Power-Hitting Cubs Spoil St. Louis Home Opener, 9-5
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ST. LOUIS (AP)— Ian Stewart hit a three-run homer in the first inning, Bryan LaHair later connected for a grand slam and the Chicago Cubs hammered Adam Wainwright, spoiling the St. Louis Cardinals’ home opener with a 9-5 victory on Friday.
Starlin Castro had three hits and a walk for the Cubs. Chicago has scored 17 runs the last two games after totaling 19 runs in the first six.
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.
That his outing unraveled moments after 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 its four World Series trophies, held by members of the 1967, 1982 and 2006 teams.
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.
Then the Cubs, who were introduced to mild booing, took over. Stewart’s early homer and the slam by LaHair in the third benefited Jeff Samardzija (2-0), who gave up 10 hits and barely qualified for the decision after the Cardinals scored five runs in the fifth.
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 his worst ever for earned runs allowed, also giving 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.
NOTES: 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 an 0-for-20 slump. … Jay had three hits and an RBI.
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