Cardinals wrap up 9-2 homestand, prepare for Bucs 

 The Cardinals wrapped up the home stand today with a win against the Chicago Cubs. They took the first two games, dropped the third game, and then won today to win the four game series, 3-1. While the Cards prepare for a matchup at PNC Park against the Pirates this weekend, let’s rewind through the previous games. 

 Carlos Martinez faced off against Travis Wood in game one of the four game set. The first two Cubs’ batters faced reach base via the walk. An out was recorded, but another walked was issued. Bases loaded and one out. The Cubs commenced to beating the hell out of Martinez’s pitches, racking up four straight hits and five runs. Carlos managed to make it out of the inning, but he was on the losing end of a 5-0 game. I’m glad that he was able to finish the inning. He put himself into that situation, and now he has to get out of it. It’s called experience and you won’t get it watching from the bench. The Cardinals went to work in the first inning. Jon Jay was hit by a pitch, so he hit the base paths. Carpenter made an out and now it was Holliday’s turn. Matt hit a ground rule double that advanced Jay to third. The next batter, Jhonny Peralta, took a walk to load the bases. Utility man Mark Reynolds was batting next. He gave a pitch ride all the way out to the Cubs’ bullpen! His second home run of the year was a grand slam that put some life back into the Busch Stadium faithful. Just like that, the 5-0 deficit was cut back to 5-4. In the second inning, Anthony Rizzo hit his fourth homer of the year. A now 6-4 Cubs score increased to an 8-4 Cubs lead by the end of their sixth inning. The Cardinals scored two in the sixth, resulting in an 8-6 score. The Cardinals tied the game in their half of the eighth. Tony Cruz capped things off with a double down the left field line that scored two Cardinal runners! Just like that, the once 5-0 and 8-4 disadvantages had been seemingly erased for a 10-8 advantage. With two outs in the ninth inning, Addison Russell put a charge into a ball that resulted in a home run. Regardless, the Cardinals recorded the twenty-seventh out, and they won their seventh straight game 10-9. 

 Game two featured a left hander for the Cardinals. Tyler Lyons made his 2015 Major League debut against Kyle Hendricks. The Redbirds hit the scorecards first in this game when Yadier Molina drove in Jhonny Peralta for a 1-0 lead. The Cubbies tied it up in the third with a sacrifice fly from Jorge Soler. The North Siders broke loose from that tie in the fifth when they scored three runs. Would this lead stand? Not if Matt Carpenter had a chance to say something. With Bourjos and Wong on base in the bottom of the fifth, Matt Carpenter’s bat met its pitch. Meaning, the pitch it could drive. The ball sailed over into right field and Matt Carpenter had his fifth home run of the year. Just like that, the game was tied. Cardinals jumped out front in the sixth to a 6-4 lead. All of the damage in this inning came off of a former Cardinal, Edwin Jackson. Kolten Wong collected his third hit and first RBI of the game in the eighth inning off of James Russel. The score was now 7-4 and that’s how it would end. Trevor Rosenthal sealed up his ninth save of the season when he struck out Junior Lake in the ninth. The Cardinals won the ballgame and piled on to their historical W-L record of 20-6. Wow. 
 Game three featured a pretty nice matchup on the mound. Jon Lester, the Cubs’ ace, took the mound against Lance Lynn. The Cardinals were really counting on Lynn this game for some innings because their bullpen had been worked and worked over the last five days or so. The Cubs got to Lance early, scoring two runs in the first inning. Starlin Castro and Kris Bryant each drove in a run. Yadier Molina doubled in the second inning to slice the disadvantage in half. Anthony Rizzo took the one run back from Molina and the Cards in the third when he hit his fifth homer of the year. Jhonny Peralta teed off in the fourth with his third bomb of the year. But, again, the Cubs answered in the following inning. This time they answered with two runs to cushion their lead to 5-2. Yadi, Pete Kozma, and Wong each collected an RBI after the fifth inning. The RBIs would’ve tied the score but the Cubs scored a vital insurance run in the eighth. The game ended by the score of 6-5 and the Cubs broke loose of their losing streak and snapped the Cardinals’ eight game win streak. 
 The fourth and final game of this series featured John Lackey and Jake Arrieta. Jason Heyward singled in Reynolds in the second to give the Birds an early 1-0 lead. Bourjos kept the line moving with a triple and Heyward scored. It was 2-0 until the fourth when they made the score grow a bit.. The Cardinals’ starter, John Lackey, double down the right field line which cashed in two baserunners. That’s right, John Lackey, a former American League player doubled. The double might’ve put the protesters of pitchers batting to sleep for a while. The Cubs watched the Cardinals’ lead grow from 4-0 to 5-0 in the sixth. Justin Grimm threw a wild pitch that allowed Jason Heyward to score. The Cubbies took that one back in the seventh, thanks to a single by Starlin Castro. The score would end that way, 5-1, and the Cardinals secured another series win. A lot of credit can been given to John Lackey for today’s victory. John threw 7 2/3 innings, allowing one run and striking out ten batters. This performance was much needed for the tiring bullpen. Trevor Rosenthal racked up his tenth save today, as well. 
 The Cardinals will be hopping on an airplane bound for Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania soon. The Birds will send Michael Wacha to the mound Friday night to face off against Francisco Lirano and the Pittsburgh Pirates. Wacha is looking to boost his record to 5-0. 
Thanks for reading! 
Twitter: @Curtis_Josey 
(Photo via @pdchris) 

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