Cubs Can’t Support Wood – Cubs 2, Cardinals 5

Game Sixty-Eight – Cubs 2, Cardinals 5

WP – Shelby Miller (8-4) LP – Travis Wood (5-6) Save – Edward Mujica (20)

The Cubs could not string together any hits on Monday night against Shelby Miller and the Cardinals’ bullpen and dropped the opener in St. Louis despite another quality start from Travis Wood.

Travis Wood put together another strong outing. Wood did not allow a hit until the third inning after striking out three of the first four batters he faced. Wood made only one mistake over the first six innings. After giving up back-to-back singles to Carlos Beltran and Matt Holliday to start the fourth, Yadier Molina drove a 1-0 pitch into the gap in right center. Molina’s two run double broke a scoreless tie and Wood did not allow another hit until Molina singled to start a wild seventh inning.

By the time the dust settled in the seventh, the Cardinals scored two runs on two hits with help from an Anthony Rizzo throwing error and Dale Sveum was ejected from the game by homeplate umpire D.J. Reyburn. Wood turned the game over to the pen after allowing four runs, three earned, on seven hits with no walks and four strikeouts. Wood threw 83 pitches, 55 for strikes, in seven innings.

Henry Rodriguez made his Cubs’ debut in the eighth inning and hit Carlos Beltran with his second pitch, after hitting the homeplate umpire with his first offering. Beltran ended up scoring the Cardinals’ fifth run on a sac fly by Allen Craig.

The Cubs offense struggled as expected on Monday night. To the Cubs’ credit they made Shelby Miller work and ran up his pitch count before he left after five innings with a cramp in his right leg. The Cubs worked a couple of walks off the young right hander but managed only two singles through five innings.

Nate Schierholtz (1-for-3 with a RBI and a walk) broke up the shutout with a broken bat, bloop single off Trevor Rosenthal in the eighth and Darwin Barney (1-for-4 with a home run) hit his third longball of the season with two outs in the ninth … the Cubs only extra basehit of the game. Luis Valbuena (1-for-2 with two walks and a run scored) reached base three times while Starlin Castro (1-for-4) recorded one of the Cubs’ five hits. Welington Castillo (1-for-3 with a walk) continued to show improvement at the plate.

Alfonso Soriano (0-for-4 with two strikeouts and four left on base) and Anthony Rizzo (0-for-4 with a strikeout and three left on base) not only went a combined 0-for-8 with three strikeouts and left seven men on base but they committed both of the Cubs’ errors that led to three Cardinals’ runs.

Dale Sveum was ejected in the seventh inning on a close call at the plate. With runners on second and third with one out, Pete Kozma pulled a 0-2 pitch toward the hole at short. Luis Valbuena made an excellent diving stop to his left, looked Molina back to third then threw to first. Valbuena’s throw was low. Rizzo could not scoop and the ball got away from him. Molina had stopped and went back to third but when Rizzo airmailed his throw to the plate, Molina tried to score. Castillo threw to Wood covering the plate and he appeared to tag out Molina for the second out. Molina was called safe, Sveum argued and was ejected from the game … replays showed that Molina was out.

With Monday’s loss, the Cubs dropped back to 12 games below .500 with a 28-40 record.

After a one hour and 59-minute rain delay, Travis Wood and Shelby Miller locked in a pitcher’s duel for the first 3 1/2 innings. The Cubs made Miller work over the first three innings but managed only one hit while the young right-hander needed 57 pitches, 35 for strikes, to complete three frames. Wood did not allow his first hit until the third inning, a one-out double by Pete Kozma, but Wood retired Miller and Carpenter to end the third inning. Wood threw 36 pitches, 24 for strikes, over the first three innings.

Shelby Miller retired the Cubs in order in the top of the fourth and the Cardinals took the lead for good in the home half of the fourth.

Carlos Beltran singled to left to start the fourth. Wood fell behind Holliday 2-0 before the Cardinals’ left fielder smoked a single to center off Darwin Barney’s glove. Allen Craig drove the first pitch to right. Beltran tagged and advanced to third with one down. Yadier Molina followed and stroked a 1-0 pitch into the gap in right center. Beltran and Holliday scored on Molina’s double. Wood retired Freese on a grounder to third and Jay popped out to Castro in shallow left to end the inning. Wood needed 46 pitches, 30 for strikes, to complete four innings on Monday night.

After four complete, the Cubs trailed 2-0.

The game remained 2-0 Cardinals until the bottom of the seventh. Wood did a good job of keeping the Cardinals off the board and did not allow another hit until Molina led off the seventh with a bloop single to center.

Wood jammed Yadier Molina with a 0-1 pitch. The Cardinals’ catcher muscled the inside pitch into shallow center. David Freese followed with a single to center (2-1 pitch) and Wood was in trouble. Jon Jay bunted Molina and Freese to second and third.

Pete Kozma pulled a 0-2 pitch to the hole at short. Valbuena made an excellent diving stop to his left, looked Molina back to third but made a low throw to first. Rizzo could not scoop the throw, the ball squirted away then Rizzo threw blindly to the plate. Rizzo airmailed his throw as it appeared Molina had decided to stay at third. Once the ball got past Castillo, Molina headed for home. Castillo threw to Wood and he appeared to tag Molina before he touched the plate (replays showed Molina was out). Homeplate umpire, D.J. Reyburn called Molina safe and said he got his foot in.

Dale Sveum came out to argue and was ejected.

Kozma tried to advance to second after the umps called time. Chris Bosio saw what Kozma did and had Jamie Quirk talk to the umpires about Kozma trying to advance during a timeout. Kozma was sent back to first. With the Cardinals up 3-0 and in full control, Shane Robinson hit for Seth Maness and lifted a 2-2 pitch to Soriano in left. Freese tagged and scored, 4-0 Cardinals. Wood retired Carpenter on a flyout to left center to end the inning.

At the end of seven, the Cubs trailed 4-0.

Trevor Rosenthal took over for the Cardinals in the eighth and struck out Julio Borbon, hitting for Wood, to start the inning. Luis Valbuena walked and advanced to second on a single by Starlin Castro. Nate Schierholtz blooped a 1-0 pitch into right. Valbuena scored and cut the Cardinals’ lead to 4-1. After Rosenthal struck out Soriano swinging with runners on first and second, Mike Matheny went to his pen for Edward Mujica. Rizzo lined a 1-1 pitch to Beltran in right to end the inning.

Henry Rodriguez made his Cubs’ debut in the eighth and hit Carlos Beltran with his second pitch. Matt Holliday then singled to left on a 0-2 pitch. The ball got past Soriano and both Beltran and Holliday moved up ninety feet on the Cubs’ second error of the game. Allen Craig flied out to deep right. Beltran tagged and scored, 5-1 Cardinals. Holliday advanced to third on the play.

With the infield in, Molina grounded out to short and Freese flied out to Sweeney in deep center to end the inning.

Darwin Barney notched the Cubs’ first extra basehit of the game with two outs in the ninth when he drove Mujica’s first pitch over the wall in left. Barney’s third longball of the season made it 5-2 Cardinals. Dioner Navarro flied out to Holliday in left to end the game.

Jeff Samardzija takes on Adam Wainwright on Tuesday night.

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