CHICAGO -- There were 41,000-plus at Wrigley Field for the second straight game Tuesday, and, for the second night in a row, they were entertained with a well-played game. And, for the second night in a row, the Cardinals edged the Cubs by one run.Matt Carpenter and Matt Holliday each
CHICAGO -- There were 41,000-plus at Wrigley Field for the second straight game Tuesday, and, for the second night in a row, they were entertained with a well-played game. And, for the second night in a row, the Cardinals edged the Cubs by one run.
Matt Carpenter and Matt Holliday each hit home runs to back Adam Wainwright and lead the Cardinals to a 4-3 win on Tuesday night. The Cubs also lost, 3-2, on Monday, and it's the first time they've dropped home games on consecutive days this season. Chicago had previously lost two in a row at home during a doubleheader May 11 against the Padres.
"It's going to happen again," Cubs manager Joe Maddon said of the mini losing streak. "I have no complaints about the last two nights. Zero. We played well, we played good baseball. If you're a baseball fan, you saw good baseball. They scored one more run than we did -- give them credit."
The Cubs had chances. Addison Russell doubled to lead off the seventh and two outs later, Chris Coghlan walked but Jonathan Broxton got Jason Heyward to ground out to Brandon Moss at first and end the threat. They also had the tying run at second and another runner at first with two outs in the ninth, but for the second game in a row, Cardinals closer Trevor Rosenthal escaped. This time, he got pinch-hitter Matt Szczur to hit into a force play at second to end the game.
"It was kind of like Groundhog Day -- same game as last night," Maddon said. "It was well played on both sides, but we couldn't get a hit when we needed to. ... I'll say it again, if we keep playing that game, I'll be very, very pleased. That's a good game of baseball, and that's how you become a consistent winner."
The Cubs had opportunities. They finished 0-for-9 with runners in scoring position and stranded seven.
The Cardinals had lost five in a row at home before arriving in Chicago for this series, and now have pulled within 10 1/2 games in the National League Central standings. They also evened the season series, 4-4.
"We just had to find a way to make it work, and we did," Wainwright said. "It's an overstatement to say this is a statement series just yet, but I think what you're seeing now is a team that's coming together at the right time."
What the Cubs learn from this series may not be known until October.
"It was two hard-fought games, one-run ballgames," Chicago starter Jason Hammel said. "I'd be speaking for everybody in there, we have to win those ballgames. When it comes down to crunch time at the end of the year, that's what you're going to be looking at. Disappointed, but let's go get one tomorrow and move on."
Carrie Muskat has covered the Cubs since 1987, and for MLB.com since 2001. She writes a blog, Muskat Ramblings. You can follow her on Twitter @CarrieMuskat and listen to her podcast.