Cardinals Launch Four Longballs off Lopez – Cubs 2 Cardinals 6

Game One Hundred Twenty-Seven – Cubs 2 Cardinals 6
WP – Jake Westbrook (10-7) LP – Rodrigo Lopez (4-4) Save – None

The Cubs offense could not keep pace with the Cardinals offense on Sunday night … and Q’s squad dropped the series finale to the Cardinals. Rodrigo Lopez struggled from the first inning on and served up four longballs on Sunday night, two of the four to Yadier Molina.

For the fifth start in a row Rodrigo Lopez could not complete six innings of work and allowed five runs on 10 hits (four home runs) with a walk and four strikeouts … and the Cardinals would have likely scored more against Lopez if not for two baserunning blunders by Albert Pujols and Matt Holliday. Jon Jay and Yadier Molina hit back-to-back homers in the second on consecutive pitches. Lopez threw 80 pitches, 56 for strikes, in 5 1/3 innings.

James Russell gave up the Cardinals sixth run in the sixth but other than the rough third of an inning by Russell the Cubs’ pen did a solid job.

The Cubs had kept Albert Pujols quiet in the first two games. Pujols was 4-for-5 with a home run on Sunday night. Pujols hit his third longball of the year off Lopez in the fifth.

The Cubs offense was pretty much non-existent against Jake Westbrook. Once again they had their chances, especially early, but could not string together any hits.

Aramis Ramirez (2-for-3 with a double, a sac fly and two RBI) drove in both of the Cubs runs … a RBI single in the third and a sac fly in the fifth. Starlin Castro (1-for-3 with a walk and a run scored) and Geovany Soto (1-for-4 with a run scored) scored both runs. The Cubs managed just seven hits and finished the game 1-for-8 with RISP with six left on base.

With Sunday’s loss (5-15 on Sundays in 2011), the Cubs slipped back to 15 games below .500 with a 56-71 record …

Rodrigo Lopez’s night began by striking out Skip Schumaker swinging. David Freese, hitting in the two-hole, singled to right on a 0-1 pitch. Albert Pujols came into Sunday night 0-for-5 in the series and ripped Lopez’s first pitch past Starlin Castro. Castro let the ball go under his glove and into left field.

Matt Holliday flied out to right on a 2-2 pitch … and Lance Berkman flied out to the base of the ivy in left to end the inning.

Aramis Ramirez reached on a two-out double to the right field corner in the bottom of the first but was stranded when Carlos Pena grounded out to third on a check swing (2-2 pitch) to end the inning.

After Berkman just missed a homer to left in the first inning, Jon Jay and Yadier Molina did not miss hitting the ball out of the park in the second. Jay ripped a 1-0 pitch into the first row of the bleachers in left center and Molina lined Lopez’s very next pitch into the basket in left … just like that 2-0 Cardinals on back-to-back homers, the first back-to-back homers for the Cardinals since July 5.

Cubs’ pitching had kept the Redbirds off the board since the fourth inning on Friday (David Freese solo homer).

Lopez retired Descalso (groundout to first), Westbrook (struck out looking) and Schumaker (struck out looking) to end the second (29 pitches for Lopez after two, 19 for strikes).

The Cubs did nothing against Jake Westbrook in the second.

David Freese led off the third by grounding out to short. Albert Pujols followed with his second hit of the game, a single to center on a 0-1 pitch. Holliday then scorched a 0-1 pitch into center. Pujols tried to advance to third and on a rare baserunning blunder Byrd cut him down at third for the second out of the inning. Berkman flied out to center to end the inning.

The Cubs made it a one-run game in the third. Geovany Soto led off the third and quickly fell behind 0-2. Soto worked the count back to even then ripped a 3-2 pitch into left. Soto made a big turn but settled for a single. Lopez struck out on a fouled bunt attempt.

Jake Westbrook lost the strike zone and issued a four-pitch walk to Starlin Castro. Westbrook missed with his first two offerings to Barney before receiving a visit from his catcher. Barney looked at a strike before flying out to left for the second out of the inning.

Aramis Ramirez ripped a single to center past a diving Descalso. Soto scored and Castro stopped at second. Carlos Pena popped out to shallow center to end the inning.

At the end of three, the Cardinals had a 2-1 lead.

Jon Jay led off the fifth with a ground rule double to right. The ball hit the mound and kicked briefly into the stands. Molina hit Lopez’s first offering to short. Jay advanced to third but was stranded when Descalso struck out swinging and Westbrook hit a short, one-hopper to Barney to end the inning.

Reed Johnson led off the home half of the fourth with a single to the gap in right center. Byrd flied out to center but Colvin walked on four pitches to put runners on first and second with one out.

Geovany Soto struck out swinging on a 1-2 pitch … and Rodrigo Lopez grounded out to second (3-2 pitch) to end the fourth.

At the end of four, the Cubs were down 2-1 and were 1-for-6 with RISP, five left on base.

Albert Pujols made it 3-1 with two outs in the top of the fifth. Pujols killed a 1-1 pitch and the ball ended up three-quarters the way up in the bleachers in left field. Holliday followed with a single to the hole at short. Castro showed of his range and got to the ball but ail mailed his throw. Holliday ended up at second on Castro’s 21st error of the season.

With Berkman at the plate, Matt Holliday wandered too far off second. Castro got in behind him and Lopez picked him off to end the inning.

The Cubs chipped into the Cardinals 3-1 lead in the bottom of the fifth. Starlin Castro led off with a single to left. Quade called for a hit and run and Barney hit a 1-0 pitch in the vacated spot at short. Castro ended up at third and scored on a very loud sac fly to center. Aramis Ramirez lined Westbrook’s first pitch into center … RBI number 81 on the year for Aramis Ramirez.

On the first pitch to Pena, Barney took off for second and made it easily when the ball went off of Molina’s glove. Pena flied out to the track in right (3-2 pitch) but Barney did not tag. Johnson popped out to first on a 0-2 pitch to end the inning.

The Cardinals put the game away in the sixth.

After Lance Berkman tapped back to the mound to start the inning, Jon Jay worked a walk. Yadier Molina lifted a 0-1 pitch toward right … and the wind took care of the rest. Molina’s second homer of the game gave the Redbirds a 5-2 lead.

Quade went to his pen for James Russell … and the Cubs’ lefty reliever had a rare rough outing. Daniel Descalso ripped a 1-2 pitch into the right field corner for a double and advanced to third on an infield single by Jake Westbrook (hole at short). Skip Schumaker hit a deep fly to right, Descalso tagged and scored … 6-2 Cardinals.

Jeff Samardzija replaced Russell and retired David Freese on a ground out to short to end the inning.

Tyler Colvin blooped a one-out single into center in the sixth … but was erased on a 1-6-4-3 double play off the bat of Soto to end the inning.

Samardzija stayed in the game and pitched a scoreless seventh. Matt Holliday reached on a one-out single to center and advanced to second on a passed ball. Berkman ended up working a walk. With runners on first and second with one out, Jay struck out swinging … and Molina grounded out to second to end the inning.

The Cubs did nothing against Jake Westbrook in the bottom of the seventh … and the Cardinals did nothing against John Grabow in the top of the eighth.

Jason Motte retired the Cubs in order in the eighth.

Albert Pujols collected his fourth hit of the night off Ramon Ortiz in the ninth … a one-out single to left. Matt Holliday grounded into a 5-4-3 inning ending double play.

The Cubs did nothing against Fernando Salas in the ninth. Game over.

Two out three ain’t bad …

Box Score from Yahoo Sports

The Cubs and Braves begin a four-game series on Monday night at Wrigley. Ryan Dempster against Jair Jurrjens in game one.

Quote of the Day

"Learn from yesterday, live for today, hope for tomorrow." - Albert Einstein