Cubs Recap: Chicago rally falls short in loss to the Cardinals
By Jake Misener
After a rocky start, the Chicago Cubs and Jon Lester found their form, but the rally fell short in a 4-3 series finale loss to the St. Louis Cardinals Sunday.
St. Louis (93-56) scored three of their four tallies in the top of the first against Lester, who settled down to allow only one run in his final five innings of work. The veteran southpaw struck out seven, walking three on the afternoon.
Cardinals rookie Tommy Pham got things rolling with one out in the first, taking Lester deep for a solo blast – his fifth on the year. Three batters later, Lester hung an off-speed pitch to Stephen Piscotty, who golfed it into the left-field seats to give St. Louis a 3-0 edge.
A run-scoring single in the top of the third off the bat of Jhonny Peralta pushed the Cardinals’ lead to 4-0 – making it seem as if the Cubs could be in for a very long afternoon.
But, once again, it was Anthony Rizzo who came through in the clutch for Chicago (87-62), this time with a two-run single that plated both Lester and Fowler, cutting the St. Louis lead down to two.
It was at that 4-2 margin the score remained until the bottom of the eighth when reliever Jonathan Broxton issued a bases-loaded free pass to Tommy La Stella, forcing in Chris Coghlan from third.
With the bases still loaded and nobody out, Addison Russell shot a ball the other way. St. Louis right fielder Jason Heyward made the catch, firing a one-hop throw to the plate from deep right, nabbing Rizzo and preventing Chicago from tying things up.
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On the plate at the plate, Rizzo’s slide injured the thumb of Yadier Molina, prompting his departure from the game. Following the injury, Mike Matheny went to his closer, Trevor Rosenthal, who struck out Miguel Montero to end the Cubs’ threat.
The St. Louis right-hander also pitched the ninth to nail down his 46th save of the season, which trails only Pittsburgh Pirates reliever Mark Melancon in all baseball.
Chicago will play host to the Milwaukee Brewers for a three-game set, beginning on Monday night on the North Side.
Right-hander Jason Hammel will look to establish at least some sort of consistency heading into the postseason and will be opposed by Wily Peralta of the Brewers.