Game Sixty-Eight – Cubs 2, Cardinals 3
WP – Jaime Garcia (5-6) LP – John Lackey (7-3) Save – Trevor Rosenthal (13)
The Cubs had the tying run in scoring position in the ninth inning but could not come up with the big hit. The Cubs played a good game Monday night, just ended up on the wrong end of a low scoring game. Kris Bryant and Willson Contreras drove in the two runs. And John Lackey settled in after giving up three runs in the first three innings as the Cubs lost the opener to the three game series to the Cardinals.
Monday’s game was one of those that a team, no matter how good they are, will lose over the course of a season. The Cubs played excellent defense. Addison Russell (0-for-4) made several plays behind Lackey early and was in the middle of the play in the ninth inning that cut down Aledmys Diaz at the plate to keep it a one run game.
Willson Contreras (1-for-4 with a RBI) showed the rest of the league they will not be able to run on him. Contreras gunned down Matt Carpenter in the ninth trying to steal second base.
The Cubs put the tying run in scoring position with one out in the ninth. Albert Almora Jr. (1-for-4 with a double) doubled with one out off of Trevor Rosenthal. After Chris Coghlan was hit with a pitch, Rosenthal uncorked a wild pitch. Almora Jr. misread the ball and thought it got past Molina. The ball hit the umpire’s leg. Molina picked it up and threw out Almora Jr. at third for the second out.
Ben Zobrist (3-for-5 with a run scored) singled with two outs. But with runners on first and second with two down, Jason Heyward (1-for-5) hit a broken bat pop up behind second base that Matt Carpenter caught to end the game.
The Cubs scored both of their runs in the third inning. Zobrist led off with his second infield single in two at bats. Heyward struck out swinging. Kris Bryant (1-for-3 with a double, a HBP, a run scored and a RBI) pulled a 1-2 pitch to left. The ball rolled all the way to the ivy. Zobrist scored from first base, 3-1 Cardinals. Bryant advanced to third on a wild pitch with Rizzo at the plate. Anthony Rizzo (1-for-3 with a walk) struck out swinging.
Willson Contreras smoked a 2-1 pitch back up the middle and into center. Bryant scored, 3-2 Cardinals. Javier Baez (1-for-3 with a walk) flied out to right to end the inning.
John Lackey was just off Monday night. Lackey and Willson Contreras did not appear to be on the same page in the first three innings. Lackey made 57 pitches, 36 for strikes, in the first two innings. The Cardinals took advantage of Lackey’s shaky location and put up three runs before he got on track.
Lackey gave up a pair of runs in the second inning. Brandon Moss took Lackey deep to right with one out in the second inning. Moss crushed a 0-2 mistake and gave the Cardinals a 1-0 lead. Kolten Wong ripped a single to left. Jaime Garcia bunted Wong to second with two outs. Lackey seemed to pitch around Carpenter and walked him. Aledmys Diaz singled to left. Wong scored and the Cardinals took a 2-0 lead. Lackey issued another walk, this one went to Matt Holliday. And the Cardinals had the bases loaded with two down. Lackey got out of the jam when Stephen Piscotty popped out to Almora Jr. in center field.
Jhonny Peralta added to the Cardinals lead with a solo home run in the third. After Lackey dug a 3-0 hole, he settled in and kept the Redbirds off the scoreboard for three innings.
John Lackey gave up three runs, all earned, on seven hits. Lackey served up two home runs and hit a batter (Brandon Moss). The Cardinals retaliated with a high fastball that hit Kris Bryant in the fifth inning. The benches were warned and the game continued. The Cardinals once again had to have the last word. It was Bush League. Lackey issued three walks and struck out six. Lackey made 109 pitches, 73 for strikes.
Trevor Cahill, Travis Wood, Justin Grimm and Clayton Richard combined on three scoreless innings in relief of Lackey and put the Cubs in position for a come from behind win. But it was not meant to be on Monday night.
Joe Maddon summed up Monday’s game, “I thought we played our butts off.”
With Monday’s loss, the Cubs slipped to 47-21 on the season.
Jason Hammel is scheduled to face Adam Wainwright in game two of three with the Cardinals on Tuesday night (7:05pm CDT).