Here’s how the 10th inning went for the Chicago Cubs: They issued a leadoff walk, lost a pitcher to an injury, lost track of a baserunner and threw a wild pitch to let in the winning run.
Article continues below ...
It all added up to another loss, 5-4 to the Washington Nationals on Monday.
”Little things haven’t really gone the way we wanted them to,” center fielder Marlon Byrd said. ” It’s been one of those years. Everything’s weird.”
The weirdest stuff came at the end. Washington’s Jayson Werth was walked by Marcos Mateo (1-2). He advanced on a sacrifice by pinch-hitting pitcher Livan Hernandez. Mateo then left when something apparently went wrong with his throwing elbow and was replaced by Carlos Marmol, who was rushed out to the mound without first warming up in the bullpen, a rarity for the Cubs closer.
”You have to change your routine,” Marmol said. ”I never do that before, it’s tough.”
With Marmol focusing on the batter, Werth promptly stole third on the first pitch to Ivan Rodriguez.
”I was paying attention to the hitter,” Marmol said. ”My mistake, I paid for it.”
Marmol did indeed. Four pitches later he uncorked a 2-2 slider that sailed way outside to Rodriguez. Werth scored and was mobbed by his teammates, a welcome celebration for a slugger who has struggled in his first season in Washington.
”I just felt like it was time to make something happen, and it felt right and I got a good jump and was able to steal third and scored on the wild pitch,” Werth said.
The scenario led to Cubs manager Mike Quade asking about the protocol for relievers entering after an injury to a fellow pitcher.
”The routine is to get ready in the bullpen, then come out and make their eight pitches and pitch,” Quade said. ”Everybody always comes out and makes their pitches in front of 30,000. Do you have to do that?
”Someone told me it’s courtesy,” Quade added. ”Well, if your guy is more comfortable doing his thing (in the bullpen), I’d rather have it there because of the urgency once you get on the mound, everybody’s watching.”
Mateo will return to Chicago to have an MRI.
Henry Rodriguez (3-1), pitched the 10th to get the win for the Nationals, who improved to 3-5 under manager Davey Johnson and are back again at .500.
The Cubs opened a seven-game road trip by ending a seven-game Nationals Park winning streak. One of the wins in that streak came last Aug. 23, when Casey Coleman earned his first victory in Quade’s managerial debut following the sudden resignation of Lou Piniella.
Quade, Coleman and the Cubs have all struggled since then, with Chicago well under .500 approaching the all-star break. Coleman had a 7.78 ERA in his two previous stints with the Cubs this season and was recalled from the minors for this game after scheduled starter Ryan Dempster was hospitalized over the weekend with stomach and back pain.
Coleman allowed three runs over 5 1-3 innings, one of them unearned following a booted groundball by first baseman Carlos Pena in the first inning, and left with the lead.
”(Coleman) kept us in the game,” Quade said. ”Better command. Just overall better than some of the outings we’ve seen from him before. ”
Six relievers followed, included Kerry Wood, who had the most adventurous outing of all.
He entered with two outs in the seventh and walked pinch-hitter Ryan Zimmerman and plunked Danny Espinosa in the back with two strikes to load the bases. Then he walked Laynce Nix to force in a run, tying the game at 4.
Wood struck out Werth, then stayed in the game in the next inning and continued to mix wildness with effectiveness. His final line: one inning, three walks, three strikeouts, one wild pitch, one hit batter.
Leading 3-2 in the sixth inning, the Cubs loaded the bases with one out only to have Alfonso Soriano fly out to shallow center. Geovany Soto picked him up by lacing a single to right field, easily scoring Ramirez.
Pena tried to follow suit from second base, but a perfect throw from Werth gunned him down on a close play at the plate.
”We missed a couple of opportunities,” Quade said. ”The big crooked number has eluded us some.”
NOTES: Quade said Dempster is day to day but is expected to make another start before the all-star break. … To make room for Coleman, reliever Chris Carpenter was optioned to triple-A Iowa.