6/19 Cardinals 4, Cubs 1
Yadier Molina guessed right. He belted a tie-breaking two-run home run in the sixth to lift the Cardinals and Jake Westbrook to a 4-1 victory over the Cubs. Edwin Jackson took the loss, ending a brief two-game win streak. The right-hander, who appeared in 13 games (12 starts) for the Cardinals in 2011, gave up six hits over 5 1/3 innings.
“It was a good outing against the best hitting team in the league — he did a good job,” Dale Sveum said of Jackson. “We scored one earned run on two hits. Jackson was going to have to basically pitch a shutout [to beat Westbrook].”
And it was one pitch, a two-seam fastball, that cost Jackson the game.
“I felt like it wasn’t a super bad outing tonight,” Jackson said. “I thought it was a pretty good pitch but either he was looking for it or he guessed right. It was right in his zone. I threw my pitch with conviction, the pitch I wanted to throw. Sometimes that happens.”
The Cardinals took a 1-0 lead in the first on Allen Craig’s RBI single. The Cubs answered in the second. Anthony Rizzo singled with one out in the second, and was then safe on an error by Matt Carpenter, who threw a potential double play ball by Ryan Sweeney into shallow left. Welington Castillo walked to load the bases, and Rizzo scored on Darwin Barney’s sacrifice fly to center. John Jay fired a strike to Molina, but Rizzo was able to dance around the catcher, who muffed the throw, and was safe.
St. Louis had a runner at first with one out in the sixth when Molina connected on his fifth home run, launching a 1-2 fastball into the left field bleachers. Jackson then plunked Jay with a pitch, and was pulled. Carlos Villanueva entered and gave up back to back singles, including a RBI single to Pete Kozma. Before the game, Sveum said the Cardinals catcher may be MVP of the league.
“Right now, we’re hoping he hits the ball at somebody — he’s that locked in,” Sveum said of Molina.
Westbrook combined with two other pitchers on a two-hitter. Besides Rizzo’s single in the first, Luis Valbuena singled to open the third but was caught stealing.
On the plus side, Jackson had his third straight solid outing.
“Earlier, I felt I was kind of mechanical, kind of too much in a bubble, and I had to go back to having fun,” Jackson said. “We know it’s a job but at the end of the day, it’s a game, and we have to go out there and have fun doing so.”
The right-hander was 1-8 before these last three starts. Was he thinking too much?
“Just kind of over-analyzing everything,” he said. “I won’t say I was trying to be too perfect, but it was just too robotic. You have to sometimes allow yourself to do what your body does and allow your athleticism to take over. We’re going to make mistakes, we’re human. Some balls come back over the plate, some times they won’t.”
— Carrie Muskat