Friday’s Game Report: Cubs 10, Cardinals 5
By Rob Rains
The Cardinals found themselves in an all-too-familiar position in the seventh inning of Friday’s game at Wrigley Field.
Trailing 4-2, the Cardinals needed a reliever to hold the game there and give the offense two chances to come up with the tying or perhaps go-ahead runs.
It didn’t happen.
Genesis Cabrera walked the first two batters he faced, then with one out hit a batter to load the bases. With Kris Bryant coming to the plate as a pinch-hitter, the Cardinals turned to Junior Fernandez, instead of Giovanny Gallegos, to try to get out of the jam.
After the first pitch from Fernandez, the lead had ballooned to 7-2 as Bryant doubled off the ivy in left center. After a ground out, former Cardinal Patrick Wisdom slammed a two-run homer to cap the five-run inning.
Including that bad inning, the Cardinals’ eight pitchers combined to walk seven hitters and hit three more. Four of them scored.
“You can dodge left and right but eventually it can catch up with you,” said manager Mike Shildt.
The loss was the sixth in seven games for the Cardinals against this season against the Cubs, who had lost 12 of their previous 13 games before Friday.
Here is how Friday’s game broke down:
At the plate: Trailing 3-0, the Cardinals closed the gap to 3-2 in the third on a one-out single by Dylan Carlson and consecutive two-out singles by Nolan Arenado, Tyler O’Neill and Yadier Molina. They had only one more hit, a double by Paul Goldschmidt in the fourth, until the ninth when they trailed 10-2. Carlson doubled and scored on a single by Goldschmidt before pinch-hitter Paul DeJong homered into the basket in right field … Carlson had three hits and also reached on a walk.
On the mound: The Cubs took the 3-0 lead against starter Wade LeBlanc when they loaded the bases on a leadoff walk and two singles. LeBlanc almost got out of the jam, but Carlson could not hold onto the ball on a sliding catch attempt on a bloop hit by Joc Pederson, which turned into a bases-clearing double … The only inning a Cardinals pitcher retired the Cubs in order was when Ryan Helsley did it in the sixth, recording two strikeouts … The newest Cardinal pitcher, Luis Garcia, relieved LeBlanc in the fourth inning. He hit the first batter he faced before allowing two hits and a run.
Key stat: Of the eight pitchers who appeared in the game for the Cardinals, four of them – LeBlanc, Garcia, Justin Miller and Brandon Waddell – joined the organization since June 6, when Waddell signed a minor-league free agent contract. They have now used 26 pitchers, 27 if Carpenter is included, in their 89 games. In the full 2019 season they used 23, including Jedd Gyorko.
Worth noting: Optioning Johan Oviedo will allow him to make a start for Memphis during the All-Star break and still be eligible to return to the majors when the Cardinals will need a fourth starter, on July 19 … The team is awaiting more information from doctors in St. Louis and Carlos Martinez about the severity of the torn ligament in his right thumb and what treatment option he will choose, including surgery. They expect that decision to be made soon, and then will have more clarity about how much time he likely will miss, although he was transferred to the 60-day IL on Friday, meaning he will not be eligible to return until early September. To replace Oviedo, the Cardinals signed the right-hander Garcia as a free agent. Garcia, 34, has pitched in the majors for eight years. He had been pitching in Triple A when he was released by the Yankees on Tuesday.
Looking ahead: Kwang Hyun Kim will get the start Saturday night in the second game of the series.
Follow Rob Rains on Twitter @RobRains