Cubs 6, Cardinals 0
CHICAGO (AP)—Jason Marquis made sure his energy and emotions were channeled in the right direction as he faced his former team. Just six months ago, the St. Louis Cardinals left him off the playoff roster for the final two rounds of the postseason.
The Cardinals went on to win the World Series without Marquis and he left in free agency to a handsome three-year, $21 million dollar deal with the Chicago Cubs.
“I tried not to get too amped up about it. I was mentally able to slow myself down or slow my body down so I could make pitches,” Marquis said Saturday after throwing seven innings in the Cubs’ 6-0 win over the Cardinals.
“This is my third team. When I got traded from Atlanta to St. Louis, I was a little younger. I really used a lot of aggression facing the Atlanta Braves. It really worked against me. Today it was more my choice to come to the Chicago Cubs and that’s how I looked at it. This is the place I wanted to be,” he added.
Marquis (2-1) won 42 games in three seasons with the Cardinals. But he went 0-4 with a 7.25 ERA in five September starts last year, he was not included on the roster for the NLCS or World Series. He finished 14-16 with a 6.02 ERA last season.
“Every time I stepped on the mound toward the end of last year I didn’t know what to expect out of myself. I wanted to change that going into the season,” Marquis said.
Marquis pitched out of a bases-loaded jam in the fourth. And after giving up a pair of two-out singles in the seventh, he got a visit from manager Lou Piniella and then got Scott Rolen to bounce into a forceout. Marquis didn’t walk a batter and struck out five, while allowing seven hits. Reliever Will Ohman finished the shutout.
“He got in trouble like normally, you know, he always gets in trouble, and finds a lucky pitch to make to get out of trouble, you know,” Cardinals start Albert Pujols said of Marquis, who is slated to get a World Series ring when the Cubs visit St. Louis next week.
Asked if it appears Marquis is doing anything different from last season, Cardinals manager Tony La Russa said: “That’s something you’ll have to ask the Cubs, if they’re doing anything different with him.”
The Cardinals, who’ve had trouble scoring runs this season, left 11 runners on base Saturday. And they couldn’t come up with the big hit against Marquis.
“Obviously, that was the case,” Pujols said. “He mixed it up pretty good today. He threw a lot of changeups. … He was keeping the ball down and that’s why he was successful.”
Anthony Reyes (0-3), who did make the final two rounds of the Cards’ playoff roster and started and won Game 1 of the World Series, allowed seven hits and four runs in six innings Saturday.
The Cardinals loaded the bases with two outs in the fourth when Preston Wilson reached on an error by Cedeno, Adam Kennedy singled and David Eckstein was brushed by a pitch from Marquis. But Marquis fanned Chris Duncan to end the threat.
“I think that was the key at-bat in the game,” Marquis said.
Cubs rookie Felix Pie made two nice catches in center field, one against Kennedy in the second when he made an over-the-shoulder grab just in front of the wall.
Pie is poised to become the Cubs’ everyday center fielder. Piniella announced Saturday that Alfonso Soriano will move to left field when he returns Monday from a strained hamstring.
“He flagged a couple of them down, good plays,” Piniella said. “He had to go a long way for them, also. It makes it much easier for the pitcher when you can make those type of plays.”
The Cardinals have scored just three runs in Reyes’ three starts this season. … Cubs 3B Aramis Ramirez had his 12-game hitting streak stopped. … The season’s largest crowd at Wrigley Field, 41,637, attended on a 71-degree day.