A Seeing Eye Loss – Cardinals 5, Cubs 4

Game Twenty-Nine: Cubs 4, Cardinals 5

WP – Kevin Siegrist (1-1) LP – Hector Rondon (0-1) Save – Trevor Rosenthal (8)

The Cubs fought back and tied the game at three in the seventh inning after being put in a three-run hole early in the game. Hector Rondon was used for the third time in as many days in the ninth inning of a tied game. Rondon struggled and loaded the bases with a pair of walks and a single. Yadier Molina hit a four-bouncer back up the middle, just out of the reach of Starlin Castro and into center that plated two and broke the tie. Luis Valbuena made it interesting in the ninth when he doubled in Emilio Bonifacio with two outs, but the Cubs ended up on the short end of a one-run game and could not complete the sweep over the Cardinals.

Jason Hammel struggled for the first time on Sunday night. Hammel’s command was not there in the first three innings and a pair of two-out walks led to the three runs he allowed. Hammel completed six innings on a night he did not have it and allowed three runs on seven hits with two walks, a wild pitch and seven strikeouts. Hammel threw 101 pitches, 62 for strikes and recorded his sixth quality start of the season.

Jason Hammel (1-for-1 with a RBI and a walk) was the Cubs’ offense until the later innings. Hammel drove in the Cubs’ first two runs with a single in the fourth, his first two RBI since 2011, that plated Ryan Kalish (1-for-3 with a run scored) and John Baker (0-for-3 with a walk and a run scored).

Luis Valbuena (2-for-4 with a triple, a double, a walk, a RBI and a run scored) reached base three times in five plate appearances and was on second base representing the tying run in the ninth when Anthony Rizzo (1-for-4 with a walk and four men left on base) grounded out to Matt Adams to end the game. Valbuena tripled with two outs in the seventh and scored the tying run on a wild pitch. Valbuena doubled in Emilio Bonifacio (0-for-3 with two walks and a run scored) with the Cubs fourth and final run.

The Cubs managed only five hits on the night, but walked six times. The Cubs went 2-for-7 with RISP and left eight men on base with 10 strikeouts.

All of the runs, for both teams, in Sunday night’s game scored with two outs.

With Sunday’s loss (2-3 on Sundays in 2014), the Cubs slipped to 11-18 on the season.

Matt Carpenter helped bail out Jason Hammel in the first inning. Hammel was leaving everything up to start the game and Carpenter led off with a single to left center on a 3-2 pitch. Yadier Molina drove a 1-1 pitch to deep right. Carpenter took off running as he thought the ball would sail over Schierholtz’s head. Nate Schierholtz made a nice running catch then threw a one-hop strike to Rizzo at first to double off Carpenter. Matt Holliday flied out to deep left center to end the inning. Hammel faced the minimum on only 12 pitches, but it was apparent the extra rest (seven days in between starts) did not help Hammel in any way.

Anthony Rizzo collected a two-out single, but that was all for the Cubs in the first. Lance Lynn set down three of the four batters he faced to start his night on 13 pitches, nine for strikes.

Jason Hammel retired Matt Adams (grounder to second) and Allen Craig (grounder to first on 3-2 pitch) to start the second inning. Hammel walked Jhonny Peralta (3-1 pitch) and two out walks usually don’t end well, especially when they are coupled with a wild pitch. Hammel’s first offering to Randall Grichuk got past Baker, Peralta advanced to second and scored on Grichuk’s first run scoring hit. Grichuk drove a 2-1 pitch into right center. Peralta scored and Grichuk ended up at third with a triple. Mark Ellis followed and doubled to left center. Grichuk scored, 2-0 Cardinals. Lynn struck out swinging to end the inning. Jason Hammel labored through two innings (37 pitches, 22 for strikes) as he continued to struggle with his command.

The Cubs went down in order in the second and Jason Hammel started the third inning throwing strikes. Hammel struck out Carpenter swinging and retired Molina on a flyout to right. Hammel walked Matt Holliday, and his second two-out walk ended up costing him another run. Matt Adams doubled off the wall in left center. Holliday scored, 3-0 Cardinals. Adams advanced to third on Castro’s throw to the plate. Hammel caught Allen Craig looking at a 2-2 pitch to end the inning … 59 pitches for Hammel after three innings, 34 for strikes.

The Cubs loaded the bases in the bottom of the third thanks to Lance Lynn, and Angel Hernandez’s inconsistent strike zone. After Barney popped out, Jason Hammel worked a walk. And both Bonifacio and Valbuena walked to load the bases with one out. Anthony Rizzo popped out to Grichuk in shallow left center and Starlin Castro flied out to right to end the inning.

Hammel gave up a two-out single to Mark Ellis in the fourth, but that was all for the Cardinals and the game went to the bottom of the fourth with the Cardinals up 3-0.

Ryan Kalish reached on an infield single to second with one down in the fourth. John Baker walked and put two on with one down for Barney. The struggling Darwin Barney hit a slow roller toward short. Jhonny Peralta made a barehand pick up and threw out Barney at first as both Kalish and Baker moved up ninety feet. Jason Hammel stepped in with two outs and runners on second and third. Hammel drove a 1-1 pitch into right. Kalish scored and Baker did as well after Craig, who was playing an extremely shallow right field, bobbled the ball. Hammel’s first two RBI since 2011 cut the Cardinals lead to 3-2. Bonifacio struck out swinging to end the inning.

After four complete, the Cardinals led 3-2.

Jason Hammel and Lance Lynn settled in somewhat, plus Carlos Villanueva threw a scoreless seventh inning, and the Cardinals took the 3-2 lead into the bottom of the seventh inning.

Mike Matheny went to his pen for the seventh and inserted flame-throwing Carlos Martinez. Chris Coghlan made his Cubs’ debut hitting for Carlos Villanueva to start the inning. Coghlan became the 99th different player to suit up for the Cubs under the Theo Epstein-Jed Hoyer administration. Coghlan grounded out to short and Bonifacio grounded out to second. Luis Valbuena pulled a 0-1 pitch into the right field corner. Valbuena flipped his bat, hustled out of the box and ended up at third with a two-out triple. After a visit from Matheny and a huddle on the mound, Martinez tried to get Rizzo to chase his first two pitches, then issued the next two intentionally to put runners on the corners with two down. A 0-1 pitch to Castro skirted under Molina’s legs, Luis Valbuena scampered in and tied the game at three. Castro struck out swinging to end the inning.

At the end of seven innings, the game was tied at three.

Justin Grimm put a zero on the board in the eighth and Kevin Siegrist struck out the Cubs in order in the eighth. The game went to the ninth all tied at three.

Rick Renteria decided to use Hector Rondon in the ninth, despite the fact he pitched two days in a row and in each of the last three games. Rondon was not sharp and issued a one out walk to Randall Grichuk. Mark Ellis singled to left. With runners on first and second and one out, Matheny sent up Peter Bourjos to hit for Siegrist. Rondon struck out Bourjos swinging for the second out. Matt Carpenter walked to load the bases. Renteria left Rondon in to face Molina. Yadier Molina hit a four-bouncer back up the middle on a 1-2 pitch and into center. Grichuk and Ellis scored, 5-3 Cardinals. Renteria finally went to his pen and brought in Wesley Wright to face Holliday and he flied out to right to end the inning.

Trevor Rosenthal struck out Darwin Barney looking to start the ninth. Welington Castillo hit for Wesley Wright and grounded out to third. Emilio Bonifacio worked a walk and took second on defensive indifference on the first pitch to Valbuena. Luis Valbuena doubled to left center and plated Bonifacio, 5-4 Cardinals. Anthony Rizzo rolled over a 0-2 pitch and grounded out to Matt Adams to end the game.

The Cubs kickoff a four-game series against the White Sox on Monday night (7:05pm CDT) with the first of two at Wrigley Field … Jeff Samardzija is scheduled to face Jose Quintana in the opener.

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  • GaryLeeT

    Done in by 2 out walks. Well, at least the Cubs took 2 of 3, and didn’t roll over in the last game.

  • http://theboardridersuite.wordpress.com/ Theboardrider

    I’ll say the Cubs are starting to play how some of us thought they could. Production up and down the lineup. Disappointed Rizzo couldn’t drive in a few more runs last night, but right now he’s the last guy in the lineup that deserves criticism. Overall they’re competitive and fun to watch.

    • GaryLeeT

      I don’t know about up & down the lineup, because Baker and Barney’s AB were pretty brutal. They got shown up by Hammel, who was an AL pitcher for the previous 2 seasons.

      • http://theboardridersuite.wordpress.com/ Theboardrider

        Oh you got that right! I meant in general. Neither of those two hae been playing regularly. If Castillo plays last night maybe we win the game? Who knows.

  • Craig York

    Hopefully they can continue to be competitive. It’s a bit more fun to watch lol

  • SirGladiator

    To me the biggest question of the game is, why on earth didn’t Castro get that easy ground ball? If there hadn’t been 2 outs, you’d think a ball like that would be a tailor made double play, and somehow he didn’t even manage to get to it? I don’t know whether he was positioned absolutely terribly, or broke really late on the ball, or both, but something went horribly wrong because you just can’t blame the pitcher when he gets such an easy ground ball like that. Gotta blame either Castro or the guy who positioned him, or both, because everybody knows Molina likes to go back up the middle, and that’s exactly where he went, and he hit it so slowly it shouldn’t have been anything other than a super-easy out. That should’ve been the third out, and then we win it in the bottom of the 9th, and sweep the series. Somebody needs to be disciplined for that terrible mistake, either the positioning guy or Castro, or both, because that was absolutely unbelievable.