Monday, May 21, 2012

Cubs have another 9th inning rally, but fall short and lose 8-4 to Astros

The Cubs lost 8-4 to the Astros at Minute Maid Park in Houston tonight.  Matt Garza was the losing pitcher and only lasted just three innings tonight and gave up seven runs on five hits, which was his shortest outing since July 7, 2011.

Randy Wells pitched five innings in relief of Garza and came into the game when the score was 7-0 Astros.  Wells allowed just one run, three hits and walked two batters and struck out three.  His pitch count was 78 over five innings, while Garza threw 72 pitches over three innings.

“I tell you what, Randy Wells really pitched his (tail) off,” Garza said. “He picked me up for five innings. He did what I couldn’t and that was to give the bullpen a rest.”

Randy Wells pitched five innings in relief of Matt Garza on Monday in Houston (AP photo)
Wells said he's looking forward to pitching in relief (vs. as a starting pitcher) because it gives him the chance to help the team and by doing something different.  "One thing I like is the chance to play every day," Wells said.  "I've [pitched in relief] my whole career until 2008. It's something I'm comfortable with.  I'm actually excited."

Wells also made a great play tonight on Travic Buck's little dribbler down the first-base line in the bottom of the fifth inning.  Here's a link to the play.  I personally hope that Wells is successful in the bullpen and will remain on the roster.

David DeJesus climbs the right-field wall but can't come up with a home run by the Astros' Jed Lowrie during the seventh inning in Monday's game (Getty photo)
The Cubs' offense finally came alive in the ninth inning when they scored four runs to avoid being shut out.  Adrian Cardenas led off the ninth inning with a ground-rule double.  Koyie Hill, Reed Johnson, David DeJesus, and Blake Lalli all followed with singles.  It was rookie Lalli's first major-league hit and two RBIs.  The ninth inning has been the most productive for the Cubs offense this season with 28 runs.

Cubs manager Dale Sveum didn't end up shaking up the lineup, like he hinted at over the weekend.   “I didn’t say I was changing it,” Sveum said.  “I considered it.  I decided not to.”  Sveum said he wanted to overload the lineup with left-handed hitters against Astros starter Bud Norris.  The other reason is the Cubs will face left-handed starters for three games, beginning Tuesday, and he’ll be using his right-handed hitting lineup for those games.  But Sveum did come close to some tweaks.
“Very close, I will admit,” Sveum said. “I decided to give it one more week, the right-handed lineup.”

Tomorrow the Cubs will play game 2 of the 3 game series at 7:05pm CT.  Travis Wood will start for the Cubs tomorrow as he takes Chris Volstad's spot in the rotation.  Volstad was optioned to Triple-A Iowa last week.

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