How it happened: Cubs starter Carlos Villanueva, back in the rotation for now, allowed two first-inning runs. Matt Carpenter had a leadoff single and two batters later Carlos Beltran hit an RBI triple. Beltran then came home on Allen Craig's base hit. The Cubs, who had won 10 of 15, cut the Cards’ lead in half on Alfonso Soriano's RBI single in the third inning. Both Villanueva and Cards starter Joe Kelly were gone by the seventh inning. The Cubs outfield defense allowed a third run to cross the plate in the seventh inning. Diving attempts by Nate Schierholtz and Brian Bogusevic on a ball hit by Rob Johnson come up short. Johnson ended up on third with a triple and was brought home on a Carpenter double. The suddenly hot-hitting Starlin Castro (6-for-his-last-13) belted his sixth home run leading off the eighth inning.
What it means: The Cardinals lead the season series 5-3 after Friday’s victory. Villanueva’s record dropped to 2-5. Kelly won his first game of 2013.
Outside the box: Cubs top draft pick Kris Bryant was indoctrinated to the Wrigley experience on Friday. The No. 2 overall pick took early batting practice and then full batting practice with the team. Bryant hit eight balls into the bleachers. The young third baseman will go to Mesa, Ariz. for a quick tune up at the Cubs complex and then head to rookie league (Class A) Boise to begin his professional career. The Cubs have set their rotation up for the second half. Jeff Samardzija, Villanueva and Edwin Jackson will pitch the first three games in Colorado July 19-21. Matt Garza and Travis Wood will pitch the first two games in Arizona on July 22-23. The Cubs signed 22 of their first 24 players chosen in this year’s June draft. The deadline for signing all draft picks was 4 p.m. Friday. The Cubs were elated to have signed two young catchers in the late rounds, Will Remillard out of Coastal Carolina with their 19th pick and California high-schooler Tyler Alamo with their 24th pick.
Up next: Saturday evening, Garza will be on display for at least seven teams that are interested in a trade. Garza (5-1, 3.22 ERA) will face the Cardinals’ Lance Lynn (11-3, 3.67) in rare 6:15 p.m. start.