ST. LOUIS -- This was another bizarre ending at Busch Stadium. But instead of stunned silence inside the visiting clubhouse, the Cubs cranked up the Bob Marley music and yelled at the TV while watching the NBA Finals.
The game-ending runner’s interference call went their way on Tuesday night, and the Cubs hung on to beat the St. Louis Cardinals 4-2. For all the good vibes in the room, Starlin Castro definitely had a problem with pinch-runner Shane Robinson, who had taken a hard, wide slide and stuck out his right leg.
“I understand where you can try to break up the double play in that kind of situation, but not like that,” Castro said. “(That was) not even close. I couldn’t throw the ball because he tried to kill me.”
Cardinals manager Mike Matheny went out to talk with second-base umpire Fieldin Culbreth but afterward told reporters it was a good call (which drew loud boos from the crowd of 44,139).
Trying to preserve Jeff Samardzija’s gem, closer Kevin Gregg had come into the game with a three-run lead, one out and two runners on in the ninth inning. Cardinals fans chanted “Yadi! Yadi!” for Yadier Molina, who lined an RBI single into right field.
Showing the sense of calm that’s allowed him to go 10-for-10 in save chances, Gregg then got David Freese to hit a groundball to second baseman Darwin Barney, who flipped it to Castro.
“I didn’t know right away,” Castro said, “but when I saw the replay, it’s unbelievable.”
Matt Holliday had taken out Castro with a hard slide in 2011, but the All-Star shortstop had accepted that as a legal play. Cubs first-base coach Dave McKay, who was a part of Tony La Russa’s staff in St. Louis, has used that as an example of how hard you need to play when you clinch a playoff spot on the last day of the regular season, the edge a World Series team needs.
“Not even close,” Castro said. “(Holliday runs) hard, but it’s professional, like everybody does on the team, trying to break up the double play. But (be) professional. Don’t try to hurt nobody.”
Manager Dale Sveum said he couldn’t see what happened from the dugout and hadn’t watched the replay yet.
“Finally got a call in this place, I know that,” Sveum said. “There’s been some bad walk-offs in this place. So whatever it was, it was a good call for us.”