ST. LOUIS – Welington Castillo hit a three-run homer in the 11th inning off closer Trevor Rosenthal, who struck out with an unusual chance to win it, and the Chicago Cubs beat the St. Louis Cardinals 6-3 on Friday night.
The Cardinals had runners on first and second with two outs in the 10th when manager Mike Matheny decided against a pinch hitter. Rosenthal (0-1) took a called third strike in his second career at-bat.
Nate Schierholtz doubled for his fourth straight hit leading off the 11th and advanced on a sacrifice. Starlin Castro was intentionally walked and Ryan Kalish popped out on a bunt attempt before Castillo lined a 1-1 fastball 426 feet to left for his second homer.
Justin Grimm (1-0) walked Matt Holliday and Matt Adams on eight pitches to start the 10th but got out of it, partly because Matheny left Pete Kozma and Tony Cruz on the bench. Hector Rondon finished for his first career save.
Cubs closer Jose Veras hit two batters and walked another in the ninth. One run scored on a passed ball by Castillo, helping the Cardinals score twice in the inning. Matt Carpenter’s bases-loaded sacrifice fly tied it at 3.
Cubs starter Jeff Samardzija worked seven economic innings for the third straight start, exiting with a 1.29 ERA. He finally got some runs to work with, but was denied a win for the ninth straight outing since Aug. 24 at San Diego.
Ryan Sweeney’s RBI single off Carlos Martinez tied it in the seventh and was the Cubs’ first run in 21 innings when Samardzija starts. Anthony Rizzo’s sacrifice fly off Kevin Siegrist snapped a tie in a two-run eighth.
Veras has blown both of his save chances and has allowed five earned runs in 3 2-3 innings with three hit batters and seven walks.
Cubs pinch hitters were 1 for 18 before the eighth inning when Justin Ruggiano, batting for Samardzija, singled off Martinez, and Mike Olt, batting for Luis Valbuena, singled off Siegrist.
Yadier Molina’s RBI single in the second was his 10th hit in 18 career at-bats against Samardzija. He had two hits and is batting .455 (25 for 55) with three homers and 17 RBIs against the Cubs the last two seasons.
Cardinals starter Joe Kelly allowed an unearned run in six innings. He faced the minimum through the first five innings with the help of two double-play balls.