Game Ninety-Eight – Cubs 6 Cardinals 5
WP – Tom Gorzelanny (6-5) LP – Blake Hawksworth (4-6) Save – Carlos Marmol (18)
Saturday’s game was beautiful and downright ugly all at the same time … it is the Cubs and Cardinals after all. A pair of rookies and the future the organization propelled the Cubs over the Redbirds for the second day in a row.
Tyler Colvin led off Saturday’s game with the way he started Friday’s contest … with a solo home run. Colvin went oppo on the eighth pitch from Blake Hawksworth and gave his team a one-run lead. Colvin became the first Cub to hit leadoff homers in back-to-back games since Alfonso Soriano accomplished the feat on May 13 – May 14, 2008 against the Padres.
Starlin Castro continued to impress as well. Castro hit his first career longball at Wrigley in the third inning. Castro’s two-run shot gave the Cubs a 3-2 lead. Castro finished the game 3-for-4 with a double, a home run, two runs scored and two RBI. Colvin and Castro combined for a 4-for-7 afternoon that included a pair of home runs, four runs scored, a walk and three RBI.
Castro also made another big play at the plate in the fifth that led to two runs. With the bases loaded, Mitchell Boggs uncorked a wild pitch that got away from Yadier Molina. Castro took off for home and actually knocked down Boggs as Molina’s throw made its way to the plate. Castro scored and Ramirez scampered around from second on the error. Ramirez’s tally ended up being the difference in the game.
Tom Gorzelanny picked up his fourth win in a row … and pitched a solid game. Gorzelanny was off early and fell behind the first time through the lineup. The Cardinals scored a pair in the second then added one in the fifth off Gorzelanny.
Gorzelanny put together another quality start after allowing three runs on seven hits with three walks and three strikeouts.
The other player that figures to be a big part of the Cubs’ future took the hill in the seventh. Andrew Cashner allowed a run (and an inherited run) on two hits in two innings of work. Cashner retired Albert Pujols, with a lot of help from Marlon Byrd, on a 100 MPH fastball that ended up as a sac fly to deep right center. Byrd went into the vines and took a hit away from Albert.
Other than a horrible day in the field for Ryan Theriot, the Cubs defense was very good once again. Marlon Byrd went into the vines twice Saturday afternoon. Byrd took an extra base hit away from Yadier Molina in the second and robbed Albert Pujols of the same in the seventh. Byrd’s catch in the seventh kept the Cardinals from tying the game.
Starlin Castro and Geovany Soto also made fine plays in the field. Soto threw out Jon Jay at second with a perfect strike in the seventh. Jay was on first with one out and Matt Holliday at the plate … the Cardinals were trailing 6-4 at the time.
By taking the first two of the weekend, the Cubs won the series versus the Cardinals and snapped a string of 10-straight losing series against the NL Central. The last time the Cubs won a series against a Central Division rival was back at the end of April. The Cubs swept the Brewers in Milwaukee April 23 – April 25.
With Saturday’s win, the Cubs improved to 45-53 on the year and to eight games under .500 for the first time since June 24 … The Cubs improved to 13-21 in one-run games Saturday afternoon … and 3-2 on the year versus the Redbirds with nine left to play. Lou’s crew played another good game against the first place Cardinals.
The Cardinals threatened all afternoon and went down in order just once … the fourth inning. Tony LaRussa’s team finished 1-for-8 with RISP and left eight on base. While the Cubs were out hit 11-9 and finished 0-for-8 with RISP and left five on base.
The Cubs got on the board in the first inning thanks to the second leadoff homer of his career. Not only did Colvin hit the ball out to left center but it was also on the eighth pitch of the bat. Colvin’s opposite field shot was the 15th of the year for the rookie.
The Cardinals got the run right back in the top of the second … and took the lead. Tom Gorzelanny was behind early and often Saturday afternoon and his second walk of the game scored the tying run.
Ryan Ludwick led off the second with a free pass. Yadier Molina then launched Gorzelanny’s first pitch to the ivy in left center. Marlon Byrd made a tremendous leaping catch to take away at least a double for the Cardinals’ catcher.
The not-even-at-the-Mendoza Line Brendan Ryan worked the count to 3-2 before just missing a two-run shot to left. Ryan ripped Gorzelanny’s offering high off the wall in left. Soriano played the ball well but Ludwick ended up at third on Ryan’s double.
Gorzelanny struck out Blake Hawksworth for the second out. Tyler Greene singled to right on a horrible 0-2 pitch from Gorzelanny … Ludwick and Ryan scored, 2-1 Cardinals.
The Cubs went back ahead and scored three in the third. Tyler Colvin worked a one-out walk … the seventh pitch of the at bat. Starlin Castro got just enough of Hawksworth’s first pitch and put it in the bleacher’s in left center. Castro’s first career longball at Wrigley gave his team a 3-2 lead.
Derrek Lee followed with a single center but Aramis Ramirez fouled out to Pujols for the second out. Marlon Byrd then notched his 28th double of the year with a wind-aided shot over Ludwick in right. Lee scored all the way from first and gave the Cubs a 4-2 lead.
Gorzelanny sat down the Cardinals in order in the fourth … but the Redbirds cut the Cubs lead to 4-3 in the fifth.
Tyler Greene reached on a one-out bunt single to third. Aaron Miles hit a long wind-aided single over Colvin’s head in right. Greene ended up at third and scored on a sac fly to left by Jon Jay. Albert Pujols flied out to left center to end the inning.
The Cubs scored a pair of gift runs in the bottom of the fifth. Starlin Castro legged out an infield single to the hole at short. Derrek Lee flied out to deep right for the first out. Aramis Ramirez singled to center and chased Hawksworth from the game.
Mitchell Boggs came in and walked Marlon Byrd on five pitches. With the bases loaded and one out, Boggs fell behind Soriano 2-0. His third pitch of the at bat was misplayed by Molina. The ball got away and Castro raced for the plate. Castro scored and took out Boggs at the same time … Castro slid in feet first and knocked Boggs’ legs out from under him. Molina’s throw ended up down the first base line and Ramirez scored all the way from second. The Cubs took a 6-3 lead …
With Marlon Byrd at third, Alfonso Soriano struck out swinging for the second out and Soto grounded out to second to end the inning.
The Cardinals threatened in the sixth. Tom Gorzelanny labored through the inning but escaped without allowing a run.
Ryan Theriot had an adventure in the field in the sixth. Matt Holliday reached on a single to center that took a bad hop and bounced over Theriot. Ryan Ludwick then hit a mile-high pop up into shallow right. Theriot went out to make the catch but lost the ball in the sun. Theriot picked up the ball and threw out Holliday at second. Gorzelanny struck out Molina but Brendan Ryan singled to center.
With runners on first and third with two outs, Felipe Lopez hit for Mitchell Boggs and walked to load the bases.
Tom Gorzelanny retired Tyler Greene on a pop out to Theriot in shallow right (a 3-2 pitch) to end the inning.
The Cardinals cut the Cubs lead to 6-4 in the seventh. James Russell gave up an infield single to Aaron Miles to start the seventh. Jon Jay followed with a single to center on a 0-1 pitch. Piniella made the slow walk and brought in Andrew Cashner to face Albert Pujols.
Cashner went after Pujols and Albert flied out to Marlon Byrd in right center on a 3-2 pitch. Byrd made his second leaping in the ivy of the afternoon that took extra bases away. Miles tagged and scored … 6-4 Cubs.
With Matt Holliday at the plate, Jon Jay took off for second on a 1-2 pitch from Cashner. Geovany Soto made a perfect throw to Theriot to nail Jay for the second out. Holliday grounded out to third to end the inning.
Andrew Cashner took the hill to start the eighth and gave up back-to-back singles to Ryan Ludwick and Yadier Molina. Brendan Ryan then hit a routine grounder to Ryan Theriot. Instead of turning the tailor made 4-6-3 double play, the ball went under Theriot and into right center, Ludwick scored … 6-5 Cubs.
Randy Winn hit for Jason Motte and flied out to left center on a 0-2 pitch. Tyler Greene stepped in and hit into a 6-4-3 inning ending double play.
Carlos Marmol nailed it down in the ninth. Other than a walk to Pujols, Marmol did his job and struck out two … but he may have gotten a call on the 3-2 pitch to Aaron Miles.
It is always a GREAT day when the Cubs beat the Cardinals.
Ryan Dempster and Chris Carpenter in the series finale Sunday night.