Friday, July 27, 2012 - At Wrigley Field (Lance Lynn - Starting Pitcher) - Opponent: Chicago Cubs (Travis Wood - Starting Pitcher) - Attendance: 40,778
Just six days after scoring twelve runs in a single inning - equaling a franchise record - the Cardinals were at it again - making history against Chicago Cubs pitching. This time, it was an obscure home run record that was established - in a see-saw battle that was eventually won by the Cardinals - 9-6.
It all started with two outs in the top of the first - when Matt Holliday homered deep to left center field (his 18th) off Cubs starter Travis Wood - to give the Cardinals a 1-0 lead.
Cardinal starter Lance Lynn is used to getting a lot of run support in his outings - and after giving up a lead-off triple to David DeJesus, a run-scoring single to Starlin Castro, and then a two-run home run to Anthony Rizzo - it was apparent the Redbirds would have to step up the offensive production if they expected to win this one.
With the Cardinals now trailing 3-1, Lance Berkman led-off the second-inning with a single, which was immediately followed by a game-tying Yadier Molina home run (his 16th) - which landed on Waveland Avenue. The Redbirds weren't through. Matt Carpenter drew a base on balls, then scored on Daniel Descalso's triple. Next up - Lance Lynn - knew a 4-3 lead was not going to hold up today - so he helped himself out with a sacrifice fly to give the Cardinals a precarious 5-3 lead.
After the Cubs failed to score in the bottom of the second, Berkman got into the act with a two-out home run (his 2nd) in the third-inning, to build the lead to 6-3. For Lance, in an injury-plagued final season as a member of the Cardinals - this would prove to be his last home run wearing a St Louis uniform. The previous year, a healthy Berkman hit 31 home runs - and became an immediate fan-favorite in Cardinal Nation.
Meanwhile, the Cubs quickly tied the game in the bottom of the third - after a lead-off triple by Castro, an RBI single by Rizzo, an RBI double by Alfonso Soriano and an RBI single by Geovany Soto.
Matt Carpenter untied it, leading off the fourth-inning with another St Louis home run (his 4th - and the fourth in as many innings for the Cardinals). This one almost - but not quite - made it onto Sheffield Avenue - landing high off the back wall in right field.
After Lynn kept the Cubs scoreless in the bottom of the fourth, Allen Craig made St Louis Cardinals history by hitting the fifth home run in as many innings - another solo shot, which landed in the fourth row of the left field bleachers - to give the Cardinals an 8-6 lead. It was the first time in franchise history the team had ever homered in five consecutive innings. Now, the all-time franchise record for home runs in a single game (7) seemed feasible (last accomplished on July 12, 1996 - against the Cubs - who else?).
Alas, the Redbirds had no more home runs in their bag of tricks today. However, center fielder Jon Jay had a circus catch in his bag of tricks today - robbing Rizzo of extra bases with an absolutely ridiculous leaping grab of his fifth-inning smash to center field - to protect that slim two-run lead.
After getting through the fifth, unscathed, manager Mike Matheny gave his starter the rest of the day off. Five St Louis relievers - Fuentes, Browning, Salas, Rzepczynski and Motte (who got his 23rd save) - kept Chicago off the board over the final four innings - giving Lynn his rather fortuitous 13th win - with only 4 losses.
The Redbirds scored a final insurance run in the seventh - when Jay was hit by a pitch, stole second, advanced to third on a throwing error by the catcher, then scored on Holliday's single to center.
Coincidentally, the Cardinals won yesterday's game (from 2004) by that same 9-6 score - although it took 11 innings to score that many runs, and they only hit three home runs. Weaklings.