4/13 Cubs 9, Cardinals 5
The Cubs crashed the Cardinals party on Friday. Bryan LaHair belted his first career grand slam and Ian Stewart hit his first homer in more than a year to power the Cubs to victory. After the 1 hour 44 minute rain delay and the festivities, leadoff batter David DeJesus quieted the sellout crowd of 46,882 with a leadoff double off Adam Wainwright (0-2). Darwin Barney singled and Starlin Castro followed with a RBI single. One out later, Stewart launched his first home run with the Cubs.
For Stewart, who struggled with injuries last season, it was his first big league blast in 171 at-bats since Aug. 23, 2010. It’s about time.
“I joke about that a lot,” Stewart said. “It’s one of the first things I said. I almost haven’t hit a home run in two seasons. It was nice to finally get that one.”
In the third, Chicago loaded the bases on two walks and a single, and LaHair cleared them with an opposite field home run. It was the Cubs’ first grand slam since Aramis Ramirez did so Oct. 2, 2010, in Houston. LaHair was a little surprised at himself.
“Usually I don’t do well in that situation — I get a single or something,” said LaHair, whose last slam was May 5, 2010, while playing for Triple-A Iowa. “I’ve never had too much success in that situation. I got a good pitch and hit it hard. That’s all I try to do.”
* Jeff Samardzija (2-0) picked up the win, giving up four hits over four scoreless innings. The Cardinals batted around in the fifth, including a two-run triple by Matt Carpenter. What happened in the fifth?
“I think I got a little complacent with how I went the first four innings and I was looking to have another quick inning,” Samardzija said. <p> And when his pitches are up in the zone, batters connect on line drives, instead of hitting ground balls. I need to concentrate a little bit more there and lock in and keep that ball down in the zone and keep the ball on the ground like they’d been doing the whole game.”
It’s part of the growing pains Samardzija and the Cubs will have to go through this season.
* Samardzija is 3-0 when he receives four or more runs of support.
* DeJesus extended his hitting streak to five games, Barney extended his to seven games.
* The Cubs won 8-0 on Thursday. The last time they scored eight runs or more in back to back games was Sept. 11-12, 2011, against the Mets and Reds.
* Castro stole his sixth base of the season in the seventh. He leads the National League in steals. He also had three hits for the first time this year.
* On Saturday, Chris Volstad will try for his first Cubs win in Game 2 of the series against Lance Lynn. First pitch is scheduled for 12:05 p.m. CT.
— Carrie Muskat