Following their game one loss at the hands of the St. Louis Cardinals who entered the series with a five-game losing streak, the Chicago Cubs continued to struggle late. Like yesterday, they were unable to capitalize with runners in scoring position.
It was frustrating, to say the least, but you can’t expect the Chicago Cubs to go out and win every game on the schedule. They are squaring off against the St. Louis Cardinals — a team that has had their number.
Yesterday evening, Mike Matheny‘s second place team jumped all over veteran right-hander John Lackey, giving Jaime Garcia enough run support to pick up the win in the decision. It was the same tonight with Jason Hammel on the mound opposite Adam Wainwright.
Wainwright (6-4, 4.73 ERA) missed the majority of the 2015 campaign after sustaining an Achilles injury in Milwaukee. He returned late in the season and worked out of the bullpen against the Chicago Cubs (47-22) in their first-ever postseason matchup.
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Despite being charged with three earned runs on six hits, Wainwright pitched well enough to keep his team in the driver’s seat. Adam walked three hitters while striking out four in 6 2/3 innings of work.
Hammel (7-3, 2.55 ERA) was on the losing end of the stick, giving up four earned runs on six hits, two home runs, one walk, and three strikeouts in 5 2/3 frames before he was replaced by rookie southpaw Gerardo Concepcion.
Concepcion was called up from the Triple-A Iowa Cubs and worked through 1 1/3 innings, retiring every Cardinal (37-33) that was sent his way. He recorded his first two strikeouts as a big league reliever.
The visiting team broke things wide open in the third inning of the ballgame when Matt Holliday launched a towering two-run homer out to left field, making it a 4-1 deficit for the Cubs. Chicago had an early lead on a sacrifice fly off the bat of Anthony Rizzo in the first.
Former St. Louis Cardinal’ Jason Heyward came through with a clutch RBI double in the home half of the third, scoring Coghlan from first. It was Heyward’s 12th double of the year as a member of the Cubs.
The Cubs had an opportunity to tie things up late in the game when shortstop Addison Russell doubled to left field to lead off the seventh inning. Russell moved over to third base on a Miguel Montero groundout and was unable to score.
Chicago had another chance to knot things up in the ninth when Russell drove a pitch out to right field with only one out. Shortly after Albert Almora struck out swinging, Javier Baez worked a five-pitch walk.