Game One Hundred Forty-Four – Cubs 2, Cardinals 4
WP – Alex Reyes (2-1) LP – Jason Hammel (14-9) Save – Kevin Siegrist (2)
Dexter Fowler led off the game with a home run. And the Cubs took a 2-0 lead on a second inning double by Addison Russell. The Cubs knocked Jaime Garcia out of the game in the second inning and made rookie Alex Reyes work. The Cubs walked eight times, only one of the free passes scored as the struggles with runners in scoring position continued.
Jason Hammel allowed the bottom of the Cardinals lineup to beat him. A pair of two-out, two-run homers, one each by Aledmys Diaz and Brandon Moss accounted for all four of the Cardinals runs. And the Cubs dropped the middle game of the series in St. Louis on Tuesday night.
The Cubs left the Cardinals in the game and in the end it cost them. The Cubs loaded the bases in the second and fourth innings but were not able to push across any runs. After six innings, the Cubs were 1-for-8 with runners in scoring position and had left 10 men on base. A team simply cannot waste all of those opportunities and expect to win a big league ballgame.
Dexter Fowler (1-for-3 with a home run and two walks) gave the Cubs a 1-0 lead with a home run to center leading off the game. Ben Zobrist (0-for-2 with two walks and a run scored) started the second with a walk and scored from first base on a double by Addison Russell (1-for-4 with a double and a RBI).
The Cubs had only two other hits. Kris Bryant (1-for-5) singled in the sixth, the only knock off Alex Reyes. And Jason Hammel (1-for-2) was credited with an infield single in the second that was changed from a fielding error by Aledmys Diaz to a single.
The Cubs scored two runs on four hits with eight walks and finished the game 1-for-8 with RISP while leaving 10 on base.
Jason Hammel made two mistakes on what was otherwise a good outing. Unfortunately both of the mistakes came with a man on and left the yard.
Aledmys Diaz in his first start back from the DL tied the game at two in the second on a two-run shot to left with Brandon Moss on first base. And Moss launched a two-run homer to right in the sixth that proved to be the game winner.
Jason Hammel allowed four runs on six hits (two home runs) with two walks and a season-high nine strikeouts. Hammel made 96 pitches, 64 for strikes, in 5 2/3 innings. Hammel worked well with Willson Contreras and pitched a lot better than his final line indicates.
Justin Grimm picked up the final out in the sixth by striking out pinch-hitter Jeremy Hazelbaker with Diaz on first base.
Joe Smith ended up with a scoreless seventh inning. Willson Contreras picked off Stephen Piscotty from first base that helped bail Smith out of trouble. Smith was not sharp and continued to struggle with his command.
Felix Pena retired all three batters he faced in the eighth.
The Cubs gave the game to the Cardinals and will have to wait until the homestand before they have a chance to clinch a division title.
With Tuesday’s loss, the Cubs slipped to 92-52 on the season.
The Cubs wrap up the series and the road trip on Wednesday afternoon (12:45pm CDT). Jon Lester is scheduled to face Carlos Martinez.