The Detroit Tigers came into Wrigley looking to gain some ground in the American League Central. The Chicago Cubs looked to play well at home following a 2-8 road trip. Finding the positives in a season that is quickly approaching mathematical elimination is no easy task, but the games still need to be played. All that is left to do now is evaluate talent and see what pieces are worth keeping around and what pieces are better off packaged up and sent away.
Paul Maholm looked to be in line for his first win since May 9th. He Struck out a season high seven batters and only gave up two earned runs. With the help of Darwin Barney driving in three and Jhonny Peralta committing two errors in an inning, the Cubs were able to secure a victory. However, for Maholm, he’d have to wait another turn of the rotation.
Maholm was crusing into the 7th inning and the Cubs had a 3-0 lead. Delmon Young led off with a double to left and Maholm walked the next batter, Peralta. Casey Coleman was brought in for relief, getting the first batter he faced, but walking pinch hitter Quintin Berry. Ramon Santiago and Austin Jackson then followed with RBI singles, one and two runs respectively.
As is the case, hindsight via replay showed Young shouldn’t have been on second base at all. Alfonso Soriano’s throw and Barney’s tag beat Young. However, Barney may have in fact shielded the umpire from clear view.
“You don’t want to be that guy calling people out, but I had my back turned and kind of went right in front of (the umpire’s) line of sight and threw myself in front of the bag. It looked like I got (Young).” Barney said postgame via www.mlb.com.
It’s worth noting the Cubs were the beneficiary of what Tiger’s pitcher Phil Coke deemed questionable calls. He felt that both of Peralta’s errors were in fact, close outs made, with neither fielder having been pulled completely off the bag. Barney was able to score the eventual winning run on the throw that pulled Prince Fielder off of first with the bases loaded. Coke was the losing pitcher of record.
Wednesday, the Tigers again came back from a deficit to tie the game. Then they added a little more. Matt Garza was commanding early, but is nonetheless winless in his last seven starts. Before, it’s been lack of run support that has dogged Garza’s record. Oddly enough, he was given as many runs Wednesday as he received in his past six starts combined.
Garza pitched six innings, giving up five runs with three of them earned. He struck out five and walked none. It was the 6th that would knock out his chances at a victory.
A missed double play. Bunt singles. Extra base hits. Combinations of those sorts will doom most any pitcher. Brennan Boesch had led off with a single when Miguel Cabrera grounded a ball to Joe Mather. Unable to field it cleanly, Mather booted the potential double play which was followed immediately by an RBI bloop single by Young.
Peralta then hit a two RBI double, thus making up for his blunders the night before. Gerald Laird saw Mather was playing back at third and dropped in a bunt single that Mather had no play on, moving Peralta to third. This set up the tying run as Santiago brought a ball right back to Garza, who could only knock it down and get the out at first. Boesch would later add a solo shot the next inning and the Tigers would score two more in the 8th.
After the 5th, the Cubs were unable to muster any offense until the 9th. With two on and two out, Starlin Castro hit a bomb to deep left center, but Jackson made a great leaping catch to end the game.
Teams play at a disadvantage when Justin Verlander is on the hill. Before the finale, he was already 16-2 in interleague matchups and is a (human) 6-4 on the 2012 campaign. The fact the Tigers staked him to an early lead at 2-0, some fans must’ve been thinking the game was done before the Cubs could get through their batting order.
However, there are no certainties in baseball. Any team can be victorious on any day. The Cubs nearly proved that. After the Tigers took the early lead, the Cubs answered right back in their half of the 2nd.
Soriano and Bryan LaHair got it started with back to back singles; with Barney hitting an RBI double one out later. Luis Valbuena, brought up to fill the void made by Ian Stewart heading to the DL, brought in LaHair with a fielder’s choice.
It was after that, Verlander found his groove. Over the next six innings, he allowed only two hits, none being for extra bases. Travis Wood was thrown out at second trying to stretch his 5th inning hit into a double. The Tigers took the lead again in the 7th on another Jackson RBI and brought their insurance for the 9th as Don Kelly hit a pinch hit triple and Jackson hit a two run home run to make it 5-2.
The Cubs managed a run in the bottom. Tony Campana led off with a double, tagged up on Castro’s fly out and scored on David DeJesus’ ground out.
This was the Cubs 22nd loss in 28 games. They are 2-7 in Interleague matchups this season.
Darwin Barney- 5/10, 4 RBI, BB, SB
Austin Jackson- 4/13, 5 RBI, 2 R
Brennan Boesch- 6/13, 2 RBI, 2 R
Starlin Castro- 1/14, 5Ks
Joe Mather- 1 double play booted, 1 hit
Bryan LaHair- 2/10, 8Ks
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