- Updated: April 6, 2014
Today’s rubber match at Wrigley Field saw A.J. Burnett make his second start in red pinstripes. Burnett was looking to build on his strong first outing in Texas where he allowed only one run.
Today was a different story.
Burnett walked three Cub hitters in the first inning, frequently falling behind in the count. It was one of those innings where he had trouble finding the plate, and when he did, the Cubs hit it. He allowed two run producing hits in the first, and the Cubs manufactured two more runs via the sacrifice fly, good for a 4-0 lead after the first.
The Phillies threatened in their half of the first inning, with two men on and one out. Ryan Howard launched one deep to center-field that died at the wall, narrowly missing a three run home run. The Phils outhit the Cubs for most of the afternoon, but failed to score.
They had another chance in the fourth inning, when Marlon Byrd reached with a one out single. Dom Brown followed with an opposite field single, followed by an error by Starlin Castro that allowed Carlos Ruiz to reach base. With the bases loaded, third baseman Cody Asche grounded softly to pitcher Carlos Villanueva who threw Byrd out at home. The Phillies would not score in the inning.
The Phillies’ next chance came in the fifth when Ben Revere led off with a single. He then stole second and reached third on a single by Jimmy Rollins. J-Roll then stole second to put 2 men in scoring position with no outs. Chase Utley then grounded softly to Castro who threw him out on a bang bang play.
Manager Ryne Sandberg challenged the call, but it would stand. Revere scored to make it 4-1, and Rollins remained at third. Howard then hit a BB right into the shift to Emilio Bonafacio at second base. He would double Rollins off second to end the threat.
Burnett settled in a bit after the first inning, but ran into trouble in the bottom of the sixth. With one out, Revere dropped a line drive off the bat of Ryan Sweeney, allowing him reach 3rd base. Burnett then hit John Baker with a pitch to put runners on the corners with nobody out.
Two batters later, Bonafacio hit a grounder that deflected off A.J.’s glove that allowed Sweeney to score and Bonafacio to reach first safely. With the score now 5-1, Ryan Kalish doubled to left center-field to plate both Baker and Bonafacio, making it a 7-1 lead for Chicago.
That would be all for Burnett, but the Cubs weren’t done.
New pitcher Brad Lincoln gave up a single to first baseman Anthony Rizzo, bringing Kalish home to make it 8-1. That run was charged to Burnett, who finished with 5.2 innings pitched, eight runs allowed, six walks and a hit batsman.
The Phillies managed to outhit the Cubs 8-6, but went 1-15 with runners in scoring position. They had men on against Cubs pitching, but could not manufacture runs. They continued to find ways to reach base however, which has been a positive for this club on the young season.
They come home 3-3 and will play their home opener on Tuesday at 4:05.
Stats Courtesy of Phillies.com
Photo Courtesy of Philly.com