Cubs drop finale but still take series win vs. Cards
Jackson 'just OK' as Chicago falls for 10th time in last 14 games
ST. LOUIS -- The Cubs lost Sunday, but they took the series against the Cardinals and may have woken them up.
Pete Kozma hit a tie-breaking RBI single with two outs in the sixth and David Freese and Jon Jay each drove in two runs to spark the Cardinals to an 8-4 victory over the Cubs, who lost for the 10th time in the last 14 games.
"It was a big game for them and you could tell they came out with a purpose today," Chicago second baseman Darwin Barney said of the Cardinals.
Chicago began this series feeling a little slighted after St. Louis altered its pitching rotation to save Adam Wainwright for Pittsburgh. The Dodgers had done that earlier with Zack Greinke. The motivated Cubs won the first two games against the Cardinals to take their first series at Busch Stadium since Sept. 13-15, 2010.
"Obviously, they're doing what they need to be doing, being in the pennant race," Cubs manager Dale Sveum said. "But the guys in [the Cubs'] locker room take it to heart. [The Cardinals] are saying we're not a very good team, and we're going to get by you with this guy or that guy. It's the competitive nature in anybody to take that to heart."
St. Louis manager Mike Matheny, whose team leads the National League Wild Card race, understood.
"We've got to realize that nobody is going to half-step when they come rolling in here or we go in to visit them," Matheny said. "We know we're going to get their best effort, we're going to get their best excitement. We've been getting great draws so there's excitement in the stands whenever, and those are all compliments to the kind of caliber team we are."
Barney had commented on feeling snubbed Saturday. Did he think the Cardinals were looking for payback?
"They have enough to get them going rather than a little comment that I said that was very underplayed for what went down," Barney said. "I think it was a non-issue."
The Cardinals got to work early against Edwin Jackson. Carlos Beltran singled with one out in their half of the first and Allen Craig walked to set up Matt Holliday's RBI single. Freese followed with a sacrifice fly and Jay hit an RBI single for a 3-0 lead. Jay was picked off at first to end the inning.
Jackson lasted five innings and now has not won a road start against an NL team since June 14.
"He was just OK," Sveum said of Jackson. "He was missing location bad and got away with some stuff and got away with a couple walks. There were some balls hit pretty hard and he wasn't locating the fastball very well."
By missing location, the ball flattens out, and Jackson wasn't able to get ground balls that he needed.
With two outs in the Chicago third, David DeJesus walked and scored on Holliday's error as he lost Junior Lake's fly ball in the sun in left field. The Cardinals then loaded the bases with one out in their half of the third and added a run on Freese's groundout to go ahead, 4-1.
The Cubs had runners at first and third with two outs in the fourth when Barney bounced a grounder just past starter Joe Kelly to drive in a run. In the sixth, Welington Castillo singled and, one out later, Donnie Murphy singled to chase Kelly. Starlin Castro greeted Seth Maness with an RBI single, and Barney, who delivered a game-tying two-run double in the eighth on Saturday, drove in Murphy to tie the game at 4.
"We battled the whole game and couldn't get the back end of our bullpen [to stop them]," Sveum said.
Barney now is batting .474 (9-for-19) in five games against the Cardinals.
"You see a team a lot, you feel comfortable going to their stadium, and that might have something to do with it," Barney said of his numbers against St. Louis. "Usually [Yadier Molina ] behind the plate makes it tougher to hit."
Tony Cruz doubled to center against Blake Parker to open the Cardinals' sixth and scored on Kozma's single. Jay hit a sacrifice fly in the seventh, and the Cardinals added two more runs in the eighth. Chicago dropped to 9-52 when giving up four or more runs.
"It's always nice to sweep, but any time you can take two out of three here is definitely a good thing," Barney said. "It's tough to win a series here."
The Cubs head home to face the Reds on Monday.
"We're out here trying to prove that we're a better team than our record shows," Barney said.