Everything was just fine for the first inning of Game 2, at least. Cardinals starter Jaime Garcia pitched a strong first inning, then third baseman Matt Carpenter homered on a line to centerfield in the first. St. Louis was off and running toward another NLDS victory over the Chicago Cubs.
Um, not exactly. The Cardinals ended up losing in fairly convincing style, 6-3 to head to Chicago with the series tied
Adam Wainwright (50) delivers a pitch during the seventh inning in game two of the NLDS against the Chicago Cubs at Busch Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Jeff Curry-USA TODAY Sports
In the second inning, St. Louis starting pitcher Jaime Garcia competely unraveled. It was opposing starter Kyle Hendricks‘ rather poor sac bunt that did it. With Cubs outfielder Austin Jackson on third, Hendricks bunted right back to Garcia, giving the lefty plenty of time to throw home and catch Jackson, who had committed to the plate. But Garcia hesitated and gunned the ball past first baseman Brandon Moss instead.
During the regular season, Garcia allowed more than four runs in just one of his 20 starts. But in his one postseason start tonight, he allowed five (all unearned) in one inning. This kind of thing has happened to him before. Garcia lasted just two innings in his last postseason start, back in 2012. He was pitching hurt then.
Lo and behold, shortly after Lance Lynn replaced Garcia, the Cardinals announced that Garcia was pitching with a stomach virus. Poor guy just can’t catch a break in October.
Second baseman Kolten Wong also had a weird day, which, by the way, was his birthday. He hit a solo shot in the fifth to draw the Cards to within four runs and tie a Major League record with nine straight postseason extra-base hits. But he also messed up two potential double plays — one on a throwing error and the other on a ball he couldn’t get out of his glove — that extended innings for his pitchers.
The best part of the night may have been Adam Wainwright‘s first postseason relief appearance since the 2006 World Series. He picked right up where he left off. In 1.2 innings of work, he struck out three — two with that big beautiful curveball of his.
Now, the Cubs get a day to rest before taking on the potential (probable?) National League Cy Young Award winner in Jake Arrieta in Chicago. The Cubs get 17-game winner Michael Wacha. First pitch at Wrigley Field on Monday is still to be determined.