Heated Rivalry: Cubs lose finale with Cardinals
|Wednesday, April 20, 2016, 7:49 PM- -|
The Chicago Cubs lost the final contest 5-3 of a three-game series with their hated rival St. Louis Cardinals in a rain-soaked game at Busch Stadium on Wednesday.
Classical music being played by Cardinals management during batting practice for the Cubs on Monday, reported but unconfirmed racial slurs targeted to Jason Heyward on Tuesday and finally, Cardinals' ushers telling Cubs patrons that "Try not to Suck" charity t-shirts by Joe Maddon were not in good taste and needed to be covered up were some of the psychological warfare on display during the heated rivalry.
However, like it usually always does, it all comes down to the play on the field.
Cubs first baseman Anthony Rizzo was robbed of a two-run homer in the first inning by Randal Grichuk while Cardinals outfielder Matt Holiday hit his own 2-run shot to give the Cardinals a 2-0 lead after the first inning. The two runs doubled the runs the Cardinals scored the entire previous two games.
Dexter Fowler walked in the third inning to reach base for the 32nd time this season and has reached safely in 14 of 15 games played this season. He also had a solid line drive single in the fifth inning and an infield single in the 8th inning.
Kris Bryant had a sensational diving catch in left field to rob Matt Adams to end the third inning.
Rizzo hit his fourth homer run of the season in the fourth inning to put the Cubs behind 4-1.
The homer was estimated at 436 ft. and was the hardest homer he has ever hit at 111.3 MPH exit velocity according to Statscast. He is only one homer shy of tieing Rick Monday for 19th-most homers all-time in Cubs franchise history.
Halfway home and the Cardinals were still up 4-1 as the rain was reported in the area nearby and the grounds crew pulled the cover off of the tarp.
Cubs righty Kyle Hendricks was relieved by left-handed pitcher Clayton Richard in the sixth inning as Hendrick allowed four runs in 5 1/3 innings, gave up seven hits and two walks while striking out five. In his previous two starts, Hendricks had allowed only two earned runs in both of his starts.
It ended a Cubs streak of 14 games in a row (longest since 1910) for Cubs pitchers making it through six innings.
Heavy rain came down in buckets in the top of the seventh as fans brought out their different colored ponchos and umbrellas. The rain delay officially started at the bottom of the seventh as the grounds crew covered the field at Busch Stadium.
The game resumed at seven p.m. central time to an empty Busch Stadium.
The Cubs made it interesting in the eighth inning with a single by Dexter Fowler and a walk by Jason Heyward. Rizzo singled and scored Fowler and then Kris Bryant grounded out and scored Heyward to make it 4-3 Cardinals.
The top of the eight inning took approximately 3 hours and 28 minutes to complete from before and after the rain delay. During the bottom of the inning, Yadier Molina singled in an insurance run to make it 5-3 Cardinals.
Cardinals closer Trevor Rosenthal came in the ninth inning and struck out the side for his fourth save in four opportunities.
One historical note - The Cubs played their first game at Wrigley Field exactly 100 years ago on Wednesday.
Cubs will next begin a four-game series with the Cincinnati Reds as Cubs ace Jake Arrieta (3-0, 1.23 ERA) takes the mound vs. lefty Brandon Finnegan (1-0, 2.04 ERA).