Game Fourteen – Cubs 2, Cardinals 1
WP – Jason Hammel (2-0) LP – Jaime Garcia (1-1) Save – Hector Rondon (3)
Jason Hammel allowed one run in six innings and delivered a two-run single in the fourth inning. Jason Heyward threw out Matt Holliday at the plate to end the fourth and preserve the one-run lead. And the bullpen nailed down the victory as the Cubs took game two from the Cardinals on Tuesday night at Busch Stadium.
The Cubs found a way to win a game on the road in which the offense was pretty much a non-factor. Jason Hammel (1-for-2 with two RBI) drove in the Cubs only two runs on the night. Hammel delivered a bases loaded two-out single in the fourth that plated Jorge Soler (0-for-3 with a walk and a run scored) and Ben Zobrist (1-for-3 with a walk and a run scored). The Cubs had seven hits and six walks but struck out 13 times. The Cubs were 2-for-9 with runners in scoring position and left nine men on base.
Jason Hammel was very good on the hill Tuesday night. Hammel kept the ball down for a majority of the first five innings and by the time he elevated in the sixth he had the Cardinals off balance and guessing.
Hammel gave up a run in the second inning on a triple by Yadier Molina. Jorge Soler went back to the wall on the deep drive to left and appeared to have a play on the ball. Soler misjudged the flight of the ball. Randal Grichuk scored from first and gave the Cardinals an early lead. With Molina at third and one down, Hammel caught Kolten Wong looking and ended the inning with a pop out to first off the bat of Ruben Tejada.
The Cubs defense bailed out Hammel in the fourth after he gave his team a 2-1 lead and ran the bases in the top of the inning.
Matt Holliday led off the fourth with a single to left. Matt Adams followed with a double off the wall in right. Heyward played the ball perfectly and made a very good throw to the infield. Addison Russell could not hang on to the ball as Adams slid into second base. Hammel retired Grichuk on a pop out to second base.
Yadier Molina lifted Hammel’s first pitch to right. Jason Heyward got himself into perfect position to make a throw to the plate. Heyward caught the ball. Holliday tagged. Heyward’s throw was on the money and Miguel Montero applied the tag to complete the inning ending double play.
Hammel worked around a mistake to Wong leading off the fifth. Hammel hit Wong but struck out Tejada swinging and retired pinch-hitter Brandon Moss on a pop out to short. Wong stole second with Carpenter at the plate. Matt Carpenter flied out to left to end the fifth.
Hammel ended his night after six innings. Hammel retired the Cardinals in order, the last two outs were swinging strikeouts by Holliday and Adams.
Jason Hammel turned the game over to the pen in the seventh inning with the Cubs leading 2-1. Hammel allowed one run on five hits with no walks, a hit by pitch and six strikeouts. Hammel made 84 pitches, 54 for strikes, in six innings.
Adam Warren pitched the seventh. Warren issued a pair of two-out walks but struck out pinch-hitter Stephen Piscotty swinging to get out of the jam.
Travis Wood started the eighth, gave up a single to Matt Carpenter and Maddon went to his pen for Pedro Strop.
Strop’s issues from last season with the Cardinals did not resurface Tuesday. Strop struck out Jeremy Hazelbaker, retired Holliday on a chopper to third that advanced Carpenter to second with two outs. Strop worked around Matt Adams and issued ball four intentionally. Strop went right after Grichuk and struck him out swinging (0-2 pitch) to end the inning.
Hector Rondon gave up a leadoff single to Molina in the ninth. Mike Matheny sent in Eric Fryer to run and the Cardinals made it easy on Rondon. Wong swung at the first pitch and fouled out to Matt Szczur down the left field line. Aledmys Diaz also swung at the first pitch. Diaz flied out to center. Rondon had to work but was able to strikeout pinch-hitter Jedd Gyorko swinging to end the game.
With Tuesday’s win, the Cubs improved to 11-3 on the young season.
The Cubs wrap up the three game series in St. Louis on Wednesday afternoon (12:45pm CDT) … Kyle Hendricks versus Carlos Martinez.