Cueto Quiets Cubs: Reds Win at Wrigley, 3-0
Righthander Johnny Cueto dominated Cub hitters Wednesday night, and a strong outing by Ted Lilly (7 IP, 5 H, 0 BB, just 1 unearned run allowed) was wasted as Cincinnati ended the Cubs' three-game winning streak.
Why the Cubs lost: No O—the offense produced no runs and four hits against Cueto in his seven innings. Overall, the Cub bats delivered six measly singles, two each by Soriano and Lee, and one apiece from Fukudome and Ramirez. In both the first inning and the fourth, they managed to put two runners aboard, but failed to capitalize. In total, Cub hitters only had four opportunities to hit with men in scoring position.
Milton Bradley, who rejoined the starting lineup, fanned three times in four trips, and is now hitting .043 (1-for-23). He still appears to be suffering from the groin strain, both at the plate, where his swings seemed mostly flat-footed, and in the field, where he wasn't running down fly balls so much as shuffling after them.
Ted Lilly's only shortcoming tonight was his defense. He made two errors, and the first one—a wild throw following a bunt single by Alex Gonzalez in the fourth inning—led to the only run the Reds would need on yet another frosty spring evening at Wrigley Field.
Angel Guzman and Kevin Gregg were each tagged for a run over the last couple innings. As Bob Brenly pointed out on Comcast, Gregg's inability to throw his breaking ball for strikes reduced him to a one-pitch pitcher, and young Jay Bruce, who also homered Tuesday night, tagged one of those pitches for an opposite field home run in the ninth.
Speaking of the Cub bullpen and per Rob's post earlier this evening, don't run out and buy that Luis Vizcaino Cubs jersey you've had your eye on.
Lilly has been here before: The Cub southpaw went 17-9 last season and four of the losses were to the Reds, three of them at Wrigley. On the other hand, the Cubs also abused Cueto in '08, defeating him three times in four starts.
On tap for Thursday: A little ace-on-ace action in the series' rubber game as Aaron Harang (1-2. 2.70) meets Carlos Zambrano (1-0, 5.21). Weather forecast calls for partly cloudy skies and highs approaching 70, which will be a nice change after two cold nights on the lakefront.