Jason Motte was one strike away from nailing it down, but he couldn’t get it done.
He took the hill as the Cardinals held onto a 2-1 lead going into the bottom of the 9th at Wrigley. He struck out Soriano, then walked two, then got pinch-hitter Steve Clevenger to ground out to first, the runners both advancing. Up comes former Cardinal Joe Mather, who works the count to 2-2 before driving a Motte slider into center, bringing both runners home, and the Cubs win it.
Always bad to lose, but a particular shame to waste a good effort by Jaime Garcia. 7 2/3 innings, 6 hits, 1 earned run, and 4Ks. Cubs starter Matt Garza made it a pitchers’ duel, with an equally impressive effort – 7 innings, 4 hits, 2 earned runs, 5Ks, although he wasn’t nearly as efficient, needing 108 pitches to get through 7, while Garcia threw only 85.
Neither offense did very much, at least not until Mather stepped in in the 9th. Matt Holliday finally had a good night, going 2 for 3 with a double and an RBI.
Adam Wainwright starts tomorrow, hoping to turn things around.