The Hits and Runs Just Kept on Coming – Cubs 17, Cardinals 5

Game Thirty-Seven: Cubs 17, Cardinals 5

WP – Travis Wood (3-4) LP – Tyler Lyons (0-3) Save – None

wflag-pub2014Everything went the Cubs way on Monday night in St. Louis as the Cubs snapped their three-game losing streak with an offensive explosion against the Cardinals. The offense has scored 29 runs in the team’s last two victories and only 13 runs in the Cubs’ last six losses.

The Cubs scored a season-high 17 runs on a season-high 20 hits and forced Mike Matheny to use Daniel Descalso, a position player, to record the final out in the ninth inning. The entire starting nine, including Travis Wood, picked up at least one hit and the Cubs put a crooked number on the board in five different innings.

The offense had a good approach against the Cardinals and what will be lost in all of the runs and hits are the three productive outs that led to runs. The Cubs hit the ball where it was pitched and didn’t try to pull everything.

The Cubs jumped on Tyler Lyons in the first inning and hit for the cycle against the Cardinals’ lefty. Emilio Bonifacio (4-for-5 with a double, a walk and five runs scored) doubled, moved to third on a grounder to second by Junior Lake (3-for-6 with a home run, two doubles, six RBI and two runs scored), and scored on a passed ball. Bonifacio scored a career-high five runs and was on base all night.

Starlin Castro (3-for-6 with a double, a triple, three RBI and a run scored) tripled in Anthony Rizzo (1-for-5 with three RBI and a run scored) with the Cubs second run of the game.

Mike Olt (2-for-6 with a home run, two RBI and two runs scored) hit a two-run homer to right in the first inning and his eighth longball of the season gave the Cubs a 4-0 lead before the Cardinals were able to swing a bat.

Junior Lake had a career night. Lake hit a three-run homer in the second inning that gave the Cubs a 7-0 lead and he drove in a career-high six runs. Darwin Barney (3-for-5 with a RBI and two runs scored) picked up where he left off on Sunday in Atlanta. Barney reached base three times with his second consecutive multi-hit game and scored two of the Cubs runs.

The two (Lake), three (Rizzo), four (Castro) and five (Olt) spots in the lineup went a combined 9-for-23 with three doubles, one triple, two home runs, six runs scored and 14 RBI.

Travis Wood put together a decent outing against a team he’s had trouble with throughout his career. Wood lasted six innings and gave up five runs, four earned, on five hits with three walks and four strikeouts. Wood uncharacteristically hit two batters and threw 94 pitches, 61 for strikes. Wood paid the price for the two hit batsman that led to two of the three runs the Cardinals scored in the fifth inning. Eric Fornataro plunked Travis Wood (1-for-1 with two runs scored, a sac bunt and a HBP) leading off the sixth inning and he scored on a sacrifice fly by Anthony Rizzo.

Brian Schlitter, Justin Grimm and Hector Rondon allowed one base hit over the last three innings of the game.

The last time the Cubs scored 17 or more runs against the Cardinals was on Sept. 21, 1974 in a 19-4 win at Wrigley Field. The Cubs had not scored 17 or more runs in a game in St. Louis since April 17, 1954 in a 21-13 victory over the Cardinals, Ernie Banks’ first full year in the league.

With Monday’s win, the Cubs improved to 13-24 on the season.

Emilio Bonifacio led off the game with a double down the left field line (1-1 pitch). Lake quickly fell behind 0-2 before working the count back to even. Junior Lake grounded out to second and moved Bonifacio up ninety feet with a productive out. Yadier Molina did not catch a high 0-1 offering to Rizzo, the ball went in and out of his glove. Bonifacio hustled down the line and scored on a rare passed ball by Molina. Anthony Rizzo blooped a single into left (1-2 pitch). Starlin Castro drove a 1-1 pitch down the right field line. The ball hit off the sidewall and skipped past Allen Craig. Rizzo scored on Castro’s first triple of the season, 2-0 Cubs. Mike Olt drove Tyler Lyons first pitch fastball just over the wall in right … and just like that the Cubs had a 4-0 lead. Castillo grounded out to second and Schierholtz struck out swinging to end the inning.

Travis Wood retired the side in order on 10 pitches, eight for strikes, to start his night. And after one complete, the Cubs had a 4-0 lead.

Darwin Barney flied out to deep left center for the first out in the second inning. Travis Wood pulled a 0-1 pitch down the third baseline. Matt Carpenter made a tremendous diving stop and nearly threw out Wood at first. Wood reached on an infield single and advanced to second on a single to left by Emilio Bonifacio. Junior Lake stepped in and crushed a 1-0 pitch from Lyons. Lake’s fourth homer of the season ended up in the stands in left and the Cubs took a 7-0 lead. Rizzo grounded out to Carpenter in the shift and Castro flied out to right for the third out. The Cubs were aggressive against Lyons, put up seven runs in two innings, and forced the southpaw to throw 33 pitches, 24 for strikes, in two innings.

Wood struck out Allen Craig looking to start the second. Yadier Molina singled to left center on a 1-2 pitch, the first Cardinals hit of the night. Matt Adams flied out to left. Wood issued a two-out walk to Peter Bourjos (3-2 pitch). Mark Ellis stepped in with two on and two out. Wood appeared to catch him looking on a 0-2 pitch. Wood did not get the call. Ellis singled to left two pitches later. Junior Lake charged the ball, but took his eye off it as he appeared to be focused on throwing out Molina at the plate. The ball skipped past Lake, rolled to the wall and the Cardinals were given two runs. Molina and Bourjos scored, 7-2 Cubs. Wood struck out Lyons swinging to end the inning. Wood needed 35 pitches, 26 for strikes, to get through two innings on Monday night.

The Cubs did nothing against Lyons in the third and Wood retired Yadier Molina on a flyout to center with runners on second and third to end the third inning. Wood threw 50 pitches, 35 for strikes, in his first three innings of work.

After three innings, the Cubs led 7-2.

Darwin Barney led off the fourth with a single to left (0-2 pitch). Travis Wood bunted Barney to second. Bonifacio walked and put runners on first and second with one down for Junior Lake. Barney scored when Lake drove Lyons first pitch into right center. Bonifacio stopped at third on Lake’s fifth double of the season. Mike Matheny brought his infield in and Rizzo grounded a 0-2 pitch toward short. Peralta fielded the ball and threw home. Bonifacio appeared to avoid Molina’s tag as he slid around the Cardinals catcher and touched the plate with his barehand. Bonifacio was called out. Rick Renteria challenged the play, the call was overturned and the Cubs took a 9-2 lead. Castro could not check his swing on a 0-2 pitch and was called out. Olt grounded out to third (3-1 pitch) to end the inning.

Travis Wood retired the Cardinals in order in the fourth (58 pitches, 41 for strikes) and the Cubs led 9-2 after four complete.

The Cubs were not able to tack on to their lead in the fifth against Eric Fornataro. But the Cardinals were able to cut in to the Cubs lead in the home half of the fifth.

Travis Wood hit two batters in the fifth that helped the Cardinals put three runs on the board. Wood hit Greg Garcia (3-0 pitch) to start the inning. Carpenter filed out to left. Wood plunked Jhonny Peralta with a 0-1 pitch. And the Cardinals had runners on first and second with one out. Matt Holliday drove a 0-2 pitch past Rizzo and into the right field corner. Garcia scored, 9-3 Cubs. Allen Craig pulled a 1-0 pitch toward third. With the infield back, Olt fielded the ball cleanly and looked at Peralta racing for the plate. Olt did not make a quick decision and finally threw across the diamond for the out. Olt nearly waited too long after the decision had already been made for him. Renteria had his infield back up by six runs. Olt has to know at that point, outs are more important than keeping a runner from scoring. Peralta scored, 9-4 Cubs. Yadier Molina singled to center. Holliday scored as Bonifacio’s throw sailed over Castillo and hit the backstop. Molina took second on the play. The Cubs did not pay attention to Molina with Matt Adams at the plate and he got a walking lead off second … and swiped third without a throw to either the plate or the bag. Adams flied out to left center to end the inning.

After five innings, the Cubs led 9-5.

The Cubs got two of the three runs right back in the sixth. Fornataro hit Wood with his first pitch in retaliation for Wood plunking Garcia and Peralta in the bottom of the fifth. The Cardinals sent a message … and it cost them a run. Bonifacio singled to left. With runners on first and second with no outs, Lake flied out to right. Wood tagged and advanced to third on the play. Anthony Rizzo pulled a 3-2 pitch into right center. Wood tagged and scored, 10-5 Cubs. Starlin Castro smoked a 2-2 pitch past Carpenter at third. The ball ate up the Cardinals’ third baseman and ended up in the left field corner. Bonifacio scored easily on Castro’s double, 11-5 Cubs. Mike Olt flied out to deep center to end the inning.

Travis Wood retired three of the four batters he faced in the sixth … and after six complete, the Cubs led 11-5.

Brian Schlitter and Justin Grimm kept the Cardinals off the board in the seventh and eighth innings.

Randy Choate started the ninth for the Cardinals and the Cubs just kept on hitting. Mike Olt led off the ninth with a single to right. Welington Castillo doubled to left. Olt held at third with no outs. Nate Schierholtz lifted a fly ball into center. Olt scored, 12-5 Cubs. Darwin Barney singled to right, Castillo scored and the Cubs took a 13-5 lead. Ryan Kalish hit for Justin Grimm and singled to center. Bonifacio followed with a single to center. Gary Jones held Barney at third. With the bases loaded and one out, Junior Lake blooped a double down the right field line. Barney and Kalish scored, 15-5 Cubs. Anthony Rizzo grounded out to second, Bonifacio scored and the Cubs went up 16-5. Starlin Castro capped the scoring with a single to center that plated Lake. With the Cubs up 17-5, Matheny decided that was enough for Choate and went to his bench for Daniel Descalso, the utility-infielder. Olt flied out to left to end the inning.

Hector Rondon retired the Cardinals in order on 14 pitches, 10 for strikes, to end the game. It’s always a good day when the Cubs beat the Cardinals.

Jake Arrieta is scheduled to face Adam Wainwright on Tuesday night (7:15pm CDT).

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  • Ripsnorter1

    Kris Bryant report says…..

    “The only cause for concern with me are the strikeouts, as he’s on pace to strike out well over 150 times this year. We’ll have to see whether he can still hit for a high average despite the contact issues at the next level.”

    • Ripsnorter1

      Same sounds we heard about Mr. Baez.

      Interpretation: it is going to take some time.

    • BosephHeyden

      He’s hitting .321. That’s nearly a hit every three at bats. If he’s doing that, then it really shouldn’t matter what he’s doing the other two times…heck, so long as he’s not hitting into double plays, I’d take a pattern of two strikeouts and a hit.

  • Ripsnorter1

    It says right here that the Cards are done for 2014. They can’t hit, folks. Even the Cubs–the Theo built, scavenged off of the scrap heap Cubs!–have scored more runs than the Cardinals in 2014.

    Shout it in the streets! The Cards are finished in 2014!

    And for those folks looking for Oscar Tavaras to save the Cards in 2014, let them note that he’s hitting .200 for the month of May. He’s Bobby Hill! Everybody expects him to save the day for the Cards, and he can’t do it.

    The Cards made a serious error in the offseason: they lost a big, big bat in Beltran, and they replaced it with a whiffle ball bat (Peter Bourjas) in the name of “team defense.” That was dumb.

    • No Baseball In Indiana

      Beltran looks pretty bad 234/280/430 and now he’s getting a MRI. The cards did the right thing not signing him and the Yankees bit. 3 for $45 mil will be a total waste.

    • K_Gripp

      Unfortunately the Cardinals are so deep in their system that they can go out and make a trade for a big bat. There are rumblings about them targeting Stanton. I know Miami said that he is not on the market but the Cardinals actually have the talent to make that trade worth it for the Marlins.

      I don’t think letting Beltran go had anything to do with team defense. I think it was about not signing a 38 year old to a 3 year deal.

  • Sonate

    After last night we find the Cubs with 150 runs scored versus 154 runs allowed for the season. A differential as thin as four runs implies that the Cubs should be 18-19 so far instead of 13-24. The Mets have a record of 18-19, have scored 151 runs and allowed 157. The only team in the league nearly as bad as the Cubs so far is Arizona at 15-26. They have scored 156 runs, but have allowed 220. So the question is: are the Cubs actually .500 ball club that will start winning more games, or are they really like the D-backs and start giving up runs in bunches?

  • jtrain23

    The more I see Mike Olt, the more conflicted I am. His power and run producing ability is undeniable. If you throw him a fast ball, he’ll hit it a mile. He cannot, and I mean CANNOT, hit breaking balls though.

    Can they afford a guy in the lineup that hits below .200? It seems like an easy question. How about if this guy is on pace for 35 homers and 84 RBI’s? That makes it a lot harder to answer. I just HOPE that Olt can keep seeing fastballs and can start hitting off speed pitches even a bit as the season drags on. If that’s the case, then it’s a mute point.

    • DWalker

      Olt reminds me of last years Rizzo. He had a wasted year last year injury wise that had to shake his confidence and he’s playing at a level above his current ability right now. most other clubs he should still be AAA. I think he has a chance to come around still as long as they keep letting him play though. I am ok with him in the line up as long as it doesn’t also include 2-3 other non performing hitters. Thats the problem, we have to many guys on the roster who just can’t make contact. Since this is already a wasted year though, I say make the msot of it and keep running olt and lake out there until they learns or are beyond hope.