How it happened: The Cardinals jumped out to an early 2-0 lead in the second inning. Jason Hammel retired the first two batters of the inning, but his two-out walk of Jhonny Peralta proved to be costly. Randal Grichuk roped a triple into the right-center field gap, scoring Peralta, then came around to score when Mark Ellis followed with a double. Hammel was once again burned by a two-out walk in the third when he issued a free pass to Matt Holliday then followed it up with by giving up a run-scoring double by Matt Adams. However, Hammel made Lance Lynn pay for his wild ways as well. Lynn walked two in the fourth and with two down, Hammel came up big, lining a single into right to score two. The Cubs tied it up in the seventh when Luis Valbuena scored from third when reliever Carlos Martinez uncorked a wild pitch past Yadier Molina. Molina made up for letting one slip by him when he delivered a two-out single with the bases loaded against Hector Rondon in the top of the ninth to put the Cardinals up for good.
What it means: Despite winning their first series of the season, the Cubs ended the weekend on a down note, climbing back from a 3-0 deficit only to lose the game late. Rondon pitched in his third straight game, earning the save in the first two victories, but failed to get the job done Sunday. Rondon was a bit wild in the ninth, issuing two walks and had Molina down 1-2 before giving up a ground ball single just out of the reach of shortstop Starlin Castro. Even with the rough outing, Rondon has clearly been the Cubs' best reliever this season and still appears to hold the inside track on the yet to be determined closer's spot.
Up next: The Cubs open up four straight against their crosstown rivals with the first two at Wrigley Field. Team ace Jeff Samardzija starts it off against Jose Quintana and the Chicago White Sox on Monday night.