Cubs Catch Cards By Surprise, Even Series

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.

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July 27 – 29, 2012; vs. Cardinals – Series Preview

St. Louis Cardinals Logo - A cardinal in a batting stance

The Cubs get an opportunity for revenge right away as they face off against the Cardinals this weekend in Chicago.  The Cubs just saw the Cardinals last weekend in St. Louis and it wasn’t pretty as the Cards swept the Cubs and the Cubs didn’t put up much of a fight.  One run was all that the Cubs scored last weekend against the Cardinals, that’s hard to do.  The Cubs bounced back against the Pirates however as they took two out of three from the Central Division contender in Pittsburgh, which is also hard to do.  The Cardinals were struggling in the second half of the season until they met the Cubs last weekend.  Counting that weekend they are 6-1 in their last seven games as they try to chase down the Reds and Pirates who sit above them in the Central Division.  It will be interesting to see if the same Cubs team that starts this series will be there to finish it as we roll towards the trade deadline.  On paper this matchup couldn’t get anymore lopsided as the Cardinals are number one in the NL in runs scored and the Cubs are last, but the Cubs pitching has been outstanding as of late, they will need to be to win the series.  Full preview/breakdown after the jump.

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