Cubs Bullpen Bows to the Cardinals – Cardinals 6, Cubs 3

Game One Hundred-Two: Cubs 3, Cardinals 6

WP – Randy Choate (2-2) LP – James Russell (0-2) Save – Trevor Rosenthal (31)

Jake Arrieta settled down after giving up two runs in the first inning and Nate Schierholtz tied the game at two in the sixth with a pinch-hit home run. But James Russell and Brian Schlitter gave up four runs in the seventh as the Cubs lost to the Cardinals on Saturday afternoon at the old ballyard.

Jake Arrieta had very little command in the first inning. Arrieta struggled to find a release point and ended up pitching from behind in the count the entire opening frame. Arrieta labored through a 28-pitch first inning and his issues in the first, coupled with an error by Emilio Bonifacio in the second inning, helped cut Arrieta’s outing short.

Jake Arrieta gave up two runs in the first inning on a two-run double by Matt Adams, who had a huge day at the plate. Matt Adams went 2-for-5 with a double, a triple and four RBI. Arrieta found his command in the second inning and kept the Cardinals off the board for the remainder of his outing.

Jake Arrieta gave up two runs on five hits with a walk, a wild pitch and six strikeouts. Arrieta threw 109 pitches, 68 for strikes, in six innings.

The bullpen issues continued Saturday and all of the appearances early in the season have more than caught up with Brian Schlitter.

PrintJames Russell took the mound in the seventh with the game tied at two. Russell was charged with four runs on two hits with a walk and a strikeout in two-thirds of an inning. Russell gave up a leadoff single to Jon Jay and he scored the go ahead run on a grounder to first off the bat of Matt Carpenter. For as much as the Cubs pay attention to the numbers, Russell should not be facing lefties this season and only right handers should be pitching to Jon Jay.

The Cardinals took a commanding 5-2 lead against Russell and Schlitter served up the third hit of the day to A.J. Pierzynski that drove in the Cardinals’ sixth and final run.

Blake Parker, who was called up prior to Saturday’s game, pitched two scoreless innings.

The Cubs managed only one hit through the first five innings and the offense’s second hit of the game, a pinch-hit homer by Nate Schierholtz leading off the sixth inning, tied the game at two.

Emilio Bonifacio (3-for-4 with a double, a stolen base and a run scored) collected the Cubs’ first hit, a bunt single leading off the fourth inning. Bonifacio scored on grounder to first off the bat of Anthony Rizzo (0-for-4 with a RBI).

Ryan Sweeney (1-for-3 with a home run) hit his second home run in as many days, his third longball of the season, in the eighth inning.

With Saturday’s loss, the Cubs dropped to 42-60 on the season.

The game started with a walk to Matt Carpenter. Jake Arrieta had little control and could not find a release point. Kolten Wong singled to left on a 3-1 pitch and the Cardinals had runners on first and second with no outs. Matt Holliday rolled a 1-1 pitch to Rizzo and he took it to the bag for the first out. Carpenter and Wong moved up ninety feet. Arrieta fell behind Adams 3-0 before Matt Adams smoked a 3-2 pitch toward first. Rizzo was in position to make a play, but the ball took a bad hop and jumped over his left shoulder. Adams ended up at second with a double as both Carpenter and Wong scored, 2-0 Cardinals. Jhonny Peralta rolled one back to the mound that Arrieta knocked down and threw to second for the out. Adams did not slide as he tried to get back to the bag. With Peralta at first, A.J. Pierzynski made his Cardinals debut and grounded out to Bonifacio to end the inning. Arrieta threw 28 pitches, 16 for strikes, in the first inning.

The Cubs went down 1-2-3 in the first inning. Shelby Miller threw 17 pitches in the first, 10 for strikes.

After one inning, the Cubs were down 1-0.

Jake Arrieta settled down after the first inning and Shelby Miller retired the first nine batters he faced.

Arrieta retired three of the four batters he faced in the fourth inning. Arrieta gave up a single to Pierzynski in the fourth, but that was all. Arrieta threw 79 pitches, 48 for strikes, in the first four innings.

Emilio Bonifacio led off the fourth and reached on a bunt single toward third. Bonifacio beat Carpenter’s throw and picked up the Cubs first hit of the afternoon. Bonifacio swiped second with Alcantara at the plate. Arismendy Alcantara grounded a 3-2 pitch toward short, and was thrown out at first. Bonifacio advanced to third on the play and scored when Anthony Rizzo smoked a 0-1 pitch back up the middle … and into the shift. Jhonny Peralta was playing Rizzo behind the second base bag, fielded the ball and threw him out at first as Bonifacio scored, 2-1 Cardinals. Starlin Castro grounded out to third to end the inning.

The Cubs trailed 2-1 after four innings.

Jake Arrieta kept the Cardinals off the board in the fifth and sixth innings while the Cubs offense looked for its second hit of the game.

Ryan Sweeney led off the sixth and popped out to second base. Nate Schierholtz hit for Arrieta and pulled a solo homer down the right field line. Schierholtz’s home runs tied the game at two. Emilio Bonifacio followed and reached with a slug bunt double to left. But Bonifacio, representing the go ahead run and already one out, tried to advance to third on a grounder to short off the bat of Alcantara. Peralta threw out Bonifacio at third with the second out. Mike Matheny decided that was enough for Shelby Miller and went to his pen for Randy Choate. Anthony Rizzo struck out swinging to end the inning.

The game was tied at two after six innings.

James Russell started the seventh inning and was not able to record three outs. Jon Jay led off with a single to left. Mark Ellis hit for Choate and bunted Jay to second base. With Carpenter at the plate, Jay took off for third and slid in just ahead of Valbuena’s tag, and stayed on the base. Rick Renteria asked for the umps to take another look because Valbuena thought Jay was out. The call was upheld and Renteria pulled his infield in with the go ahead run at third. Matt Carpenter pulled a 3-2 pitch toward first. Rizzo fielded the ball and threw to the plate. Rizzo’s throw was a little low and Jay slid behind Castillo’s tag, 3-2 Cardinals. Russell struck out Wong. A wild pitch with Holliday at the plate allowed Carpenter to take second base. Russell walked Holliday and put two on with two down for Matt Adams. Russell gave up a triple to right center to Adams on a 1-2 pitch. Carpenter and Holliday scored, 5-2 Cardinals. Renteria decided that was enough for James Russell and went to his pen for Brian Schlitter. Jhonny Peralta walked and put runners on the corners with two down. A.J. Pierzynski ripped a single into right, his third hit of the game, Adams scored and the Cardinals went up 6-2. Taveras flied out to center for the third out to finally end the inning.

The Cubs managed a two out single in the seventh by Chris Coghlan off Sam Freeman, but that was all.

The Cubs trailed 6-2 at the end of seven innings.

Blake Parker retired the side in order in the eighth. And Pat Neshek replaced Freeman for the eighth inning.

Ryan Sweeney led off the eighth with a homer into the bleachers in left. Sweeney’s second home run in as many days cut the Cardinals lead to 6-3. Junior Lake flied out to left, but Bonifacio singled to left with one out. Arismendy Alcantara grounded out to second, Bonifacio advanced to second but was stranded when Rizzo flied out to right to end the inning.

The Cubs were down 6-3 after eight innings.

And that is the way the game ended. Starlin Castro singled in the ninth but was erased when Valbuena grounded into a double play. Justin Ruggiano notched a pinch-hit double with two outs. Trevor Rosenthal caught Welington Castillo looking to end the game.

The Cubs wrap up the three-game series against the Cardinals on Sunday afternoon (1:20pm CDT). Kyle Hendricks is scheduled to face Adam Wainwright.

Follow ChicagoCubsOnline on Twitter: @TheCCO and @TheCCO_Minors

Quote of the Day

"There are places I remember. All my life though some have changed. Some forever not for better. Some have gone and some remain. All these places have their moments ... " John Lennon/Paul McCartney