Game Forty-Five – Cubs 9, Cardinals 8
WP – Jake Arrieta (9-0) LP – Carlos Martinez (4-5) Save – Hector Rondon (8)
A six-run second inning and a three-run homer from Kris Bryant turned out to be just enough runs for the Cubs in the series finale in St. Louis. The Cubs outlasted the Cardinals on a day Jake Arrieta did not have it in what was an epic game between the long-time rivals.
The Cubs offense stepped up and picked up Jake Arrieta on what turned out to be a hitter-friendly day at Busch Stadium. The Cubs pounded out 12 hits and scored six runs in the second inning and three more in the sixth on one swing of the bat from Kris Bryant.
After the Cardinals cut the Cubs lead to 9-8 in the seventh inning, Justin Grimm, Pedro Strop and Hector Rondon kept the Redbirds off the board over the last three innings of the game.
Addison Russell (2-for-4 with two runs scored and a RBI) tied the game at one in the second inning and Dexter Fowler (1-for-4 with a walk, a run scored and a RBI) ended up driving in Miguel Montero (0-for-4 with a walk and a run scored) with the game-winner. Jason Heyward (1-for-5 with a double, a run scored and two RBI) and Ben Zobrist (3-for-5 with a run scored and two RBI) came through with two outs in the second inning. Heyward doubled in two runs and Zobrist singled in a pair to cap the scoring in the six-run second inning.
Kris Bryant (2-for-3 with a home run, a walk, a HBP, two runs scored and three RBI) gave the Cubs a brief five-run lead again in the sixth with a majestic three-run homer to left.
Jake Arrieta was roughed up for the first time in almost a full calendar year. Arrieta gave up three or more earned runs in a single start for the first time since June 16, 2015. Arrieta broke a stretch of 29 straight starts of holding an opponent to three earned runs or less, the longest streak in the game since 1893 when the mound was moved to 60 feet, six inches.
Arrieta did not have it Wednesday afternoon and it was pretty apparent early on it was not going to be his day. Arrieta lasted only five innings and was charged with four runs on seven hits with a walk and four strikeouts. Arrieta hit a batter, well kinda, and served up a home run to Randal Grichuk … the first longball off Arrieta since April 10 (Diamondbacks). Arrieta made 93 pitches, 62 for strikes.
Adam Warren gave up a three-run homer to Matt Holliday in the sixth and Matt Adams took Travis Wood deep in the seventh. Adams’ solo home run made it a 9-8 game.
Justin Grimm picked up the bullpen and retired all three batters he faced in the seventh.
Pedro Strop and Hector Rondon made it interesting in the eighth and ninth innings. The Cardinals put the tying run on second against Strop in the eighth but Strop struck out Aledmys Diaz and Matt Holliday grounded out to Anthony Rizzo to end the threat.
Hector Rondon gave up back-to-back singles to Stephen Piscotty and Matt Adams to start the ninth. After a brief meeting with Joe Maddon, Rondon struck out Yadier Molina and Randal Grichuk. And Rondon knocked down a comebacker to the mound and threw out Jedd Gyorko at first base to end the game.
The Cubs won the series in St. Louis (2-1) and finished the nine-game, three-city road trip with a 4-5 record.
Here is how Wednesday’s game between the Cubs and Cardinals played out …
The Cubs could not capitalize on Martinez’s wildness in the first inning. And the Cardinals jumped on Arrieta in the first inning, putting a run on the board against Jake for the first time in the opening inning of a game since May 29, 2015.
Kolten Wong started the first with a single to right (1-2 pitch). Diaz grounded a 1-1 pitch toward Zobrist. Wong stopped and forced Zobrist to tag him and that cost the Cubs a double play. Matt Holliday rolled out to third. La Stella got the sure out at first. Diaz moved to second and scored on a Stephen Piscotty single to center, 1-0 Cardinals. Adams popped out to Zobrist to end the inning. Arrieta made only 12 pitches, nine for strikes, but gave up a run and the Cubs trailed 1-0 after one inning.
The Cubs offense went to work in the second inning and it all started with a Ben Zobrist single to center. Tommy La Stella walked. Diaz made another sensational play at short. Diaz dove in the hole, took a hit and a RBI away from Miguel Montero and threw out La Stella at second base.
Addison Russell singled to center on a 1-0 pitch. Zobrist scored and tied the game at one. Arrieta struck out swinging. With runners on first and second with two outs, Dexter Fowler singled to right center. Montero lumbered in and gave the Cubs a 2-1 lead.
Jason Heyward doubled to the right field corner. Russell and Fowler scored, 4-1 Cubs. Kris Bryant reached on an infield single to the hole at short. Heyward moved to third on the play. Carlos Martinez walked Anthony Rizzo and loaded the bases.
Ben Zobrist made his way to the plate for the second time in the inning. Zobrist pulled a 2-1 pitch through the right side. Zobrist’s seeing-eye single allowed Heyward and Bryant to score, 6-1 Cubs. La Stella struck out swinging to end the inning.
The Cubs scored six runs on six hits in the second inning and forced Martinez to make 38 pitches in the half inning.
The Cardinals started chipping away at the Cubs lead in the bottom of the second. Randal Grichuk saw another slider from a Cubs’ pitcher and hit another home run. Grichuk took Arrieta out to right and the Cubs lead was 6-2. Tejada grounded out to short and Martinez struck out to end the inning. Arrieta made 27 pitches, 20 for strikes.
The Cubs had a 6-2 lead after two innings.
The Cubs were not able to add on against Martinez in the third or fourth innings. Arrieta took the hill for the fourth with a 6-2 lead. Arrieta issued a leadoff walk to Stephen Piscotty that opened the door for the Cardinals. Matt Adams followed with a double into the right field corner. Piscotty scored from first base, 6-3 Cubs. Molina grounded out to Rizzo, Adams moved to third and scored on a single to right from Randal Grichuk on a 0-2 pitch. With the Cubs lead down to two runs, Arrieta struck out Tejada swinging. Carlos Martinez chopped a 1-1 pitch off the plate. Arrieta fielded the ball near the third baseline. Arrieta had to reach into his glove twice to get a handle on the ball. Martinez hustled down the line and reached. Arrieta fell behind Wong 3-0 with the tying runs on base. Wong popped the 3-0 offering to Bryant in left to finally end the inning. Arrieta made 29 pitches in the fourth inning.
After four complete, the Cubs led 6-4.
Carlos Martinez faced the minimum in the fifth after Montero grounded into a 4-6-3 inning ending double play.
Jake Arrieta labored to get through the fifth but was able to wiggle out of a bases loaded jam without giving up any runs. Diaz singled to left to start the fifth. Arrieta did not get the call on a 1-2 pitch to Holliday. The missed call by homeplate umpire C.B. Bucknor gave Holliday another chance. Holliday hit a chopper to third. La Stella fielded the ball but had only one play. La Stella threw across to Rizzo for the out. Diaz moved up to second base. Piscotty reached on an infield single to third. Diaz moved to third when La Stella made an ill-advised throw to first base. Arrieta struck out Matt Adams swinging on a 3-2 pitch.
Yadier Molina did when he’s done for years. Molina stuck up his arm on a 0-1 pitch. Arrieta threw inside but the ball would not have hit Molina. C.B. Bucknor gave him first base and the Cardinals had the bases loaded with two outs. Tommy La Stella made a diving stop toward the line on a ball ticketed for the left field corner off the bat of Randal Grichuk. La Stella threw to second and forced Molina to end the inning.
Seung Hwan Oh replaced Martinez for the sixth. Russell led off with a single to center. Matt Szczur hit for Arrieta and reached on a perfectly placed bunt up the third baseline on a 2-2 pitch. With runners on first and second and no outs, Fowler popped up a bunt attempt to Molina. Heyward struck out swinging.
Kris Bryant worked a full count and then unloaded on the 3-2 pitch from Oh. Bryant’s towering homer to left gave the Cubs a 9-4 lead. Rizzo grounded out to end the inning.
Adam Warren started the sixth and gave up a leadoff single to Tejada. Jeremy Hazelbaker batted for Oh and lined out to Zobrist. Wong flied out to right center for the second out. Diaz reached on an error by La Stella at third. La Stella could not field the ball cleanly, it hit him in the chest and the Cardinals had runners on first and second with two outs.
Matt Holliday lined Warren’s first pitch over the wall in right. Holliday’s three-run shot made it a 9-7 ballgame. Piscotty grounded out to Russell to end the inning.
After six complete, the Cubs led 9-7.
The Cubs made Jonathan Broxton work in the seventh but could not take the momentum back. Zobrist singled and La Stella walked but Montero and Russell struck out swinging. A wild pitch on strike three to Russell allowed Zobrist and La Stella to move up 90 feet. Javier Baez hit for Warren and flied out to center to end the inning.
Travis Wood started the seventh and served up a solo homer to Matt Adams … and the Cubs lead was down to 9-8. Justin Grimm replaced Wood and retired Molina, Grichuk and Tejada to end the seventh. The game went to the eighth with the Cubs clinging to a 9-8 lead.
The Cubs worked two walks against Kevin Siegrist in the eighth. Heyward grounded into a 4-6-3 double play. The Cubs could not string together any hits and Pedro Strop took the hill for the bottom of the inning.
Pedro Strop issued a four-pitch walk to pinch hitter Brandon Moss to start the eighth. Wong flied out to right. A wild pitch with Diaz at the plate allowed Moss to take second. Strop struck out Diaz swinging and Holliday grounded out to Rizzo. And the game went to the ninth with the Cubs up by one run.
Mike Matheny used Trevor Rosenthal for the ninth. The Cubs went down in order quickly.
Hector Rondon gave up back-to-back singles to Piscotty and Adams to start the ninth. Joe Maddon went to the mound after the second hit and talked to his players. Molina tried to bunt and ended up striking out. Rondon gained confidence and struck out Grichuk swinging for the second out. Jedd Gyorko hit for Tejada and bounced a 2-0 pitch back up the middle. Rondon knocked the ball down, staggered, picked up the ball and lobbed it to Rizzo to end the game.
Cubs Win! And Round Two of the Cubs-Cardinals Season Series went to Chicago Cubs.
With Wednesday’s win, the Cubs improved to 31-14 on the season.
Thursday is a much needed off-day. The Cubs open a 10-game homestand on Friday afternoon (1:20pm CDT) with the first of three against the Phillies. Jon Lester takes on lefty Adam Morgan in game one.