Game Thirty-Nine: Cubs 3, Cardinals 5
WP – Michael Wacha (3-3) LP – Jason Hammel (4-2) Save – Trevor Rosenthal (11)
Jason Hammel’s string of quality starts to begin the season came to an abrupt ending in the second inning of Thursday’s game. The Cardinals scored four runs off Jason Hammel in the second with the big hit coming off the bat of Michael Wacha, a two-run single to center. The Cubs loaded the bases twice in the eighth inning but managed just one run and ended the road trip with a loss to the Cardinals.
After striking out the side in the first inning, Jason Hammel lost his command in the second inning. Hammel gave up a one-out double to Yadier Molina before walking Allen Craig and Peter Bourjos to load the bases. A Mark Ellis fielder’s choice plated Molina with the game’s first run. Hammel then fell behind Michael Wacha 3-1. The Cardinals starter ripped a 3-2 pitch back up the middle and gave the Cardinals a 3-0 lead. Wacha scored on a double by Matt Carpenter. The Cardinals added a run in the sixth before Rick Renteria decided that was enough for Jason Hammel.
Jason Hammel retired the side in order in the first, third, fourth and fifth innings. And was very sharp in those four innings, the other two … not so much and it cost him and his team. Hammel allowed five runs on five hits with two walks and six strikeouts. Hammel threw 106 pitches, 65 for strikes, in 5 1/3 innings.
Jose Veras made his first appearance since going on the DL at the end of April and picked up the last two outs of the sixth inning on a double play. Wesley Wright pitched a scoreless seventh and Neil Ramirez kept the Cardinals off the scoreboard in the eighth despite getting under Yadier Molina’s skin.
Starlin Castro (3-for-4 with a home run and two RBI) and Anthony Rizzo (2-for-3 with a walk and two runs scored) did their jobs on Thursday and combined on five of the Cubs’ eight hits. Both of Rizzo’s hits were bunt singles to beat the shift. Starlin Castro hit his sixth longball of the season in the fourth inning with Rizzo on board. And Rizzo scored the Cubs’ third run in the eighth on a sacrifice fly off the bat of Junior Lake (1-for-3 with a SF RBI).
Luis Valbuena (2-for-3 with a walk) also reached base three times and Mike Olt (0-for-3 with a walk) walked in the eighth inning. The bottom of the Cubs’ lineup, including pinch-hitter Nate Schierholtz, left a combined 13 runners on base.
The Cubs outhit their opponent once again (8-6) but managed just one hit for extra bases. The Cubs went 0-for-5 with RISP and left eight men on base.
The Cubs ended a challenging eight-game road trip with a 2-6 record and with Thursday’s loss dropped to 13-26 on the season.
The Cubs managed a pair of two out singles by Anthony Rizzo (bunt single to third in shift) and Starlin Castro (single to right) in the first inning, but Luis Valbuena flied out to left to end the inning. Jason Hammel struck out the side in the first inning … two looking, one swinging. And the game went to the second inning without a score.
After the Cubs went down in order in the second, Hammel retired Matt Adams on a liner to left to start the second inning. Yadier Molina cracked a double to right. Hammel jumped ahead of Allen Craig 0-2 before walking him. Hammel lost his command at that point. Hammel walked the light-hitting Peter Bourjos to load the bases. Mark Ellis grounded a 1-2 pitch toward the hole at second. Valbuena made an excellent diving stop and threw out Ellis at first as Molina scored, 1-0 Cardinals. Hammel fell behind Michael Wacha 3-1. Wacha swung at and missed the fifth pitch of the at bat. With runners on second and third with two outs, Michael Wacha drove a 3-2 pitch back up the middle and into center. Wacha’s first hit of the season gave the Cardinals a 3-0 lead. Matt Carpenter doubled to right. Wacha scored and the Cardinals took a commanding 4-0 lead. After a visit from Chris Bosio, Jhonny Peralta grounded out to Valbuena to finally end the inning.
At the end of two, the Cardinals led 4-0.
Anthony Rizzo led off the fourth inning with a bunt single toward third. The Cardinals shifted again and Rizzo made them pay. Starlin Castro stepped in and pulled a 0-1 pitch down the left field line. The ball stayed fair, hooked just inside the foul pole and left the yard. Castro’s sixth homer of the season cut the Cardinals’ lead in half. Luis Valbuena singled to right center. After Junior Lake struck out swinging, Mike Olt reached on an error by Matt Adams. Olt hit a check-swing grounder toward the hole at second. Adams tried to pick it to start a double play but bobbled the ball and everyone was safe. Wacha struck out John Baker (2-2 pitch) and Hammel swinging to end the inning.
Jason Hammel retired the side in order in the fourth (76 pitches, 47 strikes) … and the game went to the fifth with the Cardinals up 4-2.
Both teams failed to score in the fifth inning and Jason Hammel stayed in for the sixth as the rain started to fall. Matt Holliday led off the sixth with a hustle double to right center (3-2 pitch). Matt Adams flied out to deep center. Holliday tagged and advanced to third with one out. With the infield in, Yadier Molina pulled a 3-2 pitch down the left field line. Holliday scored, 5-2 Cardinals. And that was all for Hammel. Rick Renteria made the slow walk and went to his pen for the recently activated Jose Veras. Allen Craig rolled a 2-2 pitch to Castro … 6-4-3 double play, inning over.
The Cardinals took the 5-2 lead into the eighth inning.
Ryan Kalish struck out swinging (3-2 pitch) against lefty Kevin Siegrist to start the eighth. Anthony Rizzo worked a walk and advanced to second on Castro’s third hit of the game, a single to left. Valbuena quickly fell behind 0-2 before working a full count. Luis Valbuena walked to load the bases and Mike Matheny went to his pen for Trevor Rosenthal. Junior Lake drove a 2-1 pitch into right center. Craig grabbed the ball as Rizzo tagged and scored, 5-3 Cardinals. Mike Olt walked to reload the bases. Rick Renteria went to his bench for Nate Schierholtz to hit for John Baker. Schierholtz broke his bat and rolled out to Mark Ellis to end the inning.
The Cardinals put a pair of runners on in the eighth against Neil Ramirez. Ramirez irritated Yadier Molina with a high, inside pitch, and Molina told the Cubs bench he was not happy with the high offerings from the Cubs’ pitchers (second time in the game the Cubs threw one high and tight to Molina). Ramirez collected himself and retired Craig on a flyout to left to end the inning.
The Cubs did nothing in the ninth against Trevor Rosenthal … game and road trip over.
The Cubs open a five-game homestand on Friday afternoon (1:20pm CDT) with the first of three with the Brewers. Jeff Samardzija is scheduled to face former Cubs farmhand, Kyle Lohse in the opener.