Cubs Put 0 In Offense
By Joe Han
Starting pitchers Jeff Samardzija and Francisco Liriano practically matched each other inning for inning in a pitchers’ duel Wednesday night. Both went seven strong innings with only one walk allowed a piece, with Liriano edging out Samardzija on strikeouts and hits allowed. Samardzija’s lone mistake was a pair of two out hits in the bottom of the first that netted the Pirates the lone run of the ball game. The Shark shut down Pittsburgh the rest of the night, with help from Carlos Villanueva to handle a scoreless eighth.
May 22, 2013; Pittsburgh, PA, USA; Chicago Cubs left fielder Alfonso Soriano (12) reacts after striking out to end the sixth inning against the Pittsburgh Pirates at PNC Park. The Pittsburgh Pirates won 1-0. Mandatory Credit: Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports
Unfortunately for Samardzija and Cubs fans, the visitor’s offense could do nothing against Liriano. Their best chance came with the bases loaded and nobody out in the third. After Cody Ransom singled and Darwin Barney was walked, Samardzija tried to give the Pirates an out with a sac bunt. Instead, Liriano made a throwing error and everybody was safe. The top of the order failed to even tie the ballgame, ending with a strikeout by Starlin Castro and a fly out by Anthony Rizzo. The Cubs did not make the home team pay on a one out error in the fourth and then it was pretty much smooth sailing for the Pirates starter the rest of the night.
Lead off man Julio Borbon tried to get some small ball action going with a bunt single in the eighth, but Castro could not get him moving around the bases, let alone plate him. Borbon then stole second to get himself into scoring position, but then Rizzo struck out to end the frame. Despite all the struggles, the Cubs threatened one last time in the ninth. Alfonso Soriano reached on a wild pitch despite striking out and was replaced at first due to a Nate Schierholtz fielder’s choice ground out. Welington Castillo singled to bump the tying run to second base, but both Ryan Sweeney and Barney popped out to end the game.
The Cubs went 0 for 6 with RISP, the main reason why they put up 0 runs at PNC Park on Wednesday night. It also does not help that the two through five hitters in the Cubs order went a combined 0 for 15. In fact Soriano and Rizzo both struck out three times each. Throw in an 0 for 3 night for Barney, who went a perfect 4 for 4 in the opener, and that is a lot of 0 for this and 0’s in general. 0 well, Cubs lose.