Cards Bats Cool, But Mike Gets Hot

After game two of the series at Wrigley, sad baby from yesterday is still sad.

Only this time the Cardinal loss wasn’t at the hand of the Cubs’ Joe Mather, but Alfonso Soriano. And, if you ask anyone, he had a little outside help.

I’ll admit, I wanted to simply put up a few screen caps of a bad call or two, and one of angry Mike Matheny getting ejected (we’ll get to that!) followed by a sad face and call it a day.

But, for the sake of storytelling, I figured that might leave out some important details, as well as that whole “beginning, middle, end” thing. So, here we go.

The Beginning

Things got off to a rocky start when the Cubs scored in the first on a controversial play that had Mike Matheny making his first trip out of the dugout. When David DeJesus headed toward home on a Starlin Castro sac fly, Carlos Beltran’s throw to the plate seemed to beat the runner. Molina seemed to miss the tag. But DeJesus seems to have never touched the plate.

Still, it was just one run. And luckily, Adam Wainwright looked a little more normal than his first three appearances.

In fact, he worked six innings, giving up just the one run, and striking out seven for his best start of the year by far. That’s not to say it’s the sparkling kind of start we hope to see a few weeks or months from now when he’s all the way back to full strength. But it was better. A better beginning, that looked like it might give way to a better middle.

The Middle

There were some good parts in the middle innings.

For example, Molina gunned down DeJesus at second base in the fifth inning. (Contrary to what Tony Campana had people believing yesterday, you don’t run on Yadi!)

Victor Marte did THIS in the seventh to get Darwin Barney … and to make Sports Center Top Plays!

And then Matt Holliday blasted a two-run bomb to left center to give the Redbirds a 2-1 lead in the eight.

I like the middle part of this story.

The End

If you’re looking for the happily ever after, turn away now.

After Marc Rzepczynski sat ’em down in order in the bottom of the eighth, Matheny played the odds and sent him out for the first batter of the 9th inning.

That batter was Bryan LaHair. He went yard. Tie game.

With two outs, Barney reached on an Rafael Furcal error (meaning, the inning should have been over). Then Geovany Soto singled, and that ended Scrabble’s day. So, Fernando Salas would have to face everyone’s favorite former-Cardinal-turned-Cub-hero, Joe Mather himself.

Fortunately, he struck out. Unfortunately, the game was tied, and the Cardinals didn’t score in the top of the 10th.

After a single let Campana on the base paths again in the bottom of the inning, anyone who didn’t think there would be drama was just not paying attention to Monday’s game.

Once again, he tried to run. Once again, Molina threw him out. Only this time, instead of Tyler Greene not catching the ball to ruin the play, the umpire was simply caught in an extended blink. No, seriously. It was bad. So bad that this

led to this:

and a whole lot of this in my timeline: “Angry Matheny is hot! #girltweet”

After all of that, the game ended with St. Louis’ #1 goat, Tyler Greene, taking a hot shot from Soriano nearly off his face. Clearly, he didn’t make the play. And clearly, the Cubs like to celebrate.

After the game, Matheny (who took a while to get himself thrown out … probably had to get creative without a slew of curse words in his back pocket!) didn’t have much to say.

“It’s a shame is all,” Matheny said. “First run was a shame, and the last run was a shame.”

And while it’s also important to note that the Cardinals went 0-for-5 with runners in scoring position, stranding nine, Matt Holliday isn’t worried about the offense.

“You’re not going to get a ton of offense if a guy’s locating a 97-mph fastball with an 89-mph split,” Holliday said of Samardzija. “Let’s be straight, it doesn’t matter if you’re sending the greatest hitters in the world up there. If he’s making pitches like that, you’re not going to get a ton of offense.”

However, that does mean that Adam Wainwright has received a whopping ZERO runs in support this year. Good pitching or no, that’s a problem, Matty Ho.

So, to sum it up: Waino was better, Matheny was hot, the bats were not, the umpires went blind, and Tyler Greene … nevermind. The poor guy can’t help the fact that Matheny sees something we don’t.

Today’s first pitch is scheduled for 1:20 with Lance Lynn on the mound, looking to rewrite the ending in the final game of the series. Please.

Tara is a St. Louis Cardinals reporter for Aaron Miles’ Fastball and a contributor to Around the Horn. Follow her on Twitter @tarawellman.

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