The St. Louis Cardinals and Chicago Cubs are squaring off the old-fashioned way today. If former Cub Ernie Banks was alive today, he would likely take joy in the teams 'playing two'.
Pitching matchup: Game one of the doubleheader featured the Cardinals' Tyler Lyons (2-0, 5.09 ERA) starting against Chicago's Jake Arrieta (8-5, 2.80). Lyons was facing the Cubs for the second time this season, having last pitched in his season debut on May 5, while Arrieta was making his fourth start against the Redbirds in 2015.
The Chicago right-hander took a decision in his opening two starts against St. Louis - a win and loss, respectively - but took a no-decision in his last start against the Cardinals on June 26.
Lyons had been 2-0 with a 5.27 ERA with 16 strikeouts over his last three starts before today, while Arrieta had gone 2-0 himself, with a much better 0.75 ERA and 21 Ks.
Toyota @Cardinals Live pregame starts at 11:30 on FSMW. #STLCards pic.twitter.com/zxcHIjNKMO— FOX Sports Midwest (@FSMidwest) July 7, 2015
Let's play two! Game preview: http://t.co/jNULkzevjb #LetsGo pic.twitter.com/JqAjE73ZAl— Chicago Cubs (@Cubs) July 7, 2015
The St. Louis Cardinals managed to play tough with the Chicago Cubs for 7 1/2 innings in game one of the doubleheader on Tuesday - as the Redbirds trailed 3-2 after that time - but the bottom of the 8th changed the momentum of the game.
Randy Choate came in to face three batters - Cub second baseman Jonathan Herrera, center fielder Dexter Fowler and first baseman Anthony Rizzo. The 39-year-old left-handed reliever, who is getting paid $3 million in 2015 to get left-handed batters out, did not do his job against the trio. Following singles by Herrera and Fowler, Rizzo uncorked for a three-run blast to give Chicago a 6-2 lead.
Miguel Socolovich relieved Choate following the longball, and struggled in his outing as well. The rookie righty allowed Kris Bryant and Jorge Soler to reach base, giving Chris Denorfia - who'd knocked in two teammates before the 8th inning at-bat - the chance to add one to his RBI total.
Socolovich settled down, getting a force-out, strikeout and groundout to prevent further damage.
Mark Reynolds breathed new life into the contest with a 2-run bomb off of Neil Ramirez, but ex-Cardinal Jason Motte - who said in a recent interview that the Cardinals are no longer his - retired Xavier Scruggs and Tony Cruz for the save, his first against his former club.
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Bot 3 - Denorfia single, scoring Rizzo & Soler - CHC 2, STL 0
Bot 6 - Soler bases-loaded walk, scoring Arrieta - CHC 3, STL 0
Top 7 - Bourjos double, scoring Peralta; Scruggs single, scoring Bourjos - CHC 3, STL 2
Bot 8 - Rizzo 3-run home run, scoring Herrera and Fowler; Denorfia single, scoring Bryant - CHC 7, STL 2
Top 9 - Reynolds 2-run home run, scoring Heyward - CHC 7, STL 4
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On deck for the nightcap: Both teams recalled pitchers from the minor leagues to make starts in game two. Tim Cooney (0-0, 5.40 ERA) will be on the hill for the visiting Cardinals, while Chicago righty Dallas Beeler is on the mound for the home squad. Beeler is starting his first game at the big-league level in 2015, having previously pitched two games for the Cubs last year.
He will be making his career debut against the Cardinals later this evening. At the AAA level this year, Beeler had gone 1-5 with a 6.33 ERA over 13 starts. He is 22-29 in six minor league seasons, with a 10-11 record at AAA Iowa.
Beeler was drafted by the Blue Jays in 2008 and later had his name called by the Cubs in 2010 (B-Ref).
Following the nightcap's conclusion, stay tuned for a recap by The Continental following the conclusion of Game 2!