4/14 Cardinals 5, Cubs 1
Starlin Castro is a big part of the Cubs rebuilding plan but he has to cut down on errors like the ones he made Saturday, and he knows it. Yadier Molina hit a two-run single and scored on Daniel Descalso’s triple in a four-run fourth off Chris Volstad and John Jay added a solo homer to lift the Cardinals to victory over the Cubs at Busch Stadium.
“It all started with an error,” Dale Sveum said of the Cardinals fourth. “[Volstad] was pitching pretty good. I don’t know if [the error] got him off kilter a little bit. Other than that, he did OK. He had his breaking ball working and throwing strikes. It was actually a pretty productive day.”
The error was a throwing mistake by Castro, one of two for the day. Leadoff man Matt Holliday was safe as Castro’s throw pulled first baseman Bryan LaHair off the bag. One out later, Matt Carpenter doubled off the right field wall and Molina singled, driving in both runners. Molina easily stole second — it was a “brain fart,” Volstad said — and then scored on Descalso’s triple to go ahead, 3-0. Tyler Greene added a RBI single. Castro led the National League last season with 29 errors, and now has four in nine games. That’s not a good pace.
“Those kind of things happen in the game,” Castro said. “Sometimes I think too much. The next one, I tried to be like perfect and when you think a lot about being perfect, that’s when the mistakes come.”
Castro made another throwing error in the St. Louis fifth. He tried to make up for it in the sixth with a RBI single, which was the Cubs only offense for the day.
“It’s very frustrating because I’ve been working hard a lot, in the Dominican and here,” Castro said. “Those kind of things aren’t supposed to happen. It’s happening because it’s the game, you know, and everybody makes an error. It happens one time, it’s [OK]. Two times, that can’t happen again.”
* On Friday, the Cardinals raised a banner to commemorate winning the 2011 World Series, and on Saturday, the players and staff, including Cubs first base coach Dave McKay, received their championship rings, which are loaded with 103 diamonds, red rubies and made of 14 karat yellow and white gold.
“It’s important to show your respect for the World Champions,” Sveum said. “For everybody to see that ring who’s never got one, it’s a pretty special day, and it’s a pretty awesome ring to look at. I hope when we win it, another team is watching us get our rings. I think that’s the way things should be done.”
Castro can’t wait.
“That’s what I want to be one day on this team, win a World Series and that kind of stuff,” Castro said. “That makes me more aggressive and more [eager] to work harder. I think one day, we’ll have a championship and a World Series.”
* Volstad threw 101 pitches, the first time he’s topped 100 since last July 22 against the Mets. He gave up more than three runs for the first time since last Aug. 19.
* Sveum did not pinch-hit for LaHair or Ian Stewart in the sixth when lefty J.C. Romero came in, and he struck out both Cubs hitters to strand two. In the eighth, the Cardinals called on Marc Rzepczynski to get Stewart out, and two more runners were stranded.
“Those are tough situations that could change the course of the game,” Cardinals manager Mike Matheny said.
Said Romero: “It’s just part of what I’ve been able to do throughout my career. I always tell people that I call myself ‘specialty-plus.’ There are times I can face righties, but for the most part I will face my lefties. I take it very serious. It’s not like I’m going to face lefties that are not a threat. There is no room for mistakes. Every time you face a quality lefty it’s with the game on the line, so you have to execute your pitches.”
Sveum said he stuck with Stewart in the eighth because he had good at-bats against lefties this year.
* Castro is batting .529 with runners on base. He has an RBI in four straight games.
* David DeJesus has a six-game hitting streak (.381).
* On Sunday, which is Jackie Robinson day, Paul Maholm closes the Cubs series in St. Louis against Jake Westbrook. All players will wear jerseys with Robinson’s No. 42. First pitch is scheduled for 1:15 p.m. CT.
– Carrie Muskat