Joe Saunders is hit hard in Angels' 12-1 loss to the Chicago Cubs
Angels left-hander Joe Saunders was roughed up for a second consecutive start, allowing eight runs -- five of them earned -- and nine hits in 2 2/3 innings of a 12-1 loss to the Chicago Cubs in Wrigley Field on Sunday.
Saunders had won four of his last six decisions going into the game, but he has now given up 11 earned runs and 15 hits in 8 1/3 innings of his last two starts, losses to the Milwaukee Brewers and Cubs.
The Cubs scored two runs in each of the first and second innings and blew the game open with a four-run third to avoid a three-game sweep at the hands of the Angels.
Geovany Soto led off the third with a home run, winning pitcher Carlos Zambrano had a run-scoring single, and Angels shortstop Brandon Wood committed an error that extended the inning and allowed the Cubs to score two unearned runs on Derrek Lee's two-run double.
Saunders is considered one of the game's better young left-handers, with a career record of 53-30 in four years, but he is developing into an all-or-nothing kind of pitcher. Saunders has a 1.97 earned-run average in 361 2/3 innings of his wins and a 9.54 ERA in 150 innings of his losses.
-- Mike DiGiovanna, reporting from Chicago
Photo: Angels starting pitcher Joe Saunders delivers a pitch against the Cubs on Sunday. Credit: Jonathan Daniel / Associated Press