Just one week ago to day, the Cubs were shut out for the second straight day on Ron Santo’s induction into the Hall of Fame. Friday’s afternoon matchup sure felt like Chicago’s woes against the Cardinals were still in effect with the long ball.
St. Louis belted a home run off of starting pitcher Travis Wood in each of the first five innings on Friday. Matt Holliday, Yadier Molina, Lance Berkman, Matt Carpenter and Allen Craig all homered for the Cardinals, respectively.
Down one run heading into the home half of the first, David DeJesus led the Cubs off with a triple to the right field corner with Starlin Castro’s game-tying single. The very next batter, Anthony Rizzo, blasted his sixth home run of the season for a 3-1 Chicago lead.
Despite the five home runs, Wood’s worst effort came in the second as Molina’s 2-run homer followed by a walk and, later, a Daniel Descalso RBI triple put the Cardinals out in front 4-3. A sacrifice fly completed a four-run inning for St. Louis.
The bottom half of the third felt like déjà vu from the first-inning with Castro leading the Cubs off with a triple and scoring on Rizzo’s single. Alfonso Soriano followed with an RBI-double, moving to third on the throw. Geovany Soto’s single tied the game 6-all, but that was as close as the Cubs would get on “Ron Santo Day” at the Friendly Confines, falling in the series opener 9-6.
In game two, both offenses scored early as Soriano came up with the big hit in the first, a two-RBI triple, putting the Cubs in front of St. Louis 2-1 after an inning of play. Both starters settled down until the Cardinals tied things up 2-2 on Descalso’s sacrifice fly.
After the seventh-inning stretch, the Cubs took the lead for good on Reed Johnson’s suicide squeeze, as Tony Campana came sprinting home for the eventual game-winning run that ended a five-game losing streak to the Cardinals.
On Sunday’s rubber-match, Chicago seemed primed to take the weekend series from the defending World Series champions, jumping out to a 2-0 lead after two innings. But a Tyler Greene sacrifice fly in the seventh followed by a solo blast from Home Run Derby participant Carlos Beltran in the eighth tied the game 2-2.
A two-out grounder to the St. Louis second-baseman meant that this series finale was going to extras. It would be a quick extra frame as reliever James Russell had a 13-pitch inning to bring the Cubs back to the plate with the heart of lineup due up.
Castro got aboard with single and came home on Rizzo’s first career walk-off home run, as the entire Cubs bench cleared to mob the rookie phenom at home. Even though the Cubs lost on Santo’s day at the ballpark, he’d be more than happy to wait for the Cubs future young star to hit a game-winning blast against the Cardinals any day of the week.
Series Stud: Anthony Rizzo, 5-for-12, 2 HR (Walk-off Sunday)
Series Dud: Travis Wood, 5 IP, 6 R, 5 HR
Next Series: vs Pirates July 30-August 1
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