Jorge Soler homers; Cubs fall to Jays 11-1 in series finale
Rookie outfielder Jorge Soler connected on a opposite field home run during the top of the seventh inning, his fourth home run of the year, in the Chicago Cubs’ 11-1 loss to the Blue Jays on Wednesday night, as Ricky Renteria’s club saw its losing streak climb to six games.
Toronto (76-69) began pouring it on during the bottom half of the frame, recording two runs on a throwing error by outfielder Junior Lake to extend their lead to 6-1. Former Cubs catcher Dioner Navarro would help pad the lead on the very first pitch he saw from reliever Kyuji Fujikawa, sending a sharp ground ball to center making it 8-1 late.
Starting pitcher Kyle Hendricks (6-2, 2.38 ERA) was looking to keep his winning streak of six games alive tonight against the Jays, but was unable to receive any run support from his teammates. Hendricks was pulled after 5 1/3 innings after allowing the Blue Jays to break away with a 4-0 lead midway through the contest, due, in part to a two-run double by Danny Valencia.
He was tagged for four earned runs on six hits, while issuing two walks. He did, however, strike out five before he was pulled by Renteria. Relievers Fujikawa, Wesley Wright, and Arodys Vizcaino combined to allow seven hits, seven earned runs, three walks, and three strikeouts during the final three innings of tonight’s ballgame as Justin Grimm was the only arm used from the bullpen who didn’t allow a hit.
Toronto’s pitching staff was absolutely lights-out during this entire series, striking out 15 Cubs in the series finale. Drew Hutchison‘s outing went into the seventh inning before he was removed from the mound, and he was responsible for recording 10 of the 15 punch-outs. Hutchison (10-11, 4.36 ERA) tossed 6 1/3 innings of one-run, four-hit ball, walking just one.
Infielders Luis Valbuena, Mike Olt, Javier Baez, and Arismendy Alcantara had two or more strikeouts on the night. Valbuena got himself into scoring position with a leadoff double during the top of the ninth inning with his team trailing by 10, but Chicago failed to take advantage of the opportunity with Soler, Rafael Lopez, and Junior Lake striking out to end the game. Valbuena picked up two of the five Cubs hits, as Chris Coghlan, Soler, and Welington Castillo were each credited with one of their own.
Chicago (64-82) finished the night 0-for-7 with runners in scoring position, and left a total of five on base – and, in all, Toronto outscored the Cubs 28-3 in the three-game series as a whole.
The next stop on this road trip will put the Cubs in Pittsburgh on Friday to take on the Pirates – a team that just recently swept them in a three-game series at Wrigley Field. Tsuyoshi Wada (4-2, 2.95 ERA) will take on Gerrit Cole (8-5, 3.89 ERA) in the opener of the three-game weekend series with the first pitch scheduled for 6:05 p.m. CT.