A Cubs Sweep Not in the Cards – Cubs 4, Cardinals 8

Game One Hundred Seventeen – Cubs 4, Cardinals 8

WP – Randy Choate (2-1) LP – Blake Parker (1-2) Save – Edward Mujica (31)

The Cubs could not complete the sweep in St. Louis but one thing is certain, the Cardinals will not take next weekend’s three game series at Wrigley Field for granted. The Cubs battled back from a 4-1 deficit after five innings and tied the game at four in the sixth on run scoring singles from Starlin Castro (3-for-4 with a double and a RBI) and Darwin Barney (2-for-4 with two RBI). The Cubs pen could not keep the Cardinals off the board and the Cubs dropped the finale with the Cardinals on Sunday afternoon.

It took nearly four hours to complete the finale between the Cubs and Cardinals. In the end, the Cubs could not outhit their own pitching staff. The Cardinals teed off on Cubs’ pitching and scored eight runs on 13 hits and six walks.

Edwin Jackson had another rough outing and put his team in a 3-0 hole in the first inning. Jackson had little to no command in the 27-pitch first inning and surrendered three runs on three hits, a sac fly and a walk in the opening frame. Jackson had no problem with the bottom of the Cardinals lineup but the top the order lit him up on Sunday afternoon. Jackson gave up four runs on six hits with three walks and two strikeouts and it took him 84 pitches, 47 for strikes, to complete five innings.

The Cubs pen could not hold the Cardinals in check after the offense battled back and tied the game in the sixth inning. The pen allowed four runs on seven hits with three walks and one strikeout over the last three innings.

Blake Parker took the loss after allowing the go ahead run on a single by weak hitting Pete Kozma in the bottom of the sixth. Hector Rondon allowed a run in the seventh. The Cardinals took batting practice off Michael Bowden in the eighth and put the game away. Bowden was charged with two runs on three hits with two walks and one strikeout.

The offense worked deep counts and made the Cardinals’ staff work on Sunday and turned two more walks into runs. The Cubs walked 17 times in the three games in St. Louis and six of those free passes scored.

Welington Castillo (1-for-4 with a walk and two runs scored) had another good game at the plate. Castillo reached base twice and scored two of the Cubs’ four runs. Starlin Castro and Darwin Barney went a combined 5-for-9 with a double and three RBI hitting out of the seventh and eighth spots in Dale Sveum’s lineup. The Cubs’ first run scored in the third after David DeJesus (0-for-4 with a walk and a run scored) worked a two-out walk and scored when Matt Holliday lost a high fly in the sun off the bat of Junior Lake (0-for-5).

The Cubs finished the six-game road trip with a 3-3 record and still won the series in St. Louis after taking the first two games from the Cardinals.

With Sunday’s loss (7-12 on Sundays in 2013), the Cubs dropped to 52-65 on the season.

After the Cubs went down in order against Joe Kelly on just nine pitches, five for strikes, to start the game, Edwin Jackson had a very bad first inning and gave one of his former teams a very big lead.

Jackson had zero command in the first inning. Jackson pitched from behind in the count and missed his spots by feet and not inches. Matt Carpenter flied out to center (2-2 pitch) to start the inning. Carlos Beltran singled to right center (2-2 pitch). Jackson then issued a four-pitch walk to Allen Craig. With runners on first and second with one out, Jackson left a 1-1 fastball over the plate and Matt Holliday drove it into right field. Beltran scored and the Cardinals took a 1-0 lead. Craig advanced to third with one out.

David Freese lifted a 1-0 pitch into right center. Craig tagged and scored, 2-0 Cardinals. Jackson forgot about Holliday on a 1-0 pitch to Jay and he stole second. Jackson then failed to pitch to his defense for the second time in the inning. Jon Jay deposited a 2-0 pitch that was out over the plate past a diving Starlin Castro and into left center. Holliday scored, 3-0 Cardinals. With Cruz at the plate, Jackson picked off Jay from first base to finally end the inning. Jackson threw 27 pitches in the first inning, 13 for strikes.

Nate Schierholtz singled to left center with one out in the second. Schierholtz took off for second on a 2-2 pitch to Murphy. Cruz’s throw was low and skipped into center. Schierholtz ended up a third with one out. Murphy hit a 3-2 pitch right to Freese. Schierholtz retreated and Murphy was thrown out at first. Castro struck out swinging to end the inning. Kelly threw 28 pitches, 18 for strikes, over the first two innings.

Edwin Jackson retired the bottom of the Cardinals lineup in order in the second … 37 pitches for Jackson after two innings, 20 for strikes.

The Cubs received a gift run in the third inning. Barney and Jackson grounded out to Kozma to start the inning. David DeJesus worked a two-out walk. Junior Lake hit a high fly out to left on a 1-1 pitch. Holliday lost in the sun. DeJesus scored and Lake ended up at second on E7. Rizzo grounded out to Craig (first pitch) to end the inning. The Cubs made Kelly work and after three innings, Kelly threw 43 pitches, 26 for strikes.

The Cardinals got the run right back in the bottom of the third as Edwin Jackson continued to struggle with the top of the Redbirds’ order. Matt Carpenter doubled to right center to start the third. Jackson then crossed up Welington Castillo and a passed ball allowed Carpenter to move up ninety feet. With the infield in, Beltran rolled a grounder to Barney for the first out. Jackson then issued back-to-back walks to Allen Craig and Matt Holliday to load the bases.

David Freese pulled Jackson’s first pitch down the third baseline. Donnie Murphy made an excellent diving stop behind the bag and threw out Freese at first. Carpenter scored on the play, 4-1 Cardinals. Murphy saved at least two more runs. With runners on the corners and two down, Jon Jay smoked Jackson’s first pitch toward first base … Anthony Rizzo made a leaping catch to end the inning. Jackson threw 56 pitches, 29 for strikes, over the first three innings.

The Cubs chipped into the Cardinals 4-1 lead in the fourth. Welington Castillo worked a walk to start the inning. Schierholtz flied out to center (3-1 pitch) for the first out. Murphy flied out to deep center for out number two but Starlin Castro ripped a single into right center. Castillo went to third. Darwin Barney chopped a 1-2 pitch past the mound. Kozma could not make a barehand pickup. Barney reached on an infield single as Castillo scored from third … 4-2 Cardinals. Jackson flied out to right center to end the inning. Kelly needed 66 pitches, 39 for strikes, to complete four innings on Sunday afternoon.

Edwin Jackson retired the side in order in the fourth … 68 pitches for Jackson, 35 for strikes, over four innings.

The Cubs trailed 4-2 after four innings.

The Cubs did nothing in the fifth and Jackson was able to wiggle his way out of a jam in the fifth without allowing the Cardinals to tack on.

Matt Carpenter led off the fifth with a single to right center. Jackson struck out Beltran swinging for the first out. Allen Craig singled to left to put two on for Matt Holliday. Holliday rapped into a 6-4-3 double play to end the inning.

Welington Castillo worked a full count before reaching on a single to center to start the sixth. Kelly struck out Schierholtz swinging. Donnie Murphy followed with a single to center and chased Kelly from the game. Mike Matheny went to his pen for Seth Maness with two on and one out.

Starlin Castro drove a 2-2 pitch into right. Castillo scored on Castro’s single and cut the Cardinals led to 4-3.

Darwin Barney delivered his second game tying hit in two days with a single to center. Murphy scored and tied the game at four. With runners on first and second with one out, Dale Sveum sent up Logan Watkins to hit for Jackson. Watkins rolled a 1-1 pitch toward first. Matt Adams fielded the ball and threw to second and forced Barney. Matheny went back to his pen for lefty Randy Choate with runners on the corners and two out. DeJesus popped out to Kozma in shallow left to end the inning.

The game did not remain tied for long. Blake Parker retired Freese (flyout to deep center) and Jay (grounder to first) to start the inning. Tony Cruz drove a 1-0 pitch into the gap in right center. Cruz ended up at second with a double and scored when Pete Kozma ripped a 0-1 pitch into center. With the Cardinals up 5-4 and a runner on second, Dale Sveum went to his pen for James Russell.

Adron Chambers hit for Choate and reached on an error by Donnie Murphy. Chambers cued a 1-2 pitch off the end of his bat that Murphy could not field cleanly. Russell retired Carpenter on a flyout to left center to end the inning.

The Cubs trailed 5-4 after six innings.

The Cubs could not take advantage of a pair of walks in the seventh. Anthony Rizzo worked a walk against lefty Kevin Siegrist. After Castillo popped out to short, Darnell McDonald hit for Schierholtz and walked. Donnie Murphy struck out swinging to end the inning.

James Russell retired Matt Adams on a flyout to right center for the first out in the seventh. Sveum went to his pen and brought in Hector Rondon. Allen Craig greeted Rondon with a single to right center. Matt Holliday singled to center. A wild pitch on a 2-2 offering to Freese moved both runners to second and third. Rondon walked Freese to load the bases. Dale Sveum brought his infield in … but it would not matter. Jon Jay pulled a 0-1 pitch to right center. McDonald caught the ball and threw toward third as Craig tagged and scored. Cruz hit a bullet back up the box that hit Rondon. The Cubs’ reliever picked up the ball and threw to first to end the inning.

Starlin Castro led off eighth with a double into the left field corner off of Edward Mujica. The Cardinals’ closer retired the next three batters he faced (Barney, Navarro and DeJesus) to end the inning.

The Cardinals took batting practice off Michael Bowden in the eighth and put the game away.

Daniel Descalso reached on a one-out single to left and scored when Matt Carpenter pulled another double into the gap in right center. Bowden walked Matt Adams. Adams then drifted too far off the bag after a 1-2 pitch to Craig. Castillo threw to first and Rizzo ran Adams toward second and tagged him out. Craig pulled a 3-2 pitch down the left field line. Carpenter scored, 8-4 Cardinals. Bowden intentionally walked Holliday. Edward Mujica hit for himself and struck out swinging to end the inning.

The Cubs did nothing against Mujica in the ninth.

The Cubs open a 10-game homestand on Monday night with the first of three against the Reds. Travis Wood is scheduled to face Mat Latos in the opener.

Follow ChicagoCubsOnline on Twitter: @TheCCO and @TheCCO_Minors

Quote of the Day

"People who write about Spring Training not being necessary have never tried to throw a baseball." – Sandy Koufax