Cardinals hold off the Cubs in ninth again


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Geoff Burke-USA TODAY Sports
Geoff Burke-USA TODAY Sports

CHICAGO -- For the second night in a row, the Cubs had the tying and winning runs on base in the ninth and failed to get the big hit as the Cardinals held on to beat Chicago 4-3 on Tuesday night. With the win, St. Louis has taken the first two games of the series and handed Chicago its first home games losses on consecutive days this season.

The Cubs' rally started in the ninth when Cardinals closer Trevor Rosenthal gave up a one-out single to Addison Russell. After Albert Almora, Jr. struck out for the second out, Javier Baez walked. Rosenthal, however, got pinch-hitter Mat Szczur to ground up the middle for the final out of the game and his 14th save.

Adam Wainwright (W, 7-4) picked up the win while pitching into the seventh inning and giving up 6 hits and 3 runs. Jason Hammel (L, 7-3) went 5 2/3 innings, allowing a season-high tying four runs, six hits and two costly home runs to Matt Carpenter and Brandon Moss. Cubs starters had surrendered three or fewer earned runs in 23-straight games which was the second-longest stretch for a Cubs starting rotation since 1920, surpassed only by 31-straight starts in 1992.

Russell led the Cubs offensively with three hits. Gerardo Concepcion made his major league debut for the Cubs in the sixth inning and pitched 1 1/3 innings with two strikeouts. He became the first Cubs pitcher to retire at least four batters without allowing a baserunner in his major league debut since 1958.

The Cubs will try to avoid the sweep on Wednesday when Jake Arrieta (11-1, 1.74) faces Michael Wacha (2-7, 4.56) at 1:20 p.m. CT.

NOTES:
* The Cubs have lost home games on consecutive days for the first time this season … the team had previously dropped two-straight home games just once, and that was May 11 in a twinbill vs. the Padres … the Cubs fall to 31-5 this season when scoring first.
* Chris Coghlan (1-for-2, 2 R, 2 BB) reached base three times for the second time this season (previously, May 11 with Oakland, at Boston) … has scored a run in five of his ten games with the Cubs this season.
* Anthony Rizzo (1-for-2, SF, RBI, BB) hit his second sacrifice fly of the season in the first inning … he has driven in a run in four of his last six contests … is batting .387 (24-for-62) in 18 June contests.
* Willson Contreras (1-for-3, R, BB) drew his first walk since being recalled … has knocked in or scored a run in each of his three games with an at-bat.
* The Cubs went 0-for-9 with runners in scoring position.

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