ST. LOUIS — Mike Matheny reasoned that Trevor Rosenthal had such an easy time in the 10th inning, throwing just six pitches, that even if the St. Louis Cardinals closer failed at the plate he’d still be around to mow down the Chicago Cubs’ hitters.
The manager left a couple of pinch-hit options on the bench with a chance to win the game Friday night. That decision was a failure.
Pete Kozma and Tony Cruz went unused, Rosenthal struck out at the plate and then gave up a three-run homer to Welington Castillo in the 11th inning of a 6-3 loss.
"With two outs we made our decision to get Trevor back in and hopefully give our offense another shot," Matheny said. "Trevor had a very efficient inning and he’s arguably our best guy in the ‘pen."
Rosenthal (0-1) took a called third strike in his second career at-bat, confessing he’d been surprised to get the chance.
"I was hoping we could score a run before my spot came up," he said.
He didn’t carry the disappointment at the plate back to the mound.
"Uh no, because I mean, I’m not here to hit," he said. "So it’s kind of easy to brush it off and just go out there and try to have another shutdown inning and give us a chance to come back and score some more runs."
On Castillo’s homer, he said he just missed enough with location.
"I thought I could elevate. I figured he might be hunting a fastball," Rosenthal said. "Looking at the video, I didn’t get it up quite up as much as I had hoped, but he put a good swing on a good pitch.
"Not much you can do about it."
Nate Schierholtz doubled for his fourth straight hit leading off the 11th and advanced on a sacrifice. Starlin Castro was intentionally walked and Ryan Kalish popped out on a bunt attempt before Castillo lined a 1-1 fastball 426 feet to left for his second homer.
"They’re all disappointing," Matheny said. "When a team comes back like they did, you hope you can put something away.
"It’s just a shame we couldn’t finish it."
Justin Grimm (1-0) walked Matt Holliday and Matt Adams on eight pitches to start the 10th but got out of it. Hector Rondon finished for his first career save.
Cubs closer Jose Veras hit two batters and walked another in the ninth. One run scored on a passed ball by Castillo, helping the Cardinals score twice in the inning. Matt Carpenter’s bases-loaded sacrifice fly tied it at 3.
Veras has blown both his save chances and allowed five earned runs in 3 2/3 innings with three hit batters and seven walks.
Cubs starter Jeff Samardzija worked seven economic innings for the third straight start, exiting with a 1.29 ERA. He finally got some runs to work with, but was denied a win for the ninth straight outing since Aug. 24 at San Diego.
Ryan Sweeney’s RBI single off Carlos Martinez tied it in the seventh and was the Cubs’ first run in 21 innings when Samardzija starts. Anthony Rizzo’s sacrifice fly off Kevin Siegrist snapped a tie in a two-run eighth.
Cubs pinch hitters were 1 for 18 before the eighth inning when Justin Ruggiano, batting for Samardzija, singled off Martinez, and Mike Olt, batting for Luis Valbuena, singled off Siegrist.
Yadier Molina’s RBI single in the second was his 10th hit in 18 career at-bats against Samardzija. He had two hits and is batting .455 (25 for 55) with three homers and 17 RBIs against the Cubs the last two seasons.
Cardinals starter Joe Kelly allowed an unearned run in six innings. He faced the minimum through the first five innings with the help of two double-play balls.
NOTES: The Cubs’ appeal of a hit by pitch call on Allen Craig in the ninth was denied. … Castro got a strange assist at SS in the fourth when he staggered and dropped Holliday’s towering popup with a runner on first. The ball rolled directly to second baseman Emilio Bonifacio for a forceout as Kolten Wong slid back into first. … Adam Wainwright (1-1, 1.29 ERA) faces Carlos Villanueva (1-2, 4.26) on Saturday. … Kelly has pitched at least five innings in all 31 career starts, the longest streak by a St. Louis starter 25 or younger since 25-year-old Dizzy Dean went 35 in a row in 1935, according to STATS. … Cardinals CF Peter Bourjos made five catches in the first four innings. … St. Louis SS Jhonny Peralta was hitless in three at-bats before coming out in a double switch and is 2 for 31 (.063) on the season, both home runs.