Tony Gwynn & Jeff Passan: Can Cubs avoid disaster?
Instead, he filled Pujols’ position, and the offensive void, in the St. Louis Cardinals’ 9-6 victory over the Chicago Cubs on Sunday. Edmonds can’t play center field yet because of all the running that’s required, but the sudden vacancy at first base could allow him to contribute as he recuperates.
“For the time being it’s a good fit for the situation I’m in,” Edmonds said. “It worked out today and we’ll see how it goes tomorrow. I don’t really know what’s going to happen.”
Pujols, who leads the major leagues with 25 homers and 65 RBIs, was at the ballpark earlier in the day but left before the end of the game without talking to reporters. He’s scheduled to undergo an MRI on Monday to determine the extent of the injury.
Team trainer Barry Weinberg characterized the injury as “moderate to severe,” and said it was closer to severe than moderate.
“He had a tough night,” manager Tony La Russa said. “I think he’s got quite a bit of soreness.”
Edmonds, limited to one pinch-hit at-bat in the last seven games by an abdominal injury, was 3-for-3 with an RBI double in the fifth and a run-scoring single in the sixth, and walked and scored in the first after entering the game in a 3-for-29 slump. The eight-time Gold Glove center fielder played first base for only the 45th time in his career and seemed fine if under control on the basepaths.
“He did what he can do,” La Russa said. “He didn’t go crazy on the bases, played it very smart.”
The Cardinals are 21-10 at new Busch Stadium, and this was their first losing series there. Aramis Ramirez had two hits and two RBIs for the Cubs, who are 6-3 against the Cardinals this season but haven’t swept them in St. Louis since 1988.
“It could have been a real good series for us, but I didn’t pitch good enough,” losing pitcher Greg Maddux said. “I tried to throw it down, I threw it up. I tried to throw it inside, I threw it outside.”
The Cubs lost for the first time in three games this month after going 7-22 in May.
“When you’re in a position to sweep with the way we played the month of May, you’ve got to sweep these guys,” Juan Pierre said. “With their big guy Pujols going down, it’s a very winnable game, and it’s a tough loss.”
Jason Marquis (8-4) won his fifth straight start despite a season-high five walks, one off his career high and equaling his total for his last three outings. In five innings he gave up five runs and eight hits while striking out five.
“My mechanics were a little off,” Marquis said. “I was lucky to get out of there with a win.”
Maddux (6-5) let a two-run lead get away in the Cardinals’ three-run fifth, and is 1-3 with an 8.46 ERA in his last four starts. He gave up six runs and nine hits in five innings and had no strikeouts for the first time this season.
Marquis walked the bases loaded with one out in the first and Ramirez’ single gave the Cubs the lead. Maddux walked two in the bottom of the first and RBI doubles by Rolen and Juan Encarnacion put the Cardinals ahead 2-1.
The Cubs had five straight hits to start a four-run third, including run-scoring singles by Todd Walker and Ramirez and Jacque Jones’ RBI double. Maddux’ run-scoring groundout capped the inning, giving the pitcher his third RBI of the year.
Four straight hits with one out in the fifth put the Cardinals ahead 6-5, including an RBI single by Rolen and RBI doubles by Edmonds and Encarnacion.
Rolen had a sacrifice fly and Edmonds an RBI single in a three-run sixth that made it 9-5. Ronny Cedeno, who had two hits, had an RBI single in the seventh for the Cubs.
Jason Isringhausen got the last three outs for his NL-leading 18th save in 21 chances.
Maddux remained tied for 13th on the career victory list with Nolan Ryan and Don Sutton. … Scott Spiezio missed his sixth straight game with an upper respiratory tract infection that has kept him at home all weekend. … Cedeno 14-for-33 during a career-best nine-game hitting streak, also the longest for the Cubs this year.