How it happened: Luis Valbuena struck out with the tying run on second in the ninth inning. Albert Pujols hit a two-run home run off reliever Carlos Villanueva in the eighth to give the Angels the come-from-behind victory. The Cubs scored their three runs in the first three innings as Alfonso Soriano, Nate Schierholtz and Ryan Sweeney had RBI hits, but that’s all the offense the team could muster. The Angles scored one in the first on a Pujols sacrifice fly then closed the gap further in the seventh when Howie Kendrick singled home Josh Hamilton. Then came Pujols’ home run on the first pitch from Villanueva. Scott Feldman pitched well, leaving the game before the second run charged to him scored. James Russell and Villanueva gave up the rest.
What it means: It’s another quality start for Feldman, who reduced his ERA to 2.84, allowing just six hits and a walk, but bullpen woes came back to haunt the Cubs. Villanueva’s pitch to Pujols went down the middle at 89 mph, leaving no doubt in anyone’s mind where it was going. The loss was a reminder of early season affairs when the Cubs bullpen imploded while the offense was unable to add on to early scores.
Key play: With a runner on second and one out in the eighth inning and the Cubs clinging to a 3-2 lead, manager Dale Sveum elected to pitch to Pujols instead of walking him intentionally. Sveum has never liked intentionally putting on base a tying or potential lead run, but the strategy came back to bite him on Tuesday.
Outside the box: Shortstop Starlin Castro hit seventh in the Cubs lineup for the first time this season.