After a stirring ninth inning comeback, everything fell apart quickly for the Chicago Cubs as a Matt Carpenter home run gave the St. Louis Cardinals an extra inning victory.
Carpenter hit the home run off of Cubs closer Craig Kimbrel, making his first appearance since being activated from the injured list. The 10th inning long ball was the only additional offense the Cardinals needed as they knocked the Cubs to four games back in the division.
The loss also knocks the Cubs out of a wild card spot as well, pushing them a game behind the Milwaukee Brewers.
The Cubs trailed 4-1 going into the bottom of the ninth inning, but showed signs of life as Ben Zobrist hit a double down the field field line to score Nicholas Castellanos. Willson Contreras then reached on an RBI infield single, and Jason Heyward’s RBI groundout tied the game at 4-4, forcing extra innings.
In the extra frame, Kimbrel got one out before Carpenter unloaded on a home run to deep center field, giving his team a 5-4 lead they would never relinquish.
Kyle Hendricks gave up four earned runs in five innings of work, and the team’s bullpen was able to back him up until Kimbrel gave up his 10th inning long ball.
Jack Flaherty was once again masterful for the Cardinals, giving up one earned run in eight innings. He was denied the win however, as Carlos Martinez blew the save by giving up three runs, all of them earned, in the ninth.
Andrew Miller was able to save the day however, recording the final two outs of that frame to force extra innings.
Anthony Rizzo hit a home run for the Cubs after being a surprise addition to the lineup. Rizzo, who had suffered a sprained ankle just four days earlier, was later removed from the game in a double-switch.
The Cubs will try to get back on the horse on Friday when they play the second game of the series at Wrigley. José Quintana will get the ball in the game, with the Cubs desperately needing a victory.