5/28 Giants 5, Cubs 4
The Cubs had two on and two outs in the first inning Wednesday, and Nate Schierholtz battled the Giants’ Tim Lincecum in a 10-pitch at-bat, which ended with the outfielder lining out to first baseman Buster Posey to end the threat.
“When that ball starts hitting the grass, that’s when our team will take off,” Chicago’s John Baker said. “A lot of the games have been very close. It’s real difficult — what is the cliche? It’s a game of inches. I think the Chicago Cubs are proving beyond a shadow of a doubt that baseball is a game of inches.”
The Cubs could only get two balls to hit the grass at AT&T Park, collecting two hits off Lincecum and five other pitchers as the Giants posted a 5-0 shut out to clinch the series.
Chicago was blanked for the second straight game, the second time that’s happened this season. The Yankees also did so April 16 in a day-night doubleheader in New York. It’s the seventh time the Cubs have been shut out this season, third most in the National League. It was a somber clubhouse.
“It’s a testament to us that when we get beat 5-0, we feel we’ve been blown out,” Baker said.
Jackson took the loss Wednesday, striking out nine and giving up two runs on four hits over 5 1/3 innings. He watched as Lincecum threw five no-hit innings, but was then pulled after throwing 96 pitches because of a blister that developed on the top of his right middle finger in the third inning.
The Cubs finally got a hit when Baker singled with one out in the seventh. Chicago holds the Major League record for consecutive games played of at least nine innings without being no-hit (7,714).
Despite the lack of offense, Rick Renteria liked the approaches by his hitters.
“We drove [Lincecum's] pitch count to almost 100 in five innings, so we were having good at-bats,” Renteria said. “We actually hit quite a few balls hard but didn’t find any holes. The last four inings, we weren’t able to do anything. I thought we were able to put together good at-bats, just couldn’t get any runs.”
The Giants finally did score in the sixth. Angel Pagan doubled to lead off that inning against Jackson, who then walked Hunter Pence. Posey flied out to center and Jackson was lifted for James Russell, who served up an RBI single to Pablo Sandoval, who was batting .156 against left-handers. Brian Schlitter took over for Russell, and one out later, Tyler Colvin hit an RBI double.
The Giants padded their lead with two outs in the seventh when a run scored as Posey reached on an error by Mike Olt. Sandoval was intentionally walked, and Hector Sanchez followed with a two-run double to go ahead 5-0.
“I thought [Jackson] gave us a good chance to win the ballgame,” Renteria said. “Tip your hat to them, they kept grinding and were able to get to us.”
– Carrie Muskat