Forget cold, Cubs cooled by Tanaka, Pineda

Chicago Cubs pitcher Travis Wood delivers the ball to the New York Yankees during the first inning of Game 2 of an interleague baseball doubleheader on Wednesday, April 16, 2014, at Yankee Stadium in New York. (AP Photo/Bill Kostroun)
Chicago Cubs pitcher Travis Wood delivers the ball to the New York Yankees during the first inning of Game 2 of an interleague baseball doubleheader on Wednesday, April 16, 2014, at Yankee Stadium in New York. (AP Photo/Bill Kostroun)

NEW YORK (AP) — The Chicago Cubs came up empty again in the Bronx — twice.

After being overpowered by Masahiro Tanaka in the opener of a split doubleheader, the Cubs had little success against Michael Pineda, dropping the nightcap 2-0 on a bitterly cold Wednesday night and being shut out twice in the same day for the first time in more than 50 years.

“Pineda and the first guy, Tanaka, they got great stuff,” Cubs shortstop Starlin Castro said. “What happened today, a little bit tough.”

Tanaka (2-0) struck out 10 and allowed just two bunt hits — one replay aided — over eight innings in a 3-0 win in the opener of the day-night twinbill. Carlos Beltran homered for a third straight game, off Jason Hammel in the first inning of the Cubs’ first regular-season game at the current Yankee Stadium.

“That split is not something you want to sit on,” Cubs manager Rick Renteria said of Tanaka. “It’s not something you’re going to be able to handle. But, as it was coming out of the hand, as the guys were coming in, they were saying, ‘Gosh, it looks like a fastball. It ends up diving.'”

Brett Gardner and Scott Sizemore had RBI singles off Travis Wood (0-2) in the nightcap, helping the Yankeeswin for the fifth time in six games and handing Chicago its fourth straight loss.

The Cubs had not been blanked twice on the same day since Larry Jackson and Ray Sadecki pitched complete games for St. Louis on June 27, 1962, according to STATS.

New York had not won by shutout twice in one day since April 9, 1987, against Kansas City, according to STATS, and no team in the major leagues had done it since Minnesota swept Oakland on June 26, 1988.

The Cubs have yet to win in the Bronx. They were swept in the 1932 and ’38 World Series and lost all three-games in 2005, their only other interleague series in New York.

Chicago was 9 for 61 (.148) at the plate, dropping its season average to .230, and struck out 17 times.

“We battled, and you’ve got to give credit to the pitching staff,” said Emilio Bonifacio, who was 0 for 8 on the day. “They did a good job.”

Hammel (2-1) gave up three runs and five hits in seven innings, striking out five. Wood gave up 11 hits in 5 2-3 innings but just two runs.

Pineda (2-1) was pitching for the first time since he was spotted with a brown goo on his right hand during Thursday’s 4-1 win against Boston, touching off a debate about pitchers’ use of sticky substances to get better grips in cool weather. It was significantly colder Wednesday, with temperatures in the low-40s and a frigid wind, but Pineda’s hand was clean throughout.

“I didn’t do nothing,” Pineda said when asked if he used something to improve his hold on the ball. “I was focusing on throwing the ball good.”

And he did, despite pitching in some really harsh weather. In fact, he said it was the coldest he has ever pitched in.

Anthony Rizzo’s triple with two outs in the sixth off Pineda was the Cubs only extra-base hit of the day. Chicago totaled six hits against a pair of 25-year-old power pitchers who rarely walk batters. Tanaka (2-0) and Pineda each gave up one free pass.

“Both of them, they were good,” Bonifacio said. “Their breaking pitches, they were pretty good, so it was really tough.”

Shawn Kelley yielded a hit to Rizzo, who had three hits overall, in the ninth inning of the opener but secured his fourth save.

Adam Warren put runners on second and third in the ninth inning of the nightcap but finished for his first save.

With Tuesday’s rainout postponing Jackie Robinson Day festivities, the Yankees unveiled a plaque honoring Nelson Mandela before the second game. Players from both teams wore No. 42.

After an overnight storm, the grounds crew used blowers to melt the ice on the tarp before removing the covering from the infield. Snow still covered the grass in right field while the Cubs took batting practice, and many players wore ski caps.

But it wasn’t too cold for Beltran. He connected on a 1-1 changeup from Hammel with one out in the first. Dean Anna started again at shortstop for Derek Jeter and drove in his run with a fly to left field in the fourth. Jeter went 1 for 5 in the night game, his first action since Friday.

Lake got the first hit off Tanaka with one out in the second when he bunted toward the third base side, and the right-hander fielded it cleanly. Initially, first base umpire Manny Gonzalez called Lake out but Cubs manager Rick Renteria requested a challenge and the call was overturned.

“The challenge was actually more our eyes told us he was safe. I don’t know how much a challenge it was,” Renteria said. “It was more a consensus of the eyes that he was safe.”

Rizzo pushed a bunt toward a vacated third base with a shifted infield leading off the seventh for the other hit off the Japanese rookie.

NOTES:

  • The Cubs will celebrate the 100th anniversary of the first game at Wrigley on April 23. The first 30,000 fans will receive a replica 1914 Chicago Federals jersey. The first 10,000 will get a birthday cupcake. Greeters will wear period clothing in greeting the fans and the Northwestern University marching band will play. Former players and team owners will be honored in a pregame ceremony that will be attended by baseball Commissioner Bud Selig.
  • The Yankees swept two exhibition games from the Cubs at the new stadium before opening day in ’09.
  • Renteria asked for a second review on a close play at first base in the seventh, but the replay umpire ruled the play stood as called on the field because of a lack of conclusive evidence to overturn the call.
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