Rapid Reaction: Cardinals 5, Cubs 1

April, 25, 2012
4/25/12
4:20
PM CT
Padilla By Doug Padilla
ESPNChicago.com
Archive

CHICAGO -- After already clinching their first series victory of the season, the Cubs were unable to pull off the sweep Wednesday in a 5-1 loss to the St. Louis Cardinals.

How it happened: Cubs starter Chris Volstad was solid for the most part, but was done in by a lack of run support. The Cardinals broke free from a 1-1 tie in the sixth inning with three runs, two on a home run from David Freese. Bryan LaHair continues to drive the ball, connecting on a fourth-inning home run to left-center field.

What it means: Tony Campana's speed and LaHair's power help to diversify the offense, but the Cubs still can't string together hits for runs. After putting together some nice at-bats to start the season, Ian Stewart has slowed considerably. He entered Wednesday with just one hit in 17 at-bats on the homestand.

Outside the box: Bryan LaHair hit his third home run against the Cardinals this season and all three have gone to the opposite field in left. He hit a grand slam during the Cardinals' April 13 home opener and added two opposite field solo home runs in the just-completed series. The only home run he pulled to right field was his first one at home on April 9 against the Brewers.

Off beat: Volstad figures to win a game at some point, but when he does will he remember his last victory? The tall right-hander remained one of just two pitches in baseball to make at least 10 starts since last year's All-Star break and not post a victory. He shares the dubious distinction with the Minnesota Twins' Nick Blackburn. One issue: Volstad's average of 3.10 runs of support per start is the seventh lowest in the National League in that span, and that number was before he got just one run of support Wednesday.

Up next: The Cubs are off Thursday but will open a four-game series at Philadelphia on Friday. Cubs left-hander Paul Maholm (1-2, 8.36) will take on Phillies right-hander Roy Halladay (3-1, 1.50) in the 6:05 p.m. CST start from Citizens Bank Park.

Doug Padilla

Chicago White Sox beat reporter
Doug joined ESPN Chicago in July 2010 and covers the Chicago White Sox for ESPNChicago.com and ESPN Radio 1000.

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TEAM LEADERS

WINS LEADER
Jason Hammel
WINS ERA SO IP
8 2.98 104 108
OTHER LEADERS
BAS. Castro .289
HRA. Rizzo 30
RBIA. Rizzo 71
RA. Rizzo 81
OPSA. Rizzo .889
ERAT. Wood 4.81
SOJ. Arrieta 135