Navarro comes back from injury with a bang


Aug 4, 2013; Chicago, IL, USA; Chicago Cubs catcher

Dioner Navarro

(30) hits a double against the Los Angeles Dodgers during the first inning at Wrigley Field. Mandatory Credit: David Banks-USA TODAY Sports

The Chicago Cubs were initially concerned about the possibility of catcher Dioner Navarro ending up on the disabled list following a brutal collision at home plate earlier this week. However, he proved Saturday evening that he is feeling just fine, as he led an eighth-inning rally to help Chicago down struggling St. Louis for the second consecutive night.

Navarro came off the bench in the eighth inning, and smacked an RBI double to help lead Chicago over the Cardinals in late frames, after second baseman Darwin Barney tied the game with a game-tying, two run double, bringing the Cubs’ faithful to their feet at Busch Stadium.

In typical Cubs’ fashion, however, an insurance run added by a Nate Schierholtz RBI single in the top of the ninth proved useful, as Matt Holliday connected for his second home run of the game, and his 15th on the year, off Chicago closer Kevin Gregg in the bottom of the frame.

Chicago’s other man behind the dish, Welington Castillo, continued his impressive 2013 campaign, going 1-for-1 with a home run, two runs batted in and a pair of walks on the night. He is hitting a respectable .278 on the year, giving the Cubs much-needed production from the catcher position that has been largely absent since Michael Barrett‘s departure some years ago.

Michael Wacha, who made a spot start for the Cardinals in lieu of management’s decision to hold ace Adam Wainwright until a crucial upcoming series against the Pirates, kept St. Louis in the game, but was far from top-notch form. He lasted just five innings, allowing a pair of runs on five hits. He also walked three Cubs’ batters.

Carlos Villanueva, who earned a no-decision on Saturday, tossed six frames for Chicago, allowing four earned runs on seven hits, while striking out one. The Cubs bullpen combined on three strong innings of work, with the lone run allowed coming via the Holliday homer in the ninth against Gregg. Blake Parker picked up his first win of the season, tossing a scoreless seventh for Dale Sveum.

Chicago continued to struggle with runners in scoring position, going just 3-for-13 (.231), but managed to come up with the timely hits when it mattered, sending the reeling Cardinals to their fourth straight loss, and their sixth in their last ten ballgames. St. Louis still finds itself four games back of Pittsburgh,which also lost on Saturday, in the race for the National League Central.

Junior Lake and Starlin Castro each added a pair of hits to lead Chicago offensively Saturday, while Matt Carpenter, Carlos Beltran and Matt Holliday all added two base hits in the losing effort for St. Louis.

Chicago looks to complete the three-game series sweep tomorrow afternoon at Busch Stadium behind right-hander Edwin Jackson, who has seen a resurgence in the season’s second half. The Cardinals counter with young flamethrower Joe Kelly.