Friday, August 9, 2013
Rapid Reaction: Cubs 3, Cardinals 0
By Rob Rains
Special to ESPNChicago.com
ST. LOUIS -- Junior Lake's RBI single broke up a scoreless pitching duel in the seventh inning and sent the Chicago Cubs past the St. Louis Cardinals Friday night at Busch Stadium, the first time they have shut out the Cardinals in St. Louis since June 23, 1997.
How it happened: Starter Chris Rusin blanked the Cardinals over six innings, the second time in his last three starts he has not allowed a run for at least six innings. He threw seven shutout innings against the Giants on July 27 in a 1-0 victory. Rusin gave up seven hits, but stranded eight runners. Cardinals starter Lance Lynn limited the Cubs to only two hits through the first six innings before they finally got to him in the seventh. After a leadoff walk and a sacrifice, Darwin Barney walked before Lake came through with a two-out single to center to drive in Welington Castillo. After Lynn hit Cole Gillespie to load the bases, he was relieved by Randy Choate, who gave up a two-run single to Anthony Rizzo. Four relievers combined to record the final nine outs and complete the shutout
What it means: It was only the third win by the Cubs in their last 12 games and their fourth shutout of the season. The two key hits came with runners in scoring position, a problem area for the team all season. Coming into the game the Cubs had hit just .224 in those situations, the lowest average in the major leagues. They went 1-for-12 in their loss in Philadelphia on Thursday and were 0-for-2 in the game before the singles by Lake and Rizzo and were 0-for-3 after those hits.
Outside the box: The Cubs' streak of consecutive games with at least one extra-base hit ended at 31, dating back to July 5, as all five of their hits were singles. It appeared Starlin Castro had a double in the eighth, but the official scorer ruled it a single and said he advanced to second on the throw from the outfield. The Cubs' 365 extra-base hits are the most in the NL.
Next: Right-hander Carlos Villanueva (2-8, 4.16 ERA) will start for the Cubs against Cardinals rookie Michael Wacha (1-0, 4.58 ERA) at 6:15 p.m. Saturday night.