6/4 Q: “I’ll take the heat”

Mike Quade had decided before the Cubs-Cardinals series how he was going to handle slugger Albert Pujols and on Saturday, it backfired. Pujols hit a walkoff homer with two outs in the 12th to power the Cardinals to a 5-4 victory. It was his second homer of the game.

“Guys fought their [tails] off,” Quade said. “We came up short. And I’ll take the heat for that, for pitching to Pujols.”

With the game tied at 4 and two outs in the 12th, Quade went to the mound to talk to Jeff Samardzija about Pujols.

“We talked about being real careful,” Quade said. “I won’t talk about being careful anymore. I’m not in the habit of walking people with two outs and nobody on. I understand how good [Pujols] is. We’ll have to re-think that a little bit. The pitcher’s spot was three holes away and that was our salvation. We figured if we could keep him in the ballpark, take your chances.”

Pujols launched a 2-1 slider into the Cubs bullpen for his 12th homer of the year and third of this series. Told that Quade was taking responsibility for the loss, Samardijza said the manager didn’t need to do that.

“I was the one pitching, and I was the one who gave it up,” Samardzija said. “Q’s been great. He came out and we talked about it and we knew the pitcher was a couple hitters away. We weren’t going to live down the middle of the plate with Pujols.

“I thought we made a couple pitches there but then again, if a guy like that is hitting, whatever you think is a good pitch has probably got to be a little better,” he said. “You’ve got to get it even down a little more, a little out a little more.”

— Carrie Muskat

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