After Matt Adams homered to open the frame, five singles off starter Carlos Villanueva put St. Louis ahead for good. The Cubs got one back in the fourth on a Starlin Castro RBI groundout, but a five-run bottom of the inning sealed the deal for the Cardinals.
Villanueva gave up 10 hits and nine runs in just three innings of work. The Cubs scored two in the sixth on an RBI double by Nate Schierholtz, followed by one by Ryan Sweeney, but that’s as close as they would come.
What it means: All of a sudden the Cubs' pitching staff is in flux. Brian Schlitter was sent out while Chris Rusin was called up. He pitched in relief for the first time in his career after Villanueva was pulled. Villanueva might not be in long for a starter’s role as Jake Arrieta is getting very close to returning.
Jose Veras won’t close games for the time being -- and we don’t know who will.
Meanwhile, the Cubs' offense has improved greatly in the second week of the season. Castro and Anthony Rizzo remain consistent, and Schierholtz has joined them as a hot hitter. He has six hits in the first two games of the series, and as a team, the Cubs did all right against the ace Wainwright.
But as is the case with mediocre squads, the Cubs can't seem to get all the parts going in the right direction at the same time, dropping to 4-7 on the season.