A Big Night for Jorge Soler and the Young Cubs – Cubs 7, Cardinals 2

Game One Hundred Thirty-Four: Cubs 7, Cardinals 2

WP – Neil Ramirez (2-1) LP – Pat Neshek (6-1) Save – None

wflag-pub2014In a game started by Kyle Hendricks, Jorge Soler hit a pair of home runs and drove in three runs. Javier Baez’s two-run double in the eighth gave the Cubs the lead, Arismendy Alcantara added a solo shot in the ninth and the young arms in the pen shut down the Cardinals for three innings as the Cubs took game one in St. Louis on Friday night.

The Cubs were down 2-1 going into the seventh inning before the kids took over. The Cubs scored six runs in their last three at bats with all six runs scoring on hits from Jorge Soler, Javier Baez and Arismendy Alcantara.

Jorge Soler (3-for-3 with two home runs, three RBI and a walk) tied the game in the seventh inning with a solo shot over the wall in center. After Logan Watkins (1-for-1 with a run scored) led off the eighth with a pinch-hit single and advanced to third on a Chris Coghlan (1-for-5 with a double and a run scored) ground rule double, Javier Baez (1-for-4 with a double and two RBI) broke the 2-2 tie with a double to left center. Two batters later with Baez still at second, Jorge Soler unloaded a two-run shot to left that traveled an estimated 442 feet.

Arismendy Alcantara (1-for-4 with a home run) added the exclamation point with a solo homer to center in the ninth.

PrintSeven of the Cubs nine hits Friday night went for extra bases, and four of them left the yard.

Luis Valbuena (1-for-3 with a home run and a walk) put the Cubs on the board in the second inning with his 14th longball of the season. Starlin Castro (1-for-4 with a double) doubled in the sixth but was thrown out at third trying to stretch a double into a triple with his team down by a run.

Kyle Hendricks put together another quality start and ended up with an impressive outing after a rough first inning. Hendricks gave up two runs in the first inning before he settled in and retired 15 of the last 18 batters he faced. Hendricks made the right adjustments after the first inning and quieted the Cardinals offense for five innings before turning the game over to the bullpen.

Kyle Hendricks gave up two runs on five hits with a walk and three strikeouts. Hendricks threw 89 pitches, 58 for strikes, in six innings.

Neil Ramirez worked around two hits and kept the game tied at two. Pedro Strop struck out two of the three batters he faced in the eighth and Justin Grimm struck out four batters in a scoreless ninth inning.

With Friday’s win, the Cubs improved to 60-74 on the season.

The Cubs went down in order against Shelby Miller on nine pitches, six for strikes, to start the game. And the Cardinals jumped out to an early lead against Kyle Hendricks.

Matt Carpenter led off the first with a single to left on a 1-1 pitch. Hendricks walked Kolten Wong and put runners on first and second with no outs. Matt Holliday stepped in and ripped Hendricks’ 0-1 pitch into left. Carpenter scored, 1-0 Cardinals. Matt Adams popped a 0-2 pitch to Castro near the line in shallow left for the first out. Wong swiped third on the first pitch to Peralta. Hendricks jumped ahead of Peralta 0-2 and jammed the Cardinals shortstop with the third pitch of the at bat. Hendricks broke his bat but the ball floated over Castro and into left center. Wong scored, 2-0 Cardinals. Hendricks struck out Yadier Molina and Oscar Taveras grounded out to first to end the inning. Hendricks threw 26 pitches, 18 for strikes, in the first inning.

After one complete, the Cubs trailed 2-0.

Luis Valbuena led off the second inning and pulled a 0-1 pitch from Miller into the stands in right. Valbuena did not flip his bat, but his 14th longball of the season cut the Cardinals lead in half. Jorge Soler followed with a single to left. Joe West called Welington Castillo out on strikes. Arismendy Alcantara pulled a 2-2 pitch to Adams at first. Soler was forced at second but Miller was late to the bag and Alcantara took over at first with two outs. Valaika blooped out to right to end the inning.

Kyle Hendricks retired the side in order in the second inning. Hendricks needed 40 pitches, 26 for strikes, to complete two innings Friday night.

After two innings, the Cubs trailed 2-1.

The game remained 2-1 Cardinals through the middle innings. Kyle Hendricks really settled in and made excellent in game adjustments. Hendricks retired the Cardinals in order in the third and fourth innings. Hendricks threw 74 pitches, 49 for strikes, in five innings. And Hendricks allowed only three baserunners over his last four innings of work.

The game went to the seventh inning with the Cubs down 2-1.

Jorge Soler led off the seventh and crushed the first pitch from Shelby Miller. The ball sailed over the wall in straight away center and tied the game at two.


Shelby Miller retired Welington Castillo (grounder to short), Arismendy Alcantara (lineout to right) and Chris Valaika (flyout to center) in order to end the inning.

Neil Ramirez replaced Hendricks in the seventh and gave up two hits, but Chris Coghlan caught a line drive in left center off the bat of Matt Holliday to end the inning.

After seven innings, the game was tied at two.

Pat Neshek started the eighth for the Cardinals and pinch-hitter Logan Watkins greeted him with a single to right. Chris Coghlan followed with a ground rule double to right. The ball hit near the line and hopped into the stands. With runners on second and third with no outs, Mike Matheny brought his infield in with Javier Baez stepping into the box. Baez quickly fell behind 0-2 before working the count back to even. Baez ripped the seventh pitch of the at bat into the gap in left center. The ball rolled all the way to the wall. Watkins and Coghlan scored, 4-2 Cubs. Starlin Castro popped out to Matt Adams at first and Valbuena struck out swinging.

With Baez still at second and two outs, Jorge Soler crushed the first pitch from Neshek. The ball sailed 442 feet and his second  home run of the game, third in three games, gave the Cubs a 6-2 lead.


Mike Matheny decided that was enough for Neshek and went to his pen for Nick Greenwood. Welington Castillo grounded out to third to end the inning.

Pedro Strop pitched a 1-2-3 eighth inning … and the game went to the ninth with the Cubs up 6-2.

Arismendy Alcantara, hitting right handed for the first time on the night, led off the ninth and cranked a solo home run to centerfield. Alcantara’s sixth home run of the season gave the Cubs a 7-2 lead. Greenwood struck out Valaika. Matt Szczur hit for Strop and grounded out to third base. Coghlan tapped back to the mound to end the inning.

Justin Grimm made his way from the bullpen for the ninth inning. Jon Jay reached with a one out single to right. Daniel Descalso struck out swinging but reached on a wild pitch. Grimm struck out Wong to close out the game.

Weather permitting … the Cubs and Cardinals are scheduled to play a day-night double header Saturday. Felix Doubront makes his Cubs debut in game one against Justin Masterson (1:15pm CDT) and Tsuyoshi Wada faces Marco Gonzales in the night cap (7:15pm CDT).

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

    Wow! Soler….beast…speechless….

    • mutantbeast

      Board-not only his bat-see how in the bottom of the 7th he came within an eyelash on nailing Grilichuk at 2b throwing a perfect strike behind the runner. Grilichuk must have seen him in the minors, got to 2nd and never made the turn at all. Hed have been dead meat if he had. That play was as impressive as his power display. Showed the kid uses his head.

    • Jeff Wilson

      Oh c’mon, you speechless? 😀

  • http://www.AstroDecision.com/ Larry Schwimmer

    I was excited by BAEZ…now I find myself being ecstatic to have such a talent as SOLER. I’m also excited because it’s becoming clear to all MLB teams that the CUBS have been a sleeping giant…who has just awakened. Depending on what moves are made in the off-season — 2015 is a year that the CUBS will contend and surprise many. That’s my prediction.

    • mutantbeast

      Baez had one great AB there in the 8th. Didnt chase the bad pitches off one of the best right handed RP in baseball,without Baez 2b Soler doesnt even come to the plate that inning.

  • Steve Baier

    SO great to see a right-fielder producing in the middle of the Cubs’ lineup! This is one of the great things about baseball: a last-place team can become one of the more exciting teams in the league in the last month of the season.

  • mutantbeast

    Did anyone see what happened after the first Soler moonshot? The Redbirds went out to check if Miller was OK. I guess his neck must have been strained watching that bomb. Get used to it, Redbirds. In the next 2-3 years a lot of your pitchers are going to come down with sudden “injuries” right before facing the Cubs.

    • Henry

      i could not stop laughing about the strained neck injury! I will have to contain myself and be a better sport! : )

      • mutantbeast

        Cardinal fans arent very good sports Henry,been laughing at us for years. Who was it who said something about payback?

  • Jeff Wilson

    Soler’s arm reminds me of Andre Dawson… it will be fun to watch someone try to stretch a double into a triple…

    • mutantbeast

      saw a video earlier this year when Soler was at AA. Guy from the Dodgers AA team did exactly that , tried to stretch what he thought was an easy triple. Soler nailed him by 15 feet with a perfect one-hop throw to 3rd. Reminded me of Cespedes throw earlier this year when he was still with the As .

      • Jeff Wilson

        I saw that Cespedes throw on the highlights, I don’t think that throw went any higher than 12 feet, it was a rocket! Last night that throw by Soler brought the biggest grin to my face..:-))

        • mutantbeast

          you know whose arm Soler reminds me of(and Cespedes also)? Dave Parker. Just like Parker it seems to be a ball on a line right at the target.

  • mutantbeast

    “Mike Matheney decided that was enough for Neshek” . Neshek will be walking Soler on 4 pitches from now on.