Game One Hundred Sixteen – Cubs 4, Cardinals 6
WP – Matt Bowman (2-4) LP – Hector Rondon (2-3, BS 5) Save – Seung Hwan Oh (11)
For the second day in a row, the eighth inning was a nightmare for the Cubs bullpen. After failing to capitalize with the bases loaded and no outs in the seventh, the Cubs took a 3-1 lead into the eighth. Hector Rondon struggled in his first appearance since Aug. 2. The Cardinals were handed five runs in the eighth inning and the Cubs dropped the finale of the four-game series.
The Cubs settled for taking two of four in the series with the Cardinals.
The Cubs had a 3-1 lead after seven innings. John Lackey gave up one unearned run in 6 2/3 innings. Justin Grimm was forced to replace Lackey in the middle of Randal Grichuk’s at bat due a right shoulder injury. Lackey’s shoulder stiffened up on him and he had to leave the game. Grimm completed the strikeout to end the top of the seventh. The Cubs loaded the bases in the bottom of the seventh with no outs and had a chance to put the game away. The Cubs were unable to tack on and the Cardinals attacked Rondon in the eighth.
Hector Rondon made his first appearance since Aug. 2 with the Cubs leading by two runs. Kolten Wong and Greg Garcia led off the eighth with singles. Stephen Piscotty launched a three-run homer to left center. And just like that, the Cubs were down 4-3. Rondon retired Matt Carpenter on a groundout to first base. Rondon served up the second home run of the inning, a solo shot to Brandon Moss.
Joe Maddon went to his pen for Travis Wood and the Cardinals added another run after a two out walk to Jhonny Peralta. Jedd Gyorko singled to right and Randal Grichuk doubled to right.
The Cardinals scored five runs off Rondon and Wood in the eighth and took a commanding 6-3 lead.
Anthony Rizzo launched a home run in the bottom of the eighth to make it a two-run deficit. Mike Matheny used his closer for five-out save and Seung Hwan Oh shut the door on a possible Cubs comeback.
Anthony Rizzo (3-for-4 with a home run and three RBI) and Kris Bryant (2-for-4 with a triple and two runs scored) were the Cubs offense Sunday night. The Cubs managed only eight hits, Rizzo and Bryant were a combined 5-for-9 with a triple, a home run, three runs scored and three RBI.
John Lackey had a good night on the hill until he was forced to leave with shoulder stiffness. Lackey was charged with one unearned run on four hits and a walk. Lackey struck out five on 106 pitches, 67 for strikes, in 6 2/3 innings.
Hector Rondon and Travis Wood allowed a combined five runs on six hits (two home runs) and a walk in the eighth without any strikeouts. Aroldis Chapman made an appearance in the ninth and retired the side in order an inning too late.
The Cubs jumped on Mike Leake in the first inning after Lackey set the Cardinals down in order to start the game.
Dexter Fowler walked after falling behind 0-2 to start the at-bat. Kris Bryant singled to right center. With runners on first and second with no outs, Anthony Rizzo smoked a single to right. Fowler scored, 1-0 Cubs. Bryant went to third and Zobrist stepped in with runners on the corners and no outs.
Ben Zobrist did his job and got the runner in from third. Zobrist flied out to left. Bryant tagged and scored, 2-0 Cubs. Russell rolled into a 5-4 fielder’s choice and Coghlan grounded out to first to end the inning.
The Cubs defense gave the Cardinals a run in the third inning. Greg Garcia reached on a single to right off Ben Zobrist’s glove. Zobrist should have made the play. He was not charged with an error but a case could be made for a scoring change. Lackey hit Piscotty and put two on with one down. Carpenter hit a tailor made double play ball toward short. Russell fielded the ball and flipped to Zobrist. But his throw to first was low. Rizzo was not able to scoop, the ball bounced past him and Garcia scored on the throwing error … 2-1 Cubs. Moss flied out to deep left to end the inning.
The Cubs did nothing in the third against Mike Leake. After three complete, the Cubs had a 2-1 lead.
The game remained 2-1 Cubs until the sixth inning. John Lackey and Mike Leake found a rhythm and retired one batter after the other.
Kris Bryant tripled to right center with one out in the sixth. Anthony Rizzo lashed a 2-1 pitch from Leake into left. Bryant scampered home, 3-1 Cubs. With Rizzo running, Zobrist grounded out to first. Rizzo reached second but was stranded when Addison Russell flied out to Grichuk at the wall in left center to end the inning.
After the Cubs failed to add to the lead in the bottom of the seventh, Hector Rondon gave up the lead after just three batters in the top of the eighth.
Kolten Wong hit for Matt Bowman and singled to left. Greg Garcia reached on a bunt single to the third base side of the mound. After a visit from Chris Bosio, Rondon threw a 96 mph fastball right down the middle to Stephen Piscotty and he launched a three-run homer to the bleachers in left center. Rondon retired Carpenter on a grounder to first before serving up a long home run to Brandon Moss. Maddon went to the pen for Travis Wood with the Cubs down 5-3.
Wood issued a two out walk to Peralta. A single by Jedd Gyorko prolonged the inning and put two on for Grichuk. Peralta scored on a double to right from Grichuk, 6-3 Cardinals.
Anthony Rizzo made is a 6-4 game with a long homer to right in the bottom of the eighth. The Cubs were not able to score any more runs before Matheny went to his pen for closer Seung Hwan Oh. And Oh struck out four of the six batters he faced in the eighth and ninth innings.
The Cubs split the four-game series with the Cardinals. But it should have been a four-game sweep.
With Sunday’s loss (10-9 on Sundays in 2016), the Cubs slipped to 73-43 on the season.
Monday is a scheduled off day. The Cubs have a day-night doubleheader on Tuesday with the Brewers at Wrigley Field. Trevor Cahill faces Matt Garza in game one (12:20pm CDT) and Jason Hammel takes on Chase Anderson in the night cap (7:05pm CDT).