8/18 Cardinals 6, Cubs 1
At least the Cubs weren’t shut out again. Jon Jay drove in four runs, including three on a home run, to back Adam Wainwright, who struck out 11 over seven innings and power the Wild Card-leading Cardinals to a 6-1 victory Sunday against the Cubs to take the series at Wrigley Field. Dale Sveum and James Russell were both ejected in the seventh after an argument about a third-strike call by home-plate umpire Phil Cuzzi on Donnie Murphy’s check-swing attempt.
The Cubs have scored 12 runs in their last eight home games, with seven coming in Friday’s 7-0 win to open the series. They’re batting .197 in the eight games, and are 4-for-38 (.105) with runners in scoring position.
“We seem to get guys on base enough during the game, but we’re not getting those runs in or that three-run homer to break a game open or that two-run double or anything from anybody,” Sveum said.
Edwin Jackson took the loss but might have escaped some damage if Junior Lake had caught a fly ball. Yadier Molina doubled down the left-field line with one out in the second, and scored on Jay’s double that followed nearly the exact same path. Kolten Wong reached second on Lake’s error as he muffed a fly ball in center. Daniel Descalso was intentionally walked to load the bases, and one out later, Matt Carpenter drove in a pair with a single for a 3-0 lead.
Lake did hit a RBI double in the sixth, but the Cards put two runners in scoring position with one out in the seventh, and Jay connected on his sixth home run off a 1-1 pitch from Russell. The numbers favored Russell; this was the first home run he’s given up to a left-handed batter. Jay was hitting .198 against lefties before the at-bat.
“Jay has struggled all year against left-handed pitching, and [Russell] got a slider up, and Jay hit it through the wind,” Sveum said. “He hit that ball about as good as you can hit a ball, the way the wind was blowing.”
The Cubs were left shaking their heads.
“There weren’t too many good things that happened,” Sveum said of the game. “The dropped fly ball led to some things that could’ve been a different game. One pitch from Russell got that out of hand.”
The Cubs haven’t quit. Check out Anthony Rizzo’s diving grab of Molina’s popup in the fifth in which the first baseman nearly ended up head-first in the visitor’s dugout.
“The ball hung up long enough,” Rizzo said. “It’s something I mess around with and say I can do. It was just a perfect opportunity, I guess, to do it.”
Some of the Cardinals in the dugout were there to save him from landing on his face.
“That’s good sportsmanship,” Rizzo said. “I probably would’ve went in pretty hard there, head first.”
Said Jackson: “We’re not giving up by any means. “We’re out there fighting and battling. Some times things don’t work in our favor, some times things don’t look the best the way we do them. It’s a young team and things are going to happen throughout the season. Everybody is giving 110 percent and at the end of the day, that’s all you can ask for.”
— Carrie Muskat