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Cubs honor Santo before falling to Cardinals

Cubs honor Santo before falling to Cardinals

ST. LOUIS -- The Cubs clicked their heels, but they couldn't celebrate Ron Santo's day at Cooperstown with a win.

Matt Holliday and Carlos Beltran hit back-to-back home runs on consecutive pitches off Travis Wood to lead the Cardinals to a 7-0 victory and complete a sweep of the Cubs on Sunday at Busch Stadium.

"I hope we forget this weekend and start again tomorrow," Alfonso Soriano said.

It was a special day for Santo's family and the Cubs as the late third baseman and popular radio broadcaster was inducted into the National Baseball Hall of Fame. The Cubs wore a special No. 10 patch on their jerseys sleeve to commemorate the enshrinement.

The players went a step -- or kick -- further and clicked their heels as they took the field in the first. That was one of Santo's signature moments in 1969, a spontaneous gesture he did after a win, which manager Leo Durocher asked him to continue at home. Wood took the mound as normal to warm up, and catcher Steve Clevenger did a little click as he got to home plate. The other Cubs position players held back and ran onto the field together, clicking as they crossed the white line.

"It was just a nice day for his family and the Cubs family, as well for him going into the Hall of Fame," Cubs manager Dale Sveum said. "I thought it would be a nice tribute to him to take the field and click our heels like he did when he was coming off the field."

The players didn't hesitate when Sveum asked them to do the kick.

"Santo's a big part of this organization," Darwin Barney said. "Being a Cub, it's a family, and that's what we're trying to embrace here. Everybody's in it for the same goal. We're trying to do the same things he did as a player."

Barney used to listen to Cubs games on the radio while working out at Triple-A Iowa, and Santo not only kept him up to date on the game but also didn't hide his passion for the team.

"You'd hear him and he'd go, 'Oh,' and sigh when something went wrong," Barney said. "He made baseball his life, and he made the Cubs his life. I thought that was a very small token of appreciation for what he's done for this organization."

The Cardinals apparently weren't in the mood to celebrate. Lance Lynn (12-4) gave up four hits over six scoreless innings, striking out five, as the Cardinals improved to 7-4 against the Cubs this season. Chicago was shut out twice in the three-game series, and outscored, 23-1.

"They came out bangin' again," Sveum said of the Cardinals. "It was tough because we were playing well, guys were swinging the bats better. I think we only had two extra-base hits in the whole series, let alone not getting any big hits when we had opportunities."

It was the first time the Cubs were blanked in back-to-back games since May 4-5, 2006, when they lost 6-0 to the D-backs and 1-0 to the Padres in consecutive games.

The Cubs were stymied with runners on, going 0-for-13 in the series with runners in scoring position. The Cardinals delivered. They had two on and two out in the first, and Wood intentionally walked David Freese to load the bases. Jon Jay and Tony Cruz each followed with two-run doubles to take a 4-0 lead. Jay finished with a career-high four hits.

The Cardinals had struggled offensively prior to this series.

"We know the talent is here," Jay said. "We know how many All-Stars we have. We know the way we've been pitching. It's a team that, if we can get into the playoffs, we can do some damage. But we have to get to the playoffs. That's our battle right now."

Tyler Greene hit a sacrifice fly in the fourth, and Holliday led off the fifth with his 16th home run, hitting the first pitch from Wood. Beltran hit Wood's next one 407 feet to left for his 21st home run to make it 7-0.

"[Holliday] hit a first-pitch changeup that was down, and a first-pitch cutter in that Beltran hit," Wood said. "They were pitches that I thought were where they needed to be. They're good hitters, they got to them and hit them out of the park."

"That's a good ballclub across the way," Sveum said. "They won the World Series last year, so it's always going to be tough to face that lineup, especially when we have to throw left-handers at them."

Wood (4-5) served up seven runs on nine hits over six innings, and has lost two straight after winning four in a row. The left-hander had given up four runs total in those four wins, but has been charged with 15 runs over 10 2/3 innings in his last two games.

"They had my number today," Wood said.

Carrie Muskat is a reporter for She writes a blog, Muskat Ramblings, and you can follow her on Twitter@CarrieMuskat.
Read More: Chicago Cubs, Travis Wood, Darwin Barney