Give this Cubs team some credit. Down 5-1 entering the ninth inning, they put together a nice rally and had the tying run in scoring position with two out. Unfortunately, that wasn’t enough when Ian Happ grounded out to end the game, and instead of a stirring come-from-behind win, the Cubs simply had another defeat, 5-4 to the Giants. The loss dropped their record in one-run games to 13-19 and they are 0-47 when trailing entering the ninth.
Anyway, here’s your recap of the happenings in San Francisco Saturday.
Drew Smyly and Jakob Junis matched zeroes for two innings, then the Giants pushed a pair of runs across off Smyly in the third. The San Francisco lead was extended to 5-0 in the fourth when Smyly allowed a leadoff single and then back-to-back home runs by Luis Gonzalez and Joey Bart.
The outing, possibly Smyly’s last as a Cub, couldn’t have impressed scouts much, but then, I’d think most teams already know pretty much what Smyly can and can’t do. I suppose we’ll know Tuesday whether Smyly will be a Cub the rest of the year or not. For his part, Smyly didn’t think this game would move the needle much:
Drew Smyly was pretty confident he'd start tonight & not get scratched because of trade deadline: "I've made it pretty clear that I love showing up to work every day and being a Cub."— Meghan Montemurro (@M_Montemurro) July 31, 2022
"I don't really think this performance would dictate (getting traded) one way or the other."
While all that San Francisco scoring was going on, the Cubs were squandering scoring opportunities. They loaded the bases in the first inning on singles by Rafael Ortega and Willson Contreras and a walk to Nico Hoerner, but could not score. They had runners on second and third with one out in the third (single by Contreras, double by Seiya Suzuki) but Ian Happ struck out and Hoerner grounded out. After a two-out single by Alfonso Rivas in the fourth, seven straight Cubs went down.
It looked like it was going to be that way the rest of the game, but the Cubs got on the board in the seventh. Yan Gomes led off with a single. One out later, Bote singled him to second.
Then Nelson Velázquez inside-outed a single to right, scoring Gomes [VIDEO].
Mark Leiter Jr. had shut down the Giants for 2⅔ innings, getting all but the last out in the seventh, so credit to him and also Steven Brault, who threw 1⅓ innings of scoreless ball. The two combined to allow no hits, two walks and struck out five. Brault, in particular, has been a revelation since his callup earlier this month: Four scoreless outings covering 5⅓ innings, one hit and two walks allowed, five strikeouts. He might have found his niche.
Still, the game went to the ninth with the Cubs down four, and it didn’t seem like the needle was moving much.
Gomes was hit by a pitch leading off the ninth and P.J. Higgins dumped a little roller down the third-base line for a single. Bote singled to load the bases and this RBI fielder’s choice by Velázquez made it 5-2 [VIDEO].
Bote beat the throw to second so the bases were still loaded. Willson Contreras then hit another grounder for an RBI fielder’s choice [VIDEO].
Christopher Morel was sent in to run for Contreras, and Suzuki grounded to short to make it 5-4 [VIDEO].
With Morel advancing to second, all it would have taken was a single to tie the game. Unfortunately, Happ grounded out to end things [VIDEO].
Again, give the Cubs credit for not giving up. But that and $5 will buy you a copy of the Sunday Chicago Tribune. It did provide for some entertaining baseball for a few minutes, anyway.
The Cubs and Giants will be featured on ESPN’s Sunday Night Baseball broadcast tonight for the series finale as the Cubs look for a series split. Adrian Sampson will start for the Cubs and Carlos Rodón gets the call for the Giants. Game time is 6:08 p.m. CT.