Game Nine – Cubs 1, Cardinals 5
WP – Lance Lynn (2-0) LP – Chris Volstad (0-1) Save – None
After a one hour and 59-minute rain delay, the second game of the weekend series between the Cubs and Cardinals finally got underway … and it was a battle between Chris Volstad and Lance Lynn until the fourth inning.
Both starting pitchers were sharp over the first three innings. Chris Volstad kept the ball down and was rather efficient while the Cubs offense made Lance Lynn work. But that all changed in the fourth when the first of two errors on the day by Starlin Castro led to a four-run rally.
The Cardinals took advantage of the extra out and Chris Volstad could not limit the damage. The bottom of the Redbirds offense jumped on Volstad and pounded out four straight hits that included a double and a triple.
Chris Volstad ended up allowing four runs, three earned, on six hits without a walk and four strikeouts in six innings. Volstad threw 101 pitches, 62 for strikes.
The Cardinals’ fifth run was served up by Shawn Camp in the seventh … a solo home run by Jon Jay on a 1-2 pitch.
The Cubs offense had plenty of opportunities late in the game. After managing only two hits through the first five innings, the Cubs put runners on in the sixth and eighth innings but managed only one run. The Cubs tallied six hits on Saturday afternoon … but were a miserable 1-for-7 with runners in scoring position and left seven on base.
Starlin Castro (2-for-4 with a double and a RBI) drove in David DeJesus (1-for-3 with a run scored and a walk) with the Cubs’ only run and Alfonso Soriano (2-for-4) collected another multi-hit game.
Geovany Soto (0-for-4 with three left on base) and Marlon Byrd (0-for-4 with a strikeout and three left on base) continued their struggles on Saturday afternoon and were a combined 0-for-8 and left six runners on base.
The Cubs defense struggled again Saturday … Starlin Castro was charged with two more errors and Bryan LaHair had another rough day at first base.
With Saturday’s loss, the Cubs dropped to 3-6 on the young season … Lance Lynn pounded the strike zone in the first inning. David DeJesus looked at three straight and did not take the bat off his shoulder for the first out. Darwin Barney lined out to center (2-2 pitch) and Starlin Castro grounded out to third … 1-2-3 on 12 pitches, nine for strikes.
The Cardinals did nothing in the bottom of the first … Chris Volstad sat the Redbirds down in order on 11 pitches, seven for strikes.
Alfonso Soriano led off the second with the Cubs’ first hit of the game. Soriano blooped a 2-1 pitch into right field. Ian Stewart flied out to deep right center on a 2-1 pitch. Soriano tagged and slid in head first at second on the play. Bryan LaHair walked and put runners on first and second with one out.
The bottom of the Cubs’ lineup failed again. Geovany Soto flied out to right center (2-1 pitch). Soriano advanced to third but Marlon Byrd (1-0 pitch) grounded out weakly to short for the third out.
Chris Volstad struck out Carlos Beltran (2-2 pitch) swinging to start the second. After Matt Carpenter grounded out to first, Yadier Molina hit a 1-0 pitch back up the middle and into center. Daniel Descalso grounded out to Barney (0-1 pitch) on a ball hit back up the box. Barney flipped to Castro for the third out.
The Cubs did nothing in the third against Lance Lynn.
Tyler Greene led off the bottom of the third by popping up a bunt attempt to Soto. Lance Lynn hit a hanging curve ball into center for the Cardinals’ second hit. Volstad refocused after giving up a hit to the pitcher on a 1-2 offering and struck out Rafael Furcal (2-2 pitch). For the second time in as many at bats, Jon Jay grounded out to Barney in the shift. Barney tossed to Volstad to end the third. It took Volstad 39 pitches (25 for strikes) to get through three innings.
The Cubs did nothing in the fourth as Lance Lynn started to settle in. Lynn struck out two of the three batters he faced in the fourth (Soriano and Stewart). After four, Lynn had thrown 61 pitches, 36 for strikes.
The Cardinals started squaring off on Chris Volstad in the bottom of the fourth … but it was Starlin Castro’s third error of the season that opened the floodgates.
Matt Holliday hit a routine grounder to short (2-1 pitch). Starlin Castro fielded the ball but threw high to first and pulled LaHair off the bag. Carlos Beltran flied out to right on the first pitch. Matt Carpenter pulled a 3-2 pitch off the top of the wall in right. Holliday had to hold and ended up at third on Carpenter’s double. With the infield back, Yadier Molina ripped a 1-1 pitch past a diving Castro into left. Holliday scored easily and Carpenter slid in safe ahead of Soriano’s throw.
Volstad forgot about Molina at first and the Cardinals’ slow footed catcher got a running lead and stole second standing up … and Volstad’s lapse cost him a run. Daniel Descalso ripped Volstad’s next pitch into right center. Molina scored on Descalso’s first triple of the year. Tyler Greene singled to center on a 0-1 offering … and just like that the Cardinals had a commanding 4-0 lead.
Chris Bosio went out to talk to Volstad prior to Lynn’s at bat. Lynn could not get the bunt down and eventually looked at strike three. Rafael Furcal hit a 3-1 smash back up the middle off Volstad. The Cubs’ pitcher picked up the ball and threw out Furcal at first to finally end the inning. Volstad threw 28 pitches in the fourth, 17 for strikes (67 pitches through four innings, 42 for strikes).
Bryan LaHair led off the fifth with the Cubs’ second hit, a single to center … but Geovany Soto hit a liner to second (2-1 pitch) that Tyler Greene did not field cleanly. LaHair dove back to the first base bag. Greene threw to Furcal to force LaHair for the first out. Marlon Byrd’s horrible start to the season continued, Byrd was called out on a 0-2 pitch when he hit the dirt on a pitch high and inside. Volstad flied out to right to end the inning.
The bottom of the fifth started the same way as the bottom of the fourth with a throwing error by Starlin Castro. Castro fielded the grounder hit up the middle by Jon Jay as he ranged behind the bag but his throw to first was high and Jay reached on his second error (fourth of the season).
Matt Holliday flied out to deep left center on a 3-1 pitch. Jay retreated to first but stole second on a 0-1 pitch to Carlos Beltran. Volstad struck out Beltran looking for the second out and was able to retire Matt Carpenter on a fly out to right (1-2 pitch) to end the inning.
At the end of five, the Cardinals had a commanding 4-0 lead … and the Cubs had only two hits.
The Cubs finally got on the board in the sixth. And it was patience and an extra out that led to the first run. David DeJesus walked to start the inning. Barney hit what should have been a 6-4-3 double play but Furcal bobbled the ball and just threw out the hustling Barney at first.
With DeJesus at second, Starlin Castro hit a 2-1 pitch into center. DeJesus scored, 4-1 Cardinals. Alfonso Soriano fell behind Lynn 0-2 before blooping his next pitch into center. Castro read the play well and made it to third with one down.
Mike Matheny made the slow walk and brought in southpaw J.C. Romero to face the Cubs’ lefty corner infielders … Ian Stewart and Bryan LaHair struck out to end the inning.
Chris Volstad ended his day by retiring the Cardinals in order in the bottom of the sixth.
Mitchell Boggs pitched the seventh for the Cardinals and made quick work of the bottom of the Cubs lineup. Soto and Byrd hit routine flies and Blake DeWitt, hitting for Volstad, flied out to left (1-0 pitch) for the third out. Boggs threw 11 pitches in the seventh, eight for strikes.
Shawn Camp took over in the bottom of the seventh. Camp retired pinch-hitter Erik Komatsu on a pop out to short and caught Rafael Furcal looking at a 0-2 pitch … but Jon Jay crushed a mistake on a 1-2 pitch. The ball left the yard and Jay’s second dinger of the year gave the Cardinals a 5-1 lead. Matt Holliday flied out to right center (0-1 pitch) to end the inning.
Fernando Salas started the eighth for the Cardinals and gave up a single to David DeJesus. Darwin Barney struck out swinging (1-2 pitch). Starlin Castro blooped a 0-1 pitch into right. Beltran tried to make a diving catch on the hump-back liner but missed. DeJesus stopped at third on Castro’s double. Alfonso Soriano struck out swinging (3-2 pitch) and Matheny went to his pen for Marc Rzepczynski.
Dale Sveum left Ian Stewart in to face the southpaw Rzepczynski … and Stewart lined out to Jon Jay in left center to end the inning.
With a lot of help from the Cubs’ defense, Shawn Camp retired the Cardinals in order in the bottom of the eighth.
The Cubs went to the ninth trailing 5-1 … Jason Motte retired Bryan LaHair (ground out to first), Geovany Soto (pop out to first) and Marlon Byrd (ground out to short) quickly (seven pitches) to end the game.
Paul Maholm will face Jake Westbrook in the rubber game of the series on Sunday afternoon.
Follow ChicagoCubsOnline on Twitter: @TheCCO