Cubs blanked in nightcap, drop Bronx DH
Lefty Wood allows two runs over 5 2/3; offense shut out all day
NEW YORK -- The Cubs waited nearly a decade for this day, and after receiving an inhospitable welcome, they won't want to rush back.
Rain consolidated Chicago's first series in the Bronx in nine years into a doubleheader, and the Cubs faced the Yankees' two best pitchers and couldn't hit either of them. Masahiro Tanaka struck out 10 while allowing two bunt singles in eight scoreless innings as New York won the first game, 3-0, and then Michael Pineda picked up where his rotation-mate left off in the nightcap to blank the Cubs over six innings en route to a 2-0 Yankees victory.
"Tanaka and Pineda have got great stuff," said Cubs shortstop Starlin Castro, who had two singles in seven at-bats on the day.
"Their breaking pitches were really good -- both of them," added second baseman/center fielder Emilio Bonifacio, who went 0-for- 8.
Bad timing and bad situational hitting were to blame. Chicago was dealt a raw deal by having to face Tanaka and Pineda, who collectively have a 1.58 ERA in their six starts, and the club was undone by its inability to capitalize on its few opportunities. The Cubs were 0-for-13 with runners in scoring position in the doubleheader after going 0-for-9 in Game 2.
Cubs left-hander Travis Wood pounded the strike zone, throwing roughly 70 percent of his pitches for strikes and not walking anyone, but that aggressive approach led to a lot of contact from Yankees hitters, which in turn produced a steady stream of singles. Of New York's 11 hits off Wood in his 5 2/3 innings, 10 were for only one base -- and even the double was a ground ball that deflected off the glove of a diving Castro -- but that station-to-station offense produced two runs.
"They found some holes tonight to put up their two runs," Wood said. "I felt like I made some good pitches, and some of them got through [for hits]. Just too many pitches too early, and I wasn't able to go deep enough in the ballgame."
That's two more than the Cubs could muster against Pineda and the Yankees. Chicago's best scoring chance occurred in the fifth, when Castro and Luis Valbuena opened the frame with singles. Welington Castillo laid down a sacrifice bunt to move both into scoring position, but Ryan Kalish struck out on a full-count slider and Darwin Barney flew out to center.
An inning later, Anthony Rizzo tripled into the right-field corner with two outs but was stranded after Nate Schierholtz popped out to third. Rizzo's triple was his third hit of the day and the Cubs' only extra-base hit.
Schierholtz started a rally in the ninth with a single through the hole into right field. Valbuena walked two batters later and a wild pitch from Warren moved them to second and third, but Castillo popped out to the catcher in foul territory and Kalish grounded out to short to end the game.
"Nate battled by getting the ball through that hole and then kind of getting the line moving," Cubs manager Rick Renteria said, "but we just weren't able to complete it."
Entering the day, the Cubs had scored at least four runs in seven straight games and had averaged nine hits during that span. On Wednesday, however, they didn't score at all in 18 innings and tallied only nine hits.
While Tanaka dominated with a double-digit strikeout total, Pineda induced the Cubs into popouts and weak fly balls, recording 10 of his 18 outs through the air. He struck out three.
"The ball really wasn't carrying for either side, quite frankly," Renteria said. "We weren't able to keep the ball on line. We got a couple hits and weren't able to put a lot together."
It's been an odd week for the Cubs. Not only were they playing an infrequent Interleague rival, but they also had both Monday and Tuesday off -- one scheduled, one because of the weather -- before playing two games in 40-degree weather on Wednesday in advance of another scheduled day off on Thursday.
"I don't want to say that has anything to do with it," Renteria said of the conditions and timing. "The reality is both teams play in it. [On] the off-days, we still worked, we still got in here and were able to hit. Today, they took batting practice on the field. No, we just weren't able to put anything together."