And That’s All Folks – Cubs 0, Cardinals 4

Game One Hundred Sixty-Two – Cubs 0, Cardinals 4

WP – Joe Kelly (10-5) LP – Jeff Samardzija (8-13) Save – None

The Cubs ended the 2013 season with a loss to the Cardinals and finished the year with a 66-96 record after Dale Sveum’s team was shutout for the 16th time.

Jeff Samardzija recorded a quality start as he wrapped up his first full season in the Cubs’ rotation. Samardzija had good location for the most part but he could not slow down the Cardinals’ offense on Sunday. Joe Kelly doubled and scored the game’s first run in the third before the Redbirds put the game out of reach in the fourth. Samardzija gave up two doubles to Matt Adams and Daniel Descalso that led to their second run and Shane Robinson drove in the third with a single to center.

Jeff Samardzija took the loss in the final game of the year after allowing three runs on eight hits with no walks and four strikeouts. Samardzija was limited to 100 pitches and ended up throwing 95 in six innings, 59 for strikes.

Hector Rondon kept the Cardinals off the board in the seventh and ended his year on a positive note. Rondon struck out two of the four batters he faced and issued a walk. Pedro Strop allowed the Cardinals’ fourth run in the eighth before turning the ball over to Zac Rosscup to record the final out.

The Cubs offense managed only five hits, four went for doubles, but they could not push across a single run. Anthony Rizzo (1-for-4 with a double) recorded his 40th double of the season in the first inning. Nate Schierholtz (2-for-3 with two doubles) and Logan Watkins (1-for-4 with a double) notched three of the Cubs’ other four hits while Darnell McDonald (1-for-1) hit for Schierholtz in the ninth and reached on a pinch-hit single.

The Cubs went 0-for-5 with runners in scoring position and left five men on base. As is the case with most final games of the season, the Cubs were very aggressive and did not work a walk and struck out five times.

With Sunday’s loss (8-18 on Sundays in 2013), the Cubs lost 14 of the last 18 games and finished with a 25-51 mark against the NL Central and 66-96 overall for the season.

Anthony Rizzo reached on a two-out double to left center in the first inning off of Jake Westbrook but Nate Schierholtz flied out to right to end the inning. Westbrook threw 14 pitches, nine for strikes, in what ended up being his only inning on Sunday.

Jeff Samardzija gave up a one-out single to Jon Jay in the first. Samardzija struck out Carlos Beltran and Matt Adams swinging to end the inning. Samardzija needed 18 pitches, 11 for strikes, to complete the first inning.

Joe Kelly took over for Westbrook in the second and made quick work of the Cubs. Samardzija set down the Cardinals in order in the second. Samardzija threw 27 pitches, 18 for strikes, over the first two frames and the game went to the third with no score.

After the Cubs went down in order quickly in the third, Samardzija retired Wong on a bunt attempt. Joe Kelly followed and drove a 2-2 pitch to right over Schierholtz’s head that went for a double. Matt Carpenter grounded out to second, Kelly advanced to third and scored when Jon Jay pulled a 3-2 pitch into right. J.C. Boscan threw out Jay at second to end the inning.

After three innings, the Cubs trailed 1-0.

Nate Schierholtz reached on a ground rule double to center with two outs in the fourth, but that was all. Ryan Sweeney popped out to Matt Carpenter at third to end the inning.

The Cardinals put the game out of reach in the fourth. Beltran popped out to Murphy in foul ground for the first out in the fourth. Matt Adams followed with a double to left. Samardzija struck out Tony Cruz swinging for the second out. Daniel Descalso doubled to center, plated Adams, then scored on a single to center by Shane Robinson. Kolten Wong singled to left and put two on with two down for Joe Kelly. Samardzija retired Kelly on a flyout to left.

After four innings, the Cardinals led 3-0.

The game remained 3-0 Cardinals until the eighth inning. Jeff Samardzija set down the side in order in both the fifth and sixth innings to close out his season. Logan Watkins doubled in the sixth with two out and Nate Schierholtz led off the seventh with a double but the Cubs could not string together any hits.

Pedro Strop started the eighth and walked Jon Jay. Chambers grounded out to Watkins, Jay advanced to second with one out. Strop struck out Adams swinging for the second out. But Tony Cruz doubled to left, Jay scored and the Cardinals went up 4-0. Dale Sveum went to his pen for Zac Rosscup and the rookie southpaw caught Pete Kozma looking at a 1-2 pitch to end the inning.

Kevin Siegrist took over for the Cardinals in the ninth. Logan Watkins grounded out to short and Rizzo rolled out to first. Darnell McDonald hit for Schierholtz and singled to right center. Ryan Sweeney stepped in and hit a soft liner toward third that he thought was foul. Sweeney did not run and was thrown out at first to end the game … and the season.

The Cubs open the 2014 season in Pittsburgh on March 31.

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Quote of the Day

"Every strike brings me closer to the next home run." - Babe Ruth