Even with a 5 run bottom of the 9th inning, the St Louis Cardinals still came up short in losing the 3rd and final game of the weekend series to the Chicago Cubs 9-7. By dropping this game, the Cardinals lost 2 of 3 to the Cubs and dropped back into 2nd place in National League Central ( The Reds beat the Marlins Sunday 2-0).
It all started early in the game. Kyle Lohse insisted he was finally “ready” to pitch after having forearm surgery some 2 months ago. I had a feeling he wasn’t ( by reports I’ve read). Unfortunately, I was right…..Lohse couldn’t get out of the 4th inning, He went just 3 innings surrendering 7 runs on 6 hits including giving up 2 loooong home runs to Cubs 1st baseman Derrick Lee. (who coming into this game had a .583 lifetime average against Lohse.)
The Cardinals then turned to Mike MacDougal who struggled mightily with his control, then to Blake Hawksworth who pitched the best out of anyone while firing shutout 3 innings. Dennys Reyes pitched the 9th inning but he too was touched up for a run.
Cubs starter Ryan Dempster kept the Cardinals off balance all night, he gave up just 2 runs on 5 hits while going 6 2/3 innings and stuck out 6. The Cubs bullpen almost blew the win for him in the bottom of the 9th. After a Steve Hill homerun ( more on that later), pinch hitter Nick Stavinoha ripped a single past the shortstop, Aaron Miles followed with a single, Brendon Ryan walked, Skip Schumaker struck out, Jon Jay walked, Felipe Lozez singled in two, Allen Craig grounded out and so too did Steven Hill….game over….close but no cigar.
The Cardinals have a day off Monday before opening a short 2 game series vs. Milwaukee. I’ll have a preview to that series up shortly.
*1B Albert Pujols hit homerun #30 in the very 1st innings on Sunday. That now gives Albert 10 straight years of 30 or more homers.
* Backup Catcher Steven Hill made a splash in his Major League debut on Sunday, he hit his 1st career homerun over the right field fence demonstrating good opposite field power. No big surprise here because before he was called up he was leading the Texas League in homeruns with 25.
* The Cardinals are an eye popping 42-12 when scoring 1st.
* Thru the 1st 8 innings Sunday afternoon, the Cardinals were 1 for 14 with runners in scoring position…..ouch.
* Members of the Black Eyed Peas took batting practice before the game…..not sure what that was all about.
* Before Felipe Lopez’s 2 run pinch hit single in the bottom of the 9th inning, he was 0 for his last 17 at bats…..ouch again.
* The Cardinals are 10-5 against their arch rival Cincinnati Reds, yet are a combined 9-12 vs the lowly Cubs and Astros……go figure.