The Cubs starter Thomas Diamond suffered another short outing in St. Louis tonight. He only lasted four innings yielding four runs and six hits. In his previous match against Cincinnati, he was pulled after three frames.
Cardinals slugger Albert Pujols had three hits, including a home run to lift the Cardinals past the Cubs 6-3 in the opener of the three-game series.
The Cubs attacked Jake Westbrook in the first inning and took a 2-0 lead.
With one out, Starlin Castro singled to center field and Derrek Lee had a double in the next at-bat. Marlon Byrd singled to shallow left to send both runners home.
Pitching through six innings, Westbrook (7-7) earned his first victory in Cardinals uniform. He allowed only two hits and one walk and fanned three Cubs.
At the bottom of first, Diamond (0-3) retired the first two Cardinals but gave up a solo home run to Albert Pujols, who he hit the ball out of center field for this 29th home run of the year.
The Cardinals added a pair of runs in the third. Diamond issued a lead-off walk to Felipe Lopez. With one out, Pujols singled and Matt Holliday followed with a RBI-double to center field to drive in Lopez. Colby Ramsus walked intentionally to face Yadier Molina who scored Pujols from third on a sacrifice fly.
Diamond conceded one more run in the fourth, his last inning of the night. Westbrook helped himself by hitting a double to lead off the inning and moved to third on Brendan Ryan’s sacrifice. After the second out, Jon Jay singled to score easily Westbrook from third.
The Cardinals’ last two runs came in the seventh. Justin Berg gave up back-to-back hits, a single to Pujols and a double to Holliday.
On a 3-2 count to Rasmus, he threw a wild pitch which hopped past catcher Koyie Hill’s mitt to score Pujols from third. Holliday also advanced 90 feet and Rasmus walked on the same play. Rasmus finished the night with four walks in four plate appearances.
Molina’s second RBI came when he hit his second sacrifice fly of the night to bring Holliday home.
The Cubs did not add any more run since the first inning. In the eighth, Derrek Lee, who was on the bereavement list for the last four days, led off to homer off reliever Fernando Salas over the left-field wall. His 13th of the year is only his first in his last eight games.
The 6-3 score gave Cardinals pitcher Ryan Franklin a chance to close the game in the ninth. He only needed minimal nine pitches to retire the Cubs in order for his 21st save of the year.
Castro keeps his hitting streak alive with the lead-off single in the first. He now hits in his last five games.
Third baseman Aramis Ramirez was not in the lineup tonight. He has not played in the Cubs’ last three games with a sore left rib cage. Blake DeWitt played third base tonight and committed two errors.
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