Game One Hundred Fifty-Five – Cubs 7 Cardinals 8
WP – Jake Westbrook (9-11, 3-4) LP – Jeff Samardzija (2-2) Save – Ryan Franklin (26)
Wrigley Field was not home sweet home for the Chicago National League Ball Club in Twenty-Ten. The Cubs finished the season with a 35-46 home mark, their worst record at Wrigley since finishing 36-45 in 2006.
The Cubs makeshift lineup was not given a chance thanks to the real Jeff Samardzija showing up to the park Sunday afternoon. Another one of Jim Hendry’s bad decisions, and contracts, was on full display … and Samardzija was beyond horrible.
Samardzija could not complete five innings of work and barely made it out of the first inning. The Cardinals built a 3-0 lead five minutes into the game after Albert Pujols launched a Samardzija fastball onto Waveland.
Samardzija walked two of the first four batters, gave up a homer to Pujols and a single to Matt Holliday. Before the Cubs ever stepped to the plate, Samardzija had thrown 32 pitches, 16 for strikes, and allowed four runs on four hits with three walks and a wild pitch.
Samardzija continued to struggle as the game wore on. His only strikeout in the first three innings was Jake Westbrook to end the first. The Cardinals put together their second four-run inning against Samardzija in the fifth and chased him from the game.
Samardzija allowed eight runs on seven hits with seven walks and two strikeouts in 4 1/3 innings.
For the afternoon, Cubs pitching walked 11 batters and gave up 12 hits while the Cubs offense worked seven free passes but managed only eight hits and finished the game 3-for-11 with RISP and left nine on base. Samardzija just dug them to big of a hole.
Other than Justin Berg, the Cubs bullpen did a good job in relief of Samardzija. Scott Maine, Marcos Mateo, Andrew Cashner, James Russell and Thomas Diamond kept the Cardinals off the board and gave the offense a chance.
The Cubs battled back after being down 8-0 with no hits as late as the fifth inning … with two outs in the fifth, Bobby Scales notched the Cubs first hit. Q’s crew never quit and took advantage of two Cardinals’ miscues.
Blake DeWitt (2-for-4 with a walk and two runs scored), Kosuke Fukudome (1-for-4 with a double, a sacrifice fly and two RBI) and Welington Castillo (1-for-4 with a double and a RBI) had solid games at the plate.
Brad Snyder made the most of his only at bat and drove in the Cubs first two runs of the day with a pinch-hit single in the fifth… and Micah Hoffpauir delivered a pinch-hit RBI single in the sixth.
Welington Castillo and Brad Snyder continued to make their case for more playing time … too bad they will likely spend the final week of the year on the bench.
The Cubs won the season series against the Cardinals, 9-6, despite losing the series (1-2). The Cubs won six of the last eight head to head match-ups versus St. Louis and pretty much ended their hopes for the post-season. Q’s crew completed their final homestand of the season with a 2-4 mark.
In Ron Santo’s last broadcast of the season, the Cubs slipped to 19-11 under Mike Quade and to 70-85 on the year … 15 below the mediocre mark with seven left to play.
After Jeff Samardzija walked Skip Schumaker on five pitches to start the game, it was apparent right away it was going to be a long afternoon. Allen Craig followed with a single to right center then Samardzija fell behind Albert Pujols 2-0.
Samardzija’s next pitch was right down the middle and it ended up on Waveland. Pujols hit his seventh of the season off of Cubs’ pitching and gave his team a 3-0 lead. But Samardzija was not done making it easy for the Cardinals.
Matt Holliday walked and advanced to second on a wild pitch. Samardzija ended up forgetting about Holliday on a 3-2 pitch to Rasmus. Not only did Rasmus take ball four but Holliday also stole third base.
Daniel Descalso helped out Samardzija by popping up his first pitch to Bobby Scales in foul ground. Brendan Ryan popped out to Scales but Matt Pagnozzi singled to left center and plated Holliday with the Cardinals’ fourth run.
Jake Westbrook struck out swinging to end the inning.
While the Cubs could not get the ball out of the infield, the Cardinals kept threatening but could not push across anymore runs until the fifth.
Samardzija walked Matt Holliday on four pitches to start the inning. Colby Rasmus struck out looking before Samardzija walked Descalso on four pitches … Samardzija’s seventh free pass of the game, and his second four-pitch walk of the inning.
Brendan Ryan made it 5-0 with a single to center. Matt Pagnozzi followed with a double to left center. Descalso and Ryan scored and mercifully ended Samardzija’s pitiful afternoon … at least on the mound.
Mike Quade sent another Minor League pitcher to the mound, Justin Berg, and the Cardinals added another run in the fifth.
Jake Westbrook grounded out to second and advanced Pagnozzi to third. Berg walked Schumaker before giving up a single to Allen Craig. Pagnozzi scored and closed the book on Jeff Samardzija.
Samardzija’s line for the afternoon: eight runs on seven hits with seven walks and two strikeouts in 4 1/3 innings … 95 pitches, 50 for strikes.
The Cubs finally got the ball out of the infield, and scored a couple of runs in the fifth … thanks to two players the Cubs refuse to give playing time.
Bobby Scales reached on a two-out single to right. Welington Castillo then doubled down the left field line. Scales stumbled around second or he would have scored. Brad Snyder hit for Justin Berg and drove in both Scales and Castillo with a single by Brendan Ryan into left center.
Sam Fuld walked but Starlin Castro grounded out to short to end the inning.
The offense kept chipping away in the sixth.
Blake DeWitt led off the sixth with a single to right. Xavier Nady then reached on a fielding error by Brendan Ryan. Kosuke Fukudome followed with a double to right … DeWitt scored, 8-3 Cardinals.
With runners on second and third with no outs, Alfonso Soriano tapped back to the mound. Bobby Scales worked a four-pitch walk to load the bases and chase Jake Westbrook from the game.
Jason Motte took over and Welington Castillo drove in the Cubs’ fourth run with a ground out to Ryan. The Cardinals’ shortstop made a fine play and threw out Kosuke at third for the second out of the inning.
Micah Hoffpauir hit for Scott Maine and singled to right on a 2-0 pitch from Motte. Scales scored … 8-5 Cardinals.
Sam Fuld looked at strike three to end the inning.
The Cubs inched a little closer in the bottom of the seventh. Blake DeWitt singled to center with one out and scored from first on a single to center by Xavier Nady … and an error by Colby Rasmus. Rasmus misplayed the liner off Nady’s bat; the ball got past him and rolled all the way to the vines … 8-6 Cardinals.
Kosuke Fukudome stepped in and flied out to left, in foul ground. Nady tagged and scored … 8-7 Cardinals.
Alfonso Soriano actually swung and missed at strike three but the ball was in the dirt and got away from Pagnozzi. Soriano beat out the throw and advanced to second after Bobby Scales walked. Welington Castillo struck out swinging to end the inning.
The Cardinals put runners on second and third with one out against Andrew Cashner in the eighth … after another poor defensive play by Soriano. Cashner intentionally walked Brendan Ryan to load the bases but Matt Pagnozzi grounded into a 6-4-3 double play to end the inning.
The Cubs showed a lot of character by not quitting on Sunday afternoon.
Sunday should have been the last of Jeff Samardzija for the season … too bad he has a no-trade clause and is out of Minor League options. Samardzija is not a Major League pitcher but will still be in the mix for a big league job next season.
Carlos Zambrano will open up the four-game series in San Diego on Monday night … with Tim Stauffer taking the ball for the Friars.