Dale Sveum said it best after the game, “That’s just men playing against boys right now.” For the second straight night the Cubs gave up six home runs to the Nationals, at least they didn’t use as many pitchers tonight as they did last night. Volstad was the one serving up long balls tonight, but at least he was able to give the Cubs some innings. Volstad’s night came to an end after five innings, he gave up five runs on nine hits while walking four and striking out two. Volstad gave up three home runs, Michael Bowden gave up one, and Blake Parker gave up two more. Bryce Harper had two home runs tonight, and Adam LaRoche hit another home run in this one, LaRoche has been amazing against the Cubs, and will continue to be awesome until someone decides to pitch him inside off the plate. I mentioned it yesterday, opponents are way too comfortable in the box against Cubs pitchers, until they go inside with a purpose balls will continue to leave the park. Speaking of comfortable at the plate, the Cubs are anything but as they were carved up by now 18 game winner Gio Gonzalez. The Cubs could only manage four hits in the 9-1 defeat, one of which was an Anthony Rizzo solo home run in the ninth inning. Dale Sveum was ejected tonight after he took exception to home plate umpire Larry Vanover “eyeballing” the Cubs bench after a couple of close calls. The Cubs will try to avoid the four game sweep tomorrow night.
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If you only watched the first inning today you probably thought that the Cubs and Cards went toe-to-toe in another slugfest today, you would also be wrong. Cardinals starter Joe Kelly and Cubs starter Jeff Samardzija both struggled in the first today. But both guy got out of jams where it could have been much worse than it was. Samardzija struggled with his command all day, but especially in the first where he walked the first three guys he faced to load the bases with none out. Samardzija escaped with giving up only one run which was huge as the Cubs bounced right back. Kelly had men on second and third with no outs and managed to tightrope out of the first giving up just two. The game stayed 2-1 until the Cardinals tied things up in the 6th inning. The Cubs looked like they might break things open in the seventh when they put the first two guys on 1st and 3rd, but struggled to push across a run. With two outs and guys at 1st and 2nd still Reed Johnson caught everyone by surprise by laying down a two out safety squeeze. It worked to perfection as Fuentes didn’t have a throw and pinch runner Tony Campana scored the go ahead run, which was also the winning run. Carlos Marmol came on for the ninth and shut the Cardinals down, he is now 11-for-11 in save opportunities. Full box score and highlights after the jump.