Matt Garza was brilliant and so much more Tuesday night in the Cubs 5-4 loss at PNC Park in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. This start was Garza’s first of the year. He threw five scoreless innings in which he allowed only one hit. The only problem was, he didn’t get any help from his buddies down in the bullpen.
Hector Rondon, Shawn Camp, and James Russell all combined to throw one total inning in which they gave up a combined five hits, five earned runs, and three walks. Those three pitchers gave up the same amount of hits and walks as Garza did. The bullpen has to be better for the Cubs. It’s demoralizing for the starters to go out there, pitch great and not feel good about handing it over to the guys in the pen.
The Cubs offense struggled in driving in runs as well. They were able to tally four runs, but two of them were driven in by Garza who seemed to be doing it all. Cub pitching is hitting the ball tremendously in the month of May. As a staff they have a combined 13 RBI’s in the month.
Darwin Barney’s performance was overshadowed by Garza’s. Barney had four hits in his four trips to the plate including a triple in the ninth that started a miniature Cub rally, but they were unable to close the gap fully. Barney also scored two of the four runs for the Cubs.
Alfonso Soriano, who before tonight was 7-45 against Wandy Rodriguez, had two hits and seemed to have more confidence at the dish than in the past.
The Cubs struck for three runs in the second on the Darwin Barney RBI single and then Garza’s RBI double. The Pirates answered that call in the bottom of the sixth when Pedro Alvarez received an RBI on his bases loaded walk. Two batters later, Travis Snider, who was pinch hitting for Clint Barmes, got into a Shawn Camp slider and gave the Pirates the lead as he unloaded the bases with a grand slam.
Snider was the main supplier of the offense for the Pirates on this night.
The Pirates and the Cubs will continue this series tomorrow at 6:05 CT. Francisco Liriano (2-0) will get the start for the Pirates and opposing him will be, Jeff Samardzija (2-5).