CHICAGO (AP) Fittingly, the Chicago Cubs marked Wrigley Field’s 100th birthday with a loss – a dramatic, error-filled one, at that.
One out from victory, the Cubs allowed the Arizona Diamondbacks to rally for five runs in the ninth inning in a 7-5 loss Wednesday.
After an error by shortstop Starlin Castro, Martin Prado hit a two-run single off Pedro Strop (0-2), Miguel Montero had a tying single against James Russell and Aaron Hill followed with a two-run triple off Justin Grimm.
Still, the Cubs are 4,076-3,621 (.530) during the regular season at Wrigley, according to STATS, and 7-20 in the postseason. Chicago failed in its bid to win three straight games for the first time since last July 26-28.
The beloved ballpark, the second-oldest in the major leagues behind 102-year-old Fenway Park in Boston, opened on April 23, 1914, when the Federal League’s Chicago Federals beat the Kansas City Packers 9-1.
The Cubs moved into the Friendly Confines in 1916, after the Federal League folded, and have established a tradition of beloved losers. The Cubs’ only World Series titles came in 1907 and `08, when they played at the West Side Grounds, and they haven’t even reached the World Series since 1945.
Fans sang “Happy Birthday” in the middle of the fifth inning, the Cubs wore Federals’ uniforms and the Diamondbacks wore Kansas City Packers’ threads.
Trevor Cahill (1-3) pitched two scoreless innings, for Arizona, which ended a four-game losing streak, and Addison Reed got his fourth save as the Cubs went quietly in a 1-2-3 ninth.
Before a crowd of 32,323 – about 9,000 under capacity, the Cubs led 5-2 in the ninth. Strop walked Chris Owings on four pitches and Castro allowed Tony Campana’s grounder to kick off his glove for an error. Castro tried to keep his left leg on second as he retrieved the ball, and second base umpire Brian O’Nora called the sliding Owings safe – a decision confirmed by the replay umpire in New York.
Pinch-hitter Eric Chavez walked on a full count, loading the bases, and Gerardo Parra struck out. Prado’s bouncer up the middle bounded off second base, eluding second baseman Darwin Barney and kicking into short right-center field as the Diamondbacks closed to 5-4. Strop struck out Paul Goldschmidt for the second out.
Montero fouled off a 2-2 pitch, took a ball, and then lined a tying single to right. Hill blooped a ball down the right-field line and Justin Ruggiano appeared to injure his left hamstring as he tried for a sliding catch near the foul line and the bullpen mound. He needed assistance to leave the field and was replaced by Ryan Kalish.
Cubs starter Jeff Samardzija allowed two runs and seven hits in 7 1-3 innings and is winless in 11 starts since beating San Diego on Aug. 24.
Arizona’s Wade Miley gave up five runs – three earned – and four hits in five innings.
NOTES: Baseball Commissioner Bud Selig said “it would be great, no question about it” if the Cubs were competitive. He also said replay review has “done great” and added that he’s not reconsidering his decision to retire after the season. He also confirmed that baseball is working on an interpretation of the transfer rule. … Ryan Dempster, who was at Wrigley Field for the 100th anniversary festivities, said joining MLB Network as an analyst is the best thing for him to do right now. Dempster didn’t rule out returning to the field. … Cubs RHP Jake Arrieta is to make his fifth – and what the team hopes is final – minor league injury rehabilitation start Saturday for Double-A Tennessee. … Arizona OF A.J. Pollock (neck stiffness) didn’t start but pinch-ran in the ninth.