Cubs’ bullpen wastes Wood’s strong start in loss
BY GORDON WITTENMYER Sports Reporter April 10, 2014 4:51PM
Updated: April 10, 2014 10:07PM
The Cubs bullpen wasted a strong pitching performance from Travis Wood and some early run production, blowing a four-run lead in the seventh inning of a 5-4 loss to the Pittsburgh Pirates in the finale of a six-game opening homestand.
The Cubs loaded the bases with two out in the bottom of the ninth, but the Cubs’ top hitter in the early going, Emilio Bonifacio, grounded to first to end it.
The Cubs took a 4-0 lead into the seventh before Wood allowed a leadoff double to Neil Walker and departed.
Park Ridge reliever Brian Schlitter took over and eight pitches later surrendered a two-run homer to pinch-hitter Travis Snider. Schlitter got two more outs, but couldn’t finish the inning, giving up a single and walk before turning over the game to left-hander James Russell.
Russell’s first pitch was driven over the center field wall by defending NL home run champ Pedro Alvarez for a three-run homer that gave the Pirates their first lead since Tuesday.
The Cubs have yet to win a series in three tries this season and have lost eight consecutive series dating to Sept. 9-11.
Starlin Castro had three hits for the Cubs, including a run-scoring single in their three-run fourth.