When the boys pray for rain, give them credit. It really worked.
Little, what else they tried on Friday.
You know it's a tough day when the billet player Tommy La Stella is summoned as a tot in the sixth inning Save the Bullpen with his cheese in the mid-'70s. And when catcher Victor Caratini and outfielder Ian Happ finish it. And when Jon Lester gives up eight runs. And when the microphone starts on country singer / guest conductor Canaan Smith.
The Cardinals won 18-5, 12 of them reached the base. They really needed only one guy: First baseman Matt Carpenter went 5-for-5 with three homers and two doubles.
The last big leaguer to do that? Kris Bryant, in 201
And before that? Nobody
"He's a pretty cool guy to share with," Bryant said, noting that Carpenter opened the season on a radio until May 15. He is now at .274, having raised his average 11 points a game.
Carpenter's first blast was epic, a ride from the video board in the right panel, which displays the lineups. In the second half he beheaded Lester again and took his compatriot Brian Duensing in sixth position out of the park.
His total of 16 bases combined the single player franchise record of the Cardinals. He also tied Lou Brock's cardinal record with his 21 St career home runner-up.
But enough about this crew from below was in danger of falling to .500.
This was an epic stinker for the Cubs, but as is his habit, manager Joe Maddon looked to the bright side: his team played hard, it made no mistakes and five of the team's eight relievers were not accustomed. They will probably be needed on a double day night night on Saturday.
"There are hard losses and (others) who are not so attached," he said. "This one does not stop."
The first sign of trouble came on Friday when Lester did not get the call on a 2-2 near the outside corner. Carpenter pounded his next victim and Lester was fired enough to say a few words to umpire referee Ben May when May threw him a new ball.
May, of course, was not the problem. Lester threw 86 places and got only one swinging punch. The NL pitcher of the month June (5-0, 1.13 ERA) dropped out with nine strokes, allowed seven strokes and left five times.
Hard time for Lester, who had to be sociable on Friday evening. Every year he organizes his country music charity event at Joe's Bar on Weed Street.
"I've been here long enough to wash this one off," he said. "I can go out here with my head up and collect money for child cancer research."
The cubs had some bright spots between two downpours. Willson Contreras got married in his first game of All-Star celebrations, and Bryant beat his 11th of the season.
Caratini managed to entertain the remnants of the Wrigley Field crowd by bouncing on cardinal hits in the eighth game. He allowed two runs. Happ worked a scoreless ninth.
Back to at least 1907, the boys had never sent more than one position player to the hill in a game. On Friday they used three.
"There you go," said Bryant. "We make history."
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