Game Eighty-One – Cubs 0, Cardinals 6
WP – John Lackey (7-5) LP – Jon Lester (4-7) Save – None
The Cubs seemingly have not had one thing go their way against the Cardinals this season and the trend continued Monday night. Jon Lester was hung with the loss after taking a no-hitter into the seventh inning as the Cubs handed another game to the Cardinals.
The Cardinals scored two unearned runs in the seventh before rain put the game into a delay in the middle of the eighth. When play resumed, Edwin Jackson gave up four runs in the ninth on four hits and a walk.
Jon Lester pitched an excellent game. Lester took a no-hitter into the seventh inning after allowing just one baserunner, a walk to Matt Carpenter in the first inning. Lester worked well with Miguel Montero, pounded the strike zone and John Lackey actually hit the hardest ball of the entire night off Lester … a lineout to Addison Russell for the second out in the sixth inning.
Jhonny Peralta reached on an infield single with one out in the seventh, the Cardinals’ first hit. Peralta pulled a 0-1 pitch down the third baseline that Kris Bryant tried to backhand. The ball hit off the heel of his glove and Peralta reached first base.
The seventh started unraveling for the Cubs when Jason Heyward hit a grounder to third that Bryant fielded cleanly. But he made a low throw to second that Addison Russell could not catch. The ball rolled into right field and the Cardinals had runners on the corners with one out. The defense should have turned a double play and gotten out of the inning.
On the first pitch to Yadier Molina, Heyward stole second. Molina lifted a 2-0 pitch into right. Peralta tagged and scored, 1-0 Cardinals. Kolten Wong followed with a single to left. Heyward scored, 2-0 Cardinals. Heyward became the first baserunner not named Billy Hamilton to steal on Lester this season and score a run. Wong swiped second and Lester walked Mark Reynolds. The inning finally came to an end when Randal Grichuk struck out swinging.
Jon Lester was charged with two unearned runs on two hits with two walks and eight strikeouts. Lester made 95 pitches, 62 for strikes, in seven innings. And he provided one of the few highlights for the Cubs on offense. Lester picked up the first hit of his big league career in the second inning.
The game got out of hand when play resumed after a one hour and 16 minute rain delay. The Cubs went down in order on five pitches in the bottom of the eighth and the Cardinals blew the game open in the top of the ninth against Edwin Jackson. And Jackson’s poor performance allowed the Cardinals to avoid using Trevor Rosenthal.
The Cardinals scored four runs off Jackson on a sac fly with the bases loaded by Mark Reynolds, a two-run double by Randal Grichuk and a single by Peter Bourjos. Edwin Jackson simply cannot pitch in a close game and is taking up a valuable roster spot that should be used on another player.
Jorge Soler (2-for-3 with a double), Anthony Rizzo (1-for-4), Kris Bryant (1-for-4) and Dexter Fowler (1-for-2 with a walk) got on base but were unable to cross homeplate.
The Cubs had chances to put runs on the board against John Lackey but once again came away empty. The Cubs outhit the Cardinals for the first eight innings but did not take advantage of the scoring opportunities they had while the ball seemingly always bounces the right way for the Redbirds.
The Cubs were 1-for-6 with runners in scoring position with Lackey on the hill and left five men on base. The one hit, the first career hit for Jon Lester that hit off John Lackey’s leg and loaded the bases with two outs in the second inning.
The players are going to have to get sick and tired of losing to the Cardinals before the ball will start bouncing their way.
With Monday’s loss, the Cubs slipped to 44-37 on the season.
The Cubs play two with the Cardinals on Tuesday. Jake Arrieta faces lefty Tyler Lyons in game one (12:20pm CDT) and Dallas Beeler has been called up to take on lefty Tim Cooney in the nightcap (7:05pm CDT).