The Cubs got some home-run power Sunday afternoon at Wrigley Field.
Unfortunately, that was about all the offense that was recorded by the Chicago N.L. franchise and the bullpen, which had been quite good recently, couldn’t get the job done in this one. Thus the Cubs’ five-game winning streak ended in a 6-3 loss to the Orioles.
Things started out promisingly. After the Cubs turned a double play in the top of the first with a throw to the plate by Mike Tauchman, Tauchman led off the bottom of the first with a home run [VIDEO].
The ball bounced back onto the field after hitting the top of the wall in front of the left-field bleachers. I hope Tauchman got that ball, it’s the first Cubs and Wrigley home run for the Chicago-area native.
Jameson Taillon put a lot of traffic on the bases for the O’s and in the third, it got to be too much. Anthony Santander led off the inning with a home run, then a single and walk was followed by an RBI single by Ramon Urias to give Baltimore a 2-1 lead. The Cubs got out of the frame with a nice double play started by Nico Hoerner.
The Cubs took the lead back in the bottom of the third. With two out, Cody Bellinger hit a ball that right fielder Ryan O’Hearn couldn’t handle. Bellinger wound up on third with what was at first ruled a triple, later changed to a three-base error. (I disagree with the change, for whatever that’s worth.)
Christopher Morel then launched his 13th home run into the left-field bleachers [VIDEO].
That gave the Cubs a 3-2 lead.
Unfortunately, that was the Cubs’ last hit of the game. They had just three more baserunners, one on a walk by Tauchman in the fifth and then two men hit by a pitch in the seventh, Miguel Amaya and Nick Madrigal.
Amaya stayed in the game after the HBP, but was removed when he moved up to second on the Madrigal HBP for pinch runner Miles Mastrobuoni. The Cubs failed to score in the inning, and at first it looked like it might have been a strategic pinch-running situation rather than removing Amaya for an injury.
It sounds like a precautionary removal, as X-rays were taken (negative). Here’s David Ross with an update:
Cubs manager David Ross gives an update on Miguel Amaya ⬇️ pic.twitter.com/yULYYpFvPx— Ryan Herrera (@ryan_a_herrera) June 18, 2023
As for the Orioles winning this game, they started to hit Taillon hard in the sixth. A single and double began the inning and a sac fly tied the game at 3. That’s when Taillon was removed for Anthony Kay, who had thrown pretty well three times since his callup. This time: Not so much. He allowed three straight hits, plating two runs, one of which was charged to Taillon and making the starter’s line look worse than he actually pitched. I thought Taillon threw pretty well, but again, the results aren’t showing that. Hopefully, he continues to improve.
At 5-3, the game still was within reach, but as noted above, the Cubs simply could not hit the rest of the way. The home runs were two of only three hits they had on the afternoon, the other a two-out single by Dansby Swanson in the first inning. Again, I’d have given Bellinger a triple, for a fourth hit. I also disagreed with a scoring decision in the ninth inning. With two out and nobody on, Nico Hoerner bobbled what looked like an inning-ending ground ball by Austin Hays. It was ruled a hit, and Hays scored on a double by Adley Rutschman. I’d have given Nico an error on that play, and that would have made the run off Hayden Wesneski unearned. Perhaps that’ll be changed — scoring rulings like that do get changed at times. If you’re interested in this sort of thing, check out the @ScoringChanges Twitter account, which chronicles all of them.
Credit where it’s due: Nick Madrigal showed off his arm on this play in the seventh [VIDEO].
As the headline says, you can’t win ‘em all and the Orioles are, in fact, a pretty good team. Taking two of three from them is a decent result, and winning five of six on the homestand is as well. The Cubs have won three straight series and seven of nine.
The Cubs will try to get back on the winning track Monday as they open a series against the Pirates in Pittsburgh. Drew Smyly gets the start for the Cubs Monday evening in a rematch against Osvaldo Bido, who made his MLB debut last week in Wrigley Field. Game time Monday is 6:05 p.m. CT and TV coverage will be via Marquee Sports Network.