Game Twenty-Seven – Cubs 1, Cardinals 5
WP – John Lackey (2-1) LP – Jake Arrieta (3-3) Save – Trevor Rosenthal (10)
Jake Arrieta didn’t have it while John Lackey allowed just one run in 7 2/3 innings as the Cubs dropped the series finale to the Cardinals on Thursday afternoon.
The Cubs were not really in the game at all. John Lackey took control in the first two innings and really settled in when his teammates put runs on the board against Jake Arrieta in the second inning.
John Lackey also doubled in two runs in the fourth inning. And Lackey was at the plate in the sixth when a ball in the dirt skipped away and allowed Jason Heyward to score the Cardinals fifth and final run. The eighth and ninth spots in the Cardinals lineup Thursday produced four runs.
The Cubs only run came in the seventh inning on a single by Starlin Castro (1-for-4 with a RBI) that plated Jorge Soler (2-for-4 with a double and a run scored). The Cubs had just six hits and two walks while striking out 12 times.
Addison Russell (1-for-3) extended his hitting streak to 10 games and Chris Coghlan (2-for-4 with a double) had two hits out of the leadoff spot. Anthony Rizzo (0-for-4) didn’t reach base for the first time in 15 games and Kris Bryant (0-for-3 with a walk) failed to put a ball in play. Bryant struck out three times and walked in his four plate appearances.
Jake Arrieta did not have a good day. Arrieta struggled with his mechanics early in the game and dealt with command issues once again. Arrieta did not appear to have a feel for any of his pitches Thursday. The Cubs defense had issues again but it was two pitches, one to Peter Bourjos and one to John Lackey that cannot happen from a top of the rotation starter.
Peter Bourjos and John Lackey drove in runs with two-out extra basehits on pitches in which Arrieta missed his location and the ball ended up in the middle of the plate.
Jake Arrieta turned the game over to the bullpen with one out in the sixth inning after throwing 106 pitches, 66 for strikes.
After a wild pitch from Justin Grimm closed the book, Jake Arrieta was charged with five runs, four earned, on nine hits with a walk, a wild pitch and seven strikeouts.
Justin Grimm made his 2015 debut Thursday and had a good outing. Grimm was charged with the wild pitch on a ball that Miguel Montero should have done a better job on keeping in front of him.
James Russell and Jason Motte kept the Cardinals off the board in the final two innings.
With Thursday’s loss, the Cubs slipped to 14-13 on the season.
After escaping a jam in the first inning, Jake Arrieta could not wiggle his way out of trouble in the second inning. Mark Reynolds led off with a single to the hole at short. Instead of putting the ball in his back pocket, Castro made an off-balance throw toward first base. The ball was well on the outfield side of first base. Rizzo picked up the ball near the tarp and kept Reynolds from advancing to third base. Jason Heyward blooped a single to center, Reynolds scored and the Cardinals took a 1-0 lead.
A wild pitch with Molina at the plate allowed Heyward to move to second base. Molina grounded out to second, Heyward advanced to third and trotted in when the light-hitting Peter Bourjos tripled into the left field corner. Arrieta caught John Lackey and Jon Jay looking to end the inning. Arrieta needed 39 pitches, 23 for strikes, to complete two innings.
After two, the Cubs trailed 2-0 and were still searching for their first hit.
Addison Russell extended his hitting streak to 10 games with a one out single in the third inning. But that was all for the Cubs. Lackey threw only 43 pitches, 32 for strikes, in three innings.
Jake Arrieta set down the side in order in the third. Arrieta’s pitch count stood at 53 (32 strikes) after three innings … and the Cubs trailed 2-0.
The Cubs did nothing against Lackey in the fourth. And Lackey delivered the knockout blow of the series in the home half of the fourth.
Jason Heyward continued tearing up Cubs’ pitching and reached on an infield single with one out in the fourth. Heyward swiped second with Molina at the plate. Molina flied out to left center. And with two down, Heyward on second and Lackey due up, Jake Arrieta intentionally walked Peter Bourjos.
Jake Arrieta missed his spot badly on the first offering to John Lackey. And the Cardinals’ pitcher, without a hit the entire season, drove the pitch past Rizzo and down the first baseline. Lackey ended up at second with just the seventh hit, and third double of his career, and the Cardinals took a 4-0 lead after Heyward and Bourjos scored. Arrieta caught Jon Jay looking to end the inning.
The Cardinals led 4-0 after four innings.
Jake Arrieta started the sixth inning with the Cubs down 4-0. Arrieta threw 88 pitches, 56 for strikes, in five innings. Reynolds struck out swinging for the first out.
Jason Heyward reached again with a single to right and went to third on a Yadier Molina single to left. With runners on the corners and one down, Joe Maddon decided that was enough for Arrieta and went to the pen for Justin Grimm.
Grimm struck out Bourjos swinging for the second out, but a pitch in the dirt with Lackey at the plate skipped away from Montero. Heyward scored, 5-0 Cardinals. Grimm caught Lackey looking to end the inning.
It was 5-0 Cardinals after six innings.
The Cubs broke up the shut out in the seventh inning. Jorge Soler doubled to left with one out and scored on a single to center by Starlin Castro. Lackey retired Szczur on a flyout to right and pinch-hitter Dexter Fowler on a grounder to first for the third out.
James Russell pitched a scoreless seventh. And after seven complete, the Cubs were down 5-1.
And that was the final score in Thursday’s finale with the Cardinals. For the first time this season, the Cubs appeared to just go through the motions.
The Cubs open a three-game series at Miller Park on Friday night (7:10pm CDT). Jason Hammel is scheduled to face Jimmy Nelson in game one.