No cold comeback for the Cubs this time in a loss to the Cardinals
CHICAGO – Call it a freezing flair for the dramatic, but it looked like Saturday all over again on Tuesday.
On a frigid night where Spring turned back the clock to Winter, the Cubs looked like they were in position for another fiery finish in both the eighth and ninth inning. A Cardinals lead of four was cut to two, and opportunities where there to rally as they did three days earlier in a frigid, wind-driven drizzle soaked 14-10 win over the Braves.
Yet lightning didn’t strike twice for the Cubs in as many games – or maybe a heater if you want to keep in the spirit of the freezing temperatures. The clutch hits present during the Atlanta win were absent in a 5-3 St. Louis victory on Wednesday night.
Down 5-1 in the top of the eighth, the Cubs appeared ready to mount a rally when Javier Baez slammed his fifth round tripper of the homestand – a two run blast – that cut the lead in half with no outs in the inning. But two Cardinals relievers – Tyler Lyons then Bud Norris – finished off that inning with three-straight outs to maintain the lead.
Norris got the first two outs in the ninth before giving up a hit to Willson Contreras, sending Kyle Schwarber to the plate with a chance to tie. But the outfielder, who drove in a pair of runs on Saturday with walks, struck out to end the game as the Cubs record falls to 7-8 on the season along with 2-4 on the homestand.
Going with the theme of the first series at Wrigley Field, the Cubs found themselves playing from behind most of the contest. Tyler Chatwood once again mixed a bit of brilliance with some inconsistency, striking out seven batters yet surrendering seven walks in 4 2/3 innings.
Two of those base-on-balls to start the third led to the only runs against the pitcher all night. Matt Carpenter doubled in Dexter Fowler to put St. Louis up 1-0, then Marcell Ozuna’s ground out brought home Tommy Pham to make it 2-0. Jason Heyward cut the lead in half with an RBI single in the fourth.
The Cardinals built up their lead in the eighth in a rough frame for reliever Pedro Stop. Paul DeJong started it with a solo shot to left field, then two infield singles and a walk loaded the bases as the reliever was pulled for Brian Duensing. Carpenter promptly singled in two more runs to make it a four-run deficit.
Hope was built by the Cubs the next two innings, but the finish of three days earlier was lacking, leaving fans with a bitter chill to swallow on another wintry night at Wrigley.