The Chicago Cubs bullpen looked unstable for the second night in a row, as Hector Rondon, freshly off the DL, gave up a three-run bomb to Cardinals outfielder Stephen Piscotty in the 8th inning as Chicago lost 6-4 on Sunday night in the finale of the series.
St. Louis (62-56) would respond with a run of their own in the third when Matt Carpenter hit a ground ball to shortstop Addison Russell who flipped the ball to Zobrist to turn the double play but he made an errant throw to first base which allowed Cardinals shortstop, Greg Garcia, to score.
In the top of the seventh inning, Starter John Lackey threw a pitch and was clearly feeling some pain. Maddon and the training staff came out to see what’s wrong.
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Lackey (9-7, 3.41 ERA) left the game with an apparent undisclosed injury, but He was solid on the night for the Cubs, going 6 2/3 innings and only surrendering four hits and an unearned run, while striking out five.
The bullpen faltered for the second night in a row, but, this time, it was Hector Rondon. He was making his first appearance since August 2nd and looked shaky giving up two home runs to Stephen Piscotty, and Brandon Moss. A five-run inning rally in the eighth.
Rondon’s fastball velocity looked great, sitting in the mid to high 90’s, but he was leaving it up which is a no-no against big league hitters.
Anthony Rizzo continues to absolutely rake, collecting three hits on the night including a solo homer in the bottom of the eighth inning when Kevin Siegrist tried to bust Rizzo up and in with a fastball but The Cubs slugger turned on it and crushed it just inside the foul pole in right field.
It was Rizzo’s first home run since July 25th, and his 25th on the season, which ranks him second on the team behind slugger Kris Bryant, who has 28. Rizzo drove in three of the Cubs four runs on the night, ranking him third in the National League with 85 on the year.
Bryant continued to swing it well, going 2-for-4 on the night, including his first triple of the season. He is currently hitting .288 with 28 home runs and 72 RBI, and is clearly in contention for the National League MVP.
The Cubs will now have an off day on Monday, setting up another four-game set against their division rival, the Milwaukee Brewers. A doubleheader is scheduled for Tuesday to begin the series.