ST. LOUIS – A Carlos Zambrano rant inside Busch Stadium’s visiting clubhouse once summed up what it was like for the Cubs to play here: “We stinks!”
The Cubs flipped the script on Saturday night, getting timely hitting in a 6-5 victory and watching the St. Louis Cardinals experience a bullpen meltdown. It guaranteed their first series win at Busch Stadium in almost three full years, breaking an 0-6-1 stretch that began during Mike Quade’s audition and extended well into Year 2 of Theo Epstein’s rebuild.
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It took Darwin Barney lining Trevor Rosenthal’s 100 mph fastball into right-center field for a two-out, two-run double that tied the game in the eighth inning. It took pinch-hitter Dioner Navarro – last seen getting carted off the field in Philadelphia – driving Rosenthal’s 97 mph fastball into right field for an RBI double that made it 5-4.
And the Cubs hung on in the ninth inning, needing an insurance run when Matt Holliday homered off closer Kevin Gregg (25th save).
“There’s something about playing the Cardinals,” Barney said. “It’s not good to say, but you get up more for games like this. It’s just one of those things where they’re in the hunt. They need to win some ballgames and we’re playing spoilers once again.”
The fans still make a big deal out of it, but the Cardinals (66-50) don’t exactly view the Cubs (52-64) the same way in the National League Central.
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St. Louis configured its rotation so that All-Star Adam Wainwright would get some extra rest and start Tuesday night here in a showdown against the first-place Pittsburgh Pirates. In Wainwright’s place, the Cardinals called up 2012 first-round pick Michael Wacha – who gave up two runs in five innings – from Triple-A Memphis.
“If you look at it from their point of view, you don’t really try to take offense to that kind of stuff,” Barney said. “Obviously, we knew what happened, and it wasn’t not talked about. Let’s say that. That young kid threw well today. He has good stuff. It’s not like they were throwing out (a) nobody against us.”
The Cubs also noticed the Los Angeles Dodgers pushed back Zack Greinke so the Cy Young winner wouldn’t throw at Wrigley Field and instead would face the Cardinals on Aug. 5 at Busch Stadium.
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In the postgame clubhouse late Saturday night, one player yelled out: Should’ve thrown Wainwright!