(BaseballStL) — The Cardinals threatened in the eighth, tied it in the ninth, threatened again in the 10th, but could not put the Cubs away.
Joe Kelly ended his day three hitters into the seventh, when a single by Ryan Sweeny scored Anthony Rizzo. It would be an unearned run, as Rizzo reached on an error by Kolten Wong. A Nate Schierholtz single moved him into scoring position and Sweeny's poke made it a tie game.
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Carlos Martinez entered in relief, getting out of the inning without incident after Molina caught Schieholtz stealing, Starlin Castro popped up and Welington Castillo tapped out to short.
The eighth would go less smoothly, as pinch hitter Justin Ruggiano singled to begin the inning. A sacrifice bunt moved him into scoring position and a Mike Olt single moved him to third.
A sacrifice fly moved scored Ruggiano and Schierholtz scored Olt with a single six pitches later.
The Cardinals answered in their final outs, capitalizing on a spectacular collapse by Chicago closer Jose Veras.
After giving up a leadoff single to Yadier Molina, Veras hit Allen Craig who would be replaced by Shane Robinson on the base paths. Jon Jay sacrifice bunted both over and Molina scored on a passed ball. Veras then hit Peter Bourjos to load the bases.
Daniel Descalso, in for Peralta on defense, walked in five pitches. Matt Carpenter was ahead 2-0 before he eventually lined out to right, scoring Shane Robinson.
The inning would end before the Cards could win it, as would the tenth when Mike Matheny let Trevor Rosenthal hit with runners at first and second.
Tony Cruz and Pete Kozma were on the bench, but Rosenthal was coming off an efficient inning, so Matheny opted to let him hit.
"Trevor just had six pitches and [we had] a real good feeling he’s gonna bring us right back in with another zero," Matheny said. "We get there with less than two outs Pete’s gonna hit. With two outs at that point we made the decision to get Trevor back in and hopefully give our offense another shot."
Rosenthal struck out, stranding two Cardinals.
The Cubs would win it in the 11th, scoring three on a Castillo home run off Rosenthal and taking the first game of the series 6-3.
"I thought I could elevate with him there. I thought he might be hunting a fastball," Rosenthal said. "Looking at the video, it didnt quite get up as I had hoped, but he put a good swing on it."
The swing would be enough to put the Cardinals away, as Hector Rondon would get the save on 18 pitches.
Adam Wainwright will start on the mound for the Cardinals Saturday.