Game Ten – Cubs 3, Cardinals 10
WP – Jake Westbrook (2-0) LP – Paul Maholm (0-2) Save – None
For as difficult as the beginning of the season has been from a win-loss standpoint, Dale Sveum’s team had been in every game, even against the Brewers when Paul Maholm put them in an early hole, the Cubs never quit playing. Sunday was a different story. With the lineup on the field, the rubber game of the weekend series in St. Louis was over before it began.
For the second time in as many starts Paul Maholm did not take the hill after the fourth inning. Maholm threw batting practice again after a very good first inning. Maholm allowed six runs on six hits with a walk and two strikeouts. Like in his first start, a three-run homer did him in and he hit two batters.
Paul Maholm’s final line from Sunday in St. Louis … six runs on six hits (one home run), one walk, two strikeouts, two HBP on 70 pitches, 42 for strikes, in four innings.
The Cardinals offense pounded Cubs’ pitching to the tune of 10 runs on 12 hits and scored multiple runs in half of their at bats. The Redbirds had at least one big scoring inning in each of the three games. St. Louis put a five spot on the board against Jeff Samardzija in the fifth inning on Friday. Chris Volstad was touched up for four runs in the fourth on Saturday and Paul Maholm gave up four runs in the third inning Sunday.
Matt Carpenter, subbing for the injured Lance Berkman, had a huge series and a career day in the series finale. Carpenter drove in half of the Cardinals’ 10 runs and was just a double short of the cycle (4-for-4 with a home run, a triple and five RBI). Carpenter’s two-run dinger in the fifth off Lendy Castillo was his first big league home run.
Lendy Castillo was both very good and not-so-good on Sunday afternoon. Castillo struck out the side in the fifth but also served up a two-run shot to Matt Carpenter on a 0-2 pitch in the fifth. Castillo pitched two innings and gave up two runs on four hits (home run) with a walk and four strikeouts. Rodrigo Lopez pitched the final two innings and surrendered two more runs to the Redbirds on four hits with a walk.
The Cubs’ offense was predictably bad on Sunday. Dale Sveum gave Alfonso Soriano, David DeJesus, Bryan LaHair and Darwin Barney the day off. With the slumps that Marlon Byrd (0-for-3) and Geovany Soto (1-for-4 with a double and a run scored) are stuck in, there were too many outs in the starting nine as well as players that could not field their position.
Reed Johnson (2-for-4 with a double, a RBI) and Starlin Castro (1-for-4 with a RBI) recorded the Cubs only two RBI … the third scored on wild pitch.
The Cubs’ bad defense was on display again Sunday. The middle infield of Starlin Castro and Blake DeWitt failed to turn two double plays in the second that prolonged the inning. Blake DeWitt might be a viable option off the bench as a pinch hitter but there is not a position he can field that makes him worthy of a roster spot.
With Sunday’s loss, the Cubs dropped the series to the Cardinals after winning the first game on Friday (1-2) and will spend Monday’s off day with a 3-7 record after the first 10 games of the season. Jake Westbrook made quick work of the top of the Cubs’ lineup in the first. Reed Johnson worked the count to 3-2 before grounding out to third. Blake DeWitt grounded out to second (1-1 pitch) and Starlin Castro struck out swinging (1-2 pitch) … 1-2-3 for Westbrook on 12 pitches, eight for strikes.
Paul Maholm put together a good first inning. Maholm sat down the Cardinals in order on 15 pitches, nine for strikes.
Westbrook mowed down the Cubs in order on 11 pitches in the second, seven for strikes.
The Cardinals took advantage of Maholm’s command in the bottom of the second. Maholm plunked Carlos Beltran on a 2-2 pitch to start the inning. Yadier Molina looked at three straight out of the strike zone (not close) before taking a strike. Maholm walked Molina on the next pitch.
Matt Carpenter stepped in with runners on first and second with no outs and hit a 1-0 pitch back up the middle. Blake DeWitt flopped over the top of the ball as it rolled into centerfield. Beltran scored easily and Molina ended up at third.
Shane Robinson hit a tailor made double play ball to Castro (0-2 pitch). Castro could not get the ball out of his glove. The Cubs forced Carpenter at second but DeWitt’s throw was late. Molina scored … 2-0 Cardinals. Both the hit batsman and walked scored.
Daniel Descalso hit another tailor made double play grounder, this one was to DeWitt. Blake DeWitt could not get the ball out of his glove. The force was made at second but that was all. With Descalso at first, Westbrook looked at strike three to end the inning.
After two, the Cardinals led 2-0. Paul Maholm had thrown 38 pitches, 22 for strikes and the Redbirds two runs scored on one hit.
Geovany Soto grounded out weakly to Furcal for the first out of the third. Marlon Byrd hit a weak grounder to the hole at short. Descalso tried to pick the grounder but he could not field it cleanly. Byrd was given an infield single (later changed to an error on Descalso). On the first pitch to Maholm with his team down by two, Byrd took off for second … and Molina threw him out easily. Maholm grounded out to short for the third out.
Rafael Furcal led off the third with a double down the left field line. Tyler Greene gave the struggling Maholm an out when he popped up a bunt to Ian Stewart. Maholm fell behind Matt Holliday 2-1. Holliday went with Maholm’s next pitch and drove it into right (DeWitt in the shift). Furcal scored easily … 3-0 Cardinals. Carlos Beltran popped a 2-1 pitch into shallow left center that Mather and Byrd both broke back on. Byrd and Mather could not recover … and the ball fell in.
Maholm jumped ahead of Yadier Molina 0-2 but quickly found himself behind in the count 3-2. Molina crushed Maholm’s next pitch over the wall in left … 6-0 Cardinals.
Matt Carpenter hit Maholm’s next pitch into left. The Cubs middle infield finally turned a double play. Shane Robinson hit into a 4-6-3 double play to end the third.
Reed Johnson (0-2 pitch) and Blake DeWitt (1-2 pitch) reached on back-to-back singles to start the fourth. Starlin Castro lined out to short for the first out. Jeff Baker hit a tailor made double play ball towards short. Furcal fielded the ball, ran over touched second and showed off his arm … but pulled Carpenter off the bag. Johnson ended up at third with two outs.
Westbrook uncorked a wild pitch on a 1-1 offering to Ian Stewart, Johnson slid in safe with the Cubs’ first run. Stewart walked but Joe Mather swung at the first pitch and grounded out to short.
Paul Maholm hit Daniel Descalso with his first pitch of the fourth. Westbrook bunted Descalso to second. Maholm finally found his command and retired both Furcal and Greene on fly outs. Maholm threw 70 pitches, 42 for strikes, in four innings Sunday afternoon.
The Cubs scored another single run in the fifth … and it should have been more. Geovany Soto led off the inning with a double off the base of the wall in right center (2-1 pitch). Byrd reached for the second time in the game, on a Cardinals’ error. With runners on first and second with no outs, Dale Sveum went to his bench and sent David DeJesus up to hit for Paul Maholm. DeJesus popped out to shallow right. Soto advanced to third and scored on a check swing grounder to third off the bat of Reed Johnson. Blake DeWitt grounded out to first to end the Cubs’ fifth.
With the Cubs down 6-2, Lendy Castillo took over on the hill and struck out Matt Holliday swinging (3-2 pitch) to start his afternoon. Castillo walked Beltran. With Molina at the plate, Beltran stole second. Castillo struck out Yadier Molina for the second out.
Matt Carpenter stepped in and crushed a 0-2 pitch from Castillo. The ball ended up over the wall in center … and just like that the Cardinals led 8-2. Castillo struck out Shane Robinson to end the inning.
Jake Westbrook faced the minimum in the sixth after Jeff Baker recorded the Cubs’ fourth hit, a single to right, but Ian Stewart smoked a 1-1 pitch toward first that Carpenter caught and stepped on first to end the inning.
Lendy Castillo pitched the bottom of the sixth and retired three of the four batters he faced … Jake Westbrook singled to right (1-2 pitch) with one out.
The Cubs did nothing against Westbrook in the seventh.
Rodrigo Lopez made his way in from the pen in the seventh. Sveum also inserted Steve Clevenger at first base, moved Jeff Baker to right and pulled Marlon Byrd in favor of Reed Johnson in center.
Lopez retired Matt Holliday on a lineout to left. Erik Komatsu singled to left and advanced to second on a single to center off the bat of Yadier Molina. Matt Carpenter ripped a 2-2 pitch into left center. Carpenter’s fourth hit of the game drove in Komatsu and Molina with the Cardinals’ ninth and tenth runs. With the infield in, Shane Robinson grounded out to short, Carpenter held. Descalso grounded out to Clevenger at first to end the inning.
After Tyler Greene robbed Steve Clevenger of a single to right to start the eighth, Reed Johnson doubled to center. DeWitt grounded out to first, Johnson advanced to third and scored on an infield single to the hole at short off the bat of Starlin Castro. Kyle McClellan retired Jeff Baker on a ground out to third to end the inning.
Tony Cruz led off the eighth with a double to center off Rodrigo Lopez. Rafael Furcal flied out to left and Tyler Greene walked. With runners on first and second, Holliday flied out to deep right. Cruz advanced to second but Erik Komatsu popped out to third to end the inning.
The Cubs did nothing against Victor Marte in the ninth … game and series over.
Monday is an off day for the Cubs. Dale Sveum’s team opens a three-game series on Tuesday night in Miami against Ozzie Guillen and the new-look Marlins. Ryan Dempster is scheduled to face Josh Johnson in the opener.
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