Cubs tag Wainwright, spoil Cardinals’ home opener
Friday, April 13, 2012
ST. LOUIS (AP) — A handful of Chicago Cubs players were on the field warming up during the St. Louis Cardinals’ pre-game ceremony honoring the World Series champions, watching as the team’s four title trophies were brought onto the field.
“The other 29 teams that aren’t getting one, you’re jealous of the fact somebody else is getting one,” Cubs manager Dale Sveum said.
Sveum has asked every player on his roster to attend the Cardinals’ ring ceremony on Saturday, too, and show their respect. It’s the least they can do after hammering Adam Wainwright and spoiling St. Louis’ home opener with a rain-soaked 9-5 victory on Friday.
Ian Stewart hit a three-run homer in the first inning, Bryan LaHair later connected for his first career grand slam, and Starlin Castro had three hits, a walk, RBI and steal for the Cubs. Chicago has scored 17 runs the last two games after totaling 19 runs in the first six.
“You can’t say enough about our lineup today,” starter Jeff Samardzija said.
Wainwright’s first start at home since Sept. 19, 2010, was a total mess from the get-go and tied his worst ever from a statistical standpoint — eight earned runs in just three innings.
“I felt disappointed for me, but I felt more disappointed for all the fans that showed up today,” Wainwright said. “I really felt that I did not deliver what they came to see. I know that I will, but I didn’t do it today. I have regrets about that.”
That his outing unraveled moments after some pregame pomp and circumstance that featured 91-year-old Hall of Famer Stan Musial waving from a golf cart to fans who gave him a standing ovation, and that a standing room crowd waited patiently through a rain delay of one hour and 44 minutes before it began only magnified the failure.
Clad in red sportcoats, fellow Hall of Famers Lou Brock, Bob Gibson, Red Schoendienst, Whitey Herzog, Ozzie Smith and Bruce Sutter toured the Busch Stadium warning track on the back of flatbed trucks. The franchise showed off all four World Series trophies, held by members of the 1967, 1982 and 2006 and 2011 teams.
Jim Edmonds and David Eckstein came out together with the ‘06 trophy.
“I let Jimmy carry it,” Eckstein said. “He’s the one with the good hands.”
Players got the same treatment, accompanied by an endless rendition of the Budweiser beer song. There was a moment of silence for former star pitcher Bob Forsch as a bald eagle circled the field, and two F-16s did a flyover.
Tony La Russa and Dave Duncan, the manager and pitching coach who guided the team to a pair of titles in 16 seasons, got huge ovations.
“Even in the weather the fans showed up and they were loud,” new manager Mike Matheny said. “There was a buzz all through the stadium.”
Then the Cubs, who were introduced to mild booing, took over. Stewart’s early homer and the slam by LaHair in the third benefited Samardzija (2-0), who gave up 10 hits and barely qualified for the decision after the Cardinals scored five runs in the fifth.
“That’s obviously not the start you want to have, five and dive,” Samardzija said. “But you can do that when your offense goes out and puts up nine.”
Matt Carpenter had a two-run triple and Jon Jay, David Freese and Yadier Molina each had an RBI in the fifth. Freese came up short in two earlier at-bats, striking out with two on to end the first and tapping out with two on to end the third.
Wainwright (0-2) made his second start since coming off reconstructive elbow surgery that sidelined him all last season. He was in trouble after just nine pitches after David DeJesus doubled, Darwin Barney singled and Castro hit an RBI single. With one out, Stewart barely cleared the wall in left-center for his first homer since Aug. 23, 2010, off the Braves’ Tim Hudson.
Wainwright worked a perfect second but four consecutive Cubs reached with one out in the third, capped by LaHair’s grand slam for an 8-0 cushion. LaHair, who has two homers, led all minor leaguers with 38 last year for Triple-A Iowa.
That was just about it for Wainwright, who matched a career worst with eight earned runs allowed. He also gave up eight on May 15, 2007, at the Los Angeles Dodgers. He allowed nine runs at Milwaukee on Sept. 24, 2007, with just four earned.
Wainwright’s previous low point at home was May 5, 2009, when he surrendered seven earned runs in six innings. Before Friday, Wainwright’s 2.46 home ERA since 2006 had been the best among major league starters, and his 34 wins are the most at 7-year-old Busch Stadium.
After the first two starts this season, Wainwright’s ERA is 11.42. The Cubs’ two four-run innings were the first he’s allowed since Sept. 4, 2009, at Pittsburgh when he gave up six runs in the fifth inning.
“That’s not the Adam we’ve seen through spring training,” Matheny said. “His off-speed stuff wasn’t there, he wasn’t sharp, they came out swinging the bats well.”
NOTES: The attendance of 46,882 was the second most for a regular-season game at Busch, topped only by a crowd of 46,918 for the home opener against Houston April 12, 2010, when Wainwright and Jason Motte combined on a seven-hit shutout. ... Samardzija previously pitched 8 2-3 innings in his first start of the season. ... Cubs starters led the majors with 45 strikeouts prior to the game and Samardzija had five. ... Marlon Byrd singled in the third to end a 0-for-20 slump. ... Jay had three hits and an RBI.
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