ST. LOUIS (KMOV.com) -- The Cardinals got their first run of the game in their sixth plate appearance, and spent the remaining 30 trips to the plate chasing a second.
Chicago took the second game of the series by a score of 2-1, as the Cardinals spent inning after inning trying fruitlessly to push another runner across.
“A runner in scoring position with less than two outs, that’s something we expect to capitalize on. Especially with a man on third. That happened a couple times tonight and we couldn’t get it done. Games like this, that’s going to play,” said Mike Matheny.
In total, St. Louis had eight men in scoring position, two of which reached third base with less than two outs. The only RBI belonged to Yadier Molina, who tripled with a runner on first. The team went 0-for-8 with runners in scoring position.
Molina also came close to giving the Cardinals the tying run in the fourth, but hopes were dashed by a familiar face.
Matt Holliday led the inning off with a single and moved to third on a Matt Adams double with no outs. Randal Grichuk popped out, but Molina put a ball into the air in the next at bat. It carried out toward right field, and Jason Heyward (he of three Gold Gloves and a Howitzer arm) camped under it and squared to the plate. Busch Stadium crackled in the split second before the foot race; fans having watched Heyward best challenger after challenger in 2015 for the Cardinals. Holliday tagged at third and took off when the ball hit Heyward’s mitt.
“You have to,” Matheny said. He’s got to make a great throw no matter who is running there and he made it.”
The former Cardinal threw a perfect strike to the plate, cutting down Holliday easily to end the inning. The blow to St. Louis’ momentum was magnified, as the Cubs had just taken the lead in the top half of the inning off a laboring Jaime Garcia.
The lefty took 98 pitches to clear five innings, 35 of which game in the fourth frame when the Cubs sent eight hitters to the plate.
“The movement is a blessing and a curse. When he can control it in the bottom of the zone, good things are going to happen. There’s days where it’s just going to run too much and sail on him,” Matheny said.
With the bases loaded and two outs, opposing pitcher Jason Hammel bounced a single through the hole between third and short. It gave the Cubs a 2-1 lead, and was the last RBI of the game.
Garcia struck out seven, but walked four and allowed four hits, knocking him out of the game after just 15 outs. The Cardinal bullpen stacked up four scoreless innings behind him, but the cavalry never arrived.
With the win, Chicago stretched its lead over St. Louis in the NL Central to four games, and moved to an MLB-best 11-3. The series finale will be played Wednesday at 12:45, with Carlos Martinez (2-0, 3.46 ERA) taking the mound for St. Louis.
Yadier Molina hit his sixth career triple and leads the team with six multi-hit games.
Matt Carpenter has reached base in 11 straight games, including all eight home games
Seung Hwan Oh Has still not allowed a run in his MLB career. Over 7.2 innings he has allowed only one hit and struck out 13. He struck out two Tuesday night.
Ruben Tejada’s start at short makes him the fourth different shortstop for the Cardinals this season. (Aledmys Diaz, Jedd Gyorko and Greg Garcia are the others)