Pitching to Pujols ends up stinging Cubs manager Mike Quade
By GORDON WITTENMYER firstname.lastname@example.org June 4, 2011 10:24PM
Cubs reliever Jeff Samardzija is stunned by what he’s seeing as Albert Pujols’ walk-off homer leaves the park Saturday in St. Louis. | Jeff Roberson~AP
Updated: July 14, 2011 11:56PM
ST. LOUIS — Go ahead, blame Cubs manager Mike Quade for this one. But get in line — behind Quade.
‘‘Guys fought their asses off. We just came up short,’’ he said after Albert Pujols homered to give the St. Louis Cardinals a 5-4 win Saturday in 12 innings. ‘‘And I’ll take the heat for that, for pitching to Pujols.’’
With two out, nobody on and the robo-slugger at the plate, Quade huddled with pitcher Jeff Samardzija and catcher Geovany Soto on the mound. Four pitches later, Pujols hit a 2-1 slider over the left-field wall for his second homer of the game and fourth RBI.
‘‘We talked about being real careful. I won’t talk about being careful anymore,’’ Quade said. ‘‘I’m not in the habit of walking people with two outs and nobody on. I understand how good this guy is. So we’ll have to rethink that a little bit.’’
Quade did intentionally walk Pujols in the 10th with runners at the corners and one out.
‘‘It was a great ballgame,’’ Quade said. ‘‘Up until Pujols beat us with a home run. And he had a great day. And maybe I have to rethink that.’’
Told about Quade taking the blame, Samardzija said, ‘‘He doesn’t have to. I was the one pitching. I was the one that gave up [the homer]. Q’s been great. He came out, we talked about it, we knew the pitcher was a couple hitters away.’’
And the down-and-away pitch wasn’t bad. If anything, the 2-0 fastball up and on the outside corner for a called strike might have been a more natural pitch to drive.
‘‘But, then again, if a guy like that’s hitting, whatever you think is a good pitch probably has to be a little bit better,’’ Samardzija said.
Despite Sean Marshall, Kerry Wood and Carlos Marmol being used for more than an inning each on Saturday, the bullpen survived well enough that the Cubs won’t need reinforcements today. Marmol and Marshall are expected to be available if the Cubs lead late.
† His stitched lip still swollen Saturday, third baseman Aramis Ramirez was available as a pinch-hitter. Quade plans to get him back in the lineup today against Chris Carpenter.
†When Marmol struck out Lance Berkman with the bases loaded in the 10th and then got Tony Cruz on a fly to left to end the threat, he broke the franchise record for a reliever with 241/3 straight scoreless innings on the road. Then he added a scoreless 11th. Warren Br usstar (1983) and Lee Smith (1982-83) each had streaks of 24 innings.