Game Eleven: Cubs 4, Cardinals 10
WP – Adam Wainwright (2-1) LP – Carlos Villanueva (1-3) Save – None
It was a mismatch on paper when the pitching matchups were announced and it ended up being a mismatch on the field on Saturday afternoon in St. Louis as the Cardinals pounded the Cubs. The Cardinals sent nine to the plate in the second and scored four runs then sent ten batters to the plate in the fourth inning, knocked Carlos Villanueva out of the game and put a five spot on the board. The Cardinals handed Adam Wainwright nine runs to play with in the first four innings and he cruised to the victory over the Cubs.
Carlos Villanueva had nothing Saturday. Everything was up and the Cubs defense did not help him out of any jams, in fact the defense gave the Cardinals extra outs while Villanueva was on the hill that added to his poor outing. Villanueva pitched into the fourth inning and the Cardinals scored nine runs on 10 hits in three-plus innings. The Cardinals hit only one home run off of Villanueva and that was a solo shot by Matt Adams in the second inning that tied the game at one. Villanueva threw 70 pitches, 44 for strikes, in three-plus innings on Saturday afternoon.
Carlos Villanueva became the first Cubs’ pitcher since Don Elston (1960) to earn a decision in four of his team’s first 11 games.
Chris Rusin was recalled from Iowa before the game and made his first appearance of the season. Rusin allowed two inherited runners to score in the fourth inning that closed the book on Villanueva for the day. Rusin went onto pitch five innings and allowed one run on three hits of his own with one walk and one strikeout. Rusin did his job but with Adam Wainwright on the mound, the 9-2 deficit after four innings was too much for the Cubs to overcome.
Junior Lake (1-for-4 with a home run) started the game on a positive note when he launched the first pitch from Adam Wainwright into the stands beyond the left field wall. Lake became the first player since Ichiro Suzuki (June 14, 2010) to hit a home run off Adam Wainwright to start a game. Nate Schierholtz (2-for-4 with two doubles, a RBI and a run scored) had another good game at the plate while Ryan Sweeney (1-for-4 with a double and a RBI) doubled in a run in the sixth inning.
Starlin Castro (2-for-4 with a double and a RBI) plated Anthony Rizzo (1-for-4 with a run scored) with a groundout in the fourth inning. Castro collected two more hits and was excellent in the field once again. Castro is off to a great start to his season and is playing with confidence again both at the plate and in the field.
The Cubs managed four runs on eight hits with one walk (Mike Olt pinch hitting for Luis Valbuena in the eighth inning) on Saturday afternoon with 11 strikeouts.
With Saturday’s loss, the Cubs slipped to 4-7 on the season.
Junior Lake led off the game and launched Adam Wainwright’s first pitch into the stands in left field. The Cubs took a 1-0 lead on Lake’s second longball of the season. Adam Wainwright retired Valbuena (deep fly to right), Rizzo (grounder to second) and Schierholtz (swinging strikeout) to end the inning. The Cubs were aggressive against Wainwright, which was to be expected, and let him throw 15 pitches, 10 for strikes, in the first inning.
After the Cardinals did nothing in the first and the Cubs managed only a Starlin Castro single in the second, Matt Adams led off the Cardinals’ second inning and tied the game at one with a home run to right. Yadier Molina followed with an infield single to third. Valbuena tried to make a barehanded pickup on the slow roller and came up empty. Allen Craig singled to right. With runners on first and second with no outs, Villanueva struck out Jon Jay swinging. But Daniel Descalso singled to right center. Molina scored, 2-1 Cardinals. Anthony Rizzo misplayed the throw from Ryan Sweeney. Rizzo tried to short-hop the ball instead of moving up five feet to catch the ball in the air. The ball skipped away from him and both runners moved up ninety feet. Renteria brought his infield in with runners on second and third with one down. Adam Wainwright pounded a 0-2 pitch into left. Craig scored, 3-1 Cardinals. With runners on the corners and one out, Matt Carpenter hit a roller past the mound that Starlin Castro made an excellent play on. But Carpenter beat his throw, Descalso scored, 4-1 Cardinals. Villanueva gave up six hits to the previous seven batters he faced at that point. Kolten Wong flied out to right center for the second out and Holliday grounded out to Castro to end the inning.
Carlos Villanueva threw 42 pitches, 28 for strikes, over the first two innings … and after two innings, the Cubs trailed 4-1.
The Cardinals cranked up the offense again in the third inning. Yadier Molina doubled to left center with one down and moved up to third when Allen Craig grounded out to short. Jon Jay then hit a grounder back up the middle that Castro made a sensational stop and throw to first to nail Jay to end the inning. But Jay was called safe. Rick Renteria challenged the call and it was overturned. Inning over on the excellent play by Starlin Castro.
Anthony Rizzo led off the fourth with a single to right (2-2 pitch). Nate Schierholtz doubled to left center. Rizzo held at third with no outs. Ryan Sweeney could not put the ball in play and struck out swinging (3-2 pitch) for the first out. Starlin Castro grounded a 1-0 pitch to short. Rizzo scored, Schierholtz advanced to third and Castro picked up a RBI … 4-2 Cardinals. Barney struck out swinging to end the inning.
The Cardinals removed any doubt about the outcome of Saturday’s game in the bottom of the fourth inning. Daniel Descalso doubled to right center to start the inning. Wainwright bunted a 0-2 pitch to Rizzo, but the Cubs’ first baseman did not make a decision right away what he wanted to do with the ball. After a brief pause, he threw late to third. Descalso slid in safe and the writing was on the wall for a long inning. With runners on the corners and no outs, Matt Carpenter singled to left center. Descalso scored, 5-2 Cardinals. A passed ball on the first pitch to Wong allowed both runners to move up ninety feet. Wong singled to center past a drawn in infield. Barney dove but came up short. Wainwright scored, 6-2 Cardinals. Wong stole second on the second pitch to Holliday. With Castro and Barney in and the corner infielders back, Holliday hit a grounder toward third. Luis Valbuena fielded the ball cleanly but threw home instead of taking the out at first. Valbuena’s throw was late, Carpenter scored. The Cardinals took a 7-2 lead and knocked Villanueva out of the game.
The recently recalled Chris Rusin replaced Villanueva with runners on first and third with no outs. Matt Adams popped out to short (1-1 pitch) for the first out. After missing with his first two offerings, Rusin issued the intentional walk to Molina. With the bases loaded and one out, Allen Craig worked a full count before Rusin struck him out swinging to end the inning. Jon Jay drove Rusin’s first pitch into left. Wong and Holliday scored, 9-2 Cardinals. Descalso popped out to Valbuena to finally end the inning.
The Cubs tried to make a game of it again in the sixth. Luis Valbuena doubled to right to start the inning. Rizzo grounded out to second, Valbuena advanced to third and scored on a double to right center off of the bat of Nate Schierholtz … 9-3 Cardinals. Ryan Sweeney doubled (right center) in Schierholtz, 9-4 Cardinals. Castro grounded out to third and Barney popped out to short to end the inning.
The Cardinals got one of the runs right back in the bottom of the sixth. Matt Holliday led off the inning with a double to right. Adams grounded out to second, Holliday advanced to third and scored when Molina hit another slow roller toward third that Valbuena turned in to an out when he threw to Rizzo at first. Rusin retired Craig on a tapper back to the mound to end the inning.
After six complete, the Cardinals had a 10-4 lead … and that is how the game ended.
Edwin Jackson takes on Michael Wacha in the series finale on Sunday afternoon (1:15pm CDT).