After a slow start this season, Jake Westbrook was coming off three straight decent outings for the St. Louis Cardinals in which he pitched at least six innings.
And then on a stormy night at Wrigley Field, he had a bit of a setback.
Westbrook couldn’t get the Chicago Cubs out in the third inning following a 53-minute rain delay Wednesday night. After Chicago scored six times in the inning, the Cardinals were playing catch up and ended up with an 11-4 loss.
”It definitely wasn’t the delay,” Westbrook said. ”I felt great. Zero excuse. Same pattern as the start of the game. I was getting behind guys, kind of one of those where you can’t continue to pitch that way.”
In 2 1/3 innings, Westbrook (2-3) gave up six hits — four after the rain delay — and was charged with five runs.
”Kind of went back to the same thing I was doing earlier in the season,” he said. ”It’s something I can’t do.”
Westbrook gave up one-out singles to Kosuke Fukudome and Darwin Barney and hit Marlon Byrd to load the bases in the third. Aramis Ramirez delivered an RBI single and Carlos Pena followed with a two-run double to finish the Cards’ starter.
Castro greeted reliever Jason Motte with an RBI single and when center fielder Colby Rasmus missed the ball, Castro sprinted to third on the two-base error. Alfonso Soriano then hit an RBI single, becoming the seventh straight Cubs batter to reach.
”It just seemed like Jake didn’t start out with his best stuff and he definitely didn’t have it after the break,” acting manager Joe Pettini said. ”It’s always tough for a guy to sit out for an hour and then come back. … He just had a tough outing.”
The Cardinals are now 1-1 without manager Tony La Russa, who is recovering from shingles back in St. Louis. He did talk with Pettini on Wednesday to discuss the lineup. La Russa won’t be with the team until after the current six-game road trip ends in Cincinnati on Sunday. He’s resting and taking medication.
The Cubs added four more in the fifth off Ryan Franklin, pitching for the first time in 10 days. He gave up seven hits in three innings.
”The only thing I got beat on was the off-speed stuff,” Franklin said. ”I should have realized that my stuff wouldn’t be as sharp, my breaking ball and split. I should have just mainly throw fastballs.”
The Cubs had 17 hits in their highest scoring game of the season as Matt Garza (2-4) got his first win at Wrigley Field. Garza also came back after the rain delay and pitched five innings.
”He’s got an arm,” Pettini said. ”He’s got good stuff. A few breaking balls. Threw inside. He looked very impressive.”
Ryan Theriot had an infield RBI single in the third to give the Cardinals a 1-0 lead before the storm. Albert Pujols added a two-run single in the seventh when the Cards scored three times.
Notes: Westbrook’s outing was his shortest since May 2, 2007, when he left a start with Cleveland after 1 1/3 innings with an abdominal injury. Earlier this season he went only three innings against the Nationals.