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Miscues prove decisive in loss to Cubs

Special to MLB.com

CHICAGO -- Sometimes games are decided by big hits and spectacular plays. Others times, an inability to make seemingly routine plays turns the tide. Friday's 3-2 loss to the Cubs at Wrigley Field was definitely a case of the latter for the Cardinals.

The winning run got on base in the bottom of the eighth inning when Anthony Rizzo's liner to left field avoided rookie Magneuris Sierra. That came two innings after the Cubs tied the score on a ball that right fielder Stephen Piscotty lost in the sun.

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CHICAGO -- Sometimes games are decided by big hits and spectacular plays. Others times, an inability to make seemingly routine plays turns the tide. Friday's 3-2 loss to the Cubs at Wrigley Field was definitely a case of the latter for the Cardinals.

The winning run got on base in the bottom of the eighth inning when Anthony Rizzo's liner to left field avoided rookie Magneuris Sierra. That came two innings after the Cubs tied the score on a ball that right fielder Stephen Piscotty lost in the sun.

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"A tough sun ball with Stephen, and that ball just kind of carried away from Sierra," manager Mike Matheny said. "Both of them ended up costing us."

Video: STL@CHC: Heyward plates Rizzo with a deep double

Of course, the ball to Sierra cost more because it cost the Cardinals the game.

Rizzo led off the bottom of the eighth with a liner to left. The ball was slicing, but Sierra -- who was playing in his first game since being recalled from Double-A Springfield with Jedd Gyorko on the paternity list -- seemed to have a bead on it. But it sailed over his head and Rizzo cruised into second with a double.

"That ball was hit well," Piscotty said. "All outfielders know that's one of the hardest plays to make, that ball that's hit on the line. You don't know if it's going to take that topspin down or keep going. It's a tough play. He's a great outfielder and prospect. That's just part of the deal sometimes."

Piscotty was speaking from experience. He had his own issues in the sixth.

With runners on first and second and one out, Jason Heyward lifted a high fly to deep right. Piscotty drifted back to the warning track and appeared to be under it as he shaded his eyes. But the ball dropped in just to his right -- following a last-second lunge -- and Heyward had a run-scoring double that knotted the game at 2.

"As soon as it went up, as it got to its highest point, I just lost it in the sun," Piscotty said. "I tried to battle -- there are ways to get it out of the sun -- but I just couldn't get that one. I had a general idea where it was headed, but I didn't see it until it was too late.

"It's part of the game, part of being an outfielder. But there's nothing I can do except try to battle. Sometimes if you shift your body to get a different angle on it, but I was unable to do it there."

Offensively, the Cardinals came up a little short as well. Dexter Fowler led off the game with a home run and Sierra singled in a run, but St. Louis left the bases loaded in the top of the eighth after drawing three walks against Cubs reliever Carl Edwards Jr.

"We were in a good spot," Matheny said. "We just weren't able to get the hit we needed."

John Jackson is a contributor to MLB.com based in Chicago and covered the Cardinals on Friday.

St. Louis Cardinals