8/31 Cardinals 9, Cubs 6

Matt Holliday hit a solo homer, an RBI double and a two-run tie-breaking single in the eighth to lead the Cardinals to a 9-6 come from behind victory over the Cubs, who blew a five-run lead Sunday.

Luis Valbuena had three hits and was a triple shy of the cycle, and Arismendy Alcantara added a solo home run for the Cubs, who did finish August with a 16-14 record, their first .500 or better record this calendar month since going 16-13 in August 2011. The last time the Cubs won 17 games in August was 2008 (20-8). But that wasn’t enough to make the Cubs players feel any better.

“There’s nothing positive about losing,” Carlos Villanueva said. “I know what needs to be addressed has already been addressed. We take nothing from this — we take a loss. We’re not happy about it. That’s up to us to do something about it.

“Our goal down the stretch is to break as many hearts as possible,” Villanueva said. “We play a lot of teams that are in contention now, and that’s how we’ll learn to win those games. We have a month left and we’ll see how we do.”

What needed to be addressed were some costly defensive lapses. With one out in the St. Louis fifth inning, center fielder Arismendy Alcantara couldn’t get his glove on Matt Carpenter’s fly ball, which resulted in an RBI double. Carpenter then scored one batter later on Holliday’s RBI double to pull within, 5-4.

Second baseman Javier Baez wasn’t able to get a glove on Molina’s ball with two outs in the seventh, and another run scored to tie the game at 6. Both Alcantara and Baez are rookies, both are new at their positions. But no excuses.

“Those are all tremendously helpful, useful experiences that they’ll be able to use,” Rick Renteria said. “We did everything we could to contain everything. Hey, today, they won out.”

* Travis Wood made his team-leading 28th start. The lefty did not get a decision and gave up four runs on six hits over 4 2/3 innings.

— Carrie Muskat

2 comments

  1. stephen thomas

    Is there any reason why the Cubs aren’t playing Soler every game? I understand pitching matchups may come in to play but it seems like Soler is the kind of guy you want going against righties and lefties.

    • Doug

      Len Kasper said on yesterday’s broadcast it’s because of his injury history. They don’t want to push him too hard, too soon. It has absolutely nothing to do with daily match ups.

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