Molina’s home run leads Cardinals past Cubs 4-1
BY GORDON WITTENMYER firstname.lastname@example.org June 19, 2013 10:23PM
Updated: June 19, 2013 11:28PM
ST. LOUIS – Where have we heard this before? Cardinals beat the Cubs in St. Louis. Big hit by the big MVP candidate.
Yadi, Yadi, Yadi.
“He was right in the middle of it again,” said Cubs manager Dale Sveum, who grudgingly talked about the greatness of Cards catcher Yadier Molina – a few hours before the National League’s leading hitter turned a tie game into a St. Louis victory with a two-run homer off Edwin Jackson.
“He’s on fire,” Sveum said.
The sixth inning shot was the big blow in a three-run inning that propelled the Cards to a 4-1 victory at Busch Stadium – and ratcheted up the growing legend of Molina one more notch in the Cubs’ minds.
“I thought it was a pretty good pitch,” Jackson said of the two-seam fastball. “Either he was looking for it, or he guessed right or it was right in his zone. … But I didn’t second-guess the pitch even after the home run. He hit the pitch I wanted to throw.
“You win some you lose some. It’s a tough loss, especially if you feel like it’s one pitch. But I threw the pitch with conviction; he hit a home run. It is what it is. He won the battle.”
In the first three games of this four-game series – two of them Cardinals wins -- the man Sveum called the league’s leading MVP candidate is 6-for-11 with a homer, double and five runs batted in.
“I’ve had a lot of bad walk-off losses at this park over the years,” said Sveum, a longtime Milwaukee Brewers coach before taking over as Cubs manager last year. “And Molina’s right in the middle of every one of them it seems like.
“Even back before he was the hitter he is now, he seemed to be in the middle of their clutch situations.”
The way Cardinals starter Jake Westbrook pitched against the Cubs, it might not have mattered whether Jackson retired Molina for the third time or not.
The Cubs managed just two hits and an unearned run against Westbrook – and even less against the bullpen.
“Jackson was basically going to have to pitch a shutout,” said Sveum, who otherwise liked what he saw from the $52 million free agent pitcher.
“Just that one pitch. He didn’t give up a whole lot of hard contact really besides that,” Sveum said. “It was a good outing up till then, against the best hitting team in the league.”
After two rough months to open his Cubs career, Jackson is 2-1 with a 2.95 ERA in his last three starts.
“I think he’s pitching with more conviction,” Sveum said. “Tonight’s velocity wasn’t like it was in some of the other ones. … But everything’s going a heck of a lot better than it did the first half of his starts.”