CHICAGO » Cardinals infielder Kolten Wong, with a bruise and a welt apparent on his right cheek, said that he was able to go through prescribed tests for a concussion without trouble Tuesday afternoon after being removed from a 7-4 loss to the Cubs in Game 1 of a doubleheader at Wrigley Field.
“Took a pretty good hit,” Wong said. “Just a little dizzy and they wanted to make sure that everything was alright, so they took me out of the game. Precautionary reasons. Checked out fine. I told them I don’t feel concussed at all. I don’t feel out of it. Just a headache.”
Wong said he’s doubtful for the night game at Wrigley.
Cardinals manager Mike Matheny had not had a chance to talk with the medical staff and Wong before meeting with the media. He said it’s likely that Matt Carpenter will start at second base. Carpenter replaced Wong late in the afternoon game, though the former All-Star second baseman has not appeared at the position since 2013, when he played it full time for the Cardinals.
With Jake Arrieta on the mound for the Cubs, the Cardinals had a chance to steal a game in the first half of Tuesday’s doubleheader and watched it immolate in the late innings.
The Cubs scored four runs in the bottom of the eighth inning against a series of Cardinals relievers to pull away for a 7-4 victory at Wrigley Field.
“Extra bases are not a good way to go about it,” Matheny said. “Tyler (Lyons) did a pretty nice job. He kept us in the game.”
Anthony Rizzo hit a two-run homer to spark the eighth and turn a game that was a one-run tussle into a near-runaway for the hosts. The Cardinals got a home run from Mark Reynolds in the top of the ninth to tidy up the score, but they would never close the gap on the Cubs that was there for the taking.
The Cardinals had tightened the game 3-2 with a two-run seventh.
The runs in the bottom of the eighth came off lefty Randy Choate and right-handed reliever Miguel Socolovich. All three batters that Choate faced, including Rizzo, scored. Socolovich complicated his outing with an error that made the run he allowed unearned.
The Cardinals allowed two extra-base hits and committed an error in the eighth into to add to the Cubs’ score. The third run of the game the Cubs scored came on a bases-loaded walk. In each case, Matheny went to a reliever he might not have in a normal situation. If there was the single game he might have gone to his lead-holding relievers like Kevin Siegrist and Seth Maness in the middle innings of a one-run game instead of turning to Socolovich and Harris. Matheny didn’t want to use his setup relievers in a game they were trailing because it could burn them for the night game when a lead has to be secured.
The only matchup he did want was Choate against Rizzo.
Rizzo has had success against Choate in his career, and the switch-hitters ahead of Rizzo have done well against left-handed pitchers. Matheny wanted to test Rizzo with a lefty specialist, and Rizzo passed — with a home run into the bleachers beyond left field.
Arrieta got the win, but the gap really came after he departed. He threw 62/3 innings and allowed two runs on seven hits and two walks.
Lyons pitched 52/3 innings and allowed three runs while walking five.
“Normally four (runs) with how we’ve been pitching, four is plenty,” Matheny said. “We had to try and use some guys that we don’t normally use especially when we’re behind and we’ve got another game ahead of us so we have to have some guys step up. The free bases we’re giving aren’t going to work.”