Chicago, IL (SportsNetwork.com) – It took the Chicago Cubs 16 innings to score
their first two runs of the 2015 season, but that was more than enough to
record the initial win of the Joe Maddon era.
Starlin Castro’s RBI single in the seventh inning snapped a scoreless deadlock
and rewarded Jake Arrieta’s outstanding performance on the mound in the Cubs’
2-0 triumph over the St. Louis Cardinals.
Castro’s clutch hit was just the second allowed by Cardinals starter Lance
Lynn’s six-plus innings, and broke Chicago’s 0-for-15 streak with runners in
scoring position to begin the season.
The Cubs went hitless in 13 at-bats during such situations in Maddon’s
anticipated debut as the club’s new manager, a 3-0 loss to St. Louis on
Sunday’s Opening Night.
Wednesday’s finale of this abbreviated two-game series, shortened by extreme
cold and wind chills that postponed Tuesday’s scheduled matchup, featured
excellent work from both starting pitchers.
Arrieta (1-0) limited the Cardinals to three hits and three walks while
striking out seven over seven scoreless innings, while Lynn (0-1) had
permitted only two baserunners before running into trouble in the seventh.
The right-hander hit Anthony Rizzo with a changeup to open Chicago’s half of
the frame, then threw wildly on a pickoff attempt to advance the Cubs first
baseman to second.
Castro followed with a hard line drive over a leaping Jhonny Peralta at
shortstop that sent Rizzo home without a throw.
After Chris Coghlan’s bunt pushed Castro to third, Miguel Montero lofted a
sacrifice fly to right that increased the lead to 2-0.
Four Chicago relievers kept the Cardinals scoreless over the final two
innings, with Hector Rondon tossing a spotless ninth to nail down the save.
Lynn racked up nine strikeouts in the hard-luck defeat, with his error
rendering one of his two runs surrendered unearned.
Aided by the chilly conditions and the winds blowing straight in, both
starters were on top of their games in their first outings of the season.
Lynn retired 10 straight hitters before Jorge Soler drilled a fastball into
the gap in right center and hustled all the way to third with one out in the
fourth. The right-hander got a big strikeout of Castro after pitching around
Rizzo for a walk, however, and Coghlan then lined out to center to end the
Arrieta yielded a pair of first-inning walks and a couple of harmless singles
in the third, though the Cardinals put forth a two-out threat in the sixth
when Matt Adams drew a walk and Peralta doubled to left.
Jon Jay couldn’t bring either runner home, however, bouncing back to Arrieta
for the third out.
Arrieta improved to 3-0 with an 0.74 ERA — the lowest by any pitcher with at
least six starts against St. Louis — in six career meetings with the
Cardinals … Lynn suffered only his second loss in 14 career April decisions
… Phil Coke, Neil Ramirez and Pedro Strop all recorded one out for the Cubs
in the eighth inning … Cardinals leadoff hitter Matt Carpenter went 0-for-3
with a walk and is hitless in 14 career at-bats against Arrieta.