Game Report: Cubs 3, Cardinals 2

With two outs in the eighth inning and the tying run on second base for the Cubs, Mike Matheny and the Cardinals had a couple of options available.

Matheny could leave starter Adam Wainwright, who had just allowed his fourth hit, in the game, either to pitch to Kris Bryant or to walk him and pitch to Anthony Rizzo.

Or, the Cardinals could go to the bullpen, still leaving them the ability to walk Bryant and bring up Rizzo, needing to retire only one of two dangerous hitters.

Anybody who has watched the Cardinals this season could predict they made the wrong choice.

Wainwright was pulled from the game, Matt Bowman took over – and allowed the game-tying hit by Bryant. Then, Brett Cecil came in, and gave up a double to Rizzo which gave the Cubs the lead and the eventual victory.

It was the 14th blown save and 20th loss of the season by the bullpen. It also was another game in which the Cardinals could not protect a lead of two runs or more.

Here is how the game broke down:

At the plate: Jon Lester retired the first 17 Cardinals in order before Wainwright singled with two outs in the sixth … That was their only hit until Paul DeJong hit a 1-2 pitch into the left field bleachers with two outs in the eighth, and Randal Grichuk hit the next pitch over the center field wall to put the Cardinals in front 2-0 … Back to back walks to Dexter Fowler and Jedd Gyorko with two outs in the ninth gave the Cardinals a chance to tie the game, but Yadier Molina struck out to end it. That was their first at-bat in the game with a runner in scoring position.

On the mound: Wainwright matched Lester by keeping the Cubs scoreless on just two hits through the first seven innings. He had retired 16 of 17 batters (the only runner reached on an error by Gyorko) before Jon Jay singled with one out in the eighth. With two outs, Ben Zobrist’s double scored Jay to cut the lead to 2-1, leading to the decisions by the Cardinals which saw the Cubs then score the final two runs … Fourteen of the 23 outs recorded by Wainwright came on groundballs.

Key stat: Bryant was just 1-of-24 against the Cardinals this season coming into the game before his single in the first inning and was 2-of-27 before his game-tying hit… Rizzo was 9-of-36 against the Cardinals before his go-ahead double.

Worth noting:
The last time the Cardinals hit back-to-back homers at Wrigley was on Aug. 21, 2011, when Jay and Molina did it … After being hit in the temple by a foul ball on Friday, Jose Martinez passed concussion tests and was cleared to play on Saturday but did not get into the game.

Looking ahead: Michael Wacha will make his first start since throwing his first shutout in the final game on the series on Sunday night. Jose Quintana will start for the Cubs, his first appearance against the Cardinals since being acquired from the White Sox.