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Saturday, July 21, 2012
Rapid Reaction: Cardinals 12, Cubs 0

By Doug Padilla



ST. LOUIS -- The Chicago Cubs couldn’t handle a seventh-inning onslaught by the St. Louis Cardinals and fell 12-0 on Saturday at Busch Stadium.

How it happened: Four Cubs relievers combined to give up 12 runs and seven doubles in the seventh inning to break open a scoreless tie. The 12 runs in an inning tied a Cardinals record last achieved in 1926. The Cubs last gave up 12 runs in an inning in 2010 at Colorado. The seven doubles tied a major league record. Cubs pitchers Matt Garza and Justin Germano kept things scoreless through six innings. Garza left after three because a triceps cramp. Germano, who was making his Cubs debut, was removed in the seventh inning after giving up a single. James Russell was charged with six of the Cardinals’ runs in the seventh inning, giving up four hits and two walks (one intentional).

What it means: The Cubs trade prospects appeared to take a blow when Garza was removed from the game, but the injury turned out to only be a cramp. Garza and teammate Ryan Dempster have been in frequent trade rumors with the July 31 non-waiver trade deadline approaching. As a precaution, Garza had an X-ray taken of his right arm, but it came back negative.

Outside the box: Russell’s struggles were unexpected on multiple fronts. Going back to the start of the 2011 season, Russell’s 2.31 ERA in 105 appearances was the second lowest from a National League left-hander to Atlanta’s Eric O’Flaherty (1.57). In fact, seeing any Cubs reliever struggle lately has been a rarity. Over the last nine games, the Cubs bullpen had been excellent, posting a combined 1.66 ERA.

Off beat: The Cubs turned one of the craziest double plays of the season in the third inning. With Rafael Furcal on first base, the Cardinals’ Skip Schumaker laid down a bunt toward first base. Anthony Rizzo fielded the ball, but pitcher Matt Garza fell down on his way to cover the first base bag. Darwin Barney was able to get over to first base in time and take the throw from Rizzo for the out. Seeing that nobody was at third base, Furcal tried to take an extra base but Luis Valbuena scrambled back to third in time to take a throw from Barney and make the tag while on the ground.

Up next: Cubs left-hander Travis Wood (4-4, 3.92 ERA) will take the mound against St. Louis in the finale of the three-game series. The Cardinals will counter with right-hander Lance Lynn (11-4, 3.27) in the 1:15 p.m. start from Busch Stadium.