April 17, 2009

Ludwick, Barden blasts not enough at Wrigley

Even with a couple homers from Ryan Ludwick and another from Brian Barden, the Cubs outlasted the Cardinals Friday afternoon at Wrigley Field.

Ludwick and Barden accounted for half of the Cards' 10 hits; Ludwick went 3-for-5 with 2 runs scored and 4 RBIs while Barden went 2-for-3 with 2 runs scored and 1 RBI.

But the Cubs' Alfonso Soriano cranked a 2-run shot in the eighth to put the North Siders up 8-7, where they stayed with closer Carlos Marmol finishing off the Cards to end the game.

Not much of Cardinal Nation expected the Cardinals to win Friday, the starting rotation adjusted due to the injury to Chris Carpenter, and with no offense to P.J. Walters, but it was his first major league game. To get the call to pitch in Chicago versus the Cubs was more like baptism by fire.

Walters roughed out a 2-run first inning, then gave up another run in the second, throwing over half of his 98-pitch day in the first two frames. He settled down after that, his breaking pitches working to his advantage and not getting so far behind each Cubs' hitter.

The Cardinals gave Walters some support in the third, scoring four runs and taking a one-run lead, 4-3. Albert Pujols hit a sacrifice fly with the bases loaded for the first Cards' run. Ludwick followed with a 3-run shot that landed in the last row of the left field bleachers.

The new callup pitched 4 complete innings, walking 2 but striking out 7.

Chris Duncan helped Albert Pujols score from third base in the fifth with a sacrifice fly, extending the Cards' lead to 5-3.

Trever Miller pitched the fifth, but gave up 2 runs on 3 hits while striking out 2. By the time he was finished, the Cubs had tied the game at 5-all.

The Cards' leadoff hitter in the sixth, Brian Barden, hit a solo shot to left field to inch the Cards ahead once more, 6-5.

Enter Mitchell Boggs, called up along with Chris Perez for extra pitching help. Boggs shut down the Cubs in the sixth, then received more run support from Ludwick, who added a solo home run to extend the Cards' lead to 7-5.

In the bottom of the seventh, however, Boggs gave up a double to K. Fukudome, and two outs later, an RBI single to Ramirez, the Cubs clawing back to 7-6.

All the Cardinals' scoring came off of starter Carlos Zambrano, who was relieved in eighth by Aaron Heilman, who stopped any Cardinals' attack.

Recent callup Perez took the hill for the eighth, but asked for trouble when he walked pinch-hitter and ex-Card, Aaron Miles with one out. The next batter, Soriano, then hit the 2-run blast to turn over their 1-run deficit to a 1-run lead.

Cubs' closer Marmol took the stage for the ninth, begging to give the game back when he walked Colby Rasmus, then hit Pujols, putting Cards' base runners on first and second with no outs. Marmol then bore down, however, striking out Ludwick and then getting pinch-hitter Khalil Greene to stroke into a double play to end the game.

So in a game where few folks expected the Cardinals to beat the Cubs' ace with a first-timer to the Bigs, the newbie, Walters, did okay, and due to the hot bats of Ludwick and Barden, the Cards found themselves able to compete in a touch situation. Yet the Cards' yielded to the never-say-die Cubs, who, without the services of Milton Bradley, portrayed an excellent attitude as far as looking for a way to win instead of excuses for failure.

Tip of the cap to the Cubs, but Cardinal Nation should know that in such tough losses comes the opportunity for much character development. There are two big games (are there any small games?) to go at Wrigley.


Ryan Ludwick --

  • BA .405
  • 2B 2
  • 3B 0
  • HR 5
  • RBI 13
  • BB 3
  • SO 7
  • OBP .450
  • SLG .865
  • OPS 1.315

Brian Barden --

  • BA .450
  • 2B 1
  • 3B 0
  • HR 3
  • RBI 4
  • BB 1
  • SO 3
  • OBP .476
  • SLG .950
  • OPS 1.426

Game #12 -- April 17, 2009 -- vs. Cubs

photo by Barbara Moore