Three Walks and a Wild Pitch … The Cubs Get Marmol-ed Again – Cubs 1 Cardinals 2

Game One Hundred Fifty-Eight – Cubs 1 Cardinals 2
WP – Jason Motte (5-2) LP – Carlos Marmol (2-6, BS 10) Save – None

On the final Saturday of the season, the Cubs took a 1-0 lead into the ninth. Cubs pitching had held the Cardinals in check for the second day in a row and allowed one run over the first 17 innings of the series … and that was scored on a squeeze bunt off the bat of Chris Carpenter.

Carlos Marmol retired Lance Berkman to start the ninth. Matt Holliday followed with a single to right center and if not for a tremendous sliding stop by Marlon Byrd, Holliday would have ended up at second with the tying run.

A throwing error by Geovany Soto allowed pinch runner, Tyler Greene to advance all the way to third with one out. Marmol struck out David Freese for the second out … then lost his command.

Carlos Marmol issued three straight walks to force in the tying run. Marmol walked Yadier Molina and Skip Schumaker to load the bases. The free-swinging Ryan Theriot hit for Corey Patterson and looked at a 3-2 pitch that resulted in a walk and tied the game at one.

Marmol uncorked a wild pitch on the second offering to Rafael Furcal that gave the Cardinals the game. St. Louis scored two runs in the ninth with the only hit coming to start the rally. Marmol threw 30 pitches in 2/3 of an inningonly 13 in the strike zone.

Carlos Marmol has blown a league-worst 10 saves this season.

Prior to the ninth inning, the Cubs put together a solid effort in a must win game for the Cardinals. Carlos Pena and Marlon Byrd made sensational defensive plays behind Rodrigo Lopez (no runs on four hits with two walks and a strikeout in six innings) and actually made up for the struggles Blake DeWitt had in the field on Saturday (six chances for DeWitt on Saturday, three handled cleanly with only one charged error).

The Cubs only run came in the first inning on a RBI single by Alfonso Soriano (1-for-4 with a RBI). Quade’s offense managed only six hits, all singles, and was 1-for-3 with RISP and left five on base. Soriano has driven in 27 runs in his last 28 games.

Starlin Castro reached base for the 36th game in a row with a 1-for-4 effort on Saturday afternoon. Darwin Barney (1-for-4 with a run scored) scored the Cubs’ lone run. After looking totally overmatched against Chris Carpenter on Friday, Bryan LaHair was 2-for-4 against Kyle Lohse.

With Saturday’s loss, the Cubs dropped back to 18 games below .500 with a 70-88 record … and only four left to play.

Mr. 200 Hits led off the game by grounding out to second. Darwin Barney followed Castro with a single to center (0-2 pitch). Bryan LaHair stepped in after a bad game on Friday and lashed a single into right on a 1-2 pitch. Barney rounded second and ended up at third with one down.

Carlos Pena, with runners on first and third, looked at a 2-2 pitch on the outside part of the plate for the second out. Alfonso Soriano got just enough of a 1-0 pitch to dump a single into left. Barney scored … 1-0 Cubs.

Blake DeWitt lined a 1-0 pitch into center that Jon Jay tracked down to end the inning.

The Cardinals went down in order on just nine pitches, five for strikes, in the first.

Marlon Byrd led off the second … and flied out to center on the first pitch. Geovany Soto followed with a single to center (0-2 pitch). Rodrigo Lopez bunted a 1-1 pitch too hard to Albert Pujols. Pujols threw out Soto at second. Lopez ended up at first but Castro looked at a 1-2 pitch on the outside part of the plate to end the inning.

Rodrigo Lopez issued a two-out walk to David Freese in the second but that was all for the Cardinals.

The Cubs did nothing against Lohse in the third.

Skip Schumaker flied out to left on the first pitch of the third. Kyle Lohse reached on an infield single to DeWitt at third. DeWitt backed up on the chopper (2-2) pitch and could not throw out the Cardinals’ pitcher … the first hit allowed by Lopez. Furcal hit a 0-1 pitch back up the middle. Barney fielded the ball and tossed to Castro to force Lohse. Furcal beat out the throw to first. Jay flied out to left to end the inning. Lopez threw 35 pitches in three innings, 22 for strikes.

Lohse made quick work of the Cubs in the fourth … 1-2-3 on 10 pitches.

Lopez retired Albert Pujols on a grounder to second and a Lance Berkman on a liner to first … second good play by Pena that took away a hit from Berkman on Saturday afternoon. Matt Holliday hit a grounder to third on a 1-2 pitch. DeWitt fielded the ball but threw high to first. Holliday reached on DeWitt’s error.

David Freese lined a 2-2 pitch into left. For some reason, Holliday tried to advance to third and Soriano threw him out at third to end the inning … 56 pitches of Lopez after four, 35 for strikes.

Starlin Castro singled to center with two outs in the fifth … but that was all for the Cubs in the fifth against Kyle Lohse.

Yadier Molina grounded out to DeWitt to start the fifth. DeWitt made the routine play for the first out. Lopez started pitching from behind at that point of the game. Skip Schumaker singled to left center (3-1 pitch) and advanced to second when Lohse dropped a perfect bunt up the first baseline. Furcal looked at a 1-2 pitch to end the inning.

Bryan LaHair led off the sixth with a single to left center. Pena struck out for the third time against Kyle Lohse. Soriano hit a grounder to third. Freese threw to second and forced LaHair. Soriano reached first but was stranded when DeWitt grounded out to second to end the inning.

Jon Jay hit a soft one-hop liner to Castro to start the sixth. Lopez wanted nothing to do with Pujols in a one-run game and walked him on five pitches. Lance Berkman ripped a 1-0 pitch into right. Pujols ended up at third with one out.

Matt Holliday hit a tailor made double play ball to third (2-2 pitch). DeWitt bobbled the ball then threw home to cut down Pujols. The Cubs eventually tagged out Pujols for the second out (another textbook run down) but both Berkman and Holliday ended up in scoring position … DeWitt’s inability to make routine defensive plays hurt the Cubs again.

David Freese lined out to Marlon Byrd on a 2-2 pitch to end the sixth.

The Cubs went quickly against Lohse in the seventh … and there was a Tyler Colvin sighting. Colvin hit for Lopez and struck out swinging to end the inning.

Andrew Cashner replaced Lopez in the seventh … and sat down the Cardinals in order on seven pitches. Marlon Byrd made a terrific diving catch running in toward the infield to take away a hit from Skip Schumaker. Cashner snapped off an 85 MPH slider to strikeout Daniel Descalso to end the inning.

The Cubs did nothing against Octavio Dotel in the eighth.

Sean Marshall retired the top of the Cardinals lineup in order in the bottom of the eighth.

Marc Rzepczynski retired Pena on a grounder to Pujols to start the ninth. LaRussa went to his pen and brought in Jason Motte to face Soriano. Soriano struck out swinging and DeWitt flied out to center on the first pitch to end the inning.

Carlos Marmol retired Berkman on a lineout to center to start the ninth. Matt Holliday ripped a 2-1 pitch into right center. Marlon Byrd made a terrific sliding stop in right center to hold Holliday to a single. Tyler Greene ran for Holliday and took off for second on a 2-1 offering to Freese.

Soto’s throw hit Greene and ended up in shallow left. Greene ended up at third on Soto’s error with one out. Marmol reached back and struck out Freese swinging for the second out. Marmol walked Yadier Molina (3-2 pitch). Adron Chambers ran for Molina and Skip Schumaker stepped in with runners on first and third with two down.

Marmol walked Skip Schumaker on five pitches to load the bases.

Ryan Theriot pinch hit for Corey Patterson … and Marmol walked Theriot on a 3-2 pitch to force in the tying run. With the bases still loaded and two down, Rafael Furcal looked at strike one … but Carlos Marmol’s next pitch was in the dirt and got past Geovany Soto. Adron Chambers scored and the Cubs lost in St. Louis again in walk off fashion.

It always hurts when the Cubs lose to the Cardinals but it worse when they just give one away in the ninth …

Box Score from Yahoo Sports

Randy Wells against Edwin Jackson in the series and season finale against the Cardinals on Sunday afternoon.

Quote of the Day

"Don’t ever permit the pressure to exceed the pleasure." - Joe Maddon