No Sveep for Sveum’s Cubs – Cubs 1, Cardinals 5

Game Nineteen – Cubs 1, Cardinals 5
WP – Lance Lynn (4-0) LP – Chris Volstad (0-3) Save – None

After posting back-to-back walk off victories against the Cardinals and in the process winning their first series of the year, the Cubs had a chance to complete the three-game sweep of St. Louis … but the offense could not buy a hit with runners in scoring position against Lance Lynn.

The Cubs had opportunities early against Lance Lynn before he and Kyle McClellan just shut them down. The Cubs managed six hits Wednesday and finished 0-for-5 with RISP and left five on base. But that was all in the first five innings. Lance Lynn retired the last 11 batters he faced and McClellan sat down the Cubs in order in the ninth. Cardinals’ pitching retired the last 14 batters they faced to end the game.

Bryan LaHair (1-for-4 with a home run) provided the Cubs’ lone highlight. LaHair’s second longball in as many days tied the game at one in the fourth. Three of LaHair’s four home runs have come off Cardinals pitching … and three of his four dingers have either tied the game or given the Cubs the lead.

Chris Volstad (four runs on six hits with no walks and two strikeouts in six innings, 97 pitches, 66 strikes) put together his best five innings in a Cubs’ uniform, unfortunately Volstad completed six innings of work Wednesday afternoon. Volstad was rolling right along. He allowed one run over five innings and was going pitch for pitch with Lance Lynn. After the offense failed to take the lead in the bottom of the fifth (first and third with one out), Volstad started elevating his sinker in the sixth … and the Cardinals’ offense took advantage.

Carlos Beltran broke the 1-1 tie with a two-out double in the sixth that plated Rafael Furcal with the go ahead run. David Freese then took Volstad downtown. Freese’s two-run shot off Volstad put the game out of reach. Freese added a RBI double off Shawn Camp (one run on one hit with a walk and a strikeout in one inning) in the eighth that accounted for the Cardinals’ fifth and final run.

Scott Maine (no runs, one hit, two strikeouts and no walks in one inning) pitched a scoreless seventh and Carlos Marmol (no runs, one hit, no walks and no strikeouts) pitched the ninth.

Dale Sveum’s team finished the six-game homestand with a 3-3 record (1-2 vs. Reds; 2-1 vs. Cardinals) and have split the first six games of the year with St. Louis.

With Wednesday’s loss, the Cubs dropped to 6-13 on the season …

After rain delayed the first pitch for 20 minutes, Chris Volstad came out pounding the zone. Volstad retired the Cardinals in order in the first on only nine pitches, six for strikes.

David DeJesus just missed his first homer as a Cub to start the bottom of the first. DeJesus his a 3-2 pitch to the wall in left … but Matt Holliday hauled it in for the first out. Following Campana’s first strikeout of the afternoon, Starlin Castro ripped a single into center. Castro has reached base safely in 57 of the last 59 games he’s played in. Bryan LaHair struck out swinging (2-2 pitch) for the final out.

Chris Volstad retired the Cardinals in order in the second.

Alfonso Soriano led off the second with a single to right. Ian Stewart’s rough homestand continued. Ian Stewart grounded into a 6-4-3 double play.

The ‘Doubles Machine‘ struck again. Steve Clevenger hit his fifth double of the season to left (1-2 pitch). A wild pitch allowed Clevenger to move up ninety feet but Darwin Barney struck out swinging to end the inning.

The Cardinals got on the board in the top of the third. Daniel Descalso singled to right on Volstad’s first pitch of the inning. Shane Robinson followed with a single to right … and the Cardinals had runners on first and second with no outs. Lance Lynn could not get the bunt down and eventually struck out. Volstad retired Furcal on a fly out to left for the second out … but Matt Carpenter drove a 1-2 pitch into right. Descalso scored … 1-0 Redbirds. Matt Holliday tapped back to Volstad on his 49th pitch (35 for strikes) of the game to end the inning.

The Cubs had a chance to tie it up in the bottom of the third. David DeJesus followed Volstad’s strikeout with a single to center. Sveum called for a hit and run on a 2-0 pitch to Campana. Tony Campana tapped back to the mound but DeJesus made it safely to second. Starlin Castro struck out swinging to end the inning.

Chris Volstad retired St. Louis in order in the fourth (65 pitches, 46 for strikes).

Bryan LaHair went oppo again to start the fourth. LaHair tied the game with one swing of the bat on Lynn’s first pitch of the inning. Alfonso Soriano grounded out to short for the first out. Ian Stewart walked but Clevenger hit a tapper back to Lynn … 1-6-3 double play, inning over.

Chris Volstad sat down the Cardinals in order in the fifth (79 pitches, 54 for strikes).

Darwin Barney led off the fifth with a double off the top of the wall in left … Barney just missed his second homer of the season. After Volstad failed to get the bunt down on the first two pitches of the at bat, Volstad grounded out to second … and Barney advanced to third on Volstad’s productive out.

David DeJesus walked. Tony Campana failed to get a bunt down and struck out swinging for the second out. With runners on first and third with two outs, Starlin Castro grounded out to short … inning and opportunity over.

The Cubs would not manage another hit or walk after the fifth … Barney and DeJesus were the last two Cubs to reach base Wednesday afternoon.

Rafael Furcal led off the sixth with a single to left. Mike Matheny called for a hit and run. Matt Carpenter grounded out to second but Furcal ended up at second with the go head run. Volstad retired Holliday on a lineout to right for the second out.

Carlos Beltran ripped the first pitch from Volstad off the wall in left. Beltran’s double plated Furcal and gave the Cardinals a 2-1 lead. Volstad jumped ahead of David Freese 1-2 before missing out of the zone. Freese launched a 2-2 pitch from Volstad over the wall in left … and just like that the Cardinals took a 4-1 lead.

Chris Volstad ended his afternoon by retiring Yadier Molina on a grounder to second.

While the offense was busy swinging and missing, early and often, the Cubs’ pen tried to keep the game close. Scott Maine did his job and other than a one-out single by Shane Robinson, the Cardinals did nothing against Maine in the seventh.

Shawn Camp retired Matt Carpenter (struck out swinging) and Matt Holliday quickly to start the eighth. Camp then issued a five-pitch walk to Carlos Beltran. Beltran swiped second, his second stolen base of the game.

David Freese pulled a 1-1 pitch into left center. The ball one-hopped the wall as Beltran scored easily from second … 5-1 Cardinals.

Shane Robinson reached on an infield single to the hole at short in the ninth. Robinson beat Castro’s throw from the hole. With Erik Komatsu at the plate, Robinson stole second and advanced to third when Komatsu grounded out to second. Steve Clevenger picked up a swinging but by Furcal and threw him out at first to end the top of the ninth.

The game went into the bottom of the ninth with the Cubs trailing 5-1. Kyle McClellan shut down the Cubs in order … game over, series over, homestand over.

Box Score from Yahoo Sports

Thursday is an off day for the Cubs. Dale Sveum’s team will spend Thursday travelling to Philadelphia. The Cubs open a four-game wrap around series against the Phillies on Friday night. Paul Maholm will face Roy Halladay in game one.

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