Molina, Cardinals avoid sweep in Chicago
Chicago, IL (SportsNetwork.com) - Yadier Molina's two-run single in the ninth inning was the difference, as the St. Louis Cardinals held on for a 5-4 win over the Chicago Cubs, avoiding a three-game sweep at Wrigley field in the process.
Hector Rondon (0-1) fanned Jhonny Peralta and Peter Bourjos around a Randal Grichuk walk and Mark Ellis single to put two on with two outs in the ninth. He then walked Matt Carpenter on four pitches to load the bags for Molina, who fouled off four pitches before muscling a single past a diving Starlin Castro and into center field.
"(Molina) did a nice job staying within himself and just putting together a good at-bat that we talked about early on and all season. Just grinding, grinding, fouling off tough pitches and then getting one that he can find a spot where they were not," said Cardinals manager Mike Matheny.
Luis Valbuena's double off Trevor Rosenthal with two outs in the ninth plated Emilio Bonifacio and made it a one-run game, but Anthony Rizzo grounded out to first base to end it. Rosenthal nailed down his eighth save for St. Louis, which avoided its first three-game sweep at Wrigley Field since 2006.
Ellis had three hits for the Cardinals, while Grichuk had an RBI and scored twice in the triumph. Starter Lance Lynn went six innings, allowing two runs on three hits. Kevin Siegrist (1-1) picked up the win after striking out the side in the eighth.
Valbuena added a triple in the setback, Chicago's first in four games. The Cubs took the first two in this set to win their first series of the season.
Jason Hammel tossed six innings of three-run ball for Chicago and contributed at the plate, driving in a pair of runs with a single in the fourth inning.
Matt Adams and Allen Craig grounded out to start the second inning, but Hammel's two-out walk to Peralta extended the inning and led to a pair of St. Louis runs. Grichuk tripled in Peralta, and Ellis followed with an RBI double before Lynn struck out swinging to end the inning.
"Two-out walks. Two quick outs, put a guy on base and you have bad things happen and that's what happened tonight," Hammel said.
Adams' RBI double to the wall in left-center an inning later made it 3-0.
Lynn got into trouble against the bottom of Chicago's order in the home half of the fourth. Ryan Kalish reached on an infield single and John Baker walked before both runners advanced on Darwin Barney's groundout. The Cubs then cut their deficit to one on Hammel's two-run single.
The score remained 3-2 until the seventh inning. Carlos Martinez took Lynn's spot on the mound and retired the first two batters he faced but Chicago manufactured a run after Valbuena's triple to the corner in right field. Rizzo was intentionally walked to set up a force out, but with Castro at the plate, Martinez threw a wild pitch and Valbuena easily scored the tying run.
Both teams were wearing their 1929 retro uniforms ... Chicago's last series win was against Cincinnati last September ... Castro went 0-for-4 with a pair of strikeouts. He had been 10-for-20 with five RBI in his last five games ... Carpenter and Adams had two hits apiece.
05/05 00:58:35 ET