The Cubs have won so many games coming from behind. They fell behind early, but they had a lead late in the game. The taxed bullpen could not hold the lead, and the Cubs dropped the nightcap.
The Cardinals started the game hot against lefty Mike Montgomery. The lefty was victimized with back to back singles to start the game. A line drive sacrifice fly scored leadoff hitter Harrison Bader. The Cubs struggled against John Gant. Leadoff singles in the first two frames and a one out single in the third resulted in nothing.
Monty pitche into some trouble in the second inning. Monty walked Yairo Munoz with one out and Francisco Peña singled. The pitcher struck out for a critical second out, but the pair executed a perfect double steal. Bader flew out for the final out. Monty gave up a leadoff single in the third inning but retired the next six batters he face. The final two outs of the fourth inning involved nice defensive plays by Kris Bryant and Albert Almora Jr.
Willson Contreras became the first Cub to reach second base in the fourth inning. Gant walked Contreras with one out and Contreras tagged with two outs to move into scoring position. Almora walked on soft pitches around the zone. Russell weakly grounded back to the pitcher. Gant lobbed it slowly up to first but it beat Addison Russell by plenty for the final out. The Cardinals still lead 1-0 after four innings.
Monty retired the side in order for another pair of frames. He kept the Cardinals to just the single run scored after the first three batters. Monty pitched six strong innings. The Cubs threatened in the bottom of the fifth inning. Anthony Rizzo singled into left field with his two strike swing. Kris Bryant drew a walk, but Jason Heyward flew out. Báez was called out by the homeplate umpire on a checked swing call. Báez argued and after tossing his helmet and bat was tossed. Maddon came out to argue and was also tossed.
Greg Holland pitched the sixth inning for th Cardinals. Kyle Schwarber walked with one out, and Holland's command wavered again with a hanging overhand curve that Almora smacked into center. The Cubs moved station to station with Russell hitting what should have been a tailor made double play ball to Paul DeJong. The ball clanked off DeJong's glove to load the bases instead of potentially ending the inning. Relief pitcher and pinch hitter extraordinaire Tommy La Stella took Monty's spot. A spiked curve was wild, but Schwarber couldn't see how far the ball scooted away. La Stella waved Schwarber home, but the medium sized guy wouldn't risk it. Schwarber made the right call as Holland bounced a couple more pitches to walk in the tying run. That was enough of Greg Holland for new manager Mike Shildt.
Jordan Hicks and his hundred mile an hour sinker. Anthony Rizzo smacked the first ball to DeJong's left. DeJong could glove the ball, but his throw was late and wide of second. The Cubs were up 2-1 and the bases were still loaded with just one out. Kris Bryant hit a slow bouncer up the middle tht turned into a run scoring fielder's choice. Jason Heyward made contact but it was another ball in the infied which was easily converted to the final out.
Randy Rosario got two outs on four pitches, and then Matt Carpenter hit a flyball into the teeth of the wind. That meant six straight games Matt Carpenter has hit a home run. That ended Rosario's night as interim manager Brandon Hyde brought in the righty Pedro Strop. A walk was the first outcome of the move. Kolten Wong swung over two sliders in the dirt to end the inning. The Cubs lead was now a precarious 3-2 margin. Hicks kept the Cubs off the board for another inning.
Pedro Strop started the eighth inning, and Paul DeJong hit an easy groundball to third for the first out. Ozuna put a charge into the ball but the wind kept it in the park for the second out. Tommy Pham rolled a single up the middle to keep the inning alive, and Yadier Molina pinch hit for Jordan Hicks. Strop walked Molina and forced the tying run into scoring position. Strop was given the inning and he faced Yairo Munoz. Jack Flaherty entered the game to pinch run for Yadi. Strop fell behind 1-0, but a foul ball evened the count. A groundball just out of the reach of replacement second baseman Ben Zobrist for the tying run. Peña swung over a slider in the dirt. It escaped Willson Contreras briefly but he easily fired to first for the final out. However the Cardinals had tied the game.
In the bottom of the eighth inning, Sam Tuivailala induced an easy ground ball from Addison Russell to start the inning. He lost Ian Happ on a 3-2 pitch for the first base runner of the inning. Rizzo attacked early but hit an easy fly ball to left for the second out. Bryant hit a sinking line drive that Ozuna made a sliding grab to end the inning.
Matt Carpenter was the first batter of the ninth inning. He faced Justin Wilson who was old Justin Wilson. Not good old Justin Wilson from Detroit, but bad new Cub old Justin Wilson threw 10 pitches. Only two found the strike zone as Matt Carpenter and Harrison Bader walked. Steve Cishek came into the game. Wong attempted to bunt the runners over and Rizzo pounced on the ball. He quicky fired to third for the first out. DeJong roped a single into left to drive in the go ahead run. Cishek fell behind Ozuna and he was intentionally walked to load the bases. Pham hit a ball into the right field corner for a two run double. Hyde made his third pitcher change in the now three run ninth. Dillon Maples was inserted into the game. He faced Dexter Fowler and spun some sliders wide of the zone. He also snapped off some solid ones that had Fowler swinging over the top for the second out of the inning. Maples fell behind Munoz 3-0 but came back to strike him out swinging to end the inning. The damage had been done though with the Cardinals now up 6-3.
Cardinals closer and former manager's designated bullpen bully Bud Norris finally got to enter the game after having to wait for half hour before the top half of the frame finished. Jason Heyward smacked a groundball single to start the inning. Zobrist hit a twisting pop fly that DeJong grabbed for the first out. Contreras hit the ball right back to Norris. That was turned into a game ending double play. The Cubs snatched defeat from the jaws of victory as they prove the old saying it is difficult to sweep a doubleheader.
Surprising Difficult Evening
The Cubs fifth and sixth starter pitched well today. The pair threw a crucial 11.1 innings on a day where a minimum of 18 was needed. They yielded just one run each and gave the Cubs a chance to complete the day-night sweep. Unfortunately the bullpen collectively could not hang on. The focus will probably fall on Brandon Hyde's decision to insert Justin Wilson into a tied ballgame in the the top of the ninth. No one had been getting Matt Carpenter out this entire series since the ESPN announcers proclaimed that the Cubs had figured him out. Instead it was a night where the trickle down effect of not having Brandon Morrow was clearly felt as Cubs relievers gave up 5 runs in the final three frames.
What it felt like watching that ninth inning.