The Cardinals continued the weekend series with the Cubs at Wrigley on Saturday, with John Gant starting across from Kyle Hendricks. Gant failed to get out of the second inning, walking five and giving up a two-run home run in that frame. Jake Woodford then allowed two inherited runners to score in what became a five-run second inning for Chicago. Hendricks pitched well, allowing only two solo home runs to Nolan Arenado and Paul DeJong in a six-inning outing that was held up by the Cubs’ bullpen.
Tommy Edman led off the game with a swinging strikeout out in front of a 1-2 changeup. Dylan Carlson and Paul Goldschmidt both grounded out, putting the Cards away quietly in the first inning.
Joc Pederson worked a full count but grounded out to third. Kris Bryant skied a changeup to center for the second out. Javier Baez went down swinging at a changeup for the last out.
Nolan Arenado got a hold of an 0-1 sinker and launched it into the seats in left for a leadoff home run and a 1-0 lead for St. Louis. The next hitters weren’t as productive, as Tyler O’Neill, Yadier Molina, and Matt Carpenter all flew out to center field to end the Cards’ half of the inning.
Welcome to Wrigley, Nolan! pic.twitter.com/8UPV5uZeda— St. Louis Cardinals (@Cardinals) June 12, 2021
Anthony Rizzo lined a 3-2 cutter to short for the first out. Wilson Contreras drew a five-pitch walk before Ian Happ launched a 2-2 fastball thrown down the pipe over the wall in left-center, putting the Cubs ahead 2-1.
Jason Heyward followed the home run and walked on a 3-2 changeup that missed the zone. Sergio Alcantara was the beneficiary of Gant’s third walk of the inning. Hendricks drew yet another walk as Gant continued to miss the strike zone. Pederson golfed a popup to Paul DeJong in shallow center, preventing the runners from tagging up on the second out. Bryant worked a 3-2 count and took ball four low, bringing in another run to make the score 3-1. Jake Woodford then relieved Gant and gave up an RBI single to Baez as the Cubs extended the lead again to 4-1. Woodford then bounced a pitch and it hit Rizzo in the knee as the Cubs stretched their lead to 5-1. Contreras popped out to short to finally end the inning.
Paul DeJong got a run back for the Cards with a solo home run to kick off the third inning, closing the score to 5-2.
Woodford followed with a single to right field for his first MLB hit. Edman then lined out to short for the first out. Carlson walked on five pitches to bring up Goldschmidt with two on and one out. Goldschmidt saw 9 pitches before flying out to center and Arenado grounded out to short, stranding two on base.
Happ led off the bottom of the frame and struck out waving at an elevated fastball. Heyward followed with a weak groundout to second. Alcantara crushed a middle-middle fastball to right for a home run, stretching the Cubs lead back to four runs at 6-2. Hendricks chopped a ball back to Woodford for the last out.
O’Neill began the fourth with a strikeout waving at a 3-2 sinker. Yadi grounded out to Baez and Carpenter flew out to center for a quiet inning from the Cards’ offense.
Seth Elledge got the call to start the fourth and gave up a home run to Pederson as the Cubs piled on, 7-2.
Bryant then drew a walk and Baez flew out to center for the first out. Rizzo scorched a grounder to second for an inning-ending double play.
DeJong led off the fifth with a groundout to first. Lane Thomas pinch-hit for Elledge and grounded out to short for the second out. Edman flew out to the warning track in center as the Cardinals went down in order again.
Andrew Miller was brought in to pitch the fifth for the Cardinals. Contreras chopped a single back up the middle where DeJong made a nice diving stop and throw for the first out. Happ struck out swinging on three pitches. Heyward then reached on an error by Carpenter, but Miller was able to work around the error as Alcantara grounded out to third to send the game to the sixth.
Hendricks continued to baffle Cardinals hitters as Carlson and Goldschmidt grounded out to start the sixth and Arenado popped out to short.
Patrick Wisdom pinch-hit for Hendricks and laced a 1-0 slider to left for a leadoff base hit. Pederson struck out swinging at a 1-2 slider. Junior Fernandez relieved Miller after the strikeout and got Bryant to bounce into a double play to end the frame.
Dan Winkler came out of the Cubs’ bullpen in the seventh and retired O’Neill on a flyout to the warning track in right. Yadi followed with a groundout to Baez. Carpenter drew a five-pitch walk to extend the inning to DeJong who was rung up on a curveball that caught the top of the zone for the final out.
Edmundo Sosa came in to play second base as Alex Reyes got some work in the seventh, striking out Baez with a high fastball to start the bottom of the inning. Rizzo drew a four-pitch walk but was thrown out at second on a sensational pick and throw by Yadi on the strikeout pitch in the dirt to Contreras for a double play.
Andrew Chafin pitched the eighth for the Cubs and got Sosa to ground out to short for the first out. Edman ripped a fastball to left-center for a one-out double. Carlson then flew out to deep center for the second out as Edman tagged up and advanced to third. Goldschmidt worked a full count and struck out swinging to leave Edman on the bases.
Angel Rondon relieved Reyes in the eighth and walked Happ on four pitches. Heyward smoked a grounder to Goldschmidt who threw to second to start a 3-6-3 double play. Alcantara flew out to a sliding Edman in foul territory in right field to end the frame.
Trevor Megill got the call to close the game for the Cubs and walked Arenado to start the inning. O’Neill followed with a base hit to center. Molina popped out to second for the first out. Jose Rondon pinch-hit for the pitcher’s spot and followed Molina’s popout with one of his own for out number two. DeJong drew a four-pitch walk to load the bases, ending Megill’s outing as he was then replaced with Craig Kimbrel. Sosa grounded out to third, giving the Cubs the win with a final score of 7-2.
The Cardinals fall to 32-32 and the Cubs improve to 37-27 for a first-place tie with the Brewers in the NL Central. The Cardinals will try to avoid the sweep on Sunday, with the series finale scheduled for 6:08 CT. Carlos Martinez is the probable starter for St. Louis and is slated to face off with Zach Davies.
The Cardinals pitching staff continues to set the MLB pace in walks (281) and hit batters (51). Mike Shildt was asked about the pitching issues in the post-game presser. While some of his decisions when it comes to bullpen usage have seemed suboptimal, it’s hard to put too much blame on his shoulders with the lack of reliable options currently available to him, especially with the starting pitching struggling so badly to put together quality innings.
Final Pitching Lines
Gant: 1.2 IP / 1 H / 5 R / 5 ER / 5 BB / 1 K / 1 HR
Woodford: 1.1 IP / 2 H / 1 R / 1 ER / 0 BB / 1 K / 1 HR
Elledge: 1 IP / 1 H / 1 R / 1 ER / 1 BB / 0 K / 1 HR
Miller: 1.1 IP / 1 H / 0 R / 0 ER / 0 BB / 2 K / 0 HR
Fernandez: 0.2 IP / 0 H / 0 R / 0 ER / 0 BB / 0 K / 0 HR
Reyes: 1 IP / 0 H / 0 R / 0 ER / 1 BB / 2 K / 0 HR
Rondon: 1 IP / 0 H / 0 R / 0 ER / 1 BB / 0 K / 0 HR
Kendricks (W, 8-4): 6 IP / 3 H / 2 R / 2 ER / 1 BB / 2 K / 2 HR
Winkler: 1 IP / 1 H / 0 R / 0 ER / 1 BB / 1 K / 0 HR
Chafin: 1 IP / 1 H / 0 R / 0 ER / 0 BB / 1 K / 0 HR
Megill: 0.2 IP / 1 H / 0 R / 0 ER / 2 BB / 0 K / 0 HR
Kimbrel (S, 17): 0.1 IP / 0 H / 0 R / 0 ER / 0 BB / 0 K / 0 HR