How much can a Cubs fan take? This one took 16 innings to lose

Cubs score! Cubs score! But it took an argument from manager Rick Renteria and an instant replay.

Justin K. Aller/Getty Images

It has to be tough being a Cubs fan.

The ‘Loveable Loser’ theme can only be fun for so long.

With the franchise’s history, fans can’t expect too much.

Not after Bartman.

Not after the curse of the billy goat.

Not after Leon Durham’s error in the 1984 NLCS.

Not after a last World Series appearance in 1945.

Not after a last World Series title in 1908.

Not after … well, you get the picture.

So the Cubs lost their 2014 opener on Monday in Pittsburgh when the Pirates scored the game’s only run in the bottom of the 10th.

Game 2 of the new season was Wednesday night, also in Pittsburgh.

Things started out harmless. 

Cubs leadoff hitter Emilio Bonifacio — 4 for 5 on Monday – started things off with a single, but then …

… he was picked off at first base by Pittsburgh starter Charlie Morton.

After the Pirates failed to score in the bottom half of the first, the Cubs’ first two batters reached in the second – Anthony Rizzo was hit by a pitch and Nate Schierholtz singled, moving Rizzo to second. Then …

… Ryan Sweeny grounded into a double play and Welling Castillo grounded out to Morton.

The Pirates would take a 1-0 lead in the bottom half of the inning on a Neil Walker single, a Travis Ishikawa walk and a Jordy Mercer RBI single.

The Cubs?

Two more singles in the top of the third, but no runs.

Two baserunners in the fifth – thanks to two Pittsburgh errors – with one out, and …

… yep, you guessed it. No runs.

Thanks to a leadoff walk and two Cubs errors, Pittsburgh would score again in the sixth for a 2-0 lead.

But then a miracle happened in the eighth. The Cubs scored! 

The run came by way of an overturned call on the field through the MLB’s new instant replay rules, but it was a run!

Then the unthinkable really happened in the ninth.

With two outs and trailing 2-1, Luis Valbuena singled in the tying run.

Now the Cubs had runners on first and third … but Castro popped out. But hey, the Cubs rallied to tie … and reliever Hector Rondon retired the Pirates 1-2-3 in the bottom half of the frame.

Another extra-inning game and a chance to get that first W for new manager Rick Renteria.

Chicago managed a two-out single in the 10th, but didn’t score. Junior Lake led off the 11th with a double … but didn’t score.

What what do you know, Rizzo homered to lead off the 12th. Cubs lead 3-2. Would they hold it?

Nope. A one-out walk followed by a hit batsman put two Pirates on base. The Cubs managed to get the second out without giving up a run, but Pittsburgh left fielder Starling Marte tied it with an RBI single.

Then the game dragged on. No runs in the 13th. No runs in the 14th or 15th.

Then, just as most Cubs fans probably expected, Chicago lost in the bottom of the 16th when pinch-hitter Tony Sanchez, a rookie, scored Jose Tabata with one-out single.

The marathon lasted 5 hours and 55 minutes, setting the record for the longest Pirates’ home game by time played. It was just before 1:30 a.m. in Pittsburgh — and just before 12:30 a.m. in Chicago. 

You have to feel for the Cubs fan, no?

Cubs fans won’t have long to fret over this one. Thursday’s series finale starts at 12:35 p.m. ET — that’s 11:35 a.m. Chicago time.

And then there’s the Pirates fans, who seemed to enjoy the marathon affair.