Montero’s big hit not enough
Skipper Joe Maddon called reliever Pedro Strop to the mound with the Chicago Cubs holding a one-run lead over the first-place St. Louis Cardinals in the ninth, but he was unable to slam the door on this dangerous team.
Strop – who was issued the blown save and loss – gave up the game-winning two-run home run to All-Star shortstop, Jhonny Peralta who was down to the final strike of the ballgame. He lifted a pitch and dropped it into the basket out in left field to give the Cardinals the 6-5 lead.
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First baseman Dan Johnson put the Cardinals (55-30) on the board with a two-out RBI single to right fielder, Jorge Soler. Michael Wacha helped out his own cause by coming through with an RBI single of his own in the very next at-bat to make it a 2-0 ball game.
Richard (1-0, 5.79 ERA) gave up four earned runs on seven hits in his brief three-inning outing before handing things over to former starter turned reliever, Travis Wood.
Wood was much better and even had the opportunity to pick up the win if Strop hadn’t given up the lead late in the game. The veteran southpaw tossed three hitless and scoreless innings while issuing only one walk and striking out three to keep his team in the driver’s seat.
Wacha (10-3, 2.93 ERA) surrendered five earned runs on seven hits and gave up the lead during the bottom of the sixth inning which spelled the end of the line for both skipper Mike Matheny and catcher Yadier Molina who were ejected.
After the Cubs (46-38) loaded up the bases and Miguel Montero stepped into the batter’s box, Wacha delivered a pitch on the outside corner of the strike zone which was called as a ball.
Moments after the missed call, Montero drilled a three-run double to right-center field to give the Cubs the 5-4 lead. Both men ended up getting in the face of the home plate umpire, Pat Hoberg, who finished the series 3-for-3 in ejections.
It’s a heartbreaking loss, but the Cubs will be back at it this weekend as they begin the Crosstown Classic this weekend.