Game Eight – Cubs 9, Cardinals 5
WP – Jeff Samardzija (2-0) LP – Adam Wainwright (0-2) Save – None
After a one hour and 44-minute delay and watching the Cardinals celebrate their latest World Series championship, the Cubs came out swinging and by the time they were done, Dale Sveum’s team scored a season-high nine runs.
Before Adam Wainwright could get comfortable, the Cubs put a four-spot on the board in the first inning. Starlin Castro (3-for-4 with a RBI, a walk, two runs scored and a stolen base) singled in David DeJesus (1-for-4 with a double, a walk and two runs scored) with the first run of the game. Two batters later, Ian Stewart launched a 1-1 pitch over the wall in right. Stewart’s three-run homer, his first big league home run since August 23, 2010, gave the Cubs a 4-0 lead on their longtime rival.
Bryan LaHair (1-for-4 with a home run and four RBI) went oppo in the third with the bases loaded. LaHair’s first Major League grand slam, and the first granny hit by a Cubs’ player since October 2, 2010, gave the Cubs an 8-0 lead for the second day in a row.
The Cubs tacked on a run in the fourth. David DeJesus walked and scored when Alfonso Soriano grounded into a 6-4-3 double play with the bases loaded.
A day after scoring eight runs against Zack Greinke, the Cubs’ offense scored eight runs on seven hits (two home runs) with two walks against Adam Wainwright in three innings.
Jeff Samardzija was not as sharp through the first four innings as he was in his last outing but was equally effective. Samardzija pitched himself into deep counts, ran up his pitch count but still managed to keep the Cardinals off the board … that all changed in the fifth.
The Cardinals got to Jeff Samardzija in the fifth and put up five runs on six hits and a walk, Samardzija’s first free pass of the season. Samardzija pitched ahead in the count in the fifth but could not put hitters away. Samardzija was able to qualify for the win after allowing five runs on 10 hits with a walk and five strikeouts in five innings. Samardzija threw 103 pitches, 64 for strikes, and will benefit from the extra day of rest.
Dale Sveum’s pen was excellent and tossed four innings of shutout ball. The Cardinals managed only two hits off the Cubs pen while not receiving any help … the relievers did not walk a single batter on Friday afternoon. Rafael Dolis allowed just one hit in his two innings of work. James Russell retired two of the three batters he faced with a strikeout. Kerry Wood recorded the last out of the eighth and Carlos Marmol pitched a perfect ninth with two strikeouts.
With Friday’s victory, the Cubs have won on back-to-back days for the first time under Dale Sveum and improved to 3-5 on the young season … David DeJesus led off the ballgame by pulling a 0-1 pitch down the right field line. The ball hit on the line and bounced into the seats for a ground rule double. Darwin Barney followed with a single to left (1-2 pitch). DeJesus had to pause and could not score.
With runners on first and third and no outs, Starlin Castro pulled a 1-1 pitch into left. DeJesus scored and Barney stopped at second. Alfonso Soriano flied out to deep right. Barney tagged and advanced to third on the productive out.
Ian Stewart stepped in and pulled a 1-1 pitch from Adam Wainwright over the wall in right. Stewart’s first homer as a Cub gave his new team a 4-0 lead.
Bryan LaHair and Geovany Soto struck out swinging to end the top of the first.
Jeff Samardzija took the hill in the bottom of the first with a 4-0 lead and retired Rafael Furcal and Jon Jay quickly to start the inning. Matt Holliday and Carlos Beltran reached on back-to-back two out singles. Samardzija struck out David Freese swinging on a 3-2 pitch to end the inning.
The Cubs did nothing against Adam Wainwright in the second.
Samardzija struck out Yadier Molina to start the second. Matt Carpenter, filling in for the injured Lance Berkman, singled to right. Daniel Descalso grounded out to first (3-1 pitch), Carpenter advanced to second but was stranded when Wainwright hit a blooper to Castro.
Samardzija kept the Cardinals off the board but was not sharp. He threw 43 pitches in two innings, 28 for strikes.
After Darwin Barney grounded out to short to start the third, Starlin Castro walked and advanced to second on a single to right off the bat of Alfonso Soriano. Ian Stewart walked on four pitches to load the bases with one out.
Bryan LaHair launched Wainwright’s first pitch into the Cardinals’ bullpen beyond the left center field wall … and just like that the Cubs led 8-0.
Geovany Soto followed LaHair’s slam with a fly out to right.
Marlon Byrd ended his 0-for-20 slide with a single to left but Samardzija struck out swinging to end the inning.
The Cardinals showed in the bottom of the third that is was still early … and they were not going to quit.
Rafael Furcal grounded out to third (3-1 pitch) to start the Cardinals’ third. Samardzija jumped ahead of Jay 0-2. The Cardinals’ centerfielder worked the count full before ripping a single into right. Holliday flied out to left on the first pitch.
Jeff Samardzija issued his first free pass of the season to Carlos Beltran (3-2 pitch) with two on and two down, David Freese grounded out to first on Samardzija’s 68th pitch (42 for strikes) of the game.
Mike Matheny went to his pen in the fourth. Victor Marte replaced Wainwright and walked David DeJesus to start the inning. Darwin Barney singled to right and Castro singled to left. With the bases loaded and no outs, Soriano hit a 1-0 pitch to Furcal … 6-4-3 double play. DeJesus scored the Cubs’ ninth run and Barney ended up at third. Stewart grounded out to first (2-1 pitch) to end the inning.
Samardzija put together his best inning of the day in the fourth. Samardzija retired the Cardinals in order on nine pitches, six for strikes.
The Cubs did nothing against Victor Marte in the fifth.
Shane Robinson hit for Marte to start the bottom of the fifth and singled to right, just the fifth hit allowed by Samardzija. Rafael Furcal tapped back to the mound. Samardzija tagged Furcal for the first out. Jon Jay singled to right and plated Robinson with the Cardinals first run.
Matt Holliday hit a deep fly to right center. DeJesus caught the ball and Jay had to retreat to first. Carlos Beltran singled to center (2-1 pitch), Jay advanced to third with two down. David Freese hit Samardzija’s first pitch into right center. Jay scored, 9-2 Cubs.
Yadier Molina followed with a single to left, Beltran scored the Cardinals’ third run and Samardzija received a visit from Chris Bosio.
With two on and two down, Matt Carpenter ripped a 1-2 pitch into right center. Freese and Molina scored on Carpenter’s first career triple.
With the Cubs up 9-5, Jeff Samardzija was allowed to stay in and struck out Daniel Descalso (2-2 pitch) for the third out of the inning.
After five, the Cubs nine-run lead was down to a four run advantage … the Cubs led 9-5.
J.C. Romero retired the Cubs in order in the sixth.
Rafael Dolis took over for Samardzija in the bottom of the sixth. Dolis made quick work of pinch-hitter Erik Komatsu and Rafael Furcal but gave up a two-out hustle double to Jon Jay. Matt Holliday flied out to a diving David DeJesus in right to end the inning.
Starlin Castro led off the seventh with a single to center off Kyle McClellan. Castro stole second with Soriano at the plate … but Soriano struck out swinging for the first out. Stewart walked on four pitches. LaHair looked at strike three and Soto struck out swinging to end the inning.
Rafael Dolis sat down the Cardinals in order in the bottom of the seventh … Beltran (grounded out to second), Freese (flied out to a diving Soriano in left) and Molina (grounded out to third).
Kyle McClellan faced the minimum in the eighth after hitting Marlon Byrd to start the inning. Blake DeWitt hit for Dolis and grounded into a 4-6-3 double play. DeJesus grounded out to short for the third out.
James Russell started the bottom of the eighth by retiring Matt Carpenter on a fly out to left. Daniel Descalso doubled to center. Matheny went to his bench and sent up Tyler Greene to hit for McClellan. Greene struck out swinging and Sveum went to his pen for Kerry Wood.
Rafael Furcal grounded out to first (0-1 pitch) to end the eighth … one up, one down for Kerry Wood.
The Cubs did nothing against Fernando Salas in the ninth and went to the bottom of the ninth up by a score of 9-5.
Carlos Marmol struck out Jon Jay, Matt Holliday popped up the first pitch into right and Carlos Beltran struck out swinging (3-2 count, eighth pitch) to end the game.
It is always a good day when the Cubs beat the Cardinals.
Game two is Saturday afternoon, first pitch at 12:05 … Chris Volstad against Lance Lynn.
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