There was a scary moment in the fifth inning of the Cubs' 7-3 win over the Cardinals on Saturday, so I thought I'd mention that first before heading on to the rest of the recap.
Cardinals reliever Blake Hawksworth was hit in the right side of the face by a line drive off the bat of Sam Fuld; after lying motionless on the field for a short time, he got up and walked off under his own power, to nice applause from everyone in the ballpark. More information from this stltoday.com article:
Hawksworth was struck in the face by a line drive hit by Chicago Cubs center fielder Sam Fuld and sustained serious lacerations to his mouth and upper lip.
Head athletic trainer Barry Weinberg assisted Hawksworth from the field. The pitcher held a compress to his face after suffering significant bleeding.
A Cardinals official said Hawksworth left the field directly for the hospital along with a member of the team's training staff.
It appears he'll be OK, and I'm glad of that. Though I want the Cubs to beat the Cardinals every time they play them, I certainly don't want to see anyone get hurt like that.The Cubs didn't start out this afternoon as if they were even interested in playing. Aramis Ramirez threw an easy ground ball away in the third inning and that put Casey Coleman into a 3-0 hole.
But the Cubs came back in the bottom of the inning, batting around; the biggest blows were a two-run single by Fuld after Ramirez had redeemed his bad throw with an RBI single. The Cubs also scored a run when Kosuke Fukudome got caught in a rundown after Albert Pujols knocked down Micah Hoffpauir's smash down the 1B line, but couldn't throw him out. Cardinals rookie catcher Bryan Anderson threw the ball away and Fukudome scored.
Meanwhile, Casey Coleman was nearly lights-out after Ramirez's error. Coleman then retired 14 of the last 15 hitters he faced; the only Cardinal who reached base after the third inning was Skip Schumaker, who led off the fifth inning with a walk and was stranded. It was Coleman's best start as a major leaguer and certainly puts him in the mix for a starting role next season. It was also the Cubs' 89th quality start of the season -- which ties them with the Cardinals and is only three fewer than the NL-leading Giants have.
Carlos Marmol finished up the game and put two Cardinals on base via a walk and a HBP, but struck out the side. In so doing he broke a 33-year-old team record set by Bruce Sutter in 1977. Sutter struck out 129 batters and that record has stood, until now, as the club record for strikeouts by a pitcher who threw exclusively in relief. Marmol has 131, with eight games remaining in the season. That ranks 36th in the entire National League -- all of the pitchers above him are starters who have thrown at least 60 more innings than Marmol. It is the 15th highest total of K's in a single season by a pitcher who threw exclusively in relief (the record: 181 by Dick Radatz in 1964, in an era when relievers were used differently; Radatz threw 157 innings).
The Cubs passed the three million mark in attendance with the announced crowd of 39,316 -- it appeared there were maybe 30,000 in the house on a day that started sunny, but ended chilly and cool, letting us know that fall is here and baseball is nearly done for 2010. The Cubs' 2010 home season ends tomorrow, and it sure would be nice to finish on a winning note -- and perhaps mathematically eliminate the Cardinals by doing so, too.