Cardinals even series with Cubs in front of record crowd
ST. LOUIS - The St. Louis Cardinals responded from a series-opening loss Friday night to even the series with the Chicago Cubs Saturday afternoon, 5-3, in front of 47,882 attendees, a record for Busch Stadium III, which opened in 2006.
The third-most ticket sales for a regular season game in Busch III history happened Friday night, 47,601.
Chicago opened the scoring in the second inning with a RBI from starting pitcher Jon Lester (1-2), his first double of the season and second RBI. Lester now has eight career hits, four coming off of St. Louis starting pitcher, Carlos Martinez (1-2).
Martinez, not to be outdone, picked up his own RBI in the third inning on a squeeze play that turned into a bunt single when Lester failed to throw out left fielder Tommy Pham at home. Martinez has four hits and five RBIs in his past two starts.
In the fourth inning, Cardinal third baseman Jedd Gyorko hit his seventh home run of the season, a solo shot, to give the Cardinals their first lead of the game at 2-1. In the same inning, Pham drove home Yadier Molina with a single to add insurance.
Pham drove in second baseman Greg Garcia in the sixth inning to further extend the lead to 4-1 with a double to center. It proved to be the winning run. While filling in for the injured Stephen Piscotty, had two hits, two runs, two RBIs and a stolen base.
The Cardinals added another run on a Magneuris Sierra single also in the sixth, but the Cubs countered in the seventh with a two-run home run by right fielder Ian Happ in his first career start. It was Happ's first career hit and cut the Cardinal lead to 5-3.
Happ, filling in for the ailing Ben Zobrist, was the ninth pick in the 2015 MLB Draft and the 63rd-ranked prospect in baseball, according to ESPN.
That would end the comeback attempt as Cardinal manager Mike Matheny pulled Carlos Martinez after the homer. St. Louis's bullpen allowed only one base runner in 2.1 innings.
Michael Wacha was originally scheduled to start for St. Louis, but had his turn in the rotation pushed back for rest. Martinez went 6.2 innings in his absence, allowing the three runs and striking out seven.
Lester was pulled after 5.2 innings pitched. He was charged with four runs, three earned, on five hits and four walks while striking out nine.
This is the second time Martinez and Lester opposed each other this season. The first, opening night, was a 4-3 victory for St. Louis. Both pitchers earned no decisions that night.
First pitch of the rubber game Sunday is at 1:00 p.m. Adam Wainwright will take the mound for the Cardinals against Jake Arrieta. Wainwright has 13 wins against the Cubs, second most among active pitchers while Arrieta is 8-2 in 14 career starts against the Cardinals. With a Cub win, manager Joe Maddon will become the eighth active manager to reach 1,000 wins.
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