Game One Hundred Forty-Eight – Cubs 6 Cardinals 3 – 11 innings
WP – Esmailin Caridad (1-0) LP – Mitchell Boggs (2-3) Save – Carlos Marmol (14)
It took eleven innings and three hours and fifty-three minutes but the Cubs were able to salvage the last game of the season against the Cardinals. The Cubs won for just the second time all year (2-7) in St. Louis and finished the season series with a 6-10 record against the Redbirds … the first time since 2004 the Cubs lost the season series against the Cardinals.
There is never a dull moment between the Cubs and Cardinals. After Matt Holliday interfered with Ryan Theriot on the would-be inning ending double play in the bottom of the ninth prolonged the game, Jake Fox hit his 11th home run of the year in the top of the 11th off of Mitchell Boggs that gave the Cubs a 5-3 lead. Fox did not start the game and came in as a pinch-hitter in the top of the ninth for Kevin Gregg.
The two-run shot by Fox ended up four rows deep in the stands in left center … Fox’s 40th and 41st RBI of the season.
The Cubs third run in the 11th came on a wild pitch by Brad Thompson after Mitchell Boggs had walked the bases loaded with So Taguchi at the plate.
Esmailin Caridad earned his first big league victory after he replaced Aaron Heilman in the ninth inning. With the winning run on second in Skip Schumaker, Heilman intentionally walked Albert Pujols before turning the game over to Caridad. The Cubs’ rookie right-hander hit Matt Holliday on a 1-2 pitch to load the bases with one out. Caridad induced a grounder to second off the bat of Ryan Ludwick on a 1-0 pitch. Andres Blanco flipped to Theriot but the throw was offline to Derrek Lee. Lee tried to tag Ludwick but could not and the game appeared over. The Cardinals celebrated as Schumaker crossed home plate and they even set off the fireworks … but second base umpire, Marty Foster waived off the celebration.
Marty Foster ruled Holliday was out of the basepath, replays showed it was the correct call, and the veteran umpire ruled interference and Ludwick was out at first.
Esmailin Caridad retired the Cardinals in order in the bottom of the tenth to pick up his first win. Carlos Marmol pitched a perfect 11th innings for his 14th save.
Carlos Zambrano put together a very good outing. Zambrano allowed two runs on five hits in six innings. Zambrano matched Adam Wainwright pitch for pitch and was inline for his ninth win of the year.
Kevin Gregg blew his seventh save of the season in the eighth inning. Gregg walked Matt Holliday to start the eighth, uncorked a wild pitch then gave up a two-out single to Yadier Molina.
The Cubs improved to four games over .500 with a rare win in St. Louis and snapped a four-game losing streak on the day they suspended Milton Bradley for the remainder of the year … The Cubs will have to wait almost 11 months before their next trip to St. Louis (August 13, 2010). The Cubs played a good game against arguably the best team in the National League on Sunday night.
The game was scoreless going into the fifth. Both Carlos Zambrano and Adam Wainwright had allowed just one hit apiece.
Mike Fontenot reached on his second hit of the game, an infield single up the middle. Andres Blanco followed with a double off the right field wall on a 0-1 pitch from Wainwright. Fontenot scored and Blanco took third on the throw to the plate.
With the infield in, Carlos Zambrano grounded out to Skip Schumaker on a ball that hit off of Wainwright’s glove. Kosuke Fukudome grounded out to second to end the inning.
The Cardinals took the lead in the bottom of the fifth. Skip Schumaker reached on an infield single to the hole at short … Andres Blanco almost threw him out. Mark DeRosa doubled down to left center, Schumaker scored the tying run and DeRosa scored the go ahead run on a double to left by Albert Pujols.
The Cubs took a 3-2 lead in the top of the sixth. Bobby Scales walked to start the inning. After Derrek Lee struck out, Aramis Ramirez hit the first pitch from Wainwright into center. Micah Hoffpauir followed with single to center. Scales scored and tied the game at two.
Geovany Soto hit what appeared to be an inning ending double play. Schumaker flipped the ball to Brendan Ryan, Hoffpauir made a nice slide at second and Ryan’s throw was low to first. The ball got by Pujols and Ramirez scored the go ahead run.
Sunday night was a small victory in a season full of underachievement and disappointment.
Tom Gorzelanny is slated to face Braden Looper in the first of three in Milwaukee on Monday night.