Cubs lose third straight in San Francisco
For three games in San Francisco, it seemed like everything was going wrong for the Cubs.
Then when they did catch some breaks in the ninth innings on Saturday, they couldn't take advantage and dropped their third straight game by the Bay.
It's like the tables have been turned on the Cubs. All those things the Cubs did to win nine of their previous 10 games are now part of the Giants' winning game plan. With pitcher Kevin Gausman limiting the Cubs to 2 hit through 7 innings, San Francisco pulled out a 4-3 win on Saturday.
"I don't think we played terrible baseball," manager David Ross said. "Today I thought their pitcher was pretty darn good."
For the third day in a row, the Cubs took an early lead thanks for a home run. This time it was Patrick Wisdom blasting his fifth home run in 12 games since joining the team, putting the Cubs ahead 2-0 in the second inning.
Otherwise, Cubs batters were flummoxed by Kevin Gausman's splitter. Gausman, 30, had been a journeyman starter with limited success for most of his career. But he improved to 7-0 this season with a 1.27 ERA.
"That's a tough pitch to sit on," Wisdom said. "I wouldn't necessarily call it a splitter either. He can make it do different things. Sometimes it goes straight down like a splitter and sometimes it kind of fades like a changeup. That's a tough pitch to sit on.
"Fortunately, I put a good swing on a fastball that he left in the middle of the plate. It's tough with a guy like that, you might see one good pitch to hit. Fortunately, I was able to put a barrel on it."
Kohl Stewart got his second Cubs start, but wasn't as effective as he was in his debut. Clinging to a 2-1 lead, Cubs pitchers gave up leadoff walks in both the fourth and fifth innings and both runners scored.
When Ross turned to reliever Tommy Nance to get out of the fourth inning, he might have done it one batter too late, since the last batter Stewart faced was Lamonte Wade Jr., who singled home the go-ahead run.
"They put together tough ABs," Stewart said. "They put the ball in play and they put pressure on you on the basepaths. I just didn't have heater command today and I couldn't get a feel for my sinker. I ended up falling behind a lot and guys made me pay for it."
Trailing 4-2 in the ninth inning, the Cubs finally got a slew of breaks. Rafael Ortega led off and reached on an error. Then Kris Bryant hit a perfect double play ball to short, but second baseman Mauricio Dubon dropped the ball on the transfer and Bryant was safe at first.
After a Javy Baez single, Anthony Rizzo hit another double-play ball to short and this time the left side of the Giants infield, Brandon Crawford and Evan Longoria collided. Longoria had to leave the game, Bryant scored and the Cubs had two runners on base.
Facing San Francisco submarine pitcher Tyler Rodgers, Willson Contreras struck out on a 3-2, 71-mile-per-hour slider. Then Jason Heyward grounded out to end the game.
"It's tough definitely to lose three in a row," Wisdom said. "Losing's no fun regardless, whether it's one or three. I think this team is good at flushing it. Understanding what happened, where we went wrong, what we need to do better and the moving onto the next day. Not dwelling on the losses and the negativity, I think we're able to flip the switch."
Cory Abbott made his major league debut and pitched two scoreless innings.
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