The Cubs’ search for consistency hit another roadblock on Saturday night against the Giants. What looked to be a promising start was squandered in the middle innings and San Francisco was able to hold on for a one-run win.
The Cubs jumped out to an early 2-0 lead thanks to a Jason Heyward bases-loaded walk and a solo bomb from Kyle Schwarber. Jose Quintana breezed through the first three innings but ran into trouble in the 4th, when a walk was followed by a two-run homer by Brandon Crawford tied the game at two. Javy Baez was able to respond by hitting a hanging Chris Stratton slider into the bleachers to put Chicago back up 3-2.
Quintana struggled in the 5th inning and was replaced by Steve Cishek after Andrew McCutchen doubled to even the score again. Brandon Belt singled off of Cishek to score Cutch and give the Giants a 4-3 lead. A 7th inning sacrifice fly increased the lead to 5-3.
The Cubs battled back in the 8th, when Schwarber doubled and scored on an Anthony Rizzo single. Reliever Tony Watson then coaxed a double play grounder from Willson Contreras to end the threat. The home team went quietly in the 9th, securing a 5-4 Giants win. (Box score)
Why the Cubs Lost
After the 4th inning, the Cubs offense almost completely shut down. They collected only three hits the final five innings of the game.
With runners on first and third and one out in the top of the 7th, Belt faced Justin Wilson and hit a fly ball to moderately deep left field. Gorkys Hernandez tagged from third and barely beat an excellent throw from Schwarber to give the Giants a 5-3 lead.
Stats That Matter
- It was another frustrating outing for Quintana: 4.1 IP, 4 R, 5 H, 6 K, and 2 BB. After a great start, Quintana’s pitch count spiked in the 4th and 5th inning as he had trouble putting away hitters. Joe Maddon pulled him with only 83 pitches, but it was hard to argue with the hard contact he was starting to allow.
- Schwarber had a nice game at the plate with a booming homer and an impressive double off of Watson, a lefty. War Bear also made a couple of very nice plays in the field and almost cut down what became the winning run.
- Steve Cishek continues putting in yeoman’s work out of the pen. After pitching two-plus innings on Saturday he is on pace to pitch 78 innings of relief.
This was yet another game that looked promising to begin with before falling apart in the middle innings. Obviously it’s something the Cubs would like to get out of the habit of doing.
Tyler Chatwood fills in for injured Yu Darvish against Ty Blach in the series finale Sunday. The game starts at 7:08pm CT and is exclusively on ESPN.