The Cubs tried to run their Wrigley Field win streak to three straight Wednesday in the finale of the two-game mini-series against St. Louis.
The last time they had won three straight at Wrigley Field was July 28-30 of last year against the Cardinals (2-0) and Pirates (1-0). They’ve won three in a row only once this season, on April 25-27 in Miami.
But another bullpen collapse led to a 5-4 loss to St. Louis, ending the homestand with a 4-6 record.
Carlos Villanueva, who hasn’t won since April 18, faced the Cardinals’ Jake Westbrook. Villanueva left with a 4-3 lead and two outs in the seventh, but James Russell gave up the lead, the team’s ninth blown save in 18 chances, and Michael Bowden gave up an RBI single to Jon Jay in the eighth to put the Cardinals ahead 5-4.
Villanueva allowed three runs on seven hits over 6 2/3 innings.
After giving up a walk and single to the first two hitters he faced, Villanueva gave up a run-scoring double play grounder to Matt Holliday. The Cubs tied it in their half of the first on Anthony Rizzo’s RBI double off the right field wall.
After the Cardinals took advantage of a leadoff hit-by-pitch to score in the fourth, the Cubs answered with three in the bottom of the inning on Nate Schierholtz’s two-run double and a fielders choice grounder by Dioner Navarro.
St. Louis added a run in the fifth on Carlos Beltran’s RBI single, but Villanueva went into the seventh with a 4-3 lead. After Villanueva left, Matt Carpenter doubled off Russell and advanced on Schierholtz’s error. Beltran then singled home the tying run.
The Cubs grounded into double plays in the ffth, sixth, seventh and eighth innings, blowing scoring opportunities in each inning.
Villanueva came in with a 2.85 ERA.“He’s kept us in every ballgame, especially early, his first four (starts),” manager Dale Sveum said of Villanueva. “It was tremendous. He’s had a little hiccup the last couple (losses to the Marlins and Reds), but mainly (it’s only been) a couple pitches (that’ve hurt him). There hasn’t been guys hitting him… He’s still been really sharp throughout the whole ballgames.”
The wind is blowing in from right field this afternoon, after blowing in from left field on Tuesday night.