By Paul LaTour
Hes not sure why it happens, but Chris Volstad cant seem to shake those big innings.
Volstad surrendered three runs in the second inning and two more in the fifth as the Cubs dropped a 5-1 decision to the Los Angeles Dodgers on Saturday afternoon at Wrigley Field.
Its probably more of an approach and execution, Volstad said. I dont know if that can be mental or what, but it could be mechanical, too. Its something weve got to look at because obviously theres something going on.
Volstad (0-4) allowed five earned runs on four hits with three walks and one strikeout in his five-inning stint. The loss extended his winless streak to 17 games, dating to July 17 of last season when he pitched for the Marlins.
All the damage against Volstad came in those two innings. He was perfect in the first, third and fourth.
Maybe I just need to not let anybody on base for the whole game, Volstad said. With runners on and from the stretch has been a struggle. Its no secret.
Meanwhile, the Cubs got nothing going after the first inning against Dodgers left-hander Chris Capuano, who improved to 4-0 with a sleek scoreless seven-inning performance. And his two-run double in the second was the games key hit.
The Cubs used only one hit to load the bases with one out in the first inning, but failed to score.
David DeJesus reached on a two-base error when Jerry Hairston and Dee Gordon collided over a pop up. After Joe Mather flew out, Starlin Castro singled to left and Bryan LaHair drew a walk.
But Alfonso Soriano struck out looking on a pitch that appeared to be inside.
Im a pretty aggressive hitter, but that ball was inside, Soriano said. He called a strike, so theres nothing else you can do.
Capuano then struck out Ian Stewart looking to end the threat. That started a string of eight consecutive batters Capuano retired, five by strikeout.
The way we got on base with the first batter of the game, I was thinking, Oh man, this could be a big day for us, said Soriano, who finished 0-for-4. (Then) the umpire makes a bad call, but that is part of the game.
The Dodgers responded to the Cubs first-inning threat by also loading the bases in the second. The difference being the Dodgers came through with three runs, including a two-run double by Capuano on his first hit of the season.
A sacrifice fly by Matt Treanor with the bases loaded scored Andre Ethier, who led off with a walk. Capuano followed with a drive to center that went to the wall, scoring Bobby Abreu and James Loney.
The Dodgers added to their lead with a two-run fifth. A pair of errors -- one by Volstad, the other by Castro -- and two walks aided the Dodgers cause.
Treanor led off with a single and scored on a Dee Gordon double. Gordon then scored on a sacrifice fly to deep center by Matt Kemp, making it 5-0.
It was kind of the same old, (Volstad was) efficient but just couldnt get the out when he had to, said manager Dale Sveum, who added Volstads spot in the rotation is secure. When stuff starts going on, he couldnt quite put anybody away to get out of that stuff.
Lendy Castillo replaced Volstad to start the sixth. In his first appearance since April 20, Castillo allowed one hit with no walks and one strikeout in two innings.
Carlos Marmol pitched the eighth, his first relief appearance since being demoted as closer. He walked Ethier and threw a wild pitch before getting the next three batters out.
With a pair of walks, LaHair has now reached base safely in a team-high 23 consecutive games. But his 10-game hitting streak ended after going 0-for-2.
Stewart drove home Castro with a two-out single in the ninth as the Cubs avoided being shut out for the first time this season.