Skip to content
Farnsworth's follies sink Cubs
Kyle Farnsworth had nothing to say Sunday after losing both his control and a ballgame in one fell swoop.
There was really nothing for Farnsworth to talk about after walking the bases loaded and serving up a 372-foot, game-winning single to Scott Rolen in the Cubs' 1-0, 10-inning loss to St. Louis at Busch Stadium.
Farnsworth's body language usually speaks for itself anyway.
"I guess he's in one of these streaks where the plate looks like it's moving," manager Dusty Baker said. "There were some near strikes, but maybe he was just trying to be too fine, that's all. It's not like [Farnsworth] to be walking people. You can't pick your spots when you do it, but that's just been the problem."
Farnsworth's lack of control and another no-show by the enigmatic Cubs' offense combined to spoil another gem by Carlos Zambrano, who threw seven scoreless innings and struck out a career-high 12 batters. Matt Morris pitched nine shutout innings for St. Louis, and Jason Isringhausen (2-0) notched the win with an inning of scoreless relief.
Busch Stadium has been the home to many a Cubs nightmare over the last few years, and Farnsworth has been in the middle of some of the more memorable meltdowns, including his last three outings in St. Louis.
Last August, Farnsworth was trying to protect a 2-0 lead for Kerry Wood in the eighth but walked Rolen to load the bases, gave up a game-tying, two-run single to Tino Martinez and bounced a pitch to the backstop to bring home the go-ahead run in an eventual 4-2 loss.
In the series opener on Friday, he entered to start the ninth inning in a 2-2 tie and walked Albert Pujols on four pitches before being removed. Farnsworth was charged with the loss when LaTroy Hawkins walked home the winning run.
Entering in the 10th on Sunday, Farnsworth again walked the first man he faced, Tony Womack, on four pitches. After a sacrifice bunt, Farnsworth walked Pujols on a 3-2 pitch, then had to wait a while as Pujols got ejected for swearing at plate umpire Angel Hernandez. After a brief delay, Farnsworth walked Jim Edmonds on another full count to load the bases.
With the outfield pulled in, Farnsworth fell behind Rolen 2-0 before the Cardinals slugger drilled the next pitch to the base of the wall in left-center, bringing home Womack with the winning run in another walk-off win.
In 11 career appearances at Busch, Farnsworth is 0-6 with a 14.73 earned-run average. The Cubs are 6-27 at Busch since the start of the 2000 season.
Zambrano yielded three hits in his seven shutout innings, the fourth time in five starts he has given up one or fewer earned runs. But he threw 122 pitches, and Baker did not want to overextend him.
"We figured that was as far as we could take him," Baker said. "He was throwing the ball great. He and Morris were battling. It's a shame the last couple starts [Zambrano] has drawn the ace of the staff in Randy [Johnson] in Arizona and Morris here. [Morris has] been a big-time nemesis for us."
The Cubs have hit .211 and averaged two runs per game while going 2-4 on the road trip through Arizona and St. Louis. Just as all of their hitters were clicking in mid-April, they've seemingly all hit the off switch at the same time in the last week.
It all starts at the top, where leadoff man Todd Walker is 3-for-19 on the trip, while Corey Patterson and Sammy Sosa are both 3-for-21.
"You can blame us to a certain extent," Walker said, referring to the entire Cubs offense. "And then to a certain point you've got to give credit to the pitcher out there."
Sosa, whose average has dropped to .264, came to the plate in the ninth with a runner on first and two outs but swung at Morris' first pitch and popped it out to right field.
"His timing is off," Baker said. "He's a timing hitter, and there are a few things in his swing that are not in sync."