs fans something to cheer about tomorrow afternoon, squaring off against ex-Cub Matt Garza (4.98 ERA, 3.76 FIP) and the first-place Milwaukee Brewers, who are now 12 games over .500.