Game Fifty-Seven – Cubs 2 Cardinals 3 – 10 innings
WP – Fernando Salas (3-0) LP – Rodrigo Lopez (0-1) Save – None
The Cubs weekend came to an abrupt end Sunday afternoon with another embarrassing loss at the hands of their archrival. The one player in the Cardinals lineup that could beat the Cubs with one swing did … again.
For the second day in a row the Cubs and Cardinals played into extra innings and for the second day in a row Albert Pujols sent the Cubs home losers. Albert Pujols completed his huge weekend with his second walk-off home run in as many games … and for the third time, Pujols hit a home run on a 2-1 pitch.
Albert Pujols hit four home runs and drove in seven runs in the three-game series.
The Cubs took a 2-1 lead into the ninth. Carlos Zambrano put together an excellent outing and out pitched Chris Carpenter. Once again, the Cubs offense scored in only one inning, a two-run double by Aramis Ramirez in the fourth. Z held a very good team without the likes of Lance Berkman and Colby Rasmus to one run on five hits with a pair of walks and three strikeouts in seven innings. But for the second time, Carlos Marmol could not preserve a win for Carlos Zambrano.
Carlos Marmol blew his fourth save of the season (Matt Garza and Carlos Zambrano) after surrendering a leadoff single to Yadier Molina. Marmol seemed to calm down and struck out both Daniel Descalso and Colby Rasmus.
Ryan Theriot, who had been held hitless all afternoon, extended his hitting streak to 19 games with a double into the left field corner … the only spot in the entire park that would allow pinch-runner Tony Cruz to score all the way from first. Theriot tied the game at two and set it up for Pujols in the 10th.
The Cubs offense managed just seven hits on Sunday afternoon and finished the game 2-for-6 with RISP with seven left on base.
Aramis Ramirez (2-for-4 with a double and two RBI) returned to the lineup and drove in both of the Cubs runs with a double in the fourth. Darwin Barney (2-for-5 with a run scored) and Starlin Castro (2-for-5 with a run scored) tallied four of the Cubs other five hits.
The Cubs lost another game on Sunday this season (1-8) and have beaten the Cardinals just once in six tries this season (1-5). With Sunday’s loss, the Cubs are a season-low 11 games under .500 with a 23-34 record … Carlos Zambrano allowed only one hit through the first three innings (a leadoff single by Daniel Descalso in the third). Z was sharp early but threw a lot of pitches (68 after four, 45 for strikes).
“Double Trouble” started the top of the fourth with back-to-back singles off Chris Carpenter. Darwin Barney lined a single to right and Starlin Castro singled to center. Carlos Pena ripped a 0-1 pitch into left but right at Allen Craig for the first out.
Aramis Ramirez stepped in and put a good at bat together. Ramirez ended up lacing a double into right center. Barney and Castro scored standing and the Cubs took a 2-0 lead.
Blake DeWitt grounded out to second, Ramirez advanced to third but Tyler Colvin flied out to the track in right to end the inning.
Carlos Zambrano ended up working around a leadoff walk to Albert Pujols in the bottom of the fourth. After issuing the free pass to Pujols, Jon Jay hit a grounder to the hole at short. Pujols was forced at second but the Cubs could not turn two … Barney could not get the ball out of his glove. Barney’s throw got past Carlos Pena but Hill backed up the play and kept Jay from advancing to second.
Z struck out Allen Craig for the second out.
Skip Schumaker reached on an infield single to the hole at short. Castro showed a lot of maturity by sticking the ball in his back pocket instead of trying to force a play … something Castro has done countless times.
Yadier Molina flied out to center to end the bottom of the fourth.
The Cubs put two on in the fifth but came away empty. Z worked a one-out walk and advanced to second on a sac bunt by Kosuke Fukudome. Darwin Barney then reached on an infield single to third. Matt Carpenter fielded the ball cleanly but double clutched and Barney beat out the throw to first. With runners on first and third with two outs, Starlin Castro grounded out to third (Barney forced at second) to end the inning.
Z sat down the Cardinals in order in the fifth on just eight pitches.
After the Cubs could not tack on in the top of the sixth, the Cardinals finally got on the board in the home half.
Albert Pujols reached on an infield single to the hole at short. Castro made a fine play to get to the ball but threw off balance to first. Castro’s throw was high and on the homeplate side of first. Pena could not stay on the bag as Pujols slid in feet first. Pujols reached with one out on just the Cardinals’ third hit of the game.
Jon Jay singled to center on a 2-2 pitch and Allen Craig ripped Z’s first pitch back up the middle. Pujols scored … 2-1 Cubs. Skip Schumaker flied out to left for the second out.
Yadier Molina stepped in and hit a 0-1 pitch back up the box. Darwin Barney ranged up the middle, fielded the grounder and side-armed a strike to Starlin Castro at second. Castro stretched and the duo forced Craig at second to end the inning.
Outside of a two-out walk by Kosuke in the seventh, the Cubs did nothing against Chris Carpenter.
Carlos Zambrano’s day came to an end after the seventh. Z retired Daniel Descalso and Chris Carpenter on two pitches to start the inning. Ryan Theriot reached on an error by Aramis Ramirez. Theriot hit a grounder to third on a 1-2 pitch that Ramirez bobbled. Matt Carpenter grounded out to third (Theriot forced at second) to end the inning.
Sean Marshall took over in the eighth and started his outing by striking out Albert Pujols swinging. Jon Jay worked a walk but Marshall struck out Allen Craig swinging and retired Tyler Greene on a grounder to second to end the inning.
The Cubs took a 2-1 lead into the ninth. After throwing 27 pitches over 1 2/3 innings on Saturday afternoon, Carlos Marmol was given the ball and asked to pick up the Cubs first win in a week … but he could not.
Yadier Molina singled to center on a 1-2 pitch. Tony Cruz, the Cardinals’ backup catcher, ran for Molina and was still at first after Marmol struck out Descalso and Colby Rasmus.
Ryan Theriot proved he his on the right side of the rivalry and ripped a 2-2 pitch (with two outs) into the left field corner. Colvin was shading Theriot into left center and could not track the ball down quick enough to have a shot at Cruz. Cruz circled the bases and tied the game at two.
Theriot extended his hitting streak to a career-high 19 games … and stood at second base clapping and cheering on his first place team.
Marmol retired Matt Carpenter on a ground out to second to send the game into extra innings.
The Cubs predictable offense went down in order in the 10th on just 10 pitches.
Rodrigo Lopez took the hill to start the bottom of the 10th … and four pitches later Albert Pujols ended it. Pujols launched a 2-1 pitch into left center. Game over. Pujols’ second walk-off in as many days was the first hit of his career off Rodrigo Lopez (0-for-12).
Look, what else is there to say?
The Cubs open a three-game series Monday night in Cincinnati. Matt Garza against Mike Leake in game one.