Cubs

Observations: Cubs rally in 9th again, Cards walk off

Cubs
USA TODAY

The Cubs lost 3-2 to the Cardinals Wednesday in a 10-inning walk-off loss, dropping to 47-49 this season.

Here are 10 observations from the game.

1. For the second straight game, the Cubs came back to tie St. Louis in the ninth inning. Nico Hoerner reached with two outs on a hit by pitch and scored the tying run from first on Eric Sogard’s pinch-hit double.

2. The Cubs didn’t score in a 10th inning that included a questionable baserunning play by Anthony Rizzo. Ian Happ hit what looked like a 6-4-3 double play that would have brought Rizzo, the go-ahead run, home from third base.

Rizzo held up at third initially, the Cardinals got a force out at second and, after an ensuing rundown, tagged Rizzo out. The inning ended with a Robinson Chirinos flyout two batters later. 

St. Louis walked off on a Yadi Molina single in the bottom half of the inning.

"I've just got to stay out of the double play there and I didn't," Rizzo said. "It's on me. It was up the middle and I froze. I should've just went right away to stay out of the double play, and I didn't.

"I messed up. It's a bad feeling."

3. The Cubs came up empty on several good scoring chances before extras. Jason Heyward (fifth) and Willson Contreras (sixth) each hit leadoff doubles, and Heyward doubled with one out in the seventh. The Cubs didn't score on all three occasions and finished the night 1-for-14 with runners in scoring position.  

 

"As a group, we left some guys stranded early on that we should have got in," Ross said. "We shouldn’t have been in that situation, to be honest with you."

4. Chirinos pinch-hit for Heyward in the 10th against Cardinals lefty T.J. McFarland. Kris Bryant, who didn’t start after leaving Tuesday’s game with hamstring fatigue, was unavailable off the bench, Ross said postgame.

5. Kyle Hendricks picked up a no-decision, but the ninth-inning rally extended his streak to 13 starts without a loss, dating back to May 16. He allowed eight hits and two earned runs, his 13th quality start in his last 15 starts.

The Cardinals scored their first two runs came in the seventh. The rally started when Paul DeJong reached second on a chopper in front of the plate and an error by Contreras, whose throw to first base sailed wide.

"Kyle was great," Ross said. "The swinging bunt there in the seventh, we put ourselves in a situation where we've got to be perfect. We've got to give him some more runway there.

"He's throwing as good as he can throw, and one thing doesn't go our way and all of a sudden it's a tie ballgame and we've got to get the 'pen cranking."

6. Harrison Bader finished the night 3-for-4 and also stole two runs from the Cubs minutes into the game. The Cardinals center fielder robbed Contreras of a two-run home run in the first with a leaping grab at the left-center field wall. 

7. Ross said pregame he was “looking for something different to get the offense rolling a little earlier,” in batting Rafael Ortega leadoff. Ortega helped that cause, driving in Nico Hoerner in the third with an RBI triple to give the Cubs a 1-0 lead.

8. Ortega has had a strong month offensively, batting .400 (10-for-25), including a 2-for-3 showing Wednesday.

9. Nolan Arenado showed why he’s a four-time Platinum Glove Award winner. The Cardinals third baseman ranged to his right for a grounder in the sixth, firing an off-balanced strike to retire Contreras at the plate. 

Arenado then made a nice sliding stop in the seventh, throwing out Nico Hoerner at first while holding Heyward at second following his one-out double. Heyward was stranded.

10. With his two doubles, Heyward registered his first game with multiple extra-base hits this season. 

On deck: The Cubs go for the series split Thursday night. First pitch is 6:15 p.m. Adbert Alzolay (4-9, 4.59 ERA) and Kwang Hyun Kim (5-5, 2.87 ERA) are the probable starters.

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