ST. LOUIS — Saturday’s Game Report: Cubs 6, Cardinals 5
The Cardinals know that if they want to make a deep run in the playoffs, Luis Garcia is going to be called on often to pitch when the game is on the line.
One thing they should be thankful for is that no matter the opponent or the situation, he won’t have to face Ian Happ.
Garcia came into Saturday night’s game in the ninth inning, trying to save a 5-4 win for the Cardinals over the Cubs at Busch Stadium.
But a one-out walk put the tying run on base and Happ followed with a two-out blast over the center field wall that gave the Cubs the win, handing the Cardinals only their second loss in their last 21 games.
Garcia has given up two homers to the 135 batters he has faced since joining the Cardinals – both to Happ, who also homered last Saturday in Chicago.
Here’s how Saturday night’s game broke down:
At the plate: The Cardinals trailed 4-2 in the seventh inning when they scored three runs to take the lead. Harrison Bader reached on an error before Tyler O’Neill singled with two outs. Pinch-hitter Tommy Edman singled to drive in Bader, stole second, and both O’Neill and Edman scored on a single to left by Dylan Carlson … The stolen base was the 30th of the season for Edman, the most by a Cardinal since Edgar Renteria in 2003 … The first two runs for the Cardinals came on a home run by Bader in the first, leading off for the first time this season, and a triple by O’Neill in the fifth, following a double by Paul Goldschmidt … Yadier Molina was back in the lineup for the first time in a week but was 0-of-4, striking out three times.
On the mound: Starter Jon Lester was able to wiggle out of a bases-loaded jam in the fourth but he wasn’t as lucky in the fifth. Back-to-back walks loaded the bases before Trayce Thompson lined a grand slam, his second homer in as many nights. It was the Cubs first grand slam in St. Louis since Bryan LaHair hit one off Adam Wainwright on April 13, 2012 … Kwang Hyun Kim worked two scoreless innings and Kodi Whitley retired the Cubs in order in the eighth before Garcia took over for the ninth.
Key stat: The Cardinals had been 76-4 when leading after eight innings this season. It was the first time the Cubs hit a go-ahead home run in the ninth inning when they were losing in St. Louis since Kevin Roberson homered off Lee Smith on Aug. 6, 1993.
Worth noting: The loss snapped the Cardinals’ seven-game winning streak against the Cubs, their longest streak since they also won seven in a row in 1985 … Saturday night marked the first sellout of the season at Busch Stadium, a crowd of 45,239 … Tony Ferreira, the manager of player development for the Cardinals, is leaving the organization after 12 years to become the assistant director of player development for the Angels.
Looking ahead: The Cardinals will play the final game of the regular season on Sunday. Jake Woodford will get the start. Longtime broadcaster Mike Shannon, who is retiring, will be honored during a ceremony before the 2:15 p.m. game.
Follow Rob Rains on Twitter @RobRains