Game One Hundred Fifty-Four – Cubs 4, Cardinals 10
WP – Alex Reyes (4-1) LP – Jason Hammel (15-10) Save – None
Jason Hammel was lifted with one out in the third inning and was charged with six runs on six hits in what was by far his worst outing of the season at Wrigley. The Cardinals scored four runs with two outs in the first. The Cubs were not able to dig out of the early hole before the game got out of hand and lost to the Cardinals on Saturday afternoon at the old ballyard.
Jason Hammel had as much bad luck Saturday as he’s had at times this season. Hammel also made more than his fair share of mistakes. It was a bad day for Hammel in what could have been his last game of the year at Wrigley.
Hammel allowed 17 earned runs in 14 games at home (1.84 ERA, 0.97 WHIP) all season before Saturday. Hammel was charged with six runs on six hits with a walk and two strikeouts. Hammel made 53 pitches, 36 for strikes, in 2 1/3 innings.
Mike Montgomery allowed an inherited run to score in the third before the book was closed on Hammel. Montgomery, Trevor Cahill and Travis Wood kept the Cardinals from tacking on. The Cubs were not able to cut into the deficit before Hector Rondon was lit up for three runs in the seventh inning. Maddon had to turn to Felix Pena to record two of the three outs in the seventh.
Rob Zastryzny was hit hard and gave up a run in his first appearance since Sept. 4.
Joe Maddon had an unscheduled bullpen day. The eight pitchers Maddon used on Saturday afternoon just didn’t have it. Poor location and poor sequencing to a team that can pound the baseball like the Cardinals is always a recipe for an ugly loss.
The Cubs tried to make a game of it early on. Maddon emptied his bench and waived the white flag in the eighth, which was the right call. The Cubs made Alex Reyes work and other another day may have had a different result. But not Saturday.
Dexter Fowler (3-for-5 with a double, a triple, a run scored and a RBI) was a home run shy of a cycle. Fowler singled, doubled and tripled in his first three at bats. Fowler struck out in his fourth plate appearance and popped out to short to end the game. Fowler scored ahead of Kris Bryant (0-for-3 with a walk and a run scored) in the first inning on a triple by Ben Zobrist (1-for-2 with a triple, a walk and two RBI).
The Cubs added a single run in the second and made it a 5-3 game on a double by Fowler that plated Jorge Soler (0-for-3 with a walk and a run scored). But with runners on second and third with one out, Bryant popped out to Diaz in shallow left and Anthony Rizzo (0-for-3) went down swinging to end the inning.
The Cubs had plenty of chances against the Cardinals’ dynamic young right-hander. The Cubs went 2-for-8 with runners in scoring position and left six men on base while Alex Reyes was on the hill. The Cubs made him work. Mike Matheny allowed Reyes to make 115 pitches in five innings, simply ridiculous in September with an expanded roster. Reyes picked up the all-important win. The Cubs were the first team to really get to him in the majors. Reyes will not be as big a mystery to the Cubs if they see him again this year.
Willson Contreras (2-for-4 with a home run) took Seung Hwan Oh deep in the ninth with the Cubs’ fourth run.
The Cubs scored four runs on eight hits and three walks while striking out 10 times. Maddon’s team went 2-for-8 with RISP and left six men on base.
With Saturday’s loss, the Cubs slipped to 98-56 on the season.
Jon Lester will look to finish off the Cardinals on Sunday night (7:08pm CDT) and will oppose right-hander Carlos Martinez.