The Further Misadventures of the Cubs Bullpen – Cubs 6, Cardinals 7

Game Thirty-Six – Cubs 6, Cardinals 7
WP – Jason Motte (2-1, BS 2) LP – Rafael Dolis (2-3) Save – None

The offense did their part and tried to complete the two-game sweep in St. Louis but Dale Sveum’s staff could not keep the high-powered Cardinals from scoring. The Cubs had to settle for a split against the Redbirds and will limp home after a 2-3 road trip.

The Cubs had an opportunity to complete the sweep and led Tuesday’s finale twice. Kerry Wood blew another lead (Wood has two blown saves, the Cubs’ pen has eight blown saves in 14 chances) after Reed Johnson broke the 4-4 tie in the seventh with a pinch-hit RBI single. Wood walked two of the first three batters he faced in the seventh … and the first one, Rafael Furcal, scored the tying run on a single by Allen Craig.

After James Russell surrendered his first home run of the year to lefty Matt Carpenter in the eighth that gave the Cardinals a 6-5 lead, Alfonso Soriano (2-for-4 with a home run, a double and two runs scored) tied the game in the ninth off Jason Motte with his first longball of the season (120th at bat).

But Rafael Dolis gave up a lead-off single to Matt Holliday (3-for-4 with a home run, a walk and three runs scored) in the ninth … and two outs later, Yadier Molina (1-for-4 with a RBI and a walk) beat the shift and singled past a diving Darwin Barney into right for the walk-off win.

Kerry Wood, James Russell and Rafael Dolis each gave up a run in the final three innings of Tuesday’s game.

The Cubs offense jumped out to a 3-0 lead in the first inning before Kyle Lohse shut them down. Starlin Castro (1-for-4 with a RBI) drove in the game’s first run. After Bryan LaHair (1-for-4 with a home run) grounded into a 3-6 double play that plated the Cubs’ second run, Alfonso Soriano doubled and scored on a two-out single by Ian Stewart (1-for-4 with a RBI) … but Paul Maholm could not hold the lead.

The Cardinals scored two runs in the first, tied the game in the second and took the lead in the fifth.

Bryan LaHair tied the game in the sixth with his tenth home run of the season (LaHair has reached base safely in each of the last 32 games he’s played). Reed Johnson hit for Maholm in the seventh and put Maholm in line for the win.

After a four-game stretch of excellent starts, the Cardinals got to Paul Maholm again. Maholm allowed four runs on seven hits with three walks and five strikeouts in six innings (106 pitches, 69 for strikes) and was hit pretty hard all afternoon.

The Cubs defense made several outstanding defensive plays … and some not so outstanding as well. Ian Stewart turned in two more tremendous efforts that will end up on a highlight reel.

With Tuesday’s loss, the Cubs are still searching for their first three-game winning streak of the season and dropped to 15-21 on the season …

David DeJesus led off the game with a single to center and advanced to second on a single to left off the bat of Tony Campana. Starlin Castro stepped in and ripped a 2-1 pitch back up the middle and into center. DeJesus scored and the Cubs took a 1-0 lead.

Bryan LaHair could not keep the line moving. With Campana at third and Castro at first, LaHair pulled a 1-1 pitch to first. Matt Carpenter stepped on first and threw to Furcal to complete the 3-6 double play. Campana did score and gave the Cubs a 2-0 lead.

Alfonso Soriano ripped a 3-2 pitch into center for a double and hobbled home on a single to center by Ian Stewart. Welington Castillo flied out to right to end the inning.

Paul Maholm was staked to a short-lived three-run lead.

Maholm retired Furcal on a fly out to center but Skip Schumaker reached on a single to center and advanced to second on Matt Holliday’s single to right. Allen Craig ripped a double into right that plated Schumaker and cut the Cubs’ lead to 3-1. With runners on second and third with one down, David Freese grounded out to second … but Holliday scored and the Cubs were up by only one run (3-2).

Maholm walked Yadier Molina and put runners on first and third with two outs. Matt Carpenter popped out to Castro in shallow left center to end the inning.

After one, the Cubs led 3-2.

Kyle Lohse settled in after the rough first inning and retired the Cubs in order in the second.

Tyler Greene led off the bottom of the second with a double to right. Lohse bunted him to third and Furcal drove him in with a tapper to Barney. Just like that the Cubs three-run lead was gone. Maholm struck out Schumaker swinging to end the inning.

The Cubs did nothing in the third … seven in a row retired by Lohse at that point.

Paul Maholm ended up facing the minimum in the third after retiring Holliday on a fly out to right (3-2 pitch) to start the inning. Allen Craig reached on a single to left (3-1 pitch). Starlin Castro made an excellent play on a ball off the bat of David Freese. Castro started the 6-4-3 inning ending double play.

The Cubs did nothing in the fourth … 10 in a row retired by Lohse at that point.

The Cardinals just managed a two-out single by Tyler Greene in the fourth … but his two-out single flipped the lineup. Maholm struck out Lohse swinging to end the inning.

After four, the game was tied at four.

Darwin Barney led off the fifth with the Cubs’ first hit since the first … a single to right. The Cubs’ bunting issues were on display again when Maholm bunted the ball too hard and right back to Lohse. Barney was forced at second then David DeJesus grounded into the second 3-6 double play of the game to end the inning.

The Cardinals took their first lead of the series in the fifth. Maholm retired Furcal on a grounder to short and Schumaker on a grounder to second. Matt Holliday crushed Maholm’s first pitch … and an estimated 445 feet later the Cardinals had a 4-3 lead.

Maholm issued his second walk of the afternoon to Allen Craig after Holliday’s blast before Freese struck out swinging on Maholm’s 27th pitch of the inning for the third out.

After five, the Cardinals led 4-3.

Tony Campana and Starlin Castro both struck out swinging to start the sixth. Bryan LaHair cranked a 0-1 pitch from Lohse over the wall in center. LaHair’s tenth dinger of the year tied the game at four. Soriano hit a routine fly to right to end the inning.

Ian Stewart took away extra bases from Molina to start the sixth. Stewart dove toward the line and threw out Molina from his knees for the first out. Maholm struck out Carpenter but walked Greene and flipped the lineup again. Lohse stayed in and grounded out to third to end the inning.

Ian Stewart and Welington Castillo grounded out to the right side of the infield to start the seventh. Darwin Barney reached on a two-out double and Reed Johnson hit for Maholm. Johnson ripped a 0-1 pitch back up the box and into center. Barney scored and gave the Cubs a 5-4 lead. Johnson advanced to second on the throw to the plate.

Mike Matheny went to his pen and brought in lefty Marc Rzepczynski to face David DeJesus. DeJesus worked the count full before grounding out to first to end the inning.

Kerry Wood started the bottom of the seventh … and issued a four-pitch walk to Rafael Furcal to start the inning. After Schumaker flied out to center, Holliday walked and the Cardinals had the tying run in scoring position with one down.

Allen Craig tied the game with a single to right (0-1 pitch). Furcal scored and Holliday ended up at third. Freese broke his bat and grounded into a 6-4-3 inning ending double play.

After seven, the game was tied at five.

The Cubs did nothing against Marc Rzepczynski in the eighth.

James Russell struck out Molina to start the eighth. Matt Carpenter launched Russell’s first pitch over the wall in right center and gave the Cardinals a 6-5 lead. Greene followed with a triple into the right field corner. Matheny then went to his bench and sent up Carlos Beltran to hit for Marc Rzepczynski.

After a meeting on the mound, the Cubs intentionally walked Beltran. Daniel Descalso ran for Beltran. Matheny called for the squeeze on the first pitch to Furcal. The veteran shortstop fouled off the bunt. With the infield still in, Furcal hit a 0-2 pitch toward third. Stewart picked up the ball and threw to the plate. Greene was eventually tagged out but the play took too long to develop and both runners advanced to second and third with two down. Shane Robinson hit for Schumaker and blooped a 1-2 pitch to DeJesus in right to end the inning.

Jason Motte started the ninth with the Cardinals up 6-5.

Alfonso Soriano went with a 0-1 pitch from Motte and drove the ball into the bleachers in right. Soriano’s first homer of the season tied the game at six. Stewart flied out to left for the first out before Welington Castillo walked. After a weak grounder by Barney to third allowed Castillo to advance to second, Adrian Cardenas hit for Russell and flied out to center to end the inning.

Rafael Dolis took the mound in the bottom of the ninth with the game tied at six. Matt Holliday reached on a single to center to start the inning. Dolis struck out Allen Craig swinging. David Freese hit a grounder toward third that Stewart fielded and threw across the diamond from his knees to nail Freese at first. Holliday advanced into scoring position with two down.

Yadier Molina hit a 1-1 pitch past Barney and through the shift … Holliday scored, game over.

Box Score from Yahoo Sports

The Cubs open a five-game homestand Wednesday night with the first of two against the Phillies. Matt Garza will go for the Cubs. The Phillies have not yet named their replacement for Vance Worley. Worley was scratched late Tuesday afternoon due to elbow soreness.

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Quote of the Day

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