Game Thirty-Four – Cubs 4 Cardinals 6
WP – Chris Carpenter (1-2) LP – Kerry Wood (1-2) Save – Eduardo Sanchez (4)
Chris Carpenter posted his first win of the season because the Cubs cannot play defense or hit the ball with runners in scoring position. Without taking too much away from Carpenter’s outing, the Cubs gave another game away. Tuesday night was far from a dominating performance from the Cardinals’ ace.
The Cubs pounded out 13 hits, but not one for extra bases. The Cubs finished a miserable 3-for-9 with RISP, one of the hits did not produce a run, and left 12 on base … in another two-run loss. The Cubs have failed to record an extra basehit in three of their last four games.
The Cubs had a total of 18 baserunners (13 hits, three walks and two HBP) and managed only four runs.
The Cubs problems in the field continued and it cost them at least two runs. Alfonso Soriano and Koyie Hill misplayed two balls that led to two runs. The Cubs threw the ball all over the place and the Cardinals took the extra base every time they were given the opportunity. The Cubs deficiencies were on full display Tuesday night … a Major League Baseball team should at least be able to execute the fundamentals of the game.
Carlos Zambrano pitched better than his final lines indicates. Z allowed four runs, all earned, on eight hits with two walks (one intentional) and three strikeouts in seven innings. Z threw 107 pitches, 64 for strikes.
Kerry Wood took the loss after a rough eighth inning. Wood struggled with his command and gave up two runs on a two-out, two-strike pitch to Daniel Descalso.
The Cubs appear to have suffered a blow Tuesday night. Geovany Soto left after the top of the first with a left groin strain. Soto will have a MRI Wednesday morning and the Cubs will address the roster at that time. Welington Castillo was pulled from the game in Colorado soon after Soto’s injury and appears to be on his way to Chicago.
Ryan Theriot made his return to Wrigley Tuesday night. Theriot was booed before every at bat and grounded out to Starlin Castro in his first three at bats. Theriot drove in the Cardinals’ fourth run with a sacrifice fly to right in the seventh on a ball that was dropped by Koyie Hill.
With Tuesday’s loss, the Cubs dropped to four games under .500 with a 15-19 record …
After Ryan Theriot was booed, the Cubs former shortstop fouled off several pitches before grounding out to short. Colby Rasmus followed with a double to left center. Albert Pujols stepped in and reached on an infield single off Zambrano’s leg. Rasmus ended up at third and the Cardinals were in business.
Matt Holliday singled to left on a 3-2 pitch. Rasmus scored and Pujols made Alfonso Soriano look like an amateur again.
Pujols rounded second and forced Soriano to make a play. Instead of throwing the ball in, Soriano ran toward the infield then made a bad throw to Aramis Ramirez … who took his time applying the tag. Pujols slid to the homeplate side of the bag, safe. Holliday took second on the debacle.
Zambrano intentionally walked Lance Berkman to load the bases. Yadier Molina hit a 1-0 offering to second and Barney started the 4-6-3 inning ending double play.
The Cubs put together a nice first inning … but it should been more.
Kosuke Fukudome led off with a walk and advanced to second on a single to center by Darwin Barney. Marlon Byrd blooped a single into right to load the bases.
Aramis Ramirez delivered a seeing-eye single into center. Fukudome and Barney scored, 2-1 Cubs.
Alfonso Soriano hit a one-hop smash to Daniel Descalso at third. The Redbirds’ third baseman stepped on the bag and threw to second to force Ramirez. Soriano reached on the 5-4 double play.
Carlos Pena singled to left and Starlin Castro walked on four pitches to load the bases … but Koyie Hill, hitting for the injured Geovany Soto, popped out to Descalso to end the inning.
The Cubs loaded the bases twice … and scored only two runs.
Zambrano retired the Cardinals in order in the second and third.
Lance Berkman worked a one-out walk in the fourth. Z fell behind Molina 2-0 before Berkman was put in motion and scored on a double by Molina into right center. With the game tied at two, Nick Punto hit a liner to left. Soriano misjudged the ball, then slipped and fell down. The ball sailed over his head and rolled all the way to the wall. Molina scored the go ahead run on Punto’s triple.
The Cardinals’ third run of the game should not have scored. It was a routine play that a Major League left fielder should catch.
Daniel Descalso hit Z’s first pitch into center. Punto tagged and appeared to score … but the Cubs appealed and it was ruled Punto left to early. Replays showed the Cubs caught a break. Inning over, but the damage had been done.
The Cubs recorded more singles in the fifth and sixth but could not string any together.
The Cubs defense cost Z another run in the seventh. After back-to-back singles by Nick Punto and Daniel Descalso started the inning, Chris Carpenter sacrificed both runners to second and third. Ryan Theriot hit a liner into right. Fukudome had him played perfectly and threw home as Punto tagged from third.
The ball was up the line but it was a nice long one-hop throw that Koyie Hill could not catch. Punto would have been out by a mile … but instead he scored the Cardinals’ fourth run of the night. With Descalso on third, Rasmus flied out to deep center to end the inning.
The Cubs tied the game and took Zambrano off the hook in the bottom of the seventh … and again, it should have been more.
Darwin Barney and Marlon Byrd started the bottom of the seventh with back-to-back singles to center. Aramis Ramirez popped out to third on the first pitch. Carpenter then hit Soriano with a breaking ball on a 1-1 pitch. With the bases loaded and one out, Carlos Pena stepped to the plate.
Pena hit a 1-2 pitch into medium right field. Barney tagged and scored the Cubs third run. Byrd advanced to third on the play. Starlin Castro then blooped a single into right. Byrd scored and tied the game at four. Koyie Hill grounded out to first to end the inning.
Kerry Wood took over for Zambrano in the eighth and gave up an infield single to Albert Pujols to start the inning. Pujols hit a 0-2 pitch into the hole at short that Castro could not field cleanly.
Matt Holliday walked ahead of a fly out to right by Lance Berkman. Kosuke threw to third on the play and by him missing the cut off man, Holliday went to second on the play. Wood intentionally walked Yadier Molina to load the bases with one out.
Nick Punto lined out to Soriano for the second out but Wood could not get out of the jam. Daniel Descalso singled to right on a 2-2 pitch. Pujols and Holliday scored … 6-4 Cardinals. Wood walked pinch hitter Jon Jay to reload the bases. Ryan Theriot struck out swinging to end the inning.
Wood threw 35 pitches in the eighth, 18 for strikes and allowed two runs on two hits with three walks and a strikeout.
The Cubs put a single runner on in the eighth and ninth … but could not hit with runners in scoring position.
Q’s squad gave another game away …
Matt Garza will face Jake Westbrook under the lights Wednesday night.