Schierholtz Lays the Wood on the Cardinals – Cubs 2, Cardinals 1

Game Thirty-Three – Cubs 2, Cardinals 1

WP – Travis Wood (3-2) LP – Lance Lynn (5-1) Save – Kevin Gregg (5)

wflag-pubTravis Wood put together his seventh straight quality start and Nate Schierholtz’s two-run homer in the fourth gave Wood and the Cubs’ pen all the runs they would need on Tuesday night. The Cubs snapped the Cardinals’ six-game winning streak and beat Lance Lynn for the first time in five tries.

Travis Wood was excellent once again. Wood not only beat the Redbirds for the first time in a Cubs’ uniform but he limited a very good offense to just an Allen Craig solo home run in the second inning. Tuesday night was one of Wood’s best performances in a Cubs’ uniform. He had very good command all night and issued only two walks while striking out eight and allowing five hits in 6 2/3 innings. Wood pitched into the seventh inning and threw 114 pitches, 72 for strikes.

Carlos Marmol threw 1 1/3 innings of scoreless baseball. Marmol got the job done but a rare baserunning mistake by Yadier Molina that ended the eighth inning helped Marmol wiggle out of trouble. Kevin Gregg pitched a perfect ninth and earned his fifth save.

Luis Valbuena, Starlin Castro and Anthony Rizzo turned in several excellent defensive plays on Tuesday night that took hits away from the Cardinals.

Cubs pitching recorded only two three-up, three-down innings on Tuesday night as the Cardinals went 0-for-3 with RISP and stranded nine runners on base.

Nate Schierholtz (1-for-3 with a home run and two RBI) and Alfonso Soriano (2-for-3 with a run scored) collected three of the Cubs’ five hits … and scored both of the Cubs’ runs. Soriano’s second hit of the night in the fourth inning with two down kept the inning alive for Schierholtz. Starlin Castro added a double in the ninth on the 11th pitch of the at bat and Welington Castillo (1-for-2 with a HBP) reached base in two of his three plate appearances.

With Tuesday’s win, the Cubs improved to 4-5 on the homestand and 13-20 on the season.

Travis Wood retired the side in order in the first on 15 pitches, 12 for strikes. After the Cubs went down quickly and quietly in the first, Allen Craig led off the second with a solo home run to the bleachers in left. Craig’s second longball of the season gave the Cardinals a 1-0 lead. Wood did not allow the homer to bother him. Wood sat down Molina (swinging strikeout), Freese (grounder to short) and Jay (flyout to DeJesus at the wall in left center) to end the inning.

The Cubs put two runners on in the second, but not at the same time. Alfonso Soriano notched the Cubs’ first hit with a bloop single to center (3-2 pitch). Schierholtz grounded into a 5-4-3 double play. Luis Valbuena walked but Castillo struck out swinging to end the inning. Lance Lynn threw 37 pitches over the first two innings, 22 for strikes.

Travis Wood made quick work of Kozma and Lynn to start the third. Matt Carpenter singled to left (1-1 pitch) and advanced to third on a double to left by Carlos Beltran. Travis Wood then jammed Matt Holliday with a 2-0 pitch. Holliday broke his bat and grounded out to short for the third out. Wood threw 47 pitches, 31 for strikes, in the first three innings.

After the Cubs did nothing in the home-half of the third, Travis Wood pitched his way out of a big jam in the fourth. Luis Valbuena made an excellent diving stop and threw out Allen Craig at first to start the inning. Yadier Molina then reached on a swinging bunt up the third baseline. Freese chopped a 1-0 pitch toward the hole at second. Rizzo fielded and threw to Castro but Freese beat out the return throw. Jon Jay then bounced a 1-2 pitch back up the middle. Castro showed off his range and fielded the ball behind the second base bag. Castro lost the handle on the ball in the transition and Jay reached on what was ruled an error. Wood pitched around Pete Kozma and walked him to load the bases. Wood struck out Lynn swinging to end the inning.

Lance Lynn struck out Castro and Rizzo swinging to start the fourth. Alfonso Soriano kept the inning going with a bloop single to right. Schierholtz stepped in with two down, a runner on first and the Cubs trailing 1-0.

Nate Schierholtz looked at three straight out of the zone then launched a 3-1 pitch from Lance Lynn just to the left of straight away center. Schierholtz’s fourth longball of the season gave the Cubs a 2-1 lead. Lynn struck out Valbuena swinging to end the inning.

Travis Wood stayed sharp in the fifth. Wood issued a two out walk to Matt Holliday, but that was all. Wood threw 85 pitches, 53 for strikes, over the first five innings.

Wood worked around a two-out single by Jon Jay in the sixth. A wild pitch allowed Jay to advance to second before Pete Kozma grounded out to third to end the inning. It appeared Wood’s night was done after throwing 104 pitches, 65 for strikes, in six innings.

Dale Sveum left Travis Wood in to start the seventh to face Lance Lynn and Matt Carpenter. Wood struck out Lynn and Carpenter lined a 3-2 pitch to DeJesus in center for the second out. Sveum made the slow walk and replaced Wood with Carlos Marmol. Wood left to a loud ovation that quickly turned to boos as Marmol trotted in from the pen.

Marmol surrendered a bloop single to Carlos Beltran … but Matt Holliday flied out to left center to end the inning.

The Cubs were not able to tack on in the seventh. Carlos Marmol stayed on for the eighth and the Cardinals helped him out of a jam. Starlin Castro made an excellent play in the hole and threw out Allen Craig at first to start the inning. Yadier Molina then blooped a single in front of a diving Schierholtz in shallow right. Freese flied out to right and Molina stole second on a 2-1 pitch to Jon Jay. Castillo’s throw was a little short and Molina slid around Castro’s tag. Marmol walked Jay and put runners on first and second with two down.

After failing to get Marmol to bite the first time, Molina got a walking lead then took off for third. Marmol stepped off the rubber and threw to Valbuena, who applied the tag for the out. Molina and the Cardinals have taken advantage of the Cubs like that for years, on Tuesday night Molina ran his team out of an inning.

Starlin Castro put together an excellent 11-pitch at bat off Trevor Rosenthal with two outs in the eighth that ended with a double down the right field line. Anthony Rizzo just missed a home run to center as Jay hauled it in at the wall to end the inning.

Kevin Gregg retired the Cardinals in order to end the game … it is always a great day when the Cubs beat the Cardinals.

The Cubs and Cardinals wrap up the two-game series on Wednesday afternoon … Carlos Villanueva against Jake Westbrook.

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Quote of the Day

"You can’t sit on a lead and kill the clock. You’ve got to give the other man his chance. That’s why baseball is the greatest game." - Earl Weaver