CHICAGO -- The Cubs' Jose Quintana struck out six batters over the first three innings on Saturday night and looked as though he was going to pick up where he left off in his last outing, when he pitched seven shutout frames. The Giants had other plans and rallied against
CHICAGO -- The Cubs' Jose Quintana struck out six batters over the first three innings on Saturday night and looked as though he was going to pick up where he left off in his last outing, when he pitched seven shutout frames. The Giants had other plans and rallied against the left-hander, sparked by Brandon Crawford's two-run homer, to hand the Cubs a 5-4 loss at Wrigley Field.
Kyle Schwarber and Javier Baez each hit solo home runs for the Cubs, who learned before the game that starter Yu Darvish would be sidelined because of right triceps tendinitis. Darvish will undergo an MRI to determine the severity of the injury.
"When I talked to him in my office, it didn't sound awful, but it sounded like something was there," Cubs manager Joe Maddon said.
The Cubs needed an extended outing by Quintana, who was coming off a win against the Reds and seemed in control early on. With one out in the Giants' fourth, the lefty walked Mac Williamson to set up Crawford's homer, which tied the game at 2. Gorkys Hernandez and Andrew McCutchen hit back-to-back doubles in the fifth, which ended Quintana's outing. McCutchen then scored on Brandon Belt's RBI single off Steve Cishek.
The Williamson at-bat was key. Quintana was ahead in the count, 0-2, then threw four straight balls to walk the outfielder.
"He was 0-2, then he went to 4-2, and after that, it just shifted," Maddon said of Quintana's outing. "He was not nearly as sharp or aggressive in the strike zone. He looked really good the beginning part of that game -- no walks, six punchouts, aggressive strike-throwing, good finish on his pitches. I thought, 'OK, this is going to be a pretty nice night.'
"Then, that one at-bat just switched things around. That elevated fastball to Crawford, it just looked different."
Said Quintana: "It's frustrating for me when you start pitching really good and you get in trouble in one inning and change your game. I'm always looking ahead. It was a tough game, and we'll come back tomorrow."
Maddon lifted Quintana after he threw 83 pitches over 4 1/3 innings. It marked the third time in his last five outings in which Quintana was unable to go five. The lefty tried to convince Maddon to leave him in, but that was enough.
"I wanted to get one or two more innings," Quintana said. "It was a tough game. I respect his decision."
MOMENTS THAT MATTERED
Baez gave the Cubs a 3-2 lead with two outs in the fourth, hitting his 12th home run off the first pitch from Chris Stratton. But he missed an opportunity in the second inning when he came up with the bases loaded and nobody out. Baez hit a comebacker to Stratton, who fumbled the ball but was able to recover in time to throw out the runner at home. The Cubs did get a run that inning when the next batter, Jason Heyward, drew a walk.
"Leaving the bases loaded early -- grounder back to the mound, then we score on a walk," Maddon said. "Then Quintana hits the ball sharply right at the second baseman, an unfortunate moment right there. Once again, we just need to get that big hit when it's out there."
Baez ranks second in the National League in RBIs with 39. He was the right man for the job.
"I was thinking I was going to get at least one run in," Baez said. "It was a good pitch and it was a strike, but still, it went right to the pitcher and he missed the ball and it dropped right in front of him. We have to deal with it."
Said Schwarber: "We had the top RBI guy on our team up there. That's the guy you want in that spot. We got one there. I think we all wanted more. It's just the way the game is. I would take that guy in that spot again 100 out of 100 times."
YOU GOTTA SEE THIS
With one out in the third, Schwarber launched a 2-2 pitch from Stratton into the right-field bleachers for his ninth home run and a 2-0 lead. After going 16 straight games without a homer, Schwarber has two this week. According to Statcast™, Schwarber's blast was measured at 437 feet.
HE SAID IT
"I think everyone wants to drive in runs. It stinks -- everyone thinks we're in this funk, but we're out there grinding and putting in good at-bats." -- Schwarber, on the Cubs' struggles with runners in scoring position
MITEL REPLAY OF THE DAY
In the Chicago fourth, Willson Contreras was called safe at first despite a strong throw from shortstop Crawford. The Giants challenged the ruling and after a review, the call was overturned and Contreras was out. Two batters later, Baez would homer.
Tyler Chatwood will start Sunday's series finale in place of Darvish. In Chatwood's last start, he walked six over 2 2/3 innings and took the loss against the Indians. First pitch is scheduled for 7:08 p.m. CT from Wrigley Field.
Carrie Muskat has covered the Cubs since 1987, and for MLB.com since 2001. You can follow her on Twitter @CarrieMuskat.