The Canadian Press - ONLINE EDITION
Cubs fall short of second straight comeback win vs. Cards, lose 6-3
CHICAGO - The Chicago Cubs tried to follow the same script that produced a comeback win the day before. They just couldn't pull off a similar finish.
The Cubs fell behind St. Louis early and tied it with an unlikely home run, but the Cardinals ended up with a 6-3 victory on Saturday in front of a big crowd divided by fans of the rival clubs.
Matt Adams drove in four runs, A.J. Pierzynski had three hits in his St. Louis debut, and the Cardinals snapped a four-game skid.
"Adams had the day," Cardinals manager Mike Matheny said. "He was our guy. Getting the big hit early on, hitting a couple balls hard with guys in scoring position."
Cubs starter Jake Arrieta settled in after a two-run first inning and allowed just three base runners the rest of the way. He thwarted threats in the fourth and fifth innings, and a diving catch by left fielder Chris Coughlan helped Arrieta escape the sixth.
"(I tried to) keep the team in the game," Arrieta said. "We fought back and we made it a pretty close game there at the end. We just came out on the other side."
Just like on Friday, the Cubs recovered from a first-inning deficit.. Anthony Rizzo had an RBI groundout in the fourth, and Nate Schierholtz hit a solo home run in the sixth, tying it at 2. It was Schierholtz's fourth career pinch-homer.
With Arrieta out of the game, the Cardinals pulled back ahead in the seventh, scoring four runs against James Russell (0-2). Jon Jay hit a leadoff single, advanced on a sacrifice and stole third. He scored the tiebreaking run on Matt Carpenter's grounder.
Adams, who hit a two-run double in the first, followed three batters later with a triple to score two runs. Pierzynski capped the inning with an RBI single to make it 6-2.
"Adams put a good at-bat together," Russell said. "He fouled a lot of pitches off. He ended up getting a mistake and he did what he's supposed to do with it and put it in the gap."
Russell allowed four earned runs in his worst outing since July 21, 2012, when he gave up six runs, also against the Cardinals.
"All (the pitchers) have actually done a great job for us, and every now and then you have a hiccup. Today he had a hiccup," Chicago manager Rick Renteria said.
In his first start since being removed from the rotation on July 10, Shelby Miller allowed two runs and three hits in 5 2-3 innings. He began the game with three perfect innings and retired 16 of his first 18 batters.
Randy Choate (2-2) got the last out of the sixth in relief of Miller. Trevor Rosenthal worked around two hits in a scoreless ninth, earning his 31st save in 35 tries.
The 37-year-old Pierzynski signed with the Cardinals on Saturday, 10 days after he was released by Boston. St. Louis had been looking for a steady presence behind the plate since All-Star catcher Yadier Molina tore a ligament in his right thumb July 9.
Molina had surgery two days later and is expected to miss eight to 12 weeks.
Pierzynski played eight seasons in Chicago with the White Sox.
"That was pretty much a cram session for A.J. there, not just with Shelby but all our guys, and the signs," Matheny said of the veteran catcher.
Adams doubled sharply in the first, a one-hopper that bounced past Rizzo at first and into right field to score two runs. Despite the rough start, Renteria said the fact that Arrieta was able to hang in showed how he has grown as a pitcher.
"Today was maybe not one of those days where he felt his best, but he actually settled down, worked with what he had today, which is what a pitcher is supposed to do," Renteria said.
Ryan Sweeney hit a leadoff homer against Pat Neshek in the eighth, his third home run of the season and second of this series.
NOTES: The Cubs optioned RHP Neil Ramirez to Triple-A Iowa and recalled RHP Blake Parker. The 25-year-old Ramirez has a 0.96 ERA in 33 appearances this season. Renteria said the move was made to give Ramirez a rest and not based on performance. ... Rizzo went 0 for 4, ending his career-high, 10-game hitting streak. ... Kyle Hendricks (1-0, 2.77) will make his third big league start in Sunday's finale against Cardinals ace Adam Wainwright (12-5, 2.02 ERA).
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