Game Seventy-Four – Cubs 1, Cardinals 4
WP – Carlos Martinez (9-3) LP – Jason Hammel (5-3) Save – Trevor Rosenthal (23)
The Cubs struggles with runners on base and in scoring position continued while Jason Hammel lacked command after the second rain delay and the Cubs were swept out of St. Louis. The Cubs are 1-6 at Busch Stadium this year and 12-32 since the start of the 2011 season.
The Cubs dropped a season-high fifth game in a row and lost all three games in a series for the first time this year. The Cubs could not buy a hit with runners on base much less with runners in scoring position. After going 0-for-10 with RISP and leaving nine men on base Sunday night, the Cubs finished the three-game series 2-for-27 with runners in scoring position while leaving 28 men on base.
Anthony Rizzo (0-for-2 with a sac fly RBI and a walk) drove in the Cubs only run on a sacrifice fly in the third inning that plated Dexter Fowler (1-for-5 with a double and a run scored). The Cubs managed only six hits on the night.
Chris Coghlan (2-for-3 with a double and a walk), Kris Bryant (1-for-4 with a double), Chris Denorfia (1-for-4) and Matt Szczur (1-for-1) collected the other five hits.
Jason Hammel was very sharp in the first inning. Hammel retired the side in order on just 11 pitches, eight for strikes. After the one hour, 43-minute rain delay, Hammel’s stuff was not as crisp. Hammel was missing the command with his fastball and the Cardinals jumped on him. Hammel allowed a run when play resumed on a double by Yadier Molina and a single from Xavier Scruggs.
The Cubs tied the game in the third, but Hammel continued to have issues with his command in the fourth. The Cardinals took the lead for good on back-to-back doubles from Jhonny Peralta and Jason Heyward. A double by Yadier Molina gave the Cardinals a 3-1 lead. Hammel was charged with his fourth run of the game in the fifth.
Jason Hammel allowed four runs on six hits (five doubles) with a walk and seven strikeouts. Hammel made 69 pitches, 46 for strikes, in four-plus innings.
James Russell allowed his first inherited runner to score and closed the book on Hammel in the fifth. Justin Grimm pitched a scoreless sixth.
Neil Ramirez made his first appearance in a Major League game since April 15 and was rather impressive. Ramirez retired all three batters he faced, two on strikeouts, on 12 pitches, nine for strikes. Jason Motte kept his old team off the board in the eighth.
Sunday’s game had two rain delays, one at the start (46 minutes) and one in the middle of the second inning (one hour, 43 minutes). The two delays (two hours and 29 minutes) lasted longer than the game (two hours and 28 minutes).
With Sunday’s loss (6-7 on Sunday in 2015), the Cubs slipped to 39-35 on the season.
After rain and severe weather delayed the game in the middle of the second inning for one hour and 43 minutes, Jason Heyward lined out to Rizzo for the first out. Jason Hammel struck out Randal Grichuk.
Yadier Molina doubled to left center and scored when Xavier Scruggs singled to right center (0-1 pitch). Hammel struck out Jon Jay looking with Scruggs at second base to end the inning. Hammel made 31 pitches, 23 for strikes.
The Cardinals led the Cubs 1-0 after two rain delays and two innings.
Dexter Fowler led off the third with a double to right (3-1 pitch). Fowler moved up to third on a wild pitch with Bryant at the plate. Kris Bryant struck out swinging (1-2 pitch).
Anthony Rizzo picked up Bryant. Rizzo drove Martinez’s first pitch out to left. Grichuk caught the ball, Fowler tagged and scored. Game tied at one. Montero struck out swinging to end the inning (1-2 pitch). Martinez threw 44 pitches, 25 for strikes, in three innings.
Jason Hammel went 1-2-3 in the third (44 pitches, 31 strikes). And after three complete, the game was tied at one.
The Cubs managed a Chris Coghlan walk with one out in the fourth, but that was all.
Jhonny Peralta led off the fourth and really juiced Hammel’s first pitch. Peralta doubled to right center and enhanced the Cardinals chances of taking the lead. Jason Heyward jumped on a 1-0 pitch and lined a double off the top of the right field wall. Heyward just missed a two-run homer. Hammel caught Grichuk looking at a 1-2 pitch. Yadier Molina doubled to right. Heyward scored and the Cardinals took a 3-1 lead. A passed ball allowed Molina to move up 90 feet. Maddon brought his infield in. Scruggs popped out to Rizzo for the second out. Hammel intentionally walked Jay. Carlos Martinez struck out swinging to end the inning.
The Cardinals had a 3-1 lead after four innings.
The Cubs were not able to take advantage of a Cardinals’ error in the fifth inning. Dexter Fowler reached on an error by Scruggs with one out. Bryant bounced into a 5-4 force out. With Bryant at first, Rizzo lined out to left field.
Jason Hammel started the fifth inning. Kolten Wong doubled to right on a 2-2 pitch, the fifth double off Hammel. Maddon decided that was enough for Hammel and went to his pen for James Russell.
Matt Carpenter doubled to right center (2-2) over a diving Chris Denorfia. Wong scored, 4-1 Cardinals. Peralta grounded out to third. Montero threw out Carpenter trying to steal third with Heyward at the plate. And Russell finally ended the inning by striking out Heyward swinging for the third out.
The Cardinals led 4-1 after five innings.
And that was the final score on Sunday night in St. Louis.
Monday is the Cubs first off day in three weeks. The Cubs begin a three-game series Tuesday night (6:10pm CDT) at Citi Field against the Mets … Kyle Hendricks and Jon Niese in the opener.