Cubs Can’t Put the Cardinals Away – Cubs 6, Cardinals 10

Game Ninety-Three – Cubs 6, Cardinals 10

WP – Edward Mujica (2-1, BS 2) LP – Kevin Gregg (2-2) Save – None

The Cubs battled the Cardinals for the fourth straight day and tied the game at six on a pinch-hit two-out, two-run double by Cody Ransom in the eighth. But the Cardinals’ relentless offense scored four runs in the ninth off Kevin Gregg with Yadier Molina delivering the big blast, a three-run homer that put the game away. It was the Redbirds first home run of the series.

The Cubs actually took a 4-3 lead into the seventh inning after Darwin Barney hit a three-run homer off Adam Wainwright in the sixth. But the Cubs’ bullpen could not hold off the Cardinals’ offense and the Cubs dropped the last game before the break.

The Cubs could not keep up with the Cardinals on Sunday night. The Cubs battled back three different times but every time the offense put runs on the board, the Cardinals got those runs back and then some. Cubs pitching gave up 10 runs on a season-high 21 hits and after holding the Cardinals to just five hits over the first three games with runners in scoring position (5-for-25), the Redbirds went 8-for-16 on Sunday night with RISP and still left 15 men on base. Five of the Cardinals’ ten runs scored on two-out base hits.

Travis Wood failed to record a quality start for only the second time this season. Wood put together a decent outing but he could not record a clean inning until the fifth. The Cardinals were very aggressive against Wood as he surrendered a season-high 10 hits, nine singles. Wood left with two outs and two on in the sixth. Pedro Strop got out of the jam without allowing the Cardinals to add onto their 3-1 lead. Wood gave up three runs on 10 hits with three walks and one strikeout in 5 2/3 innings. Wood threw 100 pitches, 62 for strikes.

The Cubs’ pen was exposed on Sunday night after Wood’s short outing. Matt Guerrier gave two runs on three hits in the seventh. James Russell allowed one of those two runs to score. Blake Parker surrendered a run on three hits in the eighth and Kevin Gregg had his worst outing of the season and the most inopportune time for the Cubs. Gregg gave up four runs on four hits in the ninth.

Darwin Barney (3-for-4 with a home run, four RBI and two runs scored) drove in four of the Cubs’ six runs. Barney hit his sixth home run of the season in the sixth inning, a three-run homer to left that gave the Cubs a short-lived 4-3 lead. Starlin Castro (1-for-4 with a triple and a HBP) reached base twice and Luis Valbuena (2-for-5 with a double) collected two of the Cubs 11 hits.

The Cubs had a bad game in the field. While they were charged with only one error, Anthony Rizzo and Luis Valbuena made mental mistakes that cost the Cubs runs.

With Sunday’s loss, the Cubs go into the All-Star break with a 42-51 record but won six of nine to close out the first half and finished with a 25-21 record since May 25.

Travis Wood retired Carpenter on a flyout to Bogusevic in left center to start the game. Carlos Beltran pulled a 1-0 pitch into right for the game’s first hit. Allen Craig drove a 0-1 pitch into right and the Cardinals had two on with one out for David Freese. Wood jammed Freese with a 0-1 pitch and he hit a little blooper to Rizzo for the second out.

Yadier Molina gave the Cardinals a 1-0 lead with a single to center on Wood’s first pitch. Matt Adams grounded out to Castro for the third out. Wood threw 13 pitches, 10 for strikes, in the first inning.

After Valbuena hit a routine grounder to Carpenter for the first out, Starlin Castro worked a full count then drove an Adam Wainwright sinker into the gap in right center. Castro hustled out of the box and ended up at third with his second triple of the season. But Rizzo lined out to second (2-0 pitch) and Soriano flied out to center (3-2 pitch) to end the inning. The Cubs made Wainwright work. The Cardinals ace threw 23 pitches in the first inning, 13 for strikes.

Wood continued to struggle in the second inning but was able to escape a jam without allowing the Cardinals to tack on. Jon Jay reached with a one-out single and advanced to second when Wainwright dropped down a bunt. Wood walked Carpenter but retired Carlos Beltran on a grounder to Castro to end the inning. Wood threw 29 pitches, 20 for strikes, over the first two innings.

Adam Wainwright retired Navarro (grounder to third) and Bogusevic (grounder to first) to start the second. Dave Sappelt worked a 2-1 count then pulled Wainwright’s next pitch into left center. Craig tried to make a diving catch but came up short. Sappelt hustled out of the box and slid in safe at second with a double. Darwin Barney put together an excellent at bat. Barney pounded a 3-2 breaking ball from Wainwright back up the middle and into center. Sappelt scored and tied the game at one. Wood struck out swinging to end the inning. Wainwright needed 45 pitches, 26 for strikes, to complete two innings on Sunday night.

The game did not remain tied for long as Travis Wood continued to struggle. Wood struck out Craig swinging to start the inning and Freese popped out to Barney for the second out. But Yadier Molina singled to left center and Wood could not record the third out. Matt Adams worked a full count before pulling a single into right center. Molina advanced to third with two down.

Pete Kozma stepped in 0-for-his-last-28 and saw Valbuena playing back at third. Kozma dropped a perfectly placed bunt toward third. Molina scored, 2-1 Cardinals. Wood walked Jay to load the bases before retiring Wainwright on a pop out to Barney to end the inning.

Travis Wood allowed two runs on seven hits (all singles) over the first three innings on 55 pitches, 35 for strikes.

Luis Valbuena led off the third with a double down the right field line. The ball bounced and hit off the side wall. Wainwright then hit Starlin Castro and the Cubs had runners on first and second with no outs for Rizzo. Wainwright jammed Rizzo and he rolled into a 4-6-3 double play. With Valbuena at third, Alfonso Soriano struck out swinging (3-2 pitch) to end the inning. The Cubs made Wainwright work. It took Wainwright 60 pitches, 34 for strikes, to complete three frames on Sunday.

After three complete, the Cubs trailed 2-1.

Travis Wood made quick work of Carpenter (lineout to left) and Beltran (lineout to center) to start the fourth. Allen Craig pulled a 0-1 pitch down the third baseline and past a diving Luis Valbuena. David Freese then dribbled a 2-2 pitch up the third baseline. Valbuena charged the ball but at the last minute let the ball roll under him. The ball stayed fair and Craig rounded third and headed for home as Castro picked the ball up in shallow left. Craig scored and the Cardinals took a 3-1 lead on their second run scoring infield hit of the game. Molina lined out to Valbuena to end the inning.

Travis Wood gave up three runs on nine hits in four innings. Wood threw 74 pitches, 46 for strikes, and limited the damage. The Cardinals were 3-for-7 with RISP and left eight on base over the first four innings.

The game remained 3-1 Cardinals through the fourth and fifth innings. The Cubs continued making Wainwright work but could not string any hits together. After five innings, the Cubs forced Wainwright to throw 99 pitches, 61 for strikes, but were 1-for-5 with RISP and left five men on base.

Travis Wood started the sixth and gave up a one out single to Matt Carpenter. Carlos Beltran flied out to right but Wood issued a two-out walk to Allen Craig. With two on and two down, Dale Sveum went to his pen for Pedro Strop. David Freese grounded Strop’s first pitch to Castro for the third out.

Dioner Navarro singled to center with one out in the sixth. Brian Bogusevic followed with a single to right just out of the reach of Matt Carpenter. Wainwright struck out Sappelt swinging for the second out.

Darwin Barney stepped in and lifted Wainwright’s first pitch to deep left. The ball ended up in the basket and Barney’s sixth homer of the season, a three-run shot, gave the Cubs a surprising 4-3 lead. Julio Borbon hit for Strop and popped a bunt attempt straight to Wainwright to end the inning.

After six complete, the Cubs led 4-3 … but it would not last long.

Matt Guerrier started the seventh and Yadier Molina blooped his first pitch down the left field line. Molina ended up a second with a leadoff double. Adams grounded out to first, Molina advanced to third and Sveum brought his infield in with one out.

The light-hitting Pete Kozma blooped a 3-2 pitch into shallow left. Castro raced back and tried to make a diving catch. The ball hit off his glove and Molina scored on Kozma’s second run scoring hit of the game. Jay flied out to center for out number two. Daniel Descalso hit for Wainwright and smacked a single into right. Kozma advanced to third. With runners on the corners, Sveum went to his pen for James Russell. Matt Carpenter stroked a 2-2 pitch into left and Kozma trotted in with the go ahead run. Russell struck out Beltran swinging to end the inning.

Other than a two-out walk by Anthony Rizzo, the Cubs did nothing against Randy Choate and Trevor Rosenthal in the seventh.

After seven complete, the Cubs trailed 5-4.

Blake Parker struggled with his command and it, along with a poor decision by Rizzo, cost him a run in the eighth. Allen Craig singled to center on a 3-2 pitch to start the inning. David Freese chopped into a 5-4 fielder’s choice for the first out. Yadier Molina launched Parker’s first pitch to deep center. Brian Bogusevic ranged back and caught the ball as he collided with the ivy. Parker fell behind Matt Adams 3-1. Adams drove Parker’s next pitch into the gap in left center. Soriano made a good throw to Castro, who made a strong throw toward the plate. Castro’s throw appeared to be on line and with a good chance to nail Freese at the plate. But for some reason Anthony Rizzo cut the ball and Freese scored the Cardinals’ fourth run. Kozma reached on an infield single to Castro and Parker hit Jay on a 2-0 pitch to load the bases. Sveum went to his pen for Michael Bowden. For some reason, Mike Matheny left Trevor Rosenthal in to hit with a chance to break the game open. Bowden struck out Rosenthal to end the inning.

Cole Gillespie hit for Brian Bogusevic with one out in the eighth. Bogusevic aggravated his hamstring. Gillespie blooped a single into right and advanced to second when Darwin Barney singled to right. Mike Matheny went to his bullpen and replaced Rosenthal with Edward Mujica.

Cody Ransom hit for Bowden with two on and two out. Ransom pulled a 3-2 pitch into the gap in left center. Gillespie and Barney scored and tied the game at six on Ransom’s double. Valbuena lined out to right to end the inning.

Kevin Gregg took the hill in the ninth with the game tied at six. Carpenter flied out to deep left for the first out. Carlos Beltran lined a 1-2 pitch off the wall in right. Dave Sappelt got too close to the wall, the ball hit and Sappelt slipped on the ball and fell. Beltran ended up at third on a double and an error. Allen Craig smoked Gregg’s first pitch into left … 7-6 Cardinals. Freese singled to left and Molina stepped in with two on and one down.

Yadier Molina crushed a 0-2 pitch to left. The ball ended up in the bleachers and the Cardinals took a 10-6 lead. Gregg retired Adams and Kozma to end the inning. But the damage was done and the Cubs went down in order in the ninth to end the game.

The Cubs’ next game is Friday in Colorado. The Cubs start a 10-game trip out west with the first of three in Denver. Jeff Samardzija is scheduled to start the game.

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  • paulcatanese

    What I saw tonight was a well executed game plan against Wood. Knowing Wood works the outside of the plate the hitters took him that way, deliberately and it paid off.

    Plus the way they run the bases from first to third, well that’s hard to beat.

    Will get some flak here, but I think Mike Matheny is or will be a better manager than LaRussa was by the time he ends it up.His approach is very fundamental and followed by the team.

    Wood stuck to his game plan for the first four hitters and then adjusted, but by then it was too late, the Cards just started pulling the ball.
    Too bad for the Cubs, they fought hard and didn’t give up, just didn’t have the right people for the right job. Six hard earned runs, and I mean they were worked for, should have been enough.
    Wow, tough, tough loss.

    • Suzy S

      Better than LaRussa??? Paul…Metheny has a long way to go before that comparison can be made.

      • paulcatanese

        Maybe so Suzy, but this team follows Matheny to the letter with his philosophy, and has bought into it hook, lime and sinker. they respond as one and everyone of them seem to do the right thing at the right time. I just think its unusual to see a team perform like they have. There are no individuals on that team just 25 guys after the same thing with the same method, that’s rare.
        They quietly go about their business, and showing no mercy in their approach. But I knew I would get flack, and this is just an opinion Suzy.

        • Suzy S

          Well said, Paul. and every comment on here is just an opinion.

        • paulcatanese

          Thank you Suzy, plus my wife
          (Also Sue), says Matheny is cuter than LaRussa, so I had not choice.

    • triple

      I very much agree with you Paul. First of all, the Cardinals offense is just ridiculous. And for Wood to be challenged as hard as he was and only manage to give up 3 runs just shows how mentally tough he is. If Valbuena didn’t make his mental error, Wood would’ve only given up 2 runs. The Cardinals are just so much better, that the Cubs were very overmatched, yet they all hung in there and fought. And of course this teams biggest weaknesses are what did us in.

      #1- the bullpen
      #1a- mental errors in the field

      I listed them both as problem #1 because they really are. Not one is more important than the others. Even with all our offensive problems, those are this teams real issues.

      But yeah, about Matheny, he was that teams field general under Tony LaRussa, and I’m sure he also understands Dave Duncan’s theories and methods for dealing with pitchers too. But Matheny stepped in as that teams manager and as a whole organization, THEY DID NOT SKIP A BEAT! Just goes to show how strong that entire organization is. How often does someone follow a soon to be hall of fame manager or player as smoothly as he is doing it?

      Also, Matheny is tough as nails! That guy got hit by a pitch in the mouth and didn’t even fall to the ground. Just stood there calmly as he spit teeth and blood out. As a ball player (or anybody for that matter), how do you not respect a guy like that, who played the game the right way and even understands the game on a deeper level than most?

      • John_CC

        Wood is a fighter, no doubt. And a start like that helps to prove that he isn’t a fluke this year. I would have expected a game like that to get away from him fast and just turn into a pounding. But he battled and stuck in and basically out-pitched one of the best in the game in Wainwright. Wood is a keeper.

    • John_CC

      Since Tony LaRussa is a GENIUS, what does that make Matheny?

      • paulcatanese

        Uh, I don’t know John, a Super Genius?
        But in the previous post to Triple, hey, you are right, Wood did adjust, and should have won that game. Agree again, he is a keeper, and hope he is not lost in the shuffle of trades.

        • John_CC

          I don’t worry about Wood “getting lost” anywhere. This FO sought him out and are certainly proud of his progress. They would have to be bowled over his an offer to trade Wood.

          • paulcatanese

            OK John, I’ll go along with that.

    • Pelagian

      Matheny goofed leaving Rosenthal in to bat with the bases loaded

      • triple

        I wouldn’t say he goofed it. Unfortunate situation that he obviously wanted Rosenthal to go out and pitch more. However, this decision didn’t cost his team the game. So it’s not that bad.

  • RMercer69

    Wow….Beltran and Yadier are Cub killers! Have we or will we ever get them out? Doesn’t seem like it, those two seem to own the Cubs.