Cubs and unearned runs, Part 2

A previous post looked at games in which the Cubs gave up the most runs, all unearned (7, three times), and most unearned runs, period (12, once).

Of course, the Cubs have been the beneficiaries of unearned runs, too.



On May 20, 1913, the Cubs won at Boston, 7-3, without earning a run.

Their 5 total hits were equal to the number of errors made by the Braves.

The Cubs scored all 7 runs in the second inning on just 2 hits, the first an infield single by leadoff batter Vic Saier. Braves pitcher Hub Perdue then hit Tommy Leach.

Al Bridwell put down a bunt, which Perdue fielded and threw to third, but not in time to force out Saier.

When Jimmy Archer popped up to the second baseman in short right field, Saier made a dash for home. The startled fielder threw wide of the plate, enabling Saier to score.

Leach was forced out at third, for the second out, but Perdue walked the next batter, loading the bases, then issued 2 mores walk, making the score 3-0.

Heinie Zimmerman cleared the bases with a triple, doubling the Cubs' lead. Moments later, Zimmerman tried to steal home. Perdue's throw home beat Zimmerman, but the catcher dropped the ball after applying the tag: 7-0.


The Cubs won, 6-4, with all their runs unearned at home against the Pirates on Aug. 2, 1957.

A 1-out error, a single and a fielder's choice by Walt Moryn resulted in a run in the first inning.

Moryn led off the sixth with a double and came home when the second baseman threw wildly on a grounder by Dale Long.

The Cubs trailed, 3-4, with 2 out and nobody on in the eighth. After Long singled, Ernie Banks grounded to the shortstop, who bobbled the ball. Pinch hitter Cal Neeman followed with a 3-run homer.


In 5 games, the Cubs have scored 5 runs, none earned.

The first 3 were in 1918-23. The only 1 since was on July 30, 2011, at St. Louis, in a 5-13 loss to the Cardinals.

On May 29 of this year, the Cubs tallied 4 unearned runs in a 4-5 loss to the White Sox on the South Side. That was the 12th game in which they did that.

It was the 19th in which they had at least 4 runs, none earned. They are 11-8 in those games.



Nearly half a century ago, the Cubs recorded more unearned runs, 13, than they have in any game before or since.

The date was May 31, 1973, the site was Wrigley Field and the opponent was the Astros.

Ferguson Jenkins retired 3 in a row to start the game.

Houston's Dave Roberts got 2 quick outs. Then Billy Williams singled and Roberts hit Jose Cardenal with a pitch.

That brought up Ron Santo, whose grounder was bobbled by the third baseman, loading the bases.

Here is what happened after that:

Carmen Fanzone singled home 2 runs

Randy Hundley single home run No. 3

Don Kessinger singled home No. 4, knocking out Roberts

Jenkins drew a walk from reliever Jim Ray, loading the bases again

Rick Monday walked, forcing home No. 5

Glenn Beckert walked, forcing home No. 6 and knocking out Ray

A wild pitch by Cecil Upshaw scored No. 7.

Williams was walked intentionally

Cardenal singled home Nos. 8 and 9

Santo singled home No. 10

The inning finally ended when Fanzone fouled out.

None of the runs were earned.


The Cubs got another unearned run in the third. With 2 out and nobody on, Williams walked, went to third on a double by Cardenal and scored when the third baseman made another error on a grounder by Santo.

The score was 14-5 when the shortstop misplayed Cleo James' grounder to start the seventh. Singles by Cardenal and Pat Bourque produced a run, then a groundout to short by Fanzone knocked in another.

Both runs were deemed unearned, raising the total to 13.

It seems to me that the second run should have been earned. Perhaps the official scorer reasoned that, had James been retired, Fanzone's grounder with 1 out and runners on the corners would have been an inning-ending double play.



That 13th unearned run broke a record for most scored by the Cubs that had stood since Aug. 25, 1922, when they had 12 in the historic, 26-23 win at home over the Phillies -- the highest-scoring in Major League history.

The Phillies made 26 hits; the Cubs, 25.

The Cubs made 5 errors; the Phillies, 4.

The Phillies' first error came with 2 out in the third inning, when the third baseman dropped a foul popup. The batter then walked.

A single by Charlie Hollocher scored 2 runs, and a double by Zeb Terry delivered 2 more. After a walk, Marty Callaghan smacked a line drive that the right fielder dropped, allowing a run to score.

Hack Miller followed with a 3-run homer, Marty Krug doubled and Bob O'Farrell homered, making it a 10-run inning, all unearned.


In the fourth, only 1 of the Cubs' first 10 batters made an out, and that was on a bunt, as they scored 7 runs.

The 11th batter, Miller, smacked another 3-run homer.

After a double and a walk, the first baseman dropped a throw, loading the bases. A double drove home 2 runs, making the total for the inning 12, all earned.

Then a sacrifice fly, a single and a double added 2 unearned runs that concluded the 14-run bombardment.

The Cubs led by 19 runs at that point, 25-6. Their lead was just 3 and the bases loaded when they got the final out.

It remains the only game in which the Cubs scored 10 or more runs in 2 innings.



The Cubs benefited from 10 unearned runs in a 13-3 win at Cincinnati on May 28, 1925.

They were handed 9 runs by the Pirates twice, while winning by 13-3 at home on Sept. 24, 1946, and by 12-2 at Pittsburgh on Sept. 7, 2012.

The Cubs have had 8 unearned runs in 5 games, most recently in a 14-5 rout of the Diamondbacks at home on Sept. 4, 2015.


The most unearned runs the Cubs ever had in a loss was 7, when they were beaten at Philadelphia, 11-12, on July 28, 1924. That is their only such loss. They won 11 games with 7 unearned runs since then, making their record in those games 15-1.


They are 45-4-1 with 6 unearned runs, including 17 straight wins since they last loss, 8-15 to the Braves, on May 31, 1956.

With 5 unearned runs, the Cubs are 103-9. The most recent win was their 21-0 rout of the Pirates at home on April 23. The last loss was at Cincinnati, 7-12, on July 29, 2020.

In all games with 5 or more unearned runs, the Cubs' record is 173-14-1.

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