The Cubs lost 3-1 to the Cardinals in the first game of a doubleheader Monday.
Cubs reliever Rowan Wick entered the seventh (and final) inning with the bases loaded and one out in a tie ballgame. He gave up a two-run double to Brad Miller on the second pitch he threw Monday.
The line drive soared past a diving Albert Almora, and left fielder Kris Bryant picked it up to throw home. He hit cutoff man Javier Báez, whose dart to catcher Willson Contreras beat Dylan Carlson home, limiting the damage.
But it was enough, as the Cubs bats went cold in the bottom half of the inning. The Cubs’ losing streak stretched to four games.
Here are takeaways from the game:
Short of the finish line
Kyle Hendricks jogged out to the mound in the seventh inning, with the opportunity to finish the seven-inning game. With the Cubs playing five games in three days, and calling up a pitcher from the South Bend alternate site to round out the rotation, saving bullpen arms became especially important.
But he loaded the bases with a double, walk and single. Then Carlson hit a sharp ground ball up the middle. Báez fielded it cleanly and fired home for the force out. Then Wick replaced Hendricks on the mound.
Hendricks only allowed one run before the seventh. That came in the third inning. Cardinals outfielder Dexter Fowler made himself at home in the Wrigley Field batter’s box, launching a solo homer off his former teammate. It was just the second home run Hendricks has allowed this season.
Happ gets revenge
The Cardinals must have seen something in Ian Happ’s swing that they thought left-hander Kwang-Hyun Kim could exploit.
Happ entered the game leading all National League switch hitters with a .437 on base percentage, and yet Kim walked Willson Contreras to load the bases and get to Happ.
The gamble paid off. Kim struck Happ out in three pitches, all on the inside third of the plate. Then David Bote grounded out to end the inning, the Cubs stranding three runners on base.
But Happ wasn’t going away so easily. He led off the fourth inning with a game-tying solo home run. He turned on an inside fastball and deposited it onto the left field stands.
Play of the day
Cubs center fielder Albert Almora Jr. sprinted in, arms pumping and launched himself forward. He caught the short fly ball just before it hit the grass to rob Tommy Edman of a base hit in the fourth inning.
It was his second front-diving catch of the day, the degree of difficulty rising with each. Monday marked Almora’s third start of the season, with Happ claiming the majority of playing time in center field.
“There's nothing about what's going on right now that’s normal anyway, so why not add another oddity to this season?” – Cardinals infielder Matt Carpenter on playing “home” games at Wrigley Field
Right-hander Tyson Miller will make his major league debut in the second game of the Cubs’ Monday doubleheader.
Game 2 will be at Wrigley Field but will technically be a home game for the Cardinals, as the teams make up their postponed three-game series. From Monday through Wednesday, the Cubs are scheduled to play five games against the Cardinals.