Sunday afternoon was the last of a three game set against arch rival St. Louis. Though the Cubs silenced the birds in the first game, the last two games weren’t as kind to Chicago. The Cardinals used Saturday’s game to return the favor by shutting out the Cubs, and only allowed one run to score in Sunday’s match up.
On Saturday, the Cubs actually played pretty well for the most part. They obviously weren’t able to get the offense going, but they never got themselves into too much trouble.
The only real jam they had happened in the top of the fifth inning, when they had the bases loaded with just one out. Cardinals second baseman Matt Carpenter hit a pop fly to shallow left field, which was called an “infield fly” by the third base umpire. Stariln Castro caught the ball, but relaxed after he made the catch because he didn’t know an infield fly had been called. Jon Jay, the runner on third, tagged up after the call was made, and broke for home once he saw Castro relax. Cubs manager Dale Sveum took Castro out of the game after that half of the inning had finished.
That play seemed to set the tone for the rest of the game. After that play the Cubs had a total of four runners reach base, and also gave up two more runs. Their scoring woes at home resumed after their offensive outbreak on Friday, and the series was tied at one game apiece.
Sunday’s game brought another chance for Chicago to win the series, but the results were fairly similar to Saturday’s.
The Cardinals’ scoring started in the second inning. A run had already scored when Junior Lake dropped a fly ball in center field that should have been out number two. St. Louis jumped on the missed opportunity by scoring two more runs in the inning.
Things stayed relatively quiet through the middle innings. In the fifth inning Anthony Rizzo made an incredible catch over the visitor’s dugout, and Junior Lake hit an RBI single in the sixth which gave the Cubs their first (and only) run of the day. St. Louis answered back with three more runs in the top of the seventh inning, but what happened in the bottom half seemed to aggravate the Cubs much more.
The Cubs had a runner on first base, one out, and hot hitting Donnie Murphy at the plate. After two strikes, Murphy checked his swing on the third pitch. Home plate umpire Phil Cuzzi claimed that Murphy went around and called him out, though replay clearly shows Murphy pulling back before breaking the plane of the plate. Cuzzi ejected Sveum while he was still in the dugout (jawing at Cuzzi, of course), and reliever James Russell (who was also yelling some unpleasant things) was thrown out as well. Sveum came out and gave Cuzzi his two cents, which may have been the most entertaining part of the entire game from a Cubs fan’s perspective.
The Cubs have had troubles at home recently, and that showed in this series (with Friday being an exception). They start a four game series against the Nationals on Monday, which will be held at Wrigley Field.