ST. LOUIS – Beaten 101 times last season and told last month that nearly the entire roster was for sale at the trade deadline, the guys in the Cubs’ clubhouse might finally be fed up with being National League punch lines.
And whether they can do anything about it against anyone but the Cardinals, the Cubs are at least showing their rivals they’re not going to take it anymore.
“You don’t really try to take offense at that kind of stuff, but obviously we knew what happened,” said Cubs second baseman Darwin Barney after he delivered a big hit in the Cubs’ comeback 6-5 victory over St. Louis Saturday night.
Stuff? For the second time in a week, a contending opponent took the Cubs for granted and held its best pitcher out of a series to save him for a “bigger” series. In this case Adam Wainwright was skipped so the Cardinals can start him against the first-place Pirates Tuesday.
“It wasn’t not talked about,” Barney said. “Let’s say that.”
The same thing happened last weekend, when the Dodgers skipped Cy Young pitcher Zack Greinke against the Cubs to save him for the ensuing Cardinals series.
The Cubs couldn’t muster enough to do anything about it in that four-game sweep at the hands of the Dodgers at home.
But this weekend?
One night after the Cubs shut out the Cardinals in St. Louis for the first time since 1997, they scored three times in the eighth and again in the ninth Saturday to win again and clinch the series.
And put themselves in position for a sweep Sunday with Edwin Jackson facing second-year Cardinals pitcher Joe Kelly.
This after working rookie Michael Wacha for enough deep counts, including three walks, to squeeze 99 pitches from him through five innings and get him out of the game – and, just maybe, make the Cardinals wish they hadn’t over-thought that whole Wainwright thing.
Trailing 4-2 in the eighth, Barney’s two-out double off Trevor Rosenthal drove in Welington Castillo and Nate Schierholtz to tie the score.
And Dioner Navarro — in his first appearance since he looked seriously hurt in a home plate collision Wednesday night – then came off the bench to double home Barney for the lead.
Schierholtz singled to drive home Junior Lake from third with one out in the ninth for another run.
“There’s something about playing the Cardinals,” Barney said. “It’s not good to say, but you get up more for games like this. It’s just one of those things where they’re in the hunt; they need to win some ballgames. And we’re playing spoilers once again. And hopefully, we can keep doing it.”