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Game #116: Cubs slam Homer in 10-1 rout at Wrigley

MLB: Oakland Athletics at Chicago Cubs
Oakland Athletics right fielder Stephen Piscotty (25) attempts to catch Chicago Cubs right fielder Nicholas Castellanos’ double during the fifth inning at Wrigley Field.
Patrick Gorski-USA TODAY Sports

The Oakland Athletics (65-50) suffered a lopsided 10-1 defeat to the Chicago Cubs (62-52) at Wrigley Field in Chicago today. The Cubs, who are 41-19 at home this season, clinched a 2-1 series win by taking today’s game. A grand slam from second baseman Ian Happ headlined a prolific day at the plate for the Cubs, while their pitchers held the A’s to just three hits and struck out seven while issuing no walks.

***first game thread here***

***second game thread here***

The first three innings were a scoreless pitchers’ duel. The Cubs’ lefty starter Jose Quintana retired the A’s lineup in order, striking out five along the way. The A’s righty starter Homer Bailey was perfect through two and a third before allowing a single to Cubs catcher Victor Caratini for the first hit of the game. Bailey benefited from some strong defense behind him, including this web gem from left fielder Chad Pinder that ended the second:

Both teams put up runs in the fourth inning but the offensive production was heavily skewed in favor of the Cubs. Shortstop Marcus Semien led off the inning with his 30th double of the season to become the A’s first baserunner in the game. Third baseman Matt Chapman got Semien to third on a flyout to Cubs right fielder Nicholas Castellanos, and then first baseman Matt Olson pushed Semien across the plate with a single to center field for his 50th RBI of the season.

The Cubs went big when their turn came. Bailey gave up a single to Cubs third baseman Kris Bryant and hit first baseman Anthony Rizzo to give Chicago two baserunners with one out. Shortstop Javier Baez followed with a line drive to right that scored Bryant and tied the game. Left fielder Kyle Schwarber walked to load the bases and Ian Happ promptly cleared them with a grand slam to center field. Bailey would survive to pitch the fifth, but the Cubs had suddenly opened up a commanding 5-1 lead.

The A’s prospects for victory further deteriorated in the bottom of the fifth. Bailey got two outs but allowed the Cubs to get Castellanos and Rizzo at the corners, at which point Lou Trivino came in to relieve the A’s starter. Lou may have given Bailey’s arm a rest, but he did neither Bailey’s nor his own ERA any favors. The Cubs sandwiched Kyle Schwarber’s 26th home run between a pair of singles before the inning ended, resulting in two more runs apiece charged to Bailey and Trivino and a 9-1 Cubs lead entering the sixth inning. Bailey ended with a line of 4.2 IP, 6 H, 7 ER, 1 BB and nary a K; his brief tenure with Oakland has produced three quality starts and two catastrophic meltdowns so far.

The bats went silent in the sixth and seventh innings. Jose Quintana, unbeaten in his past seven starts, was impressive against the A’s: he completed seven innings, allowing just two hits and one run while striking out seven. Ryan Buchter put in two full innings of solid relief for the A’s, allowing just one hit and no further damage in the runs column.

The A’s did little to surmount their substantial runs deficit as the game played out. Meanwhile, Blake Treinen gave up a homer to Victor Caratini in the eighth as the Cubs achieved double digits in their runs total. Treinen allowed five runs in 1.2 innings across two appearances in the series at Wrigley.

Today’s loss leaves the A’s fully ten games behind the Houston Astros in the AL West. More promisingly, the Tampa Bay Rays lost today, so Oakland remains at one-half game behind them for the second AL Wild Card spot. The A’s will remain in Chicago for a three game series against the White Sox beginning Friday.

Notes for the Southbound Train

  • Matt Chapman entered the day hitting .080 with a wRC+ of 16 since July 22.
  • Fiery Friday Mike Fiers starts the series opener against the White Sox on Friday. I daresay I wouldn’t mind if the FO cloned a couple more copies of Mike, who has clearly been the A’s best starter this season.
  • I’ll have what he’s having! If you think A’s color commentator Dallas Braden is colorful on TV and radio, try following him on Twitter.