Cubs fall to Cards in 12 innings on walk-off HBP
After Bonifacio ties it in ninth, Grimm plunks Garcia with bases loaded
ST. LOUIS -- The box score will say the Cubs lost Tuesday's game in the 12th inning, but it was actually decided much earlier.
Pinch-hitter Greg Garcia was hit by a pitch by Justin Grimm with the bases loaded and one out in the 12th to force in the winning run and lift the Cardinals to a 4-3 victory over the Cubs, evening the four-game series.
Grimm should've never pitched, but he and other Cubs relievers were pressed into duty because starter Jake Arrieta lasted just four innings, throwing 82 pitches, 42 for strikes. That's not a very effective ball-strike ratio.
"They weren't squaring many balls up," Arrieta said. "That being said, I need to stay on the offensive side of pitching more than I did tonight. It's frustrating. It's frustrating right there, having to wear the guys out in the bullpen."
The walks are "not acceptable," he said. "There's no reason to have the ball ratio as high as it was tonight."
The Cubs are carrying eight relievers, and they've needed all of them.
"Today, we were trying to stay away with quite a few of the guys and we ended up using quite a few of them anyways," said manager Rick Renteria, battling a nagging cold aggravated by the cool weather. "[Carlos Villanueva] tried to get us through, and we couldn't really mix and match too much. At the end, some of the guys were called into duty."
With the game tied at 3 in the 12th against Grimm, Jhonny Peralta singled to right. One out later, Allen Craig and Yadier Molina both drew walks to load the bases and set up Garcia, who was hit in the right elbow on a 1-2 pitch.
"I saw the pitch out of his hand, knew it was in, and as it got closer to the plate I knew that it had a chance to hit me," Garcia said. "I'm wearing that one 100 percent of the time. It was great to get a win for the team today."
It's the second walk-off hit-by-pitch in Cardinals franchise history; the other was July 25, 1974, when Jerry Davanon was hit in a 4-3 win over the Mets.
"You can't control that -- the pitcher wants to throw a good pitch there but it happens sometimes," Chicago's Luis Valbuena said. "[Grimm] has good stuff -- he knows he's better than that."
The Cubs had a chance in the top of the 12th when Valbuena doubled off Seth Maness with two outs and Anthony Rizzo was intentionally walked. But Maness got Starlin Castro to ground out to end the inning.
Adam Wainwright was one out away from picking up his National League-leading seventh win, but the Cubs rallied to tie the game in the ninth on Emilio Bonifacio's two-out RBI single off Trevor Rosenthal, driving in Junior Lake, who had singled with one out.
Maybe the Cubs possess some Kryptonite that makes Wainwright a little more human. Valbuena hit a two-run homer off the right-hander, who lasted six innings. This season, Wainwright has given up 12 earned runs in three games against the Cubs, and just three earned runs in his other six games.
"I like to face him because he's a good pitcher," Valbuena said. "I like him because he throws a lot of strikes and he gives you something to hit."
Arrieta had trouble throwing strikes. He walked five and served up four hits over four innings in his third start since coming off the disabled list.
"I wasn't efficient enough, and that's what led to the high pitch count and early exit," Arrieta said. "I feel bad for having the bullpen come into the game too early there. There's no reason they need to be in the game before the sixth or seventh at least. That's what I'm harping on the most.
"Regardless of where my pitch count is right now, whatever it's at is good enough to get me into the sixth. I didn't do well enough at that tonight. I gave some good hitters too many free passes, and with my stuff, I need to be more efficient, that's the main thing."
Arrieta now has thrown 82, 81 and 82 pitches in his three starts. The Cubs don't want any setbacks for the right-hander, who was slowed this spring because of tightness in his shoulder.
"We're still very mindful of him coming off his rehab," Renteria said. "We're still very mindful of how many pitches and how efficient he is. It's one of those things where we didn't want him to get in too much trouble and have to work through and drive his pitch count too high, so he had an early exit."
Arrieta escaped a bases-loaded jam in the second that he created. Peter Bourjos doubled with two outs and Arrieta intentionally walked Mark Ellis to face Wainwright, who walked on four pitches. But Matt Carpenter flied out to center to end the inning.
In the third, Arrieta singled to lead off, and one out later, Valbuena hit his second home run of the season, a laser to right, to give the Cubs a 2-0 lead. Wainwright has served up three homers this season, all to the Cubs.
Arrieta walked the first two batters he faced in the third, prompting a visit from pitching coach Chris Bosio. Craig then struck out, and Molina singled to left. Peralta, who was on second, leaped over the ball, then stumbled and fell. He was tagged out in a rundown. Matt Adams followed with an infield single, driving in a run.
In the fourth, Arrieta faced four batters, and batted for himself leading off the fifth, but that's because the Cubs' bench is short-handed. That was it.
In the sixth, Bourjos reached on an infield single. One out later, pinch-hitter Jon Jay was walked by Villanueva, and Bourjos stole third on the play. Wesley Wright replaced Villanueva, and Carpenter hit a bouncer to Castro at short, and his throw to second for the force was off-line. Everyone was safe on the error, and a run scored to tie the game. Peralta then hit an RBI single to put the Cardinals ahead, 3-2.
With the loss, the Cubs now are 2-8 in one-run games and 1-5 in extra-inning contests.
"I'd be more concerned if we didn't fight back and get into those positions," Renteria said. "We make sure our guys keep fighting.
"The reality is that, at some point, we're hoping that as a club, we're able to come through and take some of those games and finish them off. If we were going out there and laying down after losing the lead, I'd be concerned. Coming back and still being in the ballgame, I'm all right with it."